At first look, the new Honda Ridgeline seems like even more of an open-bed Pilot than ever before.
And in many senses, that is exactly what it is.
Then you zoom out a bit, and consider the growing mid-size pickup truck market. The new Colorado, Canyon, Tacoma and upcoming Frontier refresh will make a totally reinvented truck class.
And within that group, the general theme is full-size ability — now in a fun travel size.
For a large swath of buyers, the refinement and road manners of the Ridgeline make it a unique offering. With nearly all the towing and hauling strength of its rivals, the Ridgeline will be faster, smoother and far more comfortable 24/7 than any other. It promises class-best mileage and brings some uniqueness due to the trick tailgate/trunk.
The only place the Ridgeline will really suffer is off road, where its front-drive AWD basis will never be as capable as a true 4×4, locking diffs and low range as offered on body-on-frame rivals. This is mostly theoretical, though — with most owners barely needing the extra weight/bad road manners when not towing/hauling 5000-plus pounds.
And through that lense of outdoorsmen who want to tow, but prefer quiet highway manners and a cushy ride? The Ridgeline will be in a class of one.
2017 Honda RIDGELINE Black Edition
ALL-NEW 2017 HONDA RIDGELINE PICKUP TRUCK MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT 2016 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
- 2017 Ridgeline brings Honda innovation in technology, design and packaging to the midsize pickup truck market
- All-new Ridgeline delivers superior driving dynamics in combination with the largest interior space and most versatile bed in a midsize 4-door pickup
- Honda-exclusive features including In-Bed Trunk®, dual-action tailgate and the industry’s first in-bed audio system make Ridgeline the ultimate tailgating vehicle
Jan 11, 2016 – DETROIT — Honda today unveiled the all-new 2017 Ridgeline truck at the North American International Auto Show, once again challenging conventional thinking in the pickup truck market with Honda-exclusive features, design and technology that help Ridgeline set new benchmarks for versatility, capability and comfort in a midsize pickup.
“We are bringing our unique technology and original thinking to the market in a new and challenging concept for a Honda pickup,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We think we’ve got a better idea, a truck that uses its unibody construction and Honda packaging magic to deliver more of the things that many of today’s truck customers want and need with none of the things they don’t.”
2017 Honda Ridgeline
Designed, developed and manufactured in America, the new Ridgeline will launch in the first half of 2016 with a combination of features and capabilities unlike anything else on the market today, including:
- Superior on-road performance – with the segment’s best handling, ride quality, cabin quietness and all-weather traction capabilities – courtesy of its unibody construction, sophisticated chassis, and available i-VTM4™ torque-vectoring AWD system
- Class-leading space – with the largest and most versatile cabin and the only 4-foot-wide flat bed space in the midsize pickup segment, along with payload capacity rivaling top competitors
- Innovative and class-exclusive features, including an In-Bed Trunk™, dual-action tailgate and the industry’s first in-bed audio system – making Ridgeline the ultimate tailgating vehicle
- Targeted top-in-class acceleration, EPA fuel economy ratings and third-party collision safety ratings, and featuring Honda’s next-generation ACE™ body structure and available Honda Sensing™ suite of safety and driver-assist technologies
- Leading edge connectivity with 8-inch Display Audio featuring Apple Car Play® and Android Auto™ compatibility
Advanced Chassis, Powertrain and All-Wheel-Drive
The new Ridgeline is based on Honda’s Global Light Truck platform with its rigid yet lightweight unibody construction, next-generation ACE™ body structure and sophisticated, fully independent suspension, delivering a higher level of ride and handling refinement than conventional body-on-frame designs. The Ridgeline will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC™ V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, providing top-in-class powertrain refinement and targeting best-in-class acceleration performance and segment-leading EPA fuel economy ratings.
The Ridgeline also will be available for the first time in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations. All-wheel-drive models will utilize Honda’s i-VTM4™ torque vectoring AWD technology, featuring Intelligent Terrain Management with Normal, Sand, Snow and Mud modes, providing robust medium-duty off-road and towing capability with superior on-road, all-weather handling, traction and performance.
Sophisticated, Versatile and Spacious Cabin
Inside, the Ridgeline boasts the largest, most versatile and sophisticated cabin in a midsize 4-door pickup, featuring high-grade materials and finishes, available leather trim and all the latest technologies that Honda has to offer, including tri-zone climate control, push button start, a full-color TFT center meter and available 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility.
The Ridgeline’s 60/40-split and folding second-row seat provides the ultimate versatility for people- and cargo-hauling utility. With the seats folded down, the Ridgeline will comfortably carry up to five people while still accommodating long items, like a set of golf clubs, under the rear seat. Folding up one or both sides of the 60/40-split seat bottom opens up the back to carry tall and bulky items.
A Bed Like No Other
The Ridgeline bed offers pickup users unmatched versatility in a midsize 4-door pickup. At 5′ wide and 5’4″ long (5.4 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the previous generation Ridgeline), the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has the only 4-foot wide flat bed space (with 48 inches between the rear wheel arches) in the midsize pickup class, allowing for flat hauling of items like plywood sheeting or drywall. The Ridgeline will also offer payload capacity rivaling top competitors, approaching 1,600 pounds, with final specifications to be released closer to launch.
The composite, UV-stabilized and scratch-resistant bed also boasts a number of available Honda-exclusive features that add to its incredible versatility, including an In-Bed Trunk™, dual-action tailgate, available 400-watt AC power inverter and the industry’s first in-bed audio system.
The Ridgeline’s standard, lockable In-Bed Trunk provides secure storage space with no compromise to bed utility and now features a fully flat floor while still including a drain plug for easier cleaning and evacuation of water from the trunk. The dual action tailgate is hinged both at the bottom and along its left side, opening down or to the side, which enables easier loading and unloading of heavy and bulky items without having to reach over the open tailgate. The bed also features eight 350-pound tie down cleats and an available 400-watt power inverter, located behind an access panel in the right bed wall, with the capacity to recharge power tools or energize a tailgate blender or flat screen TV.
A first for any pickup, the new in-bed audio system, together with the In-Bed Trunk and available 400-watt power inverter, makes Ridgeline the ultimate tailgating vehicle. The new in-bed audio system utilizes six exciters located inside the bed walls, in place of conventional speakers, pumping out sound from the Ridgeline’s audio head unit, with up to 540 watts of power.
Top-Level Safety Performance
Featuring Honda’s next-generation ACE™ body structure, advanced airbag systems and available Honda Sensing™ suite of safety and driver-assist technologies, the new Ridgeline will target the highest available collision safety ratings – an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the IIHS. Honda Sensing™ technologies available on the 2017 Ridgeline include Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS). All Ridgeline models will feature a multi-angle rearview camera as standard equipment and upper trims will be available with either Honda LaneWatch™ or Blind Spot Information system.
Ridgeline Development and Manufacturing
Like the first generation Honda Ridgeline, the all-new 2017 Ridgeline was designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas and will be produced by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, Alabama.
About the Honda Light Truck Lineup
Honda set an all-time record for U.S. sales of light truck models in 2015, up nearly 12% from 2014 to 661,188 SUVs, CUVs, pickups and minivans, and besting the previous record of 602,123 Honda-brand light trucks sold in 2006. Honda’s sales success was driven by an unprecedented cadence of new light truck offerings starting in the fall of 2014 with the freshened 2015 Honda CR-V, which was named Motor Trend 2016 Sport Utility of the Year and was America’s best selling SUV again in 2015. In 2015, Honda launched the all-new HR-V crossover and the third generation Pilot SUV. In December, the Pilot was names as a finalist for the 2016 North American Truck/Utility of the Year award.
In 2016, Honda will continue the fortification of its light-truck family of vehicles with the new Ridgeline and a fully redesigned Odyssey minivan. Honda was named the “2016 Best SUV Brand” by U.S. News and World Report, and the Pilot, CR-V, HR-V and Odyssey each has earned a “Best Buy” award from Kelly Blue Book for 2016. The 2016 Pilot and CR-V have received a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for model year 2016, while the 2016 Odyssey minivan has earned a TOP SAFETY PICK rating.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
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