The Honda Ridgeline made its debut in the 2006-MY as a carlike alternative to midsize pickups such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet/GMC Colorado/Canyon, and Toyota Tacoma.
Sporting a goofy, half-SUV/half-pickup design paired with class-competitive interiors, fuel economy, and pricing, the Ridgeline enjoyed three years of respectable sales followed by a Recession-spurred spiral into irrelevance.
Despite failing to make a significant dent in its segment, the Ridgeline remained popular (and profitable) enough that Honda decided to relaunch it for the 2017-MY after a two-year production hiatus.
Modeled after the recently redesigned Honda Pilot, the second-generation Ridgeline trades its Frankenstein roots for an unmistakably pickup-like cab-and-bed configuration. It maintains some of the head-turning features that made it stand out in a utilitarian segment and adds a front-wheel-drive option.
The Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine is back with an additional 30 horsepower (hp), 15 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, and remarkably greater fuel efficiency: The all-wheel drive version now gets a combined score of 21 miles per gallon (mpg) — a 4-mpg improvement over the 2014 edition — and the two-wheel drive is rated at 22 combined mpg.
The new truck’s maximum payload and towing capacity of 1,584 pounds and 5,000 pounds, respectively, won’t challenge for the lead in the segment. But the Ridgeline’s 5.5-foot bed beats the Colorado/Canyon and Tacoma by at least two inches, and it’s the only one with a built-in, 7.3 cubic-foot trunk and Honda’s signature dual-action tailgate.
The second-generation Ridgeline is available in RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, and RTL-T trims, which are offered in front- or all-wheel drive, as well as the RTL-E and Black Edition, which are all-wheel-only. The base RT comes with 18-inch rims, cruise control, power mirrors and locks, push-button start, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, the aforementioned in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate, and more.
Upgrading to higher trims brings unique styling cues as well as additional features including remote start, heated seats and mirrors, navigation, bed illumination, and a safety suite that includes forward-collision avoidance and blind-spot and rear-cross-traffic alerts.
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is in dealerships now. MSRPs range from $29,475 for a front-wheel drive RT to $42,870 for a four-wheel drive Black Edition.