2017 Honda Ridgeline Debuts in Detroit to Take on Colorado, Tacoma

2017 Honda Ridgeline Front Three Quarter View

Compared to the first-gen version introduced a decade ago, the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, “will more strongly communicate its truck intentions,” promises Jeff Conrad, Honda of America general manager. “We think this will occupy a real white space in the market.” The 2017 Honda Ridgeline will actually go head-to-head with several similarly sized trucks, the new Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon. Offered only with a four-door cab, the Ridgeline remains a unibody design rather than the body-on-frame chassis setups of those rival midsize trucks. It goes on sale in the first half of this year.

Honda Ridgeline Teaser Photo

Fresh design from top to bottom

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline has a modern design that has much in common with the Pilot crossover with which it shares its basic chassis. A wide grille features chrome spears that extend onto the headlights, with strakes breaking up the flat hood. A neat character crease runs the length of the body. Unlike the original Ridgeline, the 2017 model has a traditional pickup silhouette without the buttress-like C-pillars of the old model. But Honda has retained the truck’s trick dual-opening tailgate, which can either drop vertically or open sideways. The bed is 5.4 inches wider and 4.0 inches longer than before, with a full 4 feet between the wheel arches for carrying plywood or drywall. Payload capacity is projected at around 1,600 lb, although official numbers won’t be announced until later. Flexible storage

A lockable in-bed trunk comes standard, and it now has a plug for draining out water more easily. The Ridgeline’s bed also has eight tie-down straps, an option 400-watt power inverter for plugging in a TV when tailgating, and an optional in-bed sound system. A first for any factory pickup, the sound system uses six “exciters” in the bed walls that crank out up to 540 watts of sound. Just the thing for blasting Jock Jams ahead of a football game.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Front Grille Closeup

Within the cabin, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is available with features like push-button start, tri-zone climate control, a color trip computer display in the instrument cluster, and an available 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A backup camera comes standard, with optional safety gear including Honda LaneWatch, a blind-spot warning system, forward-collision warning and braking, and lane-keep assist. The rear seat has a 40/60 split and folds to store more inside the cab. Honda is targeting a top crash-test rating, says Conrad, including in the challenging small-overlap test. The Pilot received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Next Gen Honda Ridgeline Rear Side View Teaser Closer View1

Familiar powertrain

The only powertrain option is a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic. Buyers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive, the latter of which has a terrain-management system with Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud modes for when the going gets tough. Though there are no specifications so far, Conrad says, “Ridgeline will deliver top-in-class acceleration and fuel economy.” That means beating the 24-mpg rating of the new Toyota Tacoma four-cylinder, as well as the 31-mpg highway managed by the Chevrolet/GMC Duramax diesels. Stayed tuned for the all-important efficiency and tow ratings, as well as pricing, ahead of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline’s launch later this year.

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