Finally, the Honda Ridgeline, one of the first non-pickup pickups of the last two decades, looks like a truck. From the time the Ridgeline debuted in 2005 as an 06 model, reviewers couldn’t categorize it. The Ridgeline was supposed to be a pickup, a given since it was competing against them. However, it was also meant to be a sports ute; which was it?
The issue for many was that first generation Ridgelines – and subsequent models – looked too much like the vehicle on which the Ridgeline was based, the Honda Pilot. Some reviewers thought, at the time, that it looked as if Honda had designed an SUV and just when they were building it, they ran out of sheetmetal. So, the manufacturer grafted on a pickup bed and launched it. Of course, that was pure speculation as the Ridgeline debuted as the first Sports Utility Truck (SUT).
The rest is history. At first, it was moderately successful. Early buyers were attracted by its uniqueness and styling. It was more rounded than the Pilot but no so much that one couldn’t see the family resemblance. Other early adopters were attracted by the unique combination of SUV and pickup, like the Chevy Avalanche, which appeared in 2005. Within about three years of its debut, sales were beginning to fall away. Though subsequent restyling and reworks improved the marque, sales became so underwhelming that Honda retired the Ridgeline in 2014, promising a new model for 2017
The 2017 Ridgeline has arrived, and it seems as if it will be a far more interesting – and salable – design. Like its predecessor, it is still based on the Pilot’s unibody construction. Indeed, many of the body panels are shared by the vehicles. The powerteam, a 3.5-liter V-6, and an automatic transmission have been tweaked for 2017 so that the new Ridgeline, whose sleek, aerodynamic lines are very truck-like, moves out briskly. The engine is rated at 280-horsepower.
Of course, early buyers may be attracted by its uniqueness as an SUT. However, many will buy it is for its utility as a cargo/work hauler. Rated as a 1.5-ton truck, one can load nearly 1,600 pounds in the pickup bed before maxing out the space. The towing capacity for the front-drive model is 3,500 pounds, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 5,000 pounds. With the range of features available, the new Ridgeline should be a worthy competitor in the red-hot pickup market when it debuts in July. Honda announced its pricing on Monday. The pricing is:
- Ridgeline RT (base, front-drive) $30,375
- Ridgeline RTS (front-drive) $32,415
- Ridgeline Sport (front-drive) $33,915
- Ridgeline RTL (front-drive) $34,680
- Ridgeline RTL-T (front-drive) $37,830
- Ridgeline RTL-E (all-wheel-drive) $42,270
- Ridgeline Black Edition (all-wheel-drive) $43,770
The Black Edition takes the place of the SE as the top-of-the-line model. The former line-topper was the SE. Also, the Black Edition and RTL-E are the only AWD-only models available. The other five models can be equipped with AWD for an extra $1,800.
Information for this story was provided by Automotive News and the author.