The Honda Ridgeline first debuted in 2006 when lots of people predicted it would be a massive game changer in the truck market. Boy, were they all wrong. It did manage to have a brief moment of success, but frankly, it was outclassed by bigger and better trucks, and the little truck was simply not able to punch above its weight line.
As we all know, anything bigger and meaner is better in America. It was never able to put a foot on solid ground thanks to larger and more serious trucks that shadowed nearly all of its life and ultimately it got killed off exactly because of that. Americans preferred the rear-wheel drive body-on-frame style of most big trucks rather than the Ridgeline’s unibody design.
Well with the return of midsize pickup trucks from the likes of GMC, Chevrolet, and Toyota, Honda couldn’t have picked a better time to reintroduce the Ridgeline into the U.S. midsize truck market. Despite the fact that this segment seems to be blooming, the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline could be able to make a strong case for itself even if it hadn’t been for the other vehicles entering the segment and there are a few reasons why.
Engine and Performance
First of all, we are not happy with the engine lineup, mainly because there is only one option. Only available here is the 3.5-liter V6 developing around 270 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, it has been used in many models and has proven itself as reliable and good option. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, and it’s the only one on offer. Since it’s a unibody truck rather than a full-sized one, only logical for it is to be front-wheel drive vehicle for standard choice. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is a pickup truck that can be used as a workhorse, daily commuter or even the occasional off-roader, an all-wheel drive system is available at additional cost. It does, however, split the power front and rear as well as side to side when needed (torque vectoring), allowing you to get out from any tricky situation. The driver can select individual settings depending on the surface and conditions he’s driving on (sand, snow and mud).
No performance figures are announced yet, but the V6 has proven to be a great engine in other Honda models. Here it should be just around average although, don’t expect it to compete with bigger V8s found in other models in the segment, or even turbocharged V6s. It is comparable to either V6s like itself or smaller turbocharged four-cylinders which seem to be the new norm for almost any application.
Fuel consumption hasn’t been announced either, but Honda claims the Ridgeline will almost certainly be a class leader. What this implies is that it will have more than 21 miles per gallon on the combined run, a number it has to beat in order to be the leader in the segment (currently that number is achieved by the Colorado and Toyota Tacoma). Considering it’s relatively light, the engine isn’t that thirsty, and the gearbox does a good job of selecting the right gear we suspect it might just be able to trump that figure. Previous year model was capable of achieving 15/21 mpg so it will be interesting to see how new truck will be able to improve these numbers decently.
Because it’s a unibody truck as we mentioned, it drives more similar to a crossover than it does to a standard vehicle. Now that may make it a bit less attractive to those looking for a heavy workhorse or light off-roader, but it does mean that the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has much better road manners than most trucks in similar segments.
Capacities and Tow Rating
The upcoming model will be able to carry 1,600 pounds (maximum load amount) and be capable of towing weights upwards of 5,000 pounds (if the old Ridgeline’s number is anything to go by). Loading those 1,600 pounds worth of stuff will be pretty easy thanks to a big flatbed measuring 5.4 feet long and 5 feet wide. It may not be a big increase over the old model, but any increment increase adds up to form a big noticeable change in the end.
The bed has a secret weapon in the form of 4 feet worth of flat space between the rear wheel arches. This makes it perfect for carrying sheet goods (like 4×8 plywood or metal for instance). There’s a lockable storage compartment in the bed too, and the tailgate drops flat to give you a platform on which you can slide your item or if you so desire, you can even open it entirely to the side for easier access to the front of the bed.
Interior Styling, Equipment, Safety
The interior is typical Honda with standard materials and buttons borrowed from vehicles like the Honda Pilot or the Honda CR-V. It’s well built and the ergonomics are great. Nothing squeaks or rattles and we suspect it’s going to stay like that for a lot of years to come. Sure there are a few hard plastic parts here and there, but it’s a relatively affordable midsize truck what else do you expect. It is nothing unbearable, and you could certainly use the 2017 Honda Ridgeline even as a daily driver.
There’s loads of room inside the cabin for both rows of seats. The rear ones have a 60/40-split which when folded make the floor completely flat. If you want more luxury, you can go for leather upholstery on higher trim, this also includes, three-zone climate control, 8-inch display with touchscreen and smartphone integration too. It supports both Android and iOS making everything much simpler and more accessible.
There’s the usual array of safety systems like traction control and ABS, but something you won’t find on similarly priced competitors is a standard rearview camera which offers you multiple angles. This feature comes in handy especially when you need to back up with a load on your truck that simply blocks your view. More expensive trims have a blind-spot system pushing the safety to the next level. For anyone wishing, even more, safety there’s an optional safety pack which includes automatic emergency braking, lane keep assists as well as lane departure warning.
2017 Honda Ridgeline Price, Release Date
For now, we don’t have an exact launch date for the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, but all rumors and reports we have received point out to the fall as the introduction date. Now we should point out that the old one started at around $30,000 so the new one will hover around the same price point, but the competitors from Toyota and Chevy cost a few grand less ($23,000 and $210,000 respectively to be precise). If you’re still tempted by one you will be pleased to know that it is still a good value for money since you’re getting a lot of gadgets for the price. And besides, you’ll get Honda reliability on your side.