|Assembly||Alliston, Ontario, Canada (HCM) (2005-2008)
Lincoln, Alabama, US (HMA) (2008-present)
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size/full-size sport utility truck|
|Body style||4-door truck|
|Layout||Transversely-mounted front engine, four-wheel drive|
Honda Odyssey (North America)
|Engine||3.5 L 250 hp 247 lb-ft V6|
|Wheelbase||122 in (3,099 mm)|
|Length||2006-08: 206.8 in (5,253 mm)
2009-2011: 207 in (5,258 mm)
2012-Present: 206.9 in (5,255 mm)
|Width||77.8 in (1,976 mm)|
|Height||70.3 in (1,786 mm)
2012-Present RTL: 71.2 in (1,808 mm)
The Honda Ridgeline is a mid to full size sport utility truck produced by the Japanese automaker Honda. The Ridgeline was released in March 2005 as a 2006 model and is Honda's intended first foray into the North American pickup truck market. Until 2009, the Ridgeline was built in Alliston, Ontario, Canada alongside the Acura MDX, Honda Civic, Honda Civic Si, and Acura CSX. The Ridgeline was awarded Motor Trend's Truck of the Year for 2006. The Ridgeline is based on the Acura MDX platform, alongside the Honda Pilot. The Ridgeline was shown in concept form as the Honda SUT in 2004.
The Ridgeline will go on hiatus after 2014 and return with a redesigned model in 2016.
First generation (since 2006)
The Honda Ridgeline uses unibody architecture ladder frame/unibody hybrid chassis. Honda claims this design gives it 2.5 times more ball rigidity and 20 times the torsional rigidity than the standard ladder frame only type of chassis construction, while retaining the load carrying capacity of the traditional ladder frame.
Independent rear suspension
The truck also boasts four-wheel independent suspension which, coupled with the unibody design, provides a new level of stable and sure handling under load well beyond that which could be achieved with older platforms.
A pickup with a trunk
Another advantage of the independent suspension is that it opened up enough space for Honda to create the second pickup truck to include a storage trunk below the bed, which can be locked to secure contents such as a tool chest (the first such pick-up having been the pickup version of the Volkswagen Type 2 (T3)). Doing a flat tire repair will become difficult if you are hauling contents inside the bed since the spare is tucked inside the trunk. The bed comes standard with a composite liner that resists dents, corrosion, and can easily be hosed clean. The trunk has drainage holes to allow wash water to flow out.
Dual action tailgate
It became clear to designers that a lowered tailgate created too long a reach for a consumer to get into the trunk. However, the relatively short bed was built with a lowered tailgate acting as an extension in mind, so a purely conventional tailgate action was not dismissible. Engineers met this challenge with a dual action tailgate. This design was first used by 1966 model Ford station wagons. The tailgate opens conventionally in a downward motion that can handle a load in the horizontal open position, but can also be swung to the side like a door, allowing a consumer to stand straight up at the rear bumper and reach down into the trunk.
The bed is integrated with the body, similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche. It is rated as having a 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) towing capacity (with dealer-installed or aftermarket hitch) and a 1,500 lb (680 kg) bed capacity
Anti-lock brakes, heated windshield wiper parking zones, four wheel drive locking mode, and VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) with off switch (for off- road use), and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment. The Ridgeline also has a large rear seat with the ability to fold-up creating a floor to ceiling cargo space. Four trim levels are available: basic RT, RTX, RTS, and premium RTL (with optional sunroof or moonroof and GPS Navigation).
The RTX, introduced with the 2007 model, adds gray-painted alloy wheels, an alternate grille, body-colored door handles, and factory tow package. The RTS offers different upholstery material and adds a 6-way power driver's seat, 6-CD changer, subwoofer, body-colored mirrors, silver-painted alloy wheels, and dual zone climate control system. The RTL adds leather trimmed upholstery, and for the 2007 model year, a moonroof and XM radio are standard on the RTL.
The RTX model was only available for two years, in 2007 and 2008. The Ridgeline has received a facelift for the 2009 model year. The Ridgeline Sport model was announced by Honda in early August 2011 and is expected to be released with the 2012 model year. Besides some cosmetic changes, the Ridgeline is mostly unchanged for the 2012 model year. The Sport model introduced as an option in 2012, perhaps as a reintroduction to the RTX model has blacked out bezel surrounding the headlights, 18" machine finished black painted alloy wheels, and a black sport grille.
Honda's AWD traction system
The all-wheel drive system operates in front-wheel drive mode under normal conditions and automatically transfers power to either rear wheel via a locking differential when it senses a loss of traction in the front. The VTM-4 system can be locked in first, second or reverse gears at speeds under 18 mph (29 km/h).
The all-wheel drive system has been tested on and has completed the following obstacle course by Honda engineers: 28-degree dirt hill, Sand hill, Water pit, Rock roads, Embedded log course, Step-up, step-down, Sand drag strip, Gully course, Ground contact course, Washboard road, Frame twister, Power hop hill (23-degree slope with rippled surface), Gravel road, Startable grade.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
- Motor Trend truck of the year 2006 
- North American Truck of the year 2006
- Detroit News truck of the year 2006
- Consumer Reports top rated truck
- J.D. Power & Associates 2005 APEAL award for the Honda Ridgeline
- Autobytel 2006 Editors' Choice Award: Truck of the year 2006
- Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Best New Pickup 2006
- On Wheels Incorporated: Ridgeline 2006 Urban Wheel Award for the Urban Truck of the Year
- Strategic Vision's coveted "Most Delightful" compact pickup award
- Best rollover resistance rating of any pickup tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety, Administration (NHTSA)
- Society of Plastic Engineers 2005 Grand Award (composite embed trunk)
- Car And Driver Rates Honda Ridgeline #1 Pickup, AutoWeek Editors' Choice Award as the 'Most Significant' new vehicle in the show
- Maxim Truck Of The Year 2006
- 2007 Automobile Magazine All Star award Top 10 cars for 2007
Marketing and sales
Although the Ridgeline is more aptly classified as a sport utility truck, this recently introduced category is not well known with consumers, initially with the only other rivals being the Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Explorer Sport Trac. The closest rivals may be double cab versions of compact pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier, both of which follow the traditional pickup layout.
Honda decided instead to advertise the Ridgeline as an alternative to traditional 1/2 ton full-size pickups such as the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, and Toyota Tundra, all of which had standard V8 engines. This likely harmed Ridgeline sales, as some cited the sole V6 engine powertrain offering insufficient power (Honda has never developed a V8 for passenger vehicles), the lack of ruggedness due to its unibody construction, and its relatively short cargo bed compared to a standard pickup truck which made it unsuitable for contractors. However, the unibody construction offers increase torsional rigidity and does not flex at the seam of the bed like traditional body-on-frame designs. Unlike other crew cabs, the Honda Ridgeline lacks the option of six-passenger seating, as it only offers bucket seats and not bench seating in the front.
Sales were initially slow, partly because it was considered over-priced. Consequently, dealers have been discounting the truck, and the average selling price has come down steadily according to J.D. Power.
On July 12, 2013, Honda announced that the Ridgeline will go on hiatus after the 2014 model year. A redesigned model will be released sometime in 2016, either as a late 2016 model or as a 2017 model. As its two main competitors, the Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Sport Trac, have since been discontinued (in Ford's case, the Ford F-Series is now that company's only pickup truck sold in North America after the Ford Ranger was discontinued in 2012), it is not known if the Ridgeline's replacement will be as an SUT or as a traditional body-on-frame truck.
As of 2013 the Honda Ridgeline is available in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in LHD only.
- "Full Test: 2006 Honda Ridgeline". Edmunds.com. 2005-03-30. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- "Variable Torque Management VTM-4 Explanation". Ridgeline Owners Club. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
- "Backstretch Motorsports". Backstretch Motorsports. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- "Motor Trend 2006 Truck of The Year: Honda Ridgeline".
- Greimel, Hans (2008-11-01). "When Honda thinks hybrids, it thinks small | The San Diego Union-Tribune". Signonsandiego.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Peterson, Thane (2006-04-26). "Ridgeline's Uphill Climb". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Honda Ridgeline.|
- Official Honda website for Ridgeline
- SCORE Honda Ridgeline
- Not official site Honda Ridgeline
- Honda Ridgeline Owners Club
|Honda road car timeline, North American market, 1980s–present|
|Mid-size||Accord||Accord||Accord||Accord Coupe||Accord Coupe|
|Full-size||Accord Sedan||Accord Sedan|
|Sport compact||CR-X||CR-X||del Sol||CR-Z|