Honda Ridgeline

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Honda Ridgeline
1st Generation (Gen1)
2012 Honda Ridgeline-Sport.png
2012 Honda Ridgeline Sport
2nd Generation (Gen2)
2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-front-end.jpg
2017 United States (US) Honda Ridgeline RTL
Overview
Manufacturer Honda, North America
Assembly Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Late 2004-early 2009 at Honda of Canada Manufacturing
Flag of the United States.svg Late 2008-early 2015 and 2016-present at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
Body and chassis
Class Light truck (mid-size)
Body style 4-door sport utility truck
Powertrain
Engine J-series 3.5 liter V6 (gasoline)

The Honda Ridgeline is a sport utility truck (SUT) by American Honda Motor Company, Inc.[1] and is categorized by some as a lifestyle pickup.[2] The Ridgeline is one of only two trucks currently produced by the Honda Motor Company, the second being the Honda Acty mini-truck.[3] The Honda Ridgeline is built using a unibody frame, a transverse-mounted engine, four-wheel independent suspension, and is only offered in a crew-cab/short-box configuration with one powertrain. Honda also incorporated unique features into the Ridgeline not found in other mid-size trucks, such as:[1][4]

  • Industry's first In-Bed Trunk
  • Dual-action tailgate
  • Flat truck bed
  • Flat cabin floor
  • Unique all-wheel drive system, and more...

Contrary to some media reporting,[5][6][7] Honda's publications state that the first generation (2006-2014) Ridgeline was a uniquely engineered vehicle with 7% of its components shared with other Honda vehicles. Its powertrain resembled the one used in the first generation (2000-2006) Acura MDX but was modified for heavier hauling and towing duties.[1] The second generation (2017-present) Ridgeline took a different approach sharing a design with the third generation (2016-2018) Honda Pilot.[4] However, Honda did have to create or modify some of the Pilot's components in order to support their next generation SUT, including:

  • Extending the wheelbase[8]
  • Modifying various parts to support heavier hauling, towing, and more aggressive off-road use[9]
  • Incorporating notable features from the first generation, such as the dual-action tailgate and In-Bed Trunk[1][4]
  • Adding new exclusive features, such as Honda's Truck Bed Audio System[4]

Despite these modifications, Honda has stated that 73% of the second generation Ridgeline's components remain common in some way with the third generation Pilot.[8]

The first Honda Ridgeline went on sale in March 2005 as a 2006 model year vehicle.[10] Production of the first generation Ridgeline ended in early 2015. After a one-year hiatus in production, the second generation Honda Ridgeline went on sale in June 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle.[11] According to Honda, the Ridgeline was not designed to steal sales from the more traditional trucks sold in North America, but was developed to "give the 18% of Honda owners who also own pickups a chance to make their garages a Honda-only parking area."[12] Despite the first generation Ridgeline's sales,[11] according to the author of Driving Honda, this SUT was one of the more profitable vehicles for Honda[13] with reported sales in over 20 countries.[14]

First generation Ridgeline[edit]

Honda Ridgeline (Gen1)
2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS -- NHTSA 1.jpg
2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS
Overview
Production Late 2004-early 2015
Model years 2006-2014
Body and chassis
Class Class 2 light truck
Layout Transversely-mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine 2006-2008 J35A9 V6:
247 hp (184 kW)/245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m)
2009-2014 J35Z5 V6:
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 (5,253 mm)
2009-2011: 207 in (5,258 mm)
2012-2014: 206.9 in (5,255 mm)
Width 77.8 in (198 cm)
Height 70.3 in (179 cm)
2012-2014 RTL: 71.2 in (181 cm)
Curb weight 2006-2008: 4,491–4,552 lb (2,037–2,065 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)
Honda's original SUT Concept (2004)

According to the author of The Car Design Yearbook, the Ridgeline was "Honda's first foray into the true heartland of the American automotive way of life."[15] It was designed and engineered by Honda R&D Americas, led by Gary Flint, who took about four years to develop the vehicle.[13][16] According to the author of Driving Honda, the automaker decided to target buyers who were looking to transition out of sedans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles (SUV) into trucks. Honda wanted to build a truck that could "...haul a boat and ATVs, trees, camping supplies, furniture, and wood" while still being comfortable "carrying groceries, kids, grandkids, and dry cleaning."[13] The design was first revealed as the Honda SUT Concept at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.[1] Later that same year, Honda unveiled a revised version of their SUT Concept at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show and announced the name chosen for their SUT, the "Ridgeline."[17] The production version of the Ridgeline—which did not stray far from the SUT Concept's design language—was unveiled the very next year at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.[10]

Design (Gen1)[edit]

First Generation Honda Ridgeline closed-box four-bone unibody frame.png
Illustration of how fresh air enters forward of the radiator and how it is directed to the airbox[18] (2009 US RTL with OEM accessory grille[19])
The small vortex generators on top of the side-view mirror smooth airflow and reduce wind noise.[20]
Left-rear quarter of the first generation Ridgeline—note the sloping C-pillar, roof garnish design, and tailgate height—(2011 Chilean RTL with OEM accessory side-steps[21] and back-up sensors[22])
Animation of the first generation Ridgeline's dual-action tailgate and In-Bed Trunk—note that the size of the spare tire service tray can accommodate a full-size spare, if desired[23](2012 Sport)

According to Honda, engineers started construction of the Ridgeline by building "a mission-specific platform using approximately 44% high-strength steel across the unibody and seven high-strength steel crossmembers to create a fully boxed ladder frame that is fully integrated into the unibody. Further differentiation included a unique suspension design with custom components, 100% unique sheetmetal and a 95% exclusive interior."[1] The steel-reinforced fully boxed ladder-like unibody frame with its "four-bone" design, powertrain configuration, and four-wheel independent suspension provided space for designers to build unique storage solutions in, around, and on top of the frame.[1][8][24] Starting at the front of the Ridgeline, engineers crafted an aluminum hood that supports a unique cold air intake system for the engine that draws outside air from above and in front of the radiator to support torque production[18] and—along with high-mounted component breather tubes[25]—supports fording,[26] which Honda attempted to patent.[18] This hood design also allowed engineers to build environmentally protected windshield wipers that are also heated to improve winter performance.[20] Honda also incorporated large side-view mirrors to support better visibility while towing; due to their size, Honda incorporated small vortex generators on top of the mirrors to reduce air turbulence, another innovation that Honda attempted to patent.[20] In the crew-cab, the unibody frame allowed engineers to build a cabin with a flat floor (i.e. no transmission hump) and more passenger space than other mid-size trucks.[1] At the center of the truck, the C-pillar's unique shape was specifically designed to help distribute large loads across the unibody frame and the cab so the truck could achieve its targeted payload and towing figures.[27] Also, the design of the C-pillar, rear roof section, 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 roof design that shields the rear glass window so when it's opened at speed there is no buffeting or rainwater intrusion.[20] The bed is built out of steel-reinforced Sheet Molding Composite (SMC)—developed by Continental Structural Plastics—which is dent resistant, corrosion resistant, ultraviolet light resistant, has a non-slip coating, and reduces weight by 30% over traditional sheet-metal designs.[28] The SMC bed is supported by high-strength steel crossmembers (three under the bed and two in the rear cab wall) to safely secure and support heavy loads,[1] even under conditions that would cause the SMC to fail[29] or during collisions that would try to force that load into the cab.[1]

Specifications (Gen1)[edit]

The first generation Ridgeline has a 5 ft (1.5 m) cargo bed which can be extended to 6.6 ft (2 m) with the tailgate down.[30] The bed's width between the wheel-wells is 4.1 ft (1.2 m)[30] and 4.6 ft (1.4 m) at its widest points.[1] The Ridgeline's drivetrain, frame, and suspension design allowed engineers to build the "industry's first"[31] lockable, watertight, and drainable 8.5 cu ft (240.7 l) In-Bed Trunk at the rear of the bed.[1] The cabin can accommodate five full-size adults with 2.6 cu ft (73.6 l) of under-seat storage in the second row[30] or 41.4 cu ft (1.2 m3) when the rear 60/40 split bench seat's bottom cushions are folded up.[32] It has 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.[1]

The first generation Honda Ridgeline has a weight distribution of 58/42 (front/rear) with a total payload capacity ranging from 1,475 lb (669 kg) to 1,559 lb (707 kg), depending on trim level, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6,050 lb (2,744 kg) and a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 10,085 lb (4,574 kg).[30] This SUT's steel-reinforced SMC bed is designed to handle loads of up to 1,100 lb (499 kg)[23] and 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. The SMC bed has special guides built into its surface to help accommodate multiple off-road motorcycles.[1][30] The Ridgeline’s bed is also equipped with four bed lights—one integrated into each C-pillar and one in each side-panel at the rear of the bed—that, according to Gary Flint, were designed to support the securing of motorcycles at night and provides a minimum of ten lux of illuminance throughout the bed.[29] In addition to built-in lights, the forward section of the SUT's passenger-side bed wall has a hidden spare tire mount that can accommodate a compact or full-size spare tire for times when access to the spare tire service tray, via the In-Bed Trunk, is impractical.[23] Inside the In-Bed Trunk are integrated cargo hooks and organizer slots to help manage up to 300 lb (136 kg) of material that it can securely stow.[1] The tailgate has a dual-action hinging system that allows it to be laid-down in the traditional manner but can also be swung open either 30º or 80º to the driver's side of the SUT.[29] When laid-down, the Ridgeline's tailgate can handle dynamic loads of up to 300 lb (136 kg).[29] 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.[23][33]

Honda lists a 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) towing capacity for the Ridgeline while accommodating a 600 lb (272 kg) tongue weight and an additional 330 lb (150 kg) for people and gear.[23] All models came with a heavy-duty radiator, integrated transmission and power steering coolers, dual 160W radiator fans, and were pre-wired for an electric trailer brake controller and a seven-pin or less trailer wiring harness.[20][29][30] Also, depending on trim level and model year, a class III tow hitch with a four-pin flat and/or seven-pin blade trailer wiring harness was either standard equipment or dealer installed options.[23][34][35]

The 1st generation Honda Ridgeline has a four-wheel independent suspension using upright springs and dampers with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link trailing arm with twin-tube gas filled hydraulic shocks in the rear providing 7.3 in (18.5 cm) front and 8.2 in (20.8 cm) rear of total wheel travel.[20][30] It has a turning radius of 42.6 ft (13.0 m) using a 18.5 : 1 variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.[30] The Ridgeline has a traditional hydraulic braking system but with four-wheel disc brakes using 13.1 in (33.3 cm) ventilated front discs[20] with floating twin piston calipers[36] and 12.6 in (32 cm) solid rear discs[20] with floating single piston calipers; earch rear disc has an integrated emergency/parking brakes using a "drum-in-hat" design.[37][38] The disc brakes are controlled via a four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.[1] Recorded stopping distances from 60 mph (97 km/h) to 0 have ranged from 117 ft (36 m)[39] to 195 ft (59 m)[40] with the average being 140 ft (43 m)[41] to 147 ft (45 m).[42]

Powertrain (Gen1)[edit]

Honda VTM-4 Torque Control Diagram.svg

According to Honda, this SUT's Variable Torque Management Four-Wheel Drive (VTM-4) system—co-developed with BorgWarner[43]—provides front-wheel drive for dry-pavement cruising and engages all-wheel drive to improve acceleration, stability, maneuverability, and off-road performance.[1] The electromagnetically driven clutch-operated differential[43] can be manually locked to help the truck better handle adverse terrain or become unstuck.[1] It also has a four-channel fully automatic Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system that is designed to enhance control during acceleration, cornering, and collision-avoidance maneuvers and can be manually disabled to prevent undesirable throttle intervention in off-road conditions.[1]

The 1st generation Ridgeline is powered by a transverse mounted 3,471 cc (212 cu in) 60º V6 engine.[30] The aluminum block V6 has exhaust manifolds that are cast directly into the cylinder heads and has:[1]

All work together to respond to the Ridgeline's electronic throttle that's also linked to the VTM-4 and VSA systems.[1][35] The automatic transmission uses a four-shaft design with a flat lock-up torque converter that's managed by the PGM-FI's central processing unit. 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 ascending hills or when more engine braking is required.[1]

The 1st generation Ridgeline was built with a 22 US gal (83 l) fuel tank and is designed to run on unleaded gasoline with an 86 Anti-Knock Index (AKI) (2006 model year) or 87 AKI (all other model years) and higher.[23][33][44] However, when towing over 3,500 lb (1,588 kg), 91 AKI or higher gasoline is recommended.[33][44] A powertrain control module and a block-mounted acoustic knock sensor work together to either retard or advance ignition timing to maximize the performance available in various gasolines.[1]

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings for the first generation Honda Ridgeline[45]
Categories 2006-2011 Model Years 2012-2014 Model Years
City 15 mpg‑US (15.7 L/100 km) 16 mpg‑US (14.7 L/100 km)
Highway 20 mpg‑US (11.8 L/100 km) 21 mpg‑US (11.2 L/100 km)
Combined
17 mpg‑US (13.8 L/100 km)

Equipment (Gen1)[edit]

In addition to the features described above, the first generation Honda Ridgeline's base trim for the US (the RT) and Canada (the LX or DX) came equipped with standard equipment not found in other base model mid-size trucks of its time—including the Toyota Tacoma,[46] Nissan Frontier,[47] Suzuki Equator,[48] Dodge Dakota,[49][50] Ford Explorer Sport Trac,[51] Ford Ranger,[52] and GM's Colorado/Canyon[53][54]—such as:[1][23][32]

For the US market, it was produced in six different trim levels through its lifetime: RT, RTX, Sport, RTS, RTL, and SE.[30][34][57][58]

The short lived RTX trim took the base RT model and upgraded its exterior components with:[34]

  • Class III tow hitch
  • Four-pin flat and seven-pin blade trailer wiring harness
  • Black grille
  • 17 in (43.2 cm) gray aluminum alloy rims
Example of the first generation Ridgeline Sport's grille and unique rims—note the "Sport" badge in the lower-right corner of the grille—(2012 Sport)

The Sport trim took the RT and added:[57]

The RTS trim took the base RT and added some different interior and exterior enhancements from those found in the RTX and Sport trims, such as:[30][59]

  • Ten-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar support
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Upgraded Pioneer Premium 160 W six-disc CD player audio system with upgraded speakers and a subwoofer
  • Boddy colored exterior components
  • 17 in (43.2 cm) machine finished aluminum alloy rims
  • 2009 model year updates included:[35]
    • Power-adjustable lumbar
    • Auxiliary 3.5mm TRS stereo input jack
    • Seven-pin blade trailer wiring harness
Forward cabin of the first generation Ridgeline US RTL with nav., EX-L with nav., or Touring trim (2009 US RTL)
First generation Ridgelines equipped with navigation have a six-disc CD player behind the touchscreen which pivots down for access. (2009 US RTL)

For all but the last year of production, the RTL trim was the highest trim package available and came with both exterior and interior enhancements to the RTS trim. Some of the more noteworthy RTL enhancements were found in the interior such as:[30]

The SE trim was the top trim package for the 2014 model year which included every option available for the RTL and added:[58]

  • The Sport trim's blackout treatment
  • The Sport trim's grille
  • Unique 18 in (45.7 cm) polished aluminum alloy with black trim rims
  • Black interior with matching leather upholstery.

For the Canadian market, the Ridgeline was produced in seven different trim levels throughout its production: LX, DX, VP, Sport, Special Edition, EX-L, and Touring.[1][61][62][63] The LX and DX were the base trim packages, similar to the RT.[1][61] The VP trim was the next in the lineup, sitting somewhere between the RT and RTS.[61] The Canadian Sport was the third fanciest in the lineup and was very similar to the Sport trim sold in the US[62] 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.[64] The EX-L and Touring trims were at the top of the lineup and were similar to the RTL and SE with a few exceptions.[1][61][62] For example, it was not until the introduction of the 2009 model year that Honda made the moonroof and XM Satellite Radio standard equipment for the EX-L trim[61] and the introduction of the Touring trim with the 2012 model year that gave Canadian byers every option available as standard equipment.[62] Although there were differences in packeging between the US and Canadian trims, 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 and navigation systems.[23][63][65]

For the Mexican market, only an RTL trim was available and had a few twists to its packaging that set it apart from its US and Canadian counterparts.[66][67][68] The Mexican RTL came equipped very similarly to the Canadian EX-L and retained the optional moonroof of the early EX-L.[67] Unlike the EX-L, navigation was never a factory option.[67][68] 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 pieces.[66][68]

For the Chilean market, the Ridgeline was sold in two trim levels, RT and RTL.[69] The Chilean RT appears to be a mix between the Canadian DX and VP trims while the Chilean RTL appears to consist of options found in the early model Canadian EX-L trim.[70]

The first generation Ridgeline was offered in three to seven different exterior colors as well as one to three interior colors, depending on country, model year, and trim level.[63][71][72][73] Exterior colors were based on different shades of black, gray, white, silver, blue, and red as well as some short-lived green and brown colors. All of the exterior colors were monotone with some black and/or chrome plastic trim. Most interior colors ranged between olive, beige, gray, and black. These interior colors were found in the cloth or leather upholstery as well as some of the interior panel covers. Additionally, these interior colors were mated to specific exterior colors and trim levels leaving buyers no means to mix and match interior and exterior color options.[70][71][73][74]

2011 US RTL with OEM accessory bumper trim,[75] grille,[19] side-steps,[21] body side protectors,[76] taillight trim,[77] roof rack,[78] with aftermarket rims and tires

In addition to the different features and accessories one could obtain 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 numerous Honda accessories that did not come on any trim level which could be purchased and installed at the dealership including:[79]

  • Different bumper and body protectors
  • Different roof racks with various accessory mounts
  • Various storage organizers
  • Different bed extenders
  • Brush guard
  • Different rims and more…

Updates (Gen1)[edit]

2006 Ridgeline two-tone leather upholstery (2006 RTL)
2006-2007 Ridgeline two-tone cloth upholstery (2006 RTS)

For the 2007 model year, the RTX trim package was introduced in the US market as a unique tow-ready version of the Ridgeline. Also the RTL trim package was modified making the moonroof and XM Satellite Radio options standard equipment with that trim and its two-tone leather upholstery was redone with new monotone leather.[34] Honda also added a driver-side illuminated vanity mirror to all trim levels[34] and removed the only interior color option available to buyers by deleting the olive interior choice from white painted Ridgelines, leaving only beige.[80] Lastly, Honda swapped three of its exterior colors for slightly different shades of the same base colors while adding "Nimbus Gray Metallic" to the color palette,[34][80] as well as "Taffeta White" for the Canadian market.[81]

For the 2008 model year, the Ridgeline's interior was changed with the removal of their olive interior color option,[82] the replacement of two-tone fabric upholsteries with monotone versions,[83] and the male voice on the RTL's navigation system was removed to increase space for more points of interest.[84] Additionally, the Ridgeline's exterior was changed with the removal of its last green exterior color option (Aberdeen Green Metallic)[74][82] and the RTS and RTL trims where outfitted with more polished versions of their alloy rims.[83]

Instrument cluster and steering wheel of the 2006-2008 Ridgeline (2006 RTS)
2009-2014 Ridgeline instrument cluster and steering wheel (2009 US RTL)
Transmission ratio changes with introduction of 2009 model year[35]
Gear 2006-2008 2009-2014 Delta
1st 2.693 : 1 2.697 : 1 -0.2%
2nd 1.566 : 1 1.606 : 1 -2.6%
3rd 1.023 : 1 1.071 : 1 -4.7%
4th 0.729 : 1 0.765 : 1 -4.9%
5th 0.531 : 1 0.538 : 1 -1.3%
Rev. 1.888 : 1 1.888 : 1 0%
Final 4.533 : 1 4.533 : 1 0%
Power and torque comparison between the 2006-2008 J35A9 and 2009-2014 J35Z5 engines

For the 2009 model year, the Ridgeline received its most significant updates with over 50 different changes, including exterior and interior updates as well as drivetrain improvements.[35] Some of the more noticeable changes were:

  • New front-end with daytime running lights
  • New taillights
  • New rear step-bumper with integrated class III tow hitch
  • Two additional bed cleats
  • New instrument cluster and steering wheel—with all cruise controls consolidated onto the steering wheel
  • PCM, MP3, and WMA compatible CD player
  • Driver and front-passenger active head restraints and more...

In the US, the RTX trim was removed from the lineup and the RTS trim gained a power-adjustable lumbar, an auxiliary 3.5mm TRS stereo input jack, and a seven-pin trailer wiring harness[35] while losing dual-zone climate control synchronization.[33][44] The US RTL trim gained the same seven-pin harness and received new 18 in (45.7 cm) alloy rims, fog lights, and a 115 V/100 W AC inverter; if equipped with navigation, the US RTL also received a rearview camera, Class 2 Bluetooth with Honda's HandsFreeLink system and a multi-data/multilingual information display.[35][44] For Canadians, a new lineup of trim levels were introduced that more closely resembled the US and the top trim received XM Satellite Radio for the first time.[61] A new V6 engine (the J35Z5) was introduced that produced up to 10 lb⋅ft (14 N⋅m) more torque at lower revolutions per minute (rpm) than its predecessor with a slight horsepower (hp) increase of 3 hp (2.2 kW) at the top of its rpm band. The transmission was also revised with the greatest differences found in third and fourth gears providing approximately 5% lower ratios.[35] Additionally, Honda swapped four of its exterior color options in the US and three in Canada for slightly different shades of the same base colors—this left Canadians with two different black paints to choose from—while adding a light brown color, called "Mocha Metallic," to the exterior color palette for the US and Canadian markets.[61][85]

For the 2010 model year, Honda swapped three of its exterior color options in the US and two in Canada for slightly different shades of the same basic colors—including the consolidation of Canada's two black paints into Honda's new global "Crystal Black Pearl"—and adding "Alabaster Silver Metallic" to the US and Canadian markets.[86][87]

For the 2011 model year, Honda removed its only brown paint option (Mocha Metallic) from the Canadian lineup.[88]

Fairings were added to the 2012-2014 Ridgeline's front air dam to help improve fuel economy (2012 Sport)
2013-2014 Ridgeline's rearview mirror includes a hidden backup camera with distance guidelines (2014 US RTL)

For the 2012 model year, Honda put the Ridgeline through another series of updates. Honda introduced a new Sport trim for the US and Canadian market and Canadians had their EX-L trim replaced with a new Touring package. A new grille was introduced for all but the new Sport model, which was equipped with its own unique grille.[57][89] Additionally, new taillights were introduced.[90] Lastly, despite documentation to the contrary, reports from truck owners suggest Honda stopped equipping the Ridgeline with a removable coin holder.[56][91][92][93] For Mexico, their RTL trim received the US and Canadian Sport's exterior package while retaining its Canadian EX-L interior.[66][68] All versions received aerodynamic improvements to the body and friction reduction measures were made to the J35Z5 engine, which improved highway fuel economy by 1 mpg‑US (2.4 L/km),[57] according to EPA testing.[45] Lastly, Honda removed its only brown exterior color option (Mocha Metallic) from the US color palette.[94]

For the 2013 model year, all Ridgelines, if not already equipped, were outfitted with rearview cameras using a new rearview mirror that incorporated a camera display with integrated distance guidelines of 20 in (0.5 m), 39 in (1 m), 79 in (2 m), and 118 in (3 m). The hidden camera display only appears in the rearview mirror when the vehicle is placed in reverse gear. —For trims with navigation, the infotainment touchscreen continued to be used as the rearview camera monitor.—[56] Pictorial evidence suggest the Chilean market received the 2012 updated taillights as well as the 2009 18 in (45.7 cm) alloy rims for their RTL trim.[69] Lastly, Honda swapped its "Bali Blue Pearl" paint for a slightly lighter blue, called "Obsidian Blue Pearl."[95][96]

For the 2014 model year, Honda removed the VP trim from the Canadian lineup and added a new Special Edition package.[64] In the US, the SE trim was introduced surpassing the RTL as the top trim package.[58] Also, Honda replaced its "Polished Metal Metallic" paint for a slightly lighter gray, called "Modern Steel Metallic."[63][73]

Changes in first generation Honda Ridgeline's trim levels
Model year United States Canada
2006 RT, RTS, and RTL (with/without moonroof or moonroof and nav.)[23] LX and EX-L (with/without moonroof or moonroof and nav.)[1][74]
2007-2008 RT, RTX, RTS, and RTL (with/without nav.)[34]
2009-2011 RT, RTS, and RTL (with/without nav.)[35] DX, VP, and EX-L (with/without nav.)[44]
2012-2013 RT, Sport, RTS, and RTL (with/without nav.)[57] DX, VP, Sport, and Touring[89]
2014 RT, Sport, RTS, RTL (with/without nav.), and SE[58] DX, Sport, Special Edition, and Touring[64]
Changes to first generation Honda Ridgeline's front fascia and rims
2006-2007 RTS, RTL, and EX-L
2007-2008 RTX (with OEM accessory roof rack[78] and running boards[97])
2008 RTL and EX-L (with OEM accessory moonroof visor[98])
2009-2011 US RT and DX
2009-2011 RTS (with OEM accessory fog lights[99]), VP, and Chilean RTL
2012-2014 US RTL and Touring
2013-2014 Chilean RTL
2012-2014 Sport and Mexican RTL
2014 SE and Special Edition

Changes in exterior colors to United States' and Canada's first generation Honda Ridgelines

Names and paint codes[100] 2006
[71][72]
2007
[80][81]
2008
[74][82]
2009
[61][85]
2010
[86][87]
2011
[88][101]
2012
[62][94]
2013
[95][96]
2014
[63][73]
Formal Black
(NH-707)
RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL DX, VP, and EX-L
Crystal Black Pearl
(NH-731P)
RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, Sport, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, DX, VP, Sport, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, DX, Sport, RTS, Special Edition, RTL, Touring, and SE
Nighthawk Black Pearl
(B-92P)
RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Bali Blue Pearl
(B-552P)
RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring
Obsidian Blue Pearl
(B-588P)
RT, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, RTS, RTL, and Touring
Steel Blue Metallic
(B-533M)
RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Dark Cherry Pearl
(R-529P)
RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring RTS, RTL, and Touring
Redrock Pearl
(R-519P)
RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Amazon/Ammanite Green Metallic
(G-521M)
LX, RTS, EX-L and RTL
Aberdeen Green Metallic
(G-525M)
LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Mocha Metallic
(YR-573M)
VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RTS and RTL
Polished Metal Metallic
(NH-737M)
RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, DX, VP, RTS, RTL, and Touring
Modern Steel Metallic
(NH-797M)
RT, DX, RTS, RTL, and Touring
Nimbus Gray Metallic
(NH-705M)
RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Sterling Gray Metallic
(NH-741M)
RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Billet Silver Metallic
(NH-689M)
RT, LX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL
Alabaster Silver Metallic
(NH-700M)
RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, Sport (US), RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, VP, Sport, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, Sport, RTS, Special Edition, RTL, Touring, and SE
White/Taffeta White
(NH-578)
RT, RTS, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, LX, RTX, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, RTS, EX-L, and RTL RT, DX, VP, Sport, RTS, RTL, and Touring RT, DX, VP, Sport, RTS, RTL, and Touring DX, Sport, Special Edition, RTL, SE, and Touring

Comparisons (Gen1)[edit]

When one compares the first generation Honda Ridgeline's advertised interior/passenger volume and total payload with the other mid-size trucks of its era; the Toyota Tacoma,[46] Nissan Frontier,[47] Suzuki Equator,[48] Dodge Dakota,[49][50] Ford Explorer Sport Trac,[51] Ford Ranger,[52] and GM's Colorado[53]/Canyon,[54] the Ridgeline has greater interior space and hauling capacity than its competition. However, when comparing the manufacturers' tow ratings the Ridgeline is at the bottom of its class. Excluding these extremes, the first generation Ridgeline tends to fall in the middle of these mid-size trucks' published specifications.[30]

NHTSA Ratings for the first generation Ridgeline:[102]
Overall: 5/5 stars
Frontal Driver: 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Passenger: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 4/5 stars
A NHTSA frontal crash test of a 2006 Honda Ridgeline reveals an intact cab with no intrusions

The Ridgeline is the first four-door pickup truck to earn the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) five-star safety rating for both front and side impact crash test performance[102] and has the highest rollover resistance of any pickup NHTSA ever tested at 14.3%.[103] Also, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2009-2014 Ridgeline with its highest crash safety scores giving it the "Top Safety Pick" designation[104] while its competition (listed above) had one or more less than good ratings for the same model years.[105][106][107][108][109][110][111][112]

In 2012, PickupTrucks.com conducted a mid-size truck challenge 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, all test vehicles were 2012 models and all but one had V6 engines (the Colorado was equipped with the LH8). The head-to-head comparisons 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. All tests and evaluations were conducted at the same place and time to minimize environmental impacts. Of the seven mid-size trucks tested, the Ridgeline ranked third overall. Of the objective tests, the Ridgeline had the highest scores for payload and real-world fuel economy while ranking lowest in torque delivery at the wheels; otherwise, the Ridgeline ranked in the middle of the other objective tests. Of the subjective tests, the Ridgeline was judged second in expert impressions, third in best value, and last in the off-road course.[113]

Marketing and sales (Gen1)[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."[12] Although it was a competitive option for mid-size truck shoppers of the era, being an SUT put the first generation Ridgeline more inline as an alternative to the larger Chevrolet Avalanche[114] and smaller Ford Explorer Sport Trac[51] with their non-optional crew cab/short box configuration and innovative storage solutions. According to Bloomberg, Honda hoped buyers would find it an attractive alternative to large SUVs and conventional pickup trucks.[103]

2009 US Ridgeline RTL—with OEM accessory brush guard,[115] grille,[19] roof rack,[78] body side protectors,[76] and splash guards[116]—towing a 2005 Sea Ray 220 Sundeck sport boat[117]
A 2006 US Ridgeline RTL ascending a steep sandy path near the San Jacinto Ridge Truck Trail in Southern California
Hanover, New Hampshire Police Department's custom 2009 Ridgeline RTS police cruiser[118]
Blowing Rock, North Carolina Fire and Rescue's custom Ridgeline RT "Car 4" Advanced Life Support vehicle[119]

Some in the automotive press that have studied the Ridgeline, such as PickupTrucks.com, consider it "one of those odd vehicles." They wrote, "The Ridgeline can't really do what most people who like trucks need it to do."[120] 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."[121] Others, 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."[122]

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Since its March [2005] debut, Honda's first pickup for the US 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."[123] 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.[103] Additionally, Honda gave the Ridgeline a facelift for 2009 and again in 2012, but sales remained "lackluster," according to AutoBlog.com.[124] Automobile Magazine wrote, "Volume dropped by half from 2008 to 2010 and then fell another 40 percent last year [2011]." Soon after, Honda posted "an open letter from the company's head of 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."[125] According to Automobile Magazine, parts shortages, due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, put a damper on production and "this setback likely impacted sales."[126]

Gen1 Honda Ridgeline sales and production[11]
Calendar year US sales CA sales Production
2004 199
2005 42,593 3,512 60,679
2006 50,193 4,988 56,866
2007 42,795 4,519 55,150
2008 33,875 3,987 25,264
2009 16,464 3,546 16,180
2010 16,142 3,200 20,180
2011 9,759 1,713 13,356
2012 14,068 2,226 21,361
2013 17,723 2,122 19,557
2014 13,389 1,803 10,015
2015 520 229 154
2016[127] 3 8
Total sold in United States and Canada = 289,377
Other (including other country sales) = 9,585
Total produced = 298,962

The first generation Honda Ridgeline ended production in early-2015.[11] According to Auto Trader, 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."[128] Despite this, the Ridgeline was one of Honda's more profitable vehicles due in large part to the company's frugal nature that allowed them to develop and deploy the Ridgeline for under $250 million US dollars—half of what General Motors would normally pay—maximizing Honda's profits.[13][16]

Second generation Ridgeline[edit]

Honda Ridgeline (Gen2)
2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T-on ice.jpg
2018 US Honda Ridgeline RTL-T
(with aftermarket BAKFlip F1 tonneau cover[129])
Overview
Also called "Pilot Ridgeline" (Colombia)[130]
Production Mid 2016-present
Model years 2017-present
Body and chassis
Class Class 1 (FWD) or Class 2 (AWD) light truck
Layout Transversely-mounted front engine, FWD or AWD
Related Third generation (2016-2018) Honda Pilot
Powertrain
Engine J35Y6 (Earth Dreams) V6:
280 hp (210 kW)/262 lb⋅ft (355 N⋅m)
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 125.2 in (3,180 mm)
Length 210.0 in (5,334 mm)
Width 78.6 in (1,996 mm)
Height 70.2–70.8 in (1,783–1,798 mm)
Curb weight 4,242–4,515 lb (1,924–2,048 kg)
Ridgeline Baja Race Truck (2015)

According to Automotive News, Honda's research clinics found that buyers made assumptions about toughness and payload based on the gaps in the wheel arches between the tire and the truck body, and the height of the bed. If a pickup had a tow hitch, people assumed it could tow more. Based on these conclusions, Jim Loftus, the second generation Ridgeline's performance lead engineer, said, "Those things were honestly kind of 'aha' moments or big surprises to us as a project team, and of course, we went back and incorporated all of those messages into the next-generation Ridgeline."[131] In January 2016 at the North American International Auto Show, Honda unveiled the second generation Honda Ridgeline, two months after Honda showed off its new Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the 2015 SEMA Show showing off some of the design language that would be used in Honda's second SUT.[11]

Design (Gen2)[edit]

The second generation Honda Ridgeline carryovers many of the features and capabilities from the first generation, such as:[4][132]

  • All-wheel drive (AWD)
  • ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and VSA
  • Similar GVWR and GCWR for AWD models at 6,019 lb (2,730 kg) and 9,987 lb (4,530 kg) respectively
  • Similar payload capacity, between 1,444 lb (655 kg) and 1,543 lb (700 kg), depending on trim level
  • Same weight limits of 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) towing—that is SAE J2807[133] certified[134]—, 1,100 lb (500 kg) in the bed, 300 lb (140 kg) dynamically on the tailgate, and 165 lb (75 kg) on the roof
  • In-Bed Trunk
  • Dual-action tailgate
  • Flat bed
  • Rear 60/40 split bench seat with LATCH system and flat load floor

However, this Honda Ridgeline has advanced safety features, modern electronic amenities, is offered in front-wheel drive (FWD) in the US, and has more traditional truck styling than before.[4][135]

2017 Ridgeline unibody frame design

Like before, the second generation Honda Ridgeline is a unibody vehicle. However, this unibody frame uses a new "three-bone" spine with Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure and optimized material grades composed of various undisclosed composites, aluminum, magnesium, and varying steels—such as a laser welded door ring made of hot-stamped ultra-high strength steel[8]—providing an average 78 lb (35 kg) reduction in weight[4] along with improved strength[8] and award-winning protection.[4][11] In addition to this mid-size truck's new underpinnings, there are noise, vibration, and harshness improvements and a new acoustic windshield (on select models) that help make the second generation Ridgeline one of the smoothest and quietest mid-size trucks on the market.[4][136] The front-half of this new truck comes with many of the same components and features as the third generation Pilot, such as:[4][132][137][138]

  • Earth Dreams V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management—which is designed to operate in three-cylinder mode when not under load—(all models)
  • Intelligent VTM-4 (I-VTM4)—which progressively distributes torque between the front and rear axles and, for the first time, dynamically distributes engine torque between the left and right rear wheels—(select models)
  • Intelligent Traction Management—which offers different drive modes (Normal and Snow for FWD and adds Mud and Sand for AWD) that adjusts throttle mapping, shift points, power distribution, and VSA responses for optimal performance—(all models)
    • Snow mode: Throttle input is made less aggressive to minimize pedal travel and make launching easier[139]
    • Mud mode: Throttle input is made more aggressive, torque vectoring is disabled, more power is sent to the rear wheels, the transmission delays upshifts, and traction control allows for more wheel-slip[139]
    • Sand mode: Similar to Mud mode but with more aggressive setting, maximum rear-wheel bias, and the rear-differential is locked[139]
  • Agile Handling Assist—which utilizes brake vectoring to improve turning response and overall cornering ability—(all models)
  • Eco Assist System—which adjusts engine performance, climate control, and cruise control settings to improve fuel economy—(all models)
  • Honda Sensing—which consists of a suite of systems (Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control) that improve driver awareness and helps maintain lane position—(select models)
  • Honda LaneWatch or a blind spot information system with rear cross-traffic monitor—which enhance the driver's awareness of different blind-spots around the vehicle—(select models)
  • Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering—which gives the driver steering inputs to correct vehicle direction in turns and in slippery road conditions—(all models)
  • Amplitude Reactive Dampers—although modified for truck duty,[9] these dampers have two separate hydraulic circuits, one tuned for ride quality and one for large/harsh undulations, that improve ride quality and stability on and off road—(all models)
  • TPMS with Tire Fill Assist—which provides audio and visual alerts to users when correct air pressure is reached during tire inflation eliminating the need to use additional pressure gauges—(all models)
  • Front-end of a 2017 US Ridgeline RTL (left) and a 2017 US Pilot EX-L (right)
    Similar front fascia
  • Front doors and mirrors
  • Dashboard and instrument cluster
  • 8 in (20.3 cm) Android based infotainment touchscreen system—with Garmin based Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation,[140] Honda HD Digital Traffic,[141] HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Pandora Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay with Siri Eyes Free, HondaLink, HondaLink Assist (for emergency services support), Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, SMS text messaging, and an independent web browser—(select models)
  • Tri-zone climate control—which provides different climate settings for the driver, front-passanger, and rear-passengers—(select models)
  • Front seats
  • Center console and more...

Despite these similarities, a spokesman from Honda R&D Americas stated that 50% of the Honda Pilot's chassis components had to be changed or strengthened for use in the second generation Ridgeline.[9] The C-pillar and rear sub-frame mounts had to be strengthened as well giving this new mid-size truck 28% more torsional rigidity over the first generation Ridgeline.[8][27] This increase in rigidity reveals itself to owners in different ways: one is the more conventional three-box design—allowing Honda to eliminate the original buttress-style body structure[27]—, another can be inferred by the allowed use of a weight-distributing hitch on trailers[132]—something not recommend on the first generation Ridgeline.[23]

Specifications and powertrain differences (Gen1 vs Gen2)[edit]

The second generation Ridgeline's C-pillar and bed design improves side access with 6.96 ft (212 cm) of length (tailgate down) and 5 ft (152 cm) of width that can support up to 1,100 lb (500 kg)[4] (2017 US RTL)
If equipped, the right-rear bed compartment will house the AC outlet while still having space to store a power-tool charging station.[142] (2018 RTL-E)

Some of the features of the second generation Honda Ridgeline that are being highlighted by Honda as improvements over their first generation include: a greater use of technology and electronic driver's aids; a wider, longer, and tougher bed; a Truck Bed Audio System—where the bed walls are turned into speakers that can be controlled with a smartphone—; a bed-mounted 115 V/150–400 W AC inverter; and its best in class gasoline V6 fuel economy rating.[4][142] The second generation Honda Ridgeline AWD models do enhance their hauling and towing performance when compared to the first generation through the following enhancements:[1][4][30][143]

  • An increase in rear seat storage with 2.9 cu ft (82.1 l) in under-seat storage and 50.2 cu ft (1,421.5 l) in overall second row storage, a 518 cu in (8.5 l) and 8.8 cu ft (249.2 l) increase respectively
  • A bigger bed at:
    • 5.3 ft (1.6 m) long with tailgate up, an increase of 3.9 in (10 cm)
    • 6.9 ft (2.1 m) long with tailgate down, an increase of 3.6 in (9 cm)
    • 5 ft (1.5 m) wide, an increase of 4.8 in (12 cm)
    • 4.1 ft (1.2 m) wide between the wheel wells and D-pillars
  • A more durable non-painted and textured SMC bed—with new side-panels made of fiberglass-reinforced direct-long-fiber thermoplastics (D-LFT)[28]—that's reportedly stronger than its competitor's[144]
Gen1 vs Gen2 Ridgeline transmission gear ratios[4]
Gear 2009-2014 2017-2019
1st 2.697 : 1 3.359 : 1
2nd 1.606 : 1 2.095 : 1
3rd 1.071 : 1 1.485 : 1
4th 0.765 : 1 1.065 : 1
5th 0.538 : 1 0.754 : 1
6th
0.556 : 1
Rev. 1.888 : 1 2.269 : 1
Final 4.533 : 1 4.250 : 1
Power and torque comparison between the 2009-2014 J35Z5 and the 2017-2019 J35Y6 engines
  • A redesigned 3.5 l (212 cu in) 60º V6 engine with:
    • 11.5 : 1 compression
    • Direct injection
    • Intelligent VTEC
    • 30–33 hp (22–25 kW) and 15–17 lb⋅ft (20–23 N⋅m)—depending on model year—increase near the top of the rpm band
    • 87 AKI gasoline for all driving conditions[132]
  • An improved transmission with:
    • Six versus five forward gears with a 24.5% lower first-gear, a 20.2% lower reverse gear, and a 3.3% higher top (overdrive) gear with an overall 20% wider gear spread
    • Reduced friction
    • Improved lock-up clutch
  • If equipped, an improved AWD system (I-VTM4) that is:
    • 22% lighter
    • Able to handle 20% more torque
    • Able to dynamically distribute torque between left and right rear-wheels
    • Capable of overdriving the outside rear-wheel by 2.7% for improved cornering performance
  • Improved brake ventilation with 23% reduction in drag
  • A steering ratio reduction of 15% at 15.95 : 1
  • The Multi-View Rear Camera display provides distance guidelines of 20 in (0.5 m), 39 in (1 m), 79 in (2 m), and 118 in (3 m)—the dashed 20 in (51 cm) guideline also indicates the distance required to open the tailgate without hitting other objects—(2017 RTL-E, wide view)[132]
    A Multi-View Rear Camera with wide, normal, and top-down viewing angles and interactive guidelines that change based on steering angle
  • An auto-tilting side-view mirror, for close-in visibility when backing up
  • Trailer Stability Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • If equipped, better night visibility via Light-Emitting Diode (LED) projector headlights that add 100 ft (30.5 m) in beam-depth and 35 ft (10.7 m) in beam-width over traditional headlights
  • Better fuel economy, with EPA estimated AWD improvements of:[45][145]
    • 3–4 mpg‑US (78.4–58.8 L/100 km) city
    • 5–6 mpg‑US (47.0–39.2 L/100 km) highway
    • 4 mpg‑US (58.8 L/100 km) combined
EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2017-2019 Honda Ridgeline[145]
Categories FWD AWD
City 19 mpg‑US (12.4 L/100 km) 18 mpg‑US (13.1 L/100 km)
Highway 26 mpg‑US (9.0 L/100 km) 25 mpg‑US (9.4 L/100 km)
Combined 22 mpg‑US (10.7 L/100 km) 21 mpg‑US (11.2 L/100 km)
Second generation In-Bed Trunk (2017 US RTL)
First generation In-Bed Trunk (2014 US RTL)
Despite the second generation Ridgeline's smaller In-Bed Trunk, Honda states its shape is more conducive to hauling large items, such as an 82 US qt (78 l) cooler[4] versus the first generation's ability to store a 72 US qt (68 l) cooler, despite having 1.2 cu ft (34.0 l) of additional volume.[1]

Despite these improvements, the second generation Honda Ridgeline does have some numerical disadvantages from the first generation, such as:[1][4][30][132]

  • Less GVWR on FWD models at 5,710 lb (2,590 kg)
  • Less passenger volume
  • A shallower bed
  • Less bed illumination
  • A smaller but deeper In-Bed Trunk at 7.3 cu ft (206.7 l)
  • A shallower spare tire service tray that is no longer capable of accommodating a full-size spare; however, similar to the first generation Ridgeline, there is a tire mount integrated into the left-side of the forward bed panel that is capable of accommodating a full-size spare.
  • Less ground clearance
    • FWD = 7.3 in (19 cm) with approach, breakover, and departure angles of 19.2°, 18.5°, and 21.4°
    • AWD = 7.9 in (20 cm) with approach, breakover, and departure angles of 20.1°, 19.6°, and 22.1°
  • A larger turning radius at 44.4 ft (13.5 m)[146]
  • A smaller fuel tank at 19.5 US gal (74 l)

Equipment (Gen2)[edit]

The second generation Honda Ridgeline comes with many of the standard features found with its competitors—including the present day Toyota Tacoma,[147][148] Nissan Frontier,[149][150] and GM's Colorado[151][152]/Canyon[153][154]—but does have some unusual standard features on the US base-level trim (the RT), such as:[4][155]

Forward cabin of a second generation Ridgeline—note the similarities with the third generation Pilot[137][138] and the two-tone upholstered that is only available in RT and RTS trim with specific exterior colors[4][155]—(2017 RTS)
60/40 split rear-seat, in stow position, highlights the flat load floor that carries over from the first generation Honda Ridgeline (2017 US RTL)
  • FWD with optional AWD and seven-pin trailer wiring harness for 2017 models
  • 18 in (45.7 cm) aluminum alloy rims
  • TPMS with Tire Fill Assist
  • Amplitude Reactive Dampers
  • Class III tow hitch
  • Pre-wired for electric trailer brake controller and seven-pin trailer wiring harness
  • Multi-angle rearview camera (with guidelines) in the 5 in (12.7 cm) liquid-crystal display audio screen
  • A wider flatter bed (no wheel well intrusion)
  • Second-row flat load floor
  • Second-row passenger controlled air vents
  • Driver and front-passanger bucket seats with independent armrests
  • 4.2 in (10.7 cm) multi-data information display
  • Trailer Stability Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Intelligent Traction Management
  • Agile Handling Assist
  • Cruise control
  • Security system
  • Push button start
  • Panasonic 200 W audio system with AM and stereo FM receivers, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Bluetooth streaming audio, auxiliary 3.5mm TRS stereo and a 1.0 A Universal Serial Bus (USB) input jacks—supporting MP3, WMA, and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio files via FAT32 formatted devices[156]—, and seven Pioneer speakers with subwoofer[157]
  • The 2019 model year added a 2.5 A USB charging port inside the center console.[158][159]

The base-level trim of the second generation Ridgelines sold in Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America have more standard features than those found in the US model.[135][160]

Honda Ridgeline Sport—RT and RTS have the same rims but with different finishes—(2017)
Honda Ridgeline RTL series (2018 RTL-T)
Honda Ridgeline Black Edition (2017)
Although similar in exterior appearance, most trim levels of the second generation Ridgeline can be distinguished from one another by their rims

For the US market, the second generation Honda Ridgeline was initially offered in seven different trim levels: RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition.[4][155][159][161]

In addition to the unusual standard equipment found in the RT trim (listed above), the RTS trim added:

  • Remote engine start
  • Smart key entry
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Fog lights
  • Optional AWD and seven-pin trailer wiring harness

The Sport trim takes the RTS and adds:

  • Dark-gray aluminum alloy rims
  • Black exterior (additional colors were added to the 2018 model year)
  • Sport badging

The RTL trim takes a different approach with the RTS by adding:

  • Polished aluminum alloy rims with black accents
  • Leather-trimmed interior
  • Heated front seats and side-view mirrors
  • Ten-way power driver's seat
  • Driver seat adjustable armrest
  • Acoustic windshield
  • 2019 model year updates included a power moonroof and a power sliding rear window[158]
LaneWatch camera under right mirror
LaneWatch display in infotainment touchscreen
LaneWatch on the RTL-T trim provides an 80° field of view along the right-side of a vehicle, providing four-times more visibility than traditional side-view mirrors;[4] 10 ft (3 m), 36 ft (11 m), and 78 ft (24 m) guidelines help driver's judge distance behind the rear bumper assisting lane changes,[162] especially when towing long trailers.[163]

The RTL-T trim takes the RTL and adds:

  • Clarion 225 W audio system with 8 in (20.3 cm) infotainment touchscreen with seven Pioneer speakers, including subwoofer[164]
  • LaneWatch
  • Additional 1.5 A front and two 2.5 A rear USB outlets
  • Automatic dimming rearview mirror
  • LED daytime running lights
  • 2019 model year updates included a power moonroof and a power sliding rear window[158]
The 2017 RTL-E dashboard with OEM accessory CD player[165]—note the gloss-black trim accenting the dashboard and center console, a signature RTL-E/Black Edition trim piece
The Black Edition has unique black leather upholstery with red accents that are found throughout the cab.

The RTL-E trim takes the RTL-T and replaces LaneWatch with blind spot monitoring and adds:

  • Clarion 540 W audio system with 8 in (20.3 cm) infotainment touchscreen, eight Panasonic speakers (with Pioneer subwoofer), and Truck Bed Audio System with Panasonic exciters[166]
  • Bed-mounted 115 V/150–400 W AC inverter
  • Honda Sensing with:
  • LED projector headlights with auto high-beams
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Front-passanger seat adjustable armrest
  • Conversation mirror
  • Power moonroof
  • Power sliding rear window
  • Additional interior and exterior illumination
  • Two key fobs with independent user profiles
  • Standard AWD and seven-pin trailer wiring harness

The top trim, known as the Black Edition, adds a unique blackout treatment to the RTL-E trim with:

  • Unique black leather interior with red highlights
  • Unique black aluminum alloy rims
  • Black exterior
  • Black Edition badging
The rear-seat climate control unit is one of the features only available in Canada; it provides rear-passenger control of the rear-climate zone and the rear outboard seat heaters.

For the Canadian market, the second generation Honda Ridgeline was initially offered in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Black Edition.[135][167] Unlike the first generation Ridgelines sold in Canada, the second generation's trim packages are different from those sold in the US. For example, all second generation Canadian Ridgeline come standard with Honda Sensing and the Clarion audio system with 8 in (20.3 cm) infotainment touchscreen. Additionally, there are unique amenities in the second generation Ridgeline that can only be found in Canadian models, such as:[4][135]

  • CD player (all trims)
  • Three-mode seat heaters (Sport trim and up)
  • Heated rear-seats with a rear-passenger climate control interface (EX-L trim and up)
  • Heated windshield wipers (all trims)
  • Rain-sensing wipers (Touring trim and up)
  • Ventilated front seats (Touring trim and up)
  • Skid plate (Sport trim and up)
  • Side-view mirrors with integrated turning signal indicators (Sport trim and up)
  • Power folding side-view mirrors (Touring trim and up)

For the Caribbean and Latin American markets, the 2017 Ridgeline is being offered in two trims, RTL and RTL-T, but are equipped differently than the US versions of the same name. In short, the Caribbean and Latin American RTL adds a number of features to what you would normally find in a US RTL, such as:[160]

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Clarion 540 W audio system with 8 in (20.3 cm) infotainment touchscreen and eight Panasonic speakers (with Pioneer subwoofer)
  • LaneWatch
  • Side-view mirrors with integrated turning signal indicators
  • Conversation mirror
  • Power moonroof
  • Power sliding rear window

However, the Caribbean and Latin American RTL lacks the heated front seats of the US RTL trim. The Caribbean and Latin American RTL-T trim take their RTL and adds navigation and voice recognition.[4][160] Within each Latin American country, the second generation Ridgeline is sold a little differently, some will offer the RTL and RTL-T while others may only offer an RTL or an RTL-T but not both.[130][168][169]

Depending on trim level and country, the second generation Honda Ridgeline is offered in four to seven different exterior colors (black, blue, red, green, two shades of gray, and white) to three interior colors (black, gray, and beige) in fabric (US and CA) or leather (all countries) upholstery.[130][155][160][168][169][170][171] Also, US and Canadian buyers can get a special black leather interior with red highlights that is exclusive to their Black Edition trim.[155][171][172] As with the first generation Ridgeline, interor colors were mated to specific exterial colors and trims packages.[4]

The Honda Bed Tent comes with detachable awning and rain cover, screened skylights and windows, gear loft, a special key fob storage pocket,[173] trunk and side-compartment access panels,[9] designed to fit a full-size air mattress, and can be left assembled on the ground when desired.[174] (2017 US RTL-T FWD with aftermarket AVS In-Channel Low Profile Ventvisors[175])
2017 Ridgeline Touring with OEM accessory grille,[176] door trim,[177] running boards,[178] tonneau,[179] roof rack,[180] and crossbars[181]—note the standard skid plate on this model is also available.[182]

As before, Honda is offering many OEM accessories that are specifically designed for the 2017 Ridgeline.[183] The types of accessories being sold are much the same as those offered for the first generation Ridgeline[79] with a few exceptions, such as a:

Updates (Gen2)[edit]

For the 2018 model year, the second generation Honda Ridgeline had some minor repackaging of its trim levels. For the US market, Honda removed the AWD option from the base RT trim, removed the RTS trim from the lineup, and expanded the Sport trim by adding two additional exterior colors (Lunar Silver Metallic and White Diamond Pearl) to what was an all-black Ridgeline. This left the RT trim with the Modern Steel Metallic exterior color as the only option remaining in the lineup with two-town (black and gray) upholstery.[4][161] The Canadian market saw the removal of their green exterior color (Forest Mist Metallic) and beige interior color from its 2018 lineup.[172]

For the 2019 model year, the US version of the Honda Ridgeline received a 2.5 A USB charging port to the bottom three trim levels—increasing the total number of USB ports to two—and the two middle trims (the RTL and RTL-T) received the power moonroof and power sliding rear window that use to be exclusive to the top two trims.[158] For Canada, the base model LX trim was removed from the 2019 lineup leaving byers four trim levels to choose from.[167]

Changes to the second generation Honda Ridgeline's trim levels
Model year United States Canada Caribbean and Latin America
2017 RT (FWD or AWD), RTS (FWD or AWD), Sport (FWD or AWD), RTL (FWD or AWD), RTL-T (FWD or AWD), RTL-E, Black Edition[155] LX, Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Black Edition[135][172]
RTL and RTL-T[160]
2018 RT, Sport (FWD or AWD), RTL (FWD or AWD), RTL-T (FWD or AWD), RTL-E, Black Edition[170][159]
Unknown
2019
Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Black Edition[167]
Changes in exterior colors to United States' and Canada's second generation Honda Ridgeline
Names and paint codes[100] Crystal Black Pearl
(NH-731P)
White Diamond Pearl
(NH-603P)
Obsidian Blue Pearl
(B-588P)
Deep Scarlet Pearl
(R-561P)
Forest Mist Metallic
(G-537M)
Modern Steel Metallic
(NH-797M)
Lunar Silver Metallic
(NH-830M)
2017
[155][171]
LX, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, Touring, and Black Edition LX, RTS, Sport (CA), RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RTS, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RTS, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Touring RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Touring RT, RTS, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RT, RTS, Sport (CA), RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring
2018
[170][172]
LX, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, Touring, and Black Edition LX, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Touring RTL, RTL-T, and RTL-E RT, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring RT, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring
2019
[159][167]
Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, Touring, and Black Edition Sport, RTL, RTL-T, EX-L, RTL-E, and Touring

Comparisons (Gen2)[edit]

When compared to other US mid-size truck offerings of the same model years, the second generation Honda Ridgeline's published specifications has its pros and cons. Car and Driver magazine conducted an in-depth review of the new Ridgeline comparing it to the same model year Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and GM's Colorado/Canyon. The numerical comparison revealed the Ridgeline has best in class gasoline fuel economy, best cornering performance, best rear-seat passenger space and volume, lowest sound levels, best seat height, better visibility, and best in class safety features. For the "cons," the new Ridgeline has the lowest tow rating, worst in class braking, lowest ground clearance, and the poorest rated infotainment system. The other criteria used by Car and Driver to compare the Ridgeline showed the truck falling in the middle of its competition.[136]

IIHS Ratings for the second generation Honda Ridgeline[104]
Small Overlap Good
Moderate Overlap Good
Side Good
Roof Strength Good
Head Restraints/Seats Good
Crash Avoidance/Mitigation Superior
Headlights Good
LATCH (ease of use) Acceptable
A NHTSA frontal oblique crash test of a 2017 Ridgeline reveals an intact cab with no intrusions

After running through IIHS's new test procedures, the 2017 Ridgeline was given their new top honor, the Top Safety Pick-Plus.[11] —As of May 2018, the 2017 Ridgeline remains the only Top Safety Pick-Plus pickup truck in IIHS's history.[185][186]— Additionally, IIHS reported that the 2017 Ridgeline was the only pickup that received top marks at their new headlight performance test; however, these high marks only applied to the top trim levels of the Ridgeline that were equipped with LED projector headlights.[187] Also, the NHTSA gave the 2017 and 2018 Honda Ridgeline its top mark with a five-star safety rating. NHTSA testing showed that the 2017 and 2018 Ridgeline has the best rollover resistance of any truck (full-size or mid-size) currently produced for the US market at 16.4% for FWD and 16.9% for AWD.[188][189]

As in 2012, PickupTrucks.com performed another mid-size truck challenge but with 2016 and 2017 model year vehicles sold in the US. Through a battery of objective and subjective test—many similar and some different from the 2012 challenge—the 2017 Ridgeline came in second overall "by one of the slimmest margins in any test" PickupTrucks.com has conducted, winning half of the objective tests. PickupTrucks.com said, "There's no question the Ridgeline was the surprise of this challenge... Our biggest surprise came at our daylong romp at the Bundy Hill Offroad Park where we found the Honda Intelligent Traction Management system to be shrewd and smooth during our sand drags and steep hill climbs. However, as well as it performed, it still had a few problems;" such as how "much sag occurs while carrying payload," mushy and unpredictable brakes, and a hard to use with bad Sun glare infotainment touchscreen. "Still, if you need your pickup to be a Swiss Army knife and you don't need to carry a lot of gear, there isn't anything else in the Ridgeline's league."[190]

Marketing and sales (Gen2)[edit]

2017 US Ridgeline RTL—with OEM accessory roof rack[180] crossbars,[181] and kayak attachments[191]—hauling two kayaks and towing a Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S travel trailer[192]

Compared to the first generation Ridgeline, Honda's second attempt at a mid-size truck for the North American market has the automotive press changing its tune, yet it still has an image problem. Gearheads.org wrote the "2017 Honda Ridgeline still won’t get respect but should" stating, its "downside is going to be looks" with its "soft rounded pudgy panda look rather than a sharp chiseled warhorse."[193] A New York Daily News reporter wrote, "You’d think that the most utilitarian of passenger vehicle styles—the pickup truck—would be a completely logical purchase. If that were the case, the Ridgeline would outsell all of the other midsize trucks by a landslide, boasting the best combination of safety, utility and drivability in the class. But the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado both have something that the Ridgeline almost completely lacks: ...bravado."[194] That being said, Car and Driver magazine proclaimed, "The Ridgeline’s roomy cabin, ample storage, smooth ride, and innovative touches make its rivals seem outdated. ...it not only has cargo space, but also the makings of a great tailgate party..."[195] Autoblog published a short list of pros and cons after wrapping up their long-term road test of the second generation Ridgeline writing its size, the In-Bed Trunk, and its comfort were pros while the "OK" fuel economy, lack of paddle shifters, and a rear-door opening that was too small for comfortable ingress/egress were cons.[196] Motor Trend magazine summed up their view by says they liked "its smooth ride and sharp handling," disliked "the high price, clumsy infotainment system, and plain design," and nominated the new Ridgeline as one of its finalist for their 2017 Truck of the Year competition.[197]

With the introduction of the 2018 model year, media criticism of Honda's pricing for its second generation Ridgeline expand.[197][198][199] With the removal of the AWD option from the Ridgeline's base RT trim and the removal of the RTS trim package, would-be US owners have to step up to the Sport trim to get an AWD equipped mid-size truck. According to Honda's Public Relations Manager, James Jenkins, Honda's streamlining of the 2018 Ridgeline lineup will “better suit the needs of midsize truck buyers.” According to Bloomberg Business and The Truth About Cars (TTAC), pricing was considered a problem with the first generation Ridgeline[103][198] with TTAC writing, "It’s not difficult to see that Honda is once again positioning the Ridgeline in what many conventional pickup truck buyers will consider an uncomfortable price bracket."[198]

Examining the sales figures for the second generation Ridgeline, TorqueNews wrote, "...it looks as if American Honda Motors has yet another sales success in its ever expanding lineup."[200] With Honda targeting sales of up to 40,000 Ridgelines per year,[201] initial sales demand for the new Ridgeline outpaced production.[202] To help address demand for its larger vehicles, Honda moved production of its Acura MDX to its East Liberty Auto Plant in order to increase production of the Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline.[202][203] However, sales reports for mid-2017 through early 2018 showed a downward trend in Ridgeline sales[127] with Honda explaining that this trend was "due largely to limited inventory of key models."[204]

Gen2 Honda Ridgeline sales and production[11]
Calendar year US sales CA sales Production
2016 23,665[127] 2,614[127] 34,599
2017 34,749 4,632 39,282

Although Honda claims not to be in competition with other mid-size truck manufacturers,[12] in 2017 the Toyota Tacoma outsold the Honda Ridgeline 5 : 1 despite the Ridgeline's slight edge in sales over the GMC Canyon.[205] Yet, a 24/7 Wall St article highlighted that in 2016 the second generation Ridgeline's average number of days on dealer lots was 22 ranking it the fifth fastest mover in the US while the Tacoma ranked fourth at 21.7 days.[206]

Honda Ridgeline Awards[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]