Honda Ridgeline

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Honda Ridgeline
2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS -- NHTSA 2.jpg
2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS
Overview
Manufacturer Honda
Production 2005–2014
Spring of 2016-
Model years 2006–2014
2017-
Assembly 2005-2008: Alliston, Ontario, CA
2008-2014: Lincoln, Alabama, US
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size sport utility truck
Body style 4-door truck
Layout Transversely-mounted front engine, four-wheel drive
Related Honda Pilot (31% shared parts)[1]
Powertrain
Engine 3.5 liter V6
2005-2008: 247 hp (184 kW), 245 lb·ft (332 N·m)
2009-2014: 250 hp (190 kW), 247 lb·ft (335 N·m)
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 122 in (310 cm)
Length 2006-2008: 206.8 in (525 cm)
2009-2011: 207 in (526 cm)
2012-2014: 206.9 in (526 cm)
Width 77.8 in (198 cm)
Height 70.3 in (179 cm)
2012-2014 RTL: 71.2 in (181 cm)
Curb weight 2006-2008: 4,500–4,552 lb (2,041–2,065 kg)
2009-2011: 4,504–4,564 lb (2,043–2,070 kg)
2012-2014: 4,491–4,575 lb (2,037–2,075 kg)

The Honda Ridgeline is a mid-size sport utility truck (SUT) produced by the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company, Ltd. The Ridgeline was Honda's first foray into the North American pickup truck market[2] and was known of its unibody construction, dual-action tailgate, and the industry's first In-Bed Trunk®.[3] The Ridgeline was released in March 2005 as a 2006 model and was initially built in Alliston, Ontario, Canada (Honda of Canada Manufacturing) until 2008 when its assembly was moved to Lincoln, Alabama, United States (Honda Manufacturing of Alabama).[4] Production ended in mid-2014.[5]

Despite its low sales numbers,[6] the Ridgeline was one of the more profitable vehicles for Honda.[2] In December 2013, the automaker announced an all-new Ridgeline is planned for release[7] which Honda recently debuted at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.[8]

Design[edit]

The Ridgeline is "Honda's first foray into the true heartland of the American automotive way of life."[9] The vehicle was designed and engineered in Honda R&D Americas facilities in Raymond, Ohio.[10] A team of 37 engineers was led by a former General Motors designer who previously worked on the Chevrolet S-10, Gary Flint. Gary's team took about four years[11] and around $250 million to develop the vehicle.[2] The design was first revealed as the Honda SUT concept vehicle in 2004.

According to Gary Flint, Honda's large project lead and Ridgeline's chief engineer, the Honda team "were springing off from other model developments --both Pilot and MDX-- where we had some of the structure modeled. We used that as a base to start building what we targeted as additional truck structure back into the vehicle."[3] The final design included a high-strength steel reinforced closed-box unibody frame[3][12] with a rear suspension design that provided space for a storage area below the bed,[13] what Honda calls an In-Bed Trunk, an industry first.[14] The final mass production ready Ridgeline was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 10, 2005 as a 2006 model year vehicle.[14]

Sheet metal[edit]

According to Ridgeline's chief engineer, the sheet metal design of the Ridgeline's engine hood allowed engineers to build a patented cold air intake system for the engine that draws outside air from above and in front of the radiator to support torque production during high engine temperature conditions[15] and supports deep water fording.[16] This large hood also allowed engineers to build environmentally protected windshield wipers that were also heated to improve winter performance.[17] According to one of Gary Flint's video interviews, the sheet metal design of the Ridgeline's rear side-panels, roof garnish, and tailgate were built to maintain good aerodynamics and reduce turbulence between the cab and the tailgate while maintaining driver visibility. This aerodynamic design allowed them to create a rear garnish that shields the rear glass window so when it's opened at speed there is no buffeting or rainwater intrusion.[17] Additionally, the Ridgeline's bed is built out of steel-reinforced sheet molding composite (SMC) that is dent resistant, corrosion resistant, and is covered with a non-slip coating. The bed is supported by high strength steel-reinforced crossmembers (three under the bed and two in the rear cabin wall) to safely secure and support loads,[12] even under conditions that would cause the SMC to fail.[18]

Specifications[edit]

2009 Honda Ridgeline RTL with the short portion of the split bench-seat stowed highlighting the flat load floor

The Ridgeline's was designed with an integrated 5 ft (1.5 m) cargo bed, similar in design to the Chevrolet Avalanche,[19] which can be extended to 6.6 ft (2 m) with the tailgate down.[20] The bed's width between the wheel-wells is 4.1 ft (1.2 m)[20] With little wheel-well intrusion in the bed, the overall bed width is about the same.[12] The Ridgeline's drivetrain, frame, and suspension design allowed engineers to build the "industry's first"[14] lockable, watertight, and drainable 8.5 cu ft (240.7 l) In-Bed Trunk at the rear of the bed.[12] The In-Bed Trunk also provides access to the temporary or full-size spare tire that is accessed via a service tray which slides aft from its storage position forward of the In-Bed Trunk, between the rear differential and the bed's steel crossmembers.[18] The Ridgeline's cabin can accommodate five full-size adults and has a flat load floor with 2.6 cu ft (73.6 l) of under-seat storage in the second row[20] or 41.4 cu ft (1.2 m3) when the rear 60/40 split bench seat's bottom cushions are folded up.[21] Additionally, the truck's design allowed for 8.2 in (20.8 cm) of ground clearance with approach, departure and breakover angles of 24.5º, 22º, and 21º respectively while maintaining a comfortable entry/exit height for passengers.[12]

The Ridgeline has a total payload capacity ranging from 1,559 lb (707 kg) to 1,475 lb (669 kg), depending on trim level.[20] The truck's steel-reinforced SMC bed is designed to handle loads of up to 1,100 lb (499 kg).[22] The bed has six (2006-2008 models) or eight (2009-2014 models) tie down cleats in a high/low configuration, rated at 350 lb (159 kg) each, and has special guides built into the bed to help accommodate multiple off-road motorcycles.[12][20] The Ridgeline’s bed is also equipped with four bed lights that are integrated into its walls providing a minimum of ten lux of illuminance throughout the bed.[18] In addition to built in lights, the forward section (close to the cab) of the truck's right bed wall has a hidden spare tire mount that can accommodate either a temporary or full-size spare for times when access to the spare tire service tray, via the In-Bed Trunk, is impractical.[22] Inside the In-Bed Trunk are integrated cargo hooks and organizer slots to help manage the up to 300 lb (136 kg) of material that it can securely stow.[12] The Ridgeline's tailgate has a dual-action hinging system that allows it to be opened like a traditional tailgate but can also be swung open either 30º or 80º to the side --similar in design to the GMC Envoy XUV's tailgate-- to provide easier access to the bed and the In-Bed Trunk.[18] When in the down position, the Ridgeline's tailgate can handle dynamic loads of up to 300 lb (136 kg).[18] When equipped with a roof rack, the Ridgeline's roof structure is designed to handle a total load of 165 lb (75 kg) to 110 lb (50 kg), depending on model year.[22][23]

Honda lists a 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) maximum towing capacity for the Ridgeline. When you take into account the Ridgeline's curb weight and gross combined weight rating (GCWR), Honda accounts for an additional payload of between 594 lb (269 kg) and 510 lb (231 kg) (depending on trim level) while towing its maximum capacity.[20] To support the Ridgeline's towing capability, all models came with a heavy-duty radiator, integrated transmission and power steering coolers, dual 160W radiator fans, and were pre-wired for a trailer brake controller and a four and/or seven-pin (depending on model year) trailer wiring harness.[17][18][20] Also, depending on trim level and model year, a class III tow hitch with a four and/or seven-pin trailer wiring harness was either standard equipment or dealer installed options.[22][24][25]

The Ridgeline has a four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link design, with trailing arms, in the rear.[20] The Ridgeline has a turning diameter of 42.6 ft (13.0 m) using a variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.[20] The Ridgeline has four-wheel disk brakes with 13.1 in (33.3 cm) ventilated front disks, with floating twin piston calipers,[26] and 12.6 in (32 cm) solid rear disks with integrated emergency/parking brake drums; the rear brakes use floating single piston calipers for the disks and dual uposing brake shoes for the drums.[27][28] The disk brakes are controlled via a four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist.[12] Although 60 mph (97 km/h) to 0 stopping distances of 117 ft (36 m)[29] to 195 ft (59 m)[30] have been reported, the average appears to be between 140 ft (43 m)[31] and 147 ft (45 m).[32]

Powertrain[edit]

According to Gary Flint, the truck's Variable Torque Management Four-Wheel Drive (VTM-4®) system --co-developed with BorgWarner[33]-- "provides front-wheel drive (FWD) for dry-pavement cruising conditions and engages all-wheel drive (AWD) when needed to improve stability or maneuverability"[34] and supports medium duty off-road use.[12] The electromagnetically driven clutch-operated differential[33] can be manually locked (VTM-4 Lock) to help the truck better handle adverse terrain or become unstuck.[12] The Ridgeline also has a four-channel fully automatic Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) system that's designed to enhance control during acceleration, cornering, and collision-avoidance maneuvers. One additional benefit of VSA is the limited-slip differential effect it provides to all four wheels which can also be manually disabled when required.[12][34]

The Ridgeline is powered by a transverse mounted J35A9 (2006–2008) or J35Z5 (2009–2014),[25] 3,471 cc (211.8 cu in) --advertized as a 3.5 liter-- V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with a 22 US gal (83 l) fuel tank; no powertrain variations were offered.[20] Both V6 engines have an aluminum block with Single-Overhead Camshafts, 24-valve Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control® system, with 10.0:1 compression, Honda's Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system, and a dual-stage intake manifold which work in concert to respond to the Ridgeline's electronic throttle that's also linked to the VTM-4 and VSA systems.[12][25] The five-speed automatic transmission utilizes a four-shaft design with a flat lock-up torque converter that's managed by the PGM-FI's central processing unit that maintains a communication link with the engine. A direct-control real-time pressure management system coordinates engine and transmission operation to minimize driveline shocks and a Grade Logic Controller prevents gear hunting when climbing hills or when more engine braking is required.[12]

All of the aerodynamic and drivetrain design as well as the overall weight of the Ridgeline produced a truck that, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing, can achieve 15 mpg-US (15.7 L/100 km) city, 20 mpg-US (11.8 L/100 km) or 21 mpg-US (11.2 L/100 km) highway (depending on model year), and 17 mpg-US (13.8 L/100 km) combined.[35][36]

Equipment[edit]

In addition to the features described above, the Ridgeline came equipped with many other features that are uncommon to see as standard equipment, particularly in mid-size trucks of the 2005/2006 era, such as:[22]

The 2009 model year brought more unusual standared equipment such as a seven-pin trailer wiring harness to the standard equipment list for Canadian models and a class III tow hitch for all versions of the truck.[38] Just like the 2009 model year, the 2013 model year brought even more unusual standard equipment, such as a rearview camera.[39]

2012-2014 Honda Ridgeline Sport (US and CA) and RTL (MX) exterior trim (Note the grille and rims that help set it apart.)

For the US market, the Ridgeline was produced in six different trim levels through its lifetime: RT, RTX, Sport, RTS, RTL, and SE.[20][24][40][41] The short lived thumb|RTX trim was a base RT model with a beefed-up exterior; what set it apart was its factory class III tow hitch with four and seven-pin trailer wiring harness, large honeycomb style black grille, and alloy rims.[24] The Sport trim replaced the position once held by the RTX and came with some unique exterior features, such as an exterior blackout treatment, fog lights, a saw-tooth style black grille, special 18 in (45.7 cm) alloy rims, as well as some interior enhancements such as a black interior trim package, MP3/auxiliary input jack, and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.[40] The RTS trim lacked many of the exterior treatments found in the RTX and Sport but had numerous interior enhancements not found in the other packages, such as a ten-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, and a Pioneer Premium 160W six-CD changer with upgraded speakers and a subwoofer.[20][42] --Power-adjustable lumbar and MP3/auxiliary input jack were added to the RTS in the 2009 model year.[25]-- For all but the last year of production, the RTL was the highest trim package available and came with both exterior and interior enhancements; some of the more noteworthy enhancements were found in the interior such as leather trimmed upholstery and steering wheel, heated front seats and side view mirrors, and the addition of XM® satellite radio.[20] --Unique 18 in (45.7 cm) alloy rims, fog lights, and a 115V/100W AC outlet were added to the RTL in the 2009 model year.[25]-- Optional on the RTL was a power moonroof and an Alpine Global Positioning System navigation (GPS nav.).[20][21][22] This GPS nav. option replaced the Pioneer Premium audio system with a Clarion 160W XM head unit, a Panasonic 8 in (20.3 cm) infotainment touchscreen, and a separate multi-format six-CD changer.[43] --The power moonroof became standard equipment on the RTL in the 2007 model year.[44][45] A rearview camera, Bluetooth®, and Honda's HandsFreeLink® were added to GPS nav. equipped RTLs in the 2009 model year.[25]--[12] The SE trim was the top-of-the-line model for the 2014 model year which included every option available for the RTL and added the Sport trim's blackout treatment and grille, unique 18 in (45.7 cm) polished aluminum rims, and a black interior with matching leather upholstery.[20][41]

For the Canadian market, the Ridgeline was produced in seven different trim levels through its lifetime: LX, DX, VP, Sport, Special Edition, EX-L, and Touring.[12][46][47][48] The LX and DX were the base trim packages, similar to the RT.[12][46] The VP trim was the next in the lineup, sitting somewhere between the RT and RTS.[46] The Canadian Sport was the third fanciest in the lineup and was very similar to the Sport trim sold in the US.[47] The Special Edition was next in the lineup; although it shared the SE's unique rims, grille, badging, and black leather interior, its features put it somewhere between the Sport and RTS trim packages.[49] The EX-L and Touring trims were at the top of the lineup and were similar to the RTL with one exception; until the 2009 model year, a moonroof as well as GPS nav. were part of the EX-L's optional equipment[12][46] while the Touring package came standard with both.[47] This made the Touring trim the top-of-the-line Honda Ridgeline for Canadian buyers, similar to the SE.[48] Although there were differences between the US and Canadian trim packages, the technical differences were the use of daytime running lights on all trim levels and model years, metric system gauges, and Honda's bilingual (English and French) voice recognition system.[22][48]

For the Mexican market, only an RTL trim package was available and was equipped similarly to the older Canadian EX-L.[50] A review of used Honda Ridgelines for sale in Mexico as well as 2013 and 2014 Mexican brochures showed the Mexican RTL had a few twists to its packaging that set it apart from its US and Canadian counterparts.[50][51][52] The Mexican RTL came equipped very similarly to the Canadian EX-L and retained the optional moonroof of the early EX-L.[50] Unlike the EX-L, GPS nav. was ever a factory option.[50][51] Also, the Mexican RTL came equipped with the 2006 through 2008 EX-L rims until the 2012 model year when it was updated with the US and Canadian Sport's exterior trim package.[51][52]

With the exception of the trucks sold in Mexico (MX),[50] the Honda Ridgeline was offered in a variety of exterior colors with minor changes made during the truck's early and late years of production.[45][48][53][54] There were few interior color options with most variations found in the upholstery; however, these interior colors were mated to specific exterior colors and trim levels.[48][54] These parings meant the prospective Ridgeline owner had little choice in the color of their truck's interior.

In addition to the different features and accessories you could get by purchasing certain trim levels, Honda offered many accessories as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) items that could be ordered and installed at the dealership. Additionally, there were maney Honda accessories that did not come on any trim level which could be purchased and installed at the dealership such as brush guards, roof racks (with various accessory mounts), storage organizers, bed extenders, and more.[55]

Updates[edit]

For the 2007 model year, the RTX trim package was introduced in the US market as a unique tow-ready version of the RT trim with some exterior treatments that helped set it apart from the rest of the lineup.[24] Also for the 2007 model year, Honda made the moonroof standard equipment on the US RTL trim.[44][45]

For the 2008 model year, Honda replaced its two-tone fabrics and leather upholsteries for monotone versions and the RTS and RTL trims received more plished versions of their existing alloy rims.[56]

Engine power and torque comparisons between the J35A9 and J35Z5 engines on the Honda Ridgeline

For the 2009 model year, the Ridgeline received its most significant updates with over 50 different changes, including the removal of the RTX trim from the US lineup, exterior and interior updates, as well as drivetrain improvements. Some of the more noticeable changes were thumb|a new front end with daytime running lights, new brake light covers, new rear step-bumper with integrated class III tow hitch, two additional bed cleats, new instrument cluster, a new steering wheel, driver and front-passenger active head restraints, and more. In the US, the RTS trim gained a power-adjustable lumbar, a MP3/auxiliary input jack, and a seven-pin trailer wiring harness. The thumb|RTL trim gained the same seven-pin harness and received new 18 in (45.7 cm) alloy rims and a 115V/100W AC outlet; if equipped with GPS nav., the RTL also received a rearview camera and class II Bluetooth with Honda's HandsFreeLink system.[38][25] For Canadians, a new lineup of trim levels were introduced that more closely resembled the United States.[46] A new V6 engine (the J35Z5) was introduced that produced up to 10 ft·lb (14 J) more torque at lower revolutions per minute (rpm) than its predecessor as well as 3 hp (2.2 kW) more at 5,700 rpm. The transmission was revised to take advantage of the new engine's power curve and to help increase towing performance with the greatest differences found in both third and fourth gear with approximately 5% lower ratios.[25]

For the 2012 model year, a new Sport trim was introduced in the US and Canada, and the Canadian EX-L was replaced by a new Touring trim package. Also, thumb|a new grille was introduced for all but the Sport model for the US and Canadian market.[40][57] For Mexico, their RTL trim received the US and Canadian Sport's exterior package while retaining its Canadian EX-L interior.[51][52] Lastly, aerodynamic improvements were made to the body and friction reduction measures were made to the J35Z5 engine; these improvements helped increase highway fuel economy by 1 mpg-US (2.4 L/km), according to EPA testing.[40]

For the 2013 model year, Honda began including rearview cameras in as many vehicles as they could, which included all of the Ridgeline's trim levels (citation needed). For those Ridgelines not equipped with the GPS navigation, the rearview camera monitor was imbedded in the left-half of the rearview mirror, which could not be seen unless illuminated from behind the mirrored glass.[39][58]

For the 2014 model year, Honda removed the VP trim from the Canadian lineup and replaced it with a new Special Edition package.[49] In the US, the SE trim was introduced surpassing the RTL as the new top-of-the-line model.[41]

Changes in Honda Ridgeline's trim levels over time
Model year United States Canada
2006 RT, RTS, and RTL (with/without moonroof or moonroof and GPS nav.)[22] LX and EX-L (with/without moonroof or moonroof and GPS nav.)[12]
2007-2008 RT, RTX, RTS, and RTL (with/without GPS nav.)[24]
--No change--[53]
2009-2011 RT, RTS, and RTL (with/without GPS nav.)[25] DX, VP, and EX-L (with/without GPS nav.)[38]
2012-2013 RT, Sport (US), RTS, and RTL (with/without GPS nav.)[40] DX, VP, Sport (CA), and Touring[57]
2014 RT, Sport (US), RTS, RTL (with/without GPS nav.), and SE[41] DX, Sport (CA), Special Edition, and Touring[49]

Comparisons[edit]

When attempting to compare one vehicle to another, one can look at the manufacturer's numbers as well as independent testing. Given that environmental conditions can change a vehicle's performance,[59] looking at real-world tests that were performed at the same time, at the same location, with like configured vehicles should yield the fairest results. All comparisons referenced below are made with four-wheel drive, crew-cab (where possible), short box versions of the same model year mid-size trucks as the Honda Ridgeline that were sold in North America.

When you compare the Ridgeline's advertized interior/passenger volume and total payload with the mid-size trucks listed above, the Ridgeline has greater interior space and hauling capacity than its competition. However, when comparing the manufacturers' tow ratings, --even when performing a towing, curb weight and GCWR calculation to get a more accurate number-- the Ridgeline falls short putting it at the bottom of its class for towing. Otherwise, the Ridgeline falls in the middle of the Toyota Tacoma,[60] Nissan Frontier,[61] Suzuki Equator,[62] Dodge Dakota,[63][64] Ford Explorer Sport Trac,[65] Ford Ranger,[66] and GM's Colorado/Canyon[67] published specifications.[20]

The Ridgeline is the first four-door pickup truck to win the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) five-star safety rating for both front and side impact crash test performance and it had the highest rollover resistance of any pickup NHTSA ever tested.[68] Also, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Ridgeline with its highest crash safety scores giving it the "Top Safety Pick" designation[69] while the Toyota Tacoma,[70] Nissan Frontier,[71] Suzuki Equator,[72] Dodge Dakota,[73] Ford Explorer Sport Trac,[74] Ford Ranger,[75] and GM's Colorado/Canyon[76][77] had one or more less than good rating(s).

In 2012, PickupTrucks.com conducted a mid-size truck comparison with six of the eight trucks listed above (minus the Dakota and Sport Trac) and the Honda Ridgeline. With the exception of a 2011 super-cab Ford Ranger (last year of production), all test vehicles were 2012 models and all but one had V6 engines (the Colorado was equipped with the LH8 small-block V8). The head-to-head tests focused on numerous attributes including objective tests on 0-60 mph (97 km/h), 60-0, and quarter-mile (0.4 km) times with maximum payloads as well as empty beds; dynamometer tests; and real-world fuel economy tests. Subjective tests included expert driver impressions, best value estimates, and an off-road course.[78] Of the seven mid-size trucks tested, the Ridgeline ranked third overall.[79] Of the objective tests, the Ridgeline had the highest scores for payload[80][81] and real-world fuel economy[82] while ranking lowest in torque delivery at the wheels;[83] otherwise, the Ridgeline ranked in the middle of the other objective tests.[80][83] Of the subjective tests, the Ridgeline was judged second in expert impressions, third in best value, and last in the off-road course.[81][84]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Marketing and sales[edit]

According to Automotive Design & Production, Honda was slow to enter the minivan market as well as the SUV market, so "given that track record it is no surprise that Honda has just now [2005] gotten around to building a pickup truck" that is not designed to compete against the traditional F-150, Silverado, or Ram domestic models, but to "give the 18% of Honda owners who also own pickups a chance to make their garages a Honda-only parking area."[93]

The Ridgeline is more aptly classified as a sport utility truck with the only direct rivals being the full-size Chevrolet Avalanche[94] and the smaller Ford Explorer Sport Trac.[65] Other less direct rivals include the four-wheel drive, crew-cab, short box versions of other mid-size pickups of that era such as the Toyota Tacoma,[60] Nissan Frontier,[61] Suzuki Equator,[62] Dodge Dakota,[64] and GM's Colorado/Canyon.[67]

2009 Honda Ridgeline RTL with OEM brush guard,[95] small honeycomb style black grille,[96] black roof rack,[97] body side protectors,[98] and splash guards[99] towing a 2005 Sea Ray 220 Sundeck[100] via a 2010 Karavan trailer

According to Bloomberg Business, Honda hoped buyers would find it an attractive alternative to large SUVs, and conventional pickup trucks.[68] Some in the press that have evaluated the Ridgeline, such as PickupTrucks.com, consider it "one of those odd vehicles."[101] They wrote, "The Ridgeline can't really do what most people who like trucks need it to do."[101] While AutoTrader.com wrote, "Sure, some homeowners and weekend warriors may actually need a 10,000-lb towing capacity, but the Honda Ridgeline is probably just right for most."[102] Others in the automotive press, such as The Driver's Seat TV, call the Ridgeline, "the Swiss Army Knife of trucks," due to its functionality, and "the anti-truck," due to Honda's lack of following the rules when it comes to truck design; they summarized the truck as scoring "high on practicality but very low on image."[103]

Hanover, New Hampshire Police Department's custom 2009 Honda Ridgeline RTS police cruiser[104] on safety patrol

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Since its March [2005] debut, Honda's first pickup for the U.S. market is slow to gain traction. Nissan's full-size Titan pickup also has fallen short of sales targets in this all-American segment, which ... is proving tough for outsiders to crack."[105] According to Bloomberg Business, early slow sales can partly be attributed to the expense of the vehicle, which some considered "over-priced." Consequently, dealers began to discount the truck and sales increased.[68] Regardless, sales were still slow compared to other Honda vehicles[6] Despite the Ridgeline's slow sales, Honda gave it a facelift for 2009 and added a lower-priced Sport model for 2012, but sales remained "lackluster," according to AutoBlog.com.[106]

According to Automobile Magazine, parts shortages, due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, put production on hold and "this setback likely impacted sales of the already slow-selling pickup," but the company announced that the Ridgeline would "continue production through 2013."[107]

Automobile Magazine wrote, "The reaction among pickup buyers has been a collective yawn." "Volume dropped by half from 2008 to 2010 and then fell another 40 percent last year [2011]. In fact, a few months ago, Honda felt compelled to post on its media web site an open letter from the company's head to truck product planning, denying rumors that the Ridgeline would be dropped and insisting that a pickup truck will remain part of the company's portfolio."[108]

Honda Ridgeline's sales figures in the United States and Canada[6][109]
Calendar year United States Canada
2005 42,593 3,512
2006 50,193 4,988
2007 42,795 4,519
2008 33,875 3,987
2009 16,464 3,546
2010 16,142 3,200
2011 9,759 1,713
2012 14,068 2,226
2013 17,723 2,122
2014 13,389 1,803

The first generation Honda Ridgeline ended production in mid-2014.[5] The automaker planned to continue production until the second generation Ridgeline was introduced; however, "slow sales of the truck have prompted the automaker to pull it sooner than expected."[110] Despite this, the Ridgeline was one of Honda's more profitable vehicles due to the company's frugal nature that allowed them to develop the Ridgeline for under $250 million (half of what General Motors would normally pay), maximizing Honda's profit margin.[2]

Second generation[edit]

On November 3rd, 2015, the public got their first glimpse at what the second generation Honda Ridgeline would look like when Honda unveiled their 2016 Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada.[111] Soon thereafter, Honda's new race vehicle went on to win its class at the 2015 SCORE Baja 1000.[112]

On January 11th, 2016 at the North American International Auto Show, Honda unveiled the second generation Honda Ridgeline to the public.[113] During the unveiling, Honda employees described some of the 2017 Ridgeline's unique features, such as a hidden 540W in-bed speaker system where the bed walls are turned into audio speakers using six hidden "exciters" spread around the bed. Honda is also claiming their new truck will have class leading acceleration and fuel economy with a projected 1,600 lb (726 kg) payload capacity.[8][114]

Although the second generation Honda Ridgeline has a more conventional truck design, the vehicle will retain some of the unique features from the first generation, such as the In-Bed Trunk, dual-action tailgate, a flat bed, and the same rear 60/40 split bench seat with flat load floor.[8][114] Like before, the new Ridgeline will be a unibody vehicle but will use Honda's new "ACE body structure" and will have a wider and longer bed than their first generation truck.[8] The front-half of this new truck will come with many of the same components and features as the 2016 Honda Pilot, such as the 3.5 liter direct injection i-VTEC V6, Intelligent VTM-4 (known as "i-VTM4"), Intelligent Traction Management, Honda Sensing,[8] front fascia (but with a different grille), front doors and mirrors, dashboard, instrument cluster, front seats, and center console (but with a more traditional gear selector).[115][116]

Honda has stated that the 2017 Honda Ridgeline will be offered in FWD and AWD models[8] starting in the Spring of 2016.[114]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2006 Honda Ridgeline, Expert Reviews, Cars.com, by Joe Wiesenfelder, dated 7 April 2005, last accessed 19 September 2015
  2. ^ a b c d Driving Honda: Inside the World's Most Innovative Car Company, by Jeffrey Rothfeder, 1st published 2014, paperback with "afterword" published 2015, last accessed 27 November 2015
  3. ^ a b c PUTC Interview with Honda Ridgeline Chief Engineer, Gary Flint, pickuptrucks.com, by Mike Magda, dated 2 February 2005, last accessed 2 August 2015
  4. ^ Kent, Dawn (2008-11-03). "Honda uses flexible plant idea to keep Alabama workers on the job during tight economy" (Press release). Alabama Secretary of State. Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b Truett, Richard (2013-12-16). "Honda commits to 2nd-gen Ridgeline". Automotive News. Retrieved 2015-08-02. 
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