Next Ridgeline Aims For Improved Fuel Economy

Next Ridgeline Aims For Improved Fuel Economy

The four-door Honda Ridgeline pickup, introduced in 2005, has been enough of a success that its next generation is already far along in development, with a number of refinements expected. Chief among them is improved fuel efficiency.

“The original Ridgeline was a new day for trucks,” said Dave Marek, chief designer and senior manager of the automotive styling group at Honda Research and Development, Americas. “It’s still unique -- the idea of the unibody and utilizing space intelligently.”

Aside from its exclusive monocoque construction, the Ridgeline features an independent coil-over rear suspension that provides enough space in the cargo box load floor for an 8.5-cubic-foot in-bed trunk.

At 4,500 pounds, though, the midsize, V-6-powered, all-wheel-drive Ridgeline weighs only about 650 pounds less than a full-size, V-8-powered, two-wheel-drive Chevrolet Silverado crew cab. The XFE version of that half-ton Silverado also scores better on the gas-mileage front (15/21 mpg city/highway) than the smaller Ridgeline (15/20 mpg city/highway).

“The (current) Ridgeline was the right thing to do at the time,” Marek said. “But now that the truck market is a moving target, our opportunity is to make it more fuel-efficient -- aerodynamic and lighter -- but still retain the core value it has, which is the inside space and usage in the back.”

Marek says that means sticking to Honda’s design and manufacturing credo of “maximum man, minimum machine.” Get everything as small as possible without compromising utility and safety, which in the case of the Ridgeline means maintaining its 5,000-pound towing capacity, 5-foot-long cargo box and seating for five.

“Being a crew cab is core,” Marek said. “It was designed for a fireman and his family, and I don’t think we’re ever going to change that. You could have other (cab configurations) based off it, but that would be diluting it. You can’t shorten the bed either. These are core values for the truck.”

Honda could make the truck lighter by using different materials, like aluminum, to save weight. The manufacturer is also considering how much feature content, like a navigation system, the Ridgeline needs.

“Content is weight,” he said. “Lower models could have a little less content.”

Some of the weight savings could also offer the benefit of improved usability. Marek wouldn’t say how Honda intends to make it easier for a person to reach over the Ridgeline’s tall, buttressed sides into the cargo box, but we think the next Ridgeline could come with a built-in side-step carved into the side of the truck. That’s different from the new 2009 Ford F-150’s box-side steps bolted underneath the truck, which fold down with the touch of a button.

To make it more aerodynamic, Marek said the windshield could be more steeply raked and underbody airflow could be smoothed out.

Marek stressed that even after efficiency changes, the Ridgeline still has to be a truck -- just not a traditional one.

Comments

I think Honda can get their fuel economy improvement pretty easily by having a 4-6 cylinder turbo diesel paired with a 6 speed manual. AFAIK there isn't a manual option for the ridgeline, which is a big turnoff for me. Then add a folding midgate and I'd be interested.

What Kevin said ..
Also, the new Mahindra truck is aiming at 30+mpg. (Still no manual though) The Ridgline is up for some stiff competition if Mahindra really makes it to the U.S.

From what I'm hearing, it sounds like all the major automakers are going the way of the A-BAT with their next trucks. Lightweight, unibody, small, aerodynamic, with moderate towing capacity and improved fuel economy.

I hope the new Ridgeline gets up to 21 mpg in mixed driving. That would make my day.

no towing power and unibody makes this a very poor investment. If it gets 21 mpg it would match a hydred silveraldo with less than half the capabilities.

Diesel diesel diesel

The manager seems focused on reducing weight, yet they are adamant about avoiding extended cab, and more importantly, regular cab models. A regular cab short bed version of the same would give some serious weight reduction and not take a huge engineering effort to offer either, given the similarities to the quad cab. Come on Honda, offer up a regular cab Ridgeline.

Well, who the heck is going to buy a regular cab Ridgeline? And why? You will be better off buying a Miata - they will have about the same capability...

The lightweight, small, unibody pickup truck was tried in the early 1980s. It flopped.

I am trying to figure out where all this weight is coming from.

Look at the Toyota Tacoma - 6+ foot bed, 4 door crew cab, 5 speed auto, with body on frame construction with leaf springs, fairly potent 4.0 liter V6 - as good or better power wise than the Ridgeline and better/ more torque, and this combo comes in at about 4150 pounds.

And the Ridgeline weighs 4500 pounds?

In fact the comparable model to the Ridgeline - the Tacoma crew cab with the 5 foot bed comes in at about 4000 pounds and has a 6 speed manual or 5 speed auto available.

And the TAcoma is a much, much better looking truck and more practical than the Ridgeline. It can tow more weight to boot.

when making the 2011 ridgelines--please use white paint with glitz in it--it will sparkle in the day and night--it will look beautiful!! more and more girls are driving trucks too!! thank you!!

Sandra made my day LOL. I love women who drive pickup trucks. I would like to get a pink Ridgeline...for the girlfriend.

Also, to Honda make sure that the Ridgeline still has that trunk underneath the bed...that's something you cant put on a body-on-frame truck because of the rear-wheel-drive machinery. It would also be cool if the 4wd system can be dual-range so one can take it off the road.

I think that this is a good Idea

I have owned a '98 Tacoma, '02 Tundra, '05 Tacoma Quad cab (all 4WD), and now own an '09 RTL Ridgeline. Bought it because of the nice ride, great engineering touches (like the bedtrunk), and the fact that this truck is 3 in. wider than my '05 Tacoma, which is why the "Ridge" is over 450# heavier. I am getting 19 mpg combined with limited freeway driving, which is what I got with the "Taco." Anyway, I, too would like Honda to bring out a powerful turbo-diesel for the Ridge. Kick its "tow rating" up from 5000# to 7500# and still get about 21mpg in town; that would be great. I still love Toyota trucks, but I gotta say that Honda's build quality on this truck is right at the top.

You people can argue gas mileage and tonage all day.
In the end, the Ridgeline is not Honda's bread & butter line.
The Civic & Accord are the basis for the companies success.

Ford and Chrysler are basing their precarious existence on gas-guzzling pick up trucks. GM is also pushing gas guzzlers.

As I predicted on Jan. 5, 2009, GM, Ford & Chrysler won't change their products or the way they do business so they will disappear.

I am standing by my prediction!

I just sold my 2008 ridgeline rtl with navi.Owned it only a year. I loved the truck but couldn't deal with the poor gas mileage and low low-end torque. my 1996 5.0 liter v8 explorer gets the same mileage at 15mpg combined. My 4.0 liter 4runner get 22 mpg combined. If the ridgeline came in a 3.0 or 3.5 liter diesel, i think this would solve some of its problems and i def would buy one again. I currently am looking for diesel power. Efficient and great torque. Sorry Honda, you sold me on the looks, functionality and ride but the mileage killed it for me. I never thought a 3,5 liter engine could drink so much gas. Give me a diesel and put me in a ridge again.

I love my Ridgeline but I have to admit it is hard on gas. It is not very good on gas but I love the ride and the space that it has in it

I've been interested in the RidgeLine ever since I first learned about a few years ago. I'm a big spec reader and based on comparing specs, not only do I think I'll hold off until it gets better mileage (I commute a lot), I think I'll hold off until they add at least an inch more ground clearance. A 4-wheeler with Honda's patented gang-banger ground clearance doesn't make sense. Okay, I know it's better clearance than the tricked up Civics and Accords, but, relative to other off roaders, it kind of sucks. I live in an off-road, mountainous area with a lot of chuck holes, rocks and sometimes enough snow to make a difference with regard to ground clearance. Anyone out their know if Honda has plans to increase the ground clearance?

I have a 2006 Ridgeline and it is a great truck for what I am using it for. Mostly a DD, but I use it for towing my track car. I would like to see higher towing weight and a self-leveling rear suspension. 6 cyl diesel would be nice also with AT for towing.

Love feature on my crew silverado, hate the gas! ridge looks cool etc, but gas is last. my S10 with the kickin 4.3l V6 cruises me to work at 55 with 24MPG. gosh S10 is so ancient! its gonna have to last until the better truck comes along...

I have a 2007 Ridgeline RT and I've got to say I love, love the truck. Everybody has something they are looking for and for me it was the versatility, looks, reliability and just a basic towing capability. It has met all my expectations and so I give it a thumbs up. I will be keeping my Ridgeline untill the wheels fall off or until I can afford another one cash. There simple isn't e better truck in my view....as I said in MY view....not yours.

I have driven pickup trucks for 20+ years and let me tell you, The Honda Ridgeline is the best truck I've driven to date, it's use of space is amazing, dogs and all, I'm an electrician so all of my powertools stay neatly locked and hidden in my rear underbed trunk (awesome) plenty of room and width inside for big people, love the use of space, love the way it drives, love all the gadgets and extras it has, sure the gas miliage is not the greatest , but keep in mind you have all wheel drive, the thing sticks to the road like glue and handles like a race-car, if I had to change anything it would be a better gas miliage engine but with the same great horsepower if thats possible, and howbout some dual exhaust. I'll never go back to a Chevy my 2007 Ridgeline has exceeded my expectations by far, my girlfriend loves to drive it too because it drives more like a car than a truck. call it what you will "a trucklet" this truck cannot be beat, drive one before you trashtalk this one. Jack.

Love my 06 Ridgeline, 135k great miles. Infiniti's new diesel looks like a design target re: block materials, torque, ...
I am an immediate diesel ridgeline buyer.

I love my 07 ridgeline. The one thing that seperates this truck is the cargo space and the trunk in the bed. I am a bowler and I can keep my balls and bag In the trunk. I do not have to strapped the equipment in the back of a trunk bed or kept in the back seat. That just keeps me a ridgeline.

In addition to the improvement of the fuel economy it would be also great if they moved the gear shifter from the steering wheel to the center floor or dash console. Those where the two primary reasons that clinched the decision for me to not purchase the vehicle.

Need help deciding which will be my first SUT.
Ridgeline or SVT F-150 Raptor; and is the Avalanche really worth the extra money?
Anyone?

I've had a ton-o-trucks, and a couple of recent model Land Cruisers and I just LOVE my Ridgeline. No squeaks, comfy as heck for a long road trip, and uber versatile. I love my trunk. I love that it's low enough that my dogs can get in the back without having to jump up or down. I don't tow, but I do a good amount of cramming fertilizer, pvc, and misc Home Depot stuff in it. I'd like to see more torque though, a more adjustable steering column, maybe a better looking dash, and yes, a way to step up to reach over the side buttresses into the bed. But overall, I can't imagine what I'd replace it with that's as comfortable and versatile and well made.

I bought a 2009 Ridgeline RTL W/ navigation 7 weeks ago and it is great. I happen to be one of the lucky ones that is averaging 21.8 mpg w/ synthetic oil and a K and N filter in mixed driving mostly around town and a small amount of highway driving going to work. It handles my kayak equipment without a problem and has more than enough power for my use.

So it aint so Lou???? There are too many Lous and Daves on this site.

i bought the 06 ridge rtl.love it, sucks on gas milage,battery died at 37 months, other than that i will be a ridge guy from now on if the gas milage gets better.

Honda had the perfect opportunity to enter the truck market with vehicles that they are known for. This was an ugly introduction and if they do not produce a high mileage truck with the things honda is known for they will continue to have mediocre sales. How bout a civic truck? They make trucks in other countries, why not here?

After watching the Ridgeline for the past 2 years, I just purchased a used 2008 Ridgeline and I'm really enjoying it. The fit for me is that it is that it drives like a car (very smooth and with great pick up), flexible like an SUV (those 40/60 split back seats are great), in-bed out of view trunk and a 5 foot bed are the main reasons I purchased this truck. The only negative after three weeks is the gas economy, but I'm trying to be conservative in my acceleration behavior. Other than this, I have not found another truck with the same flexibility as the Ridgeline. I'm looking forward to enjoying the many uses of it for many years to come.

I have a 2010 Ridgeline and have to say I am more than saticefied with it and for many reasons.

Somebody quoted the Tacoma as having better towing capacity than the Ridge. Tacoma standard with 4.0 V6 is 3500 lbs. Ridgline standard is 5000lbs, Honda doesnt give a maximum towing capacity where as Toyota has a maximum of 6500 lbs capacity for the tacoma. Since the Ridgeline has a higher standard towing capacity, I would think that they are comperable. One thing that EVERYone is over looking is the drivetrain for the Ridgeline. The AWD VTS is WAYYYYY better than Tacomas 4x4 train. I learned this from expirence in driving in snow and ice

The only thing I dont like about my Ridgeline is that damned blind spot on the rear right quarter. have to check mirrors 3 times before i feel safe enough to change into the right lane from the left

I owned 2009 Ridgeline. No regret, but 2 areas improvement would be nice. 1. Payload should increased to 2,000 lb. and 2. Need a direct injection engine to improve power and fuel economy, even better if they would introduce a smaller diesel engine, that would get a lot more F-150 customers.

I have a 2008 Ridgeline I bought used with 18k. Best pickup I have ever owned.... for me...Previous trucks include 2001 F150 crewcab, 1996 ford ranger supercab, 1995 Mazda supercab, 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee.....none were anywhere as reliable or fuel efficent, or handy as the Ridgeline. I get 22.8 on the hwy ( and I usually go 75-80 everywhere)with 18-19 in town. Every one of the other trucks had serious mechanical issues, mostly unresoved by warrantee, except for the Ridgeline. I did own one almost as good..a 2003 Honda Element. Needed to tow and a pickup bed as well sometimes so Ridgeline fit the bill. I'm happy....would buy a Ridgline diesel if they make one. Good luck ford/chevy/ dodge your days are numbered at least for me. Burnt too many times, with bad product, guzzling fuel..not reliable and just generally crummy.

I bought a 2005 RTL new, and love it. I think all of you that are complaining about gas mileage have lead feet! I have gotten as much as 26 mpg on highway (23 typical) and average 18 in city miles. You just need to keep from pushing the gas pedal so hard unless you need to, and it will turn in the mpg. It's a VTEC motor, so if you keep from allowing it to go to the second cam for performance, it is actually very efficent on gas. One other thing, the A/C compressor continues to run in certain combinations of Vent modes, so to be certain it's off (and not dragging your mileage down) press the A/C button to get the display to say AC Off. For those of you that have trouble seeing out the back window, just remove the rear seat headrests.

2007 Ridgeline owner. Best vehicle I have ever owned. 60,000 miles with original tires/brakes and oil change expenses. Not a single repair item. Comments I read that are negative are mostly gas mileage, power or towing related. Four wheel drive, no squeaks or rattles, great handling, good resale $. What's not to like?

My other car is a BMW M roadster. I could be negative and say that it has a small trunk, limited seating, bad gas mileage and is difficult to get out of because it's so low - but that would be comparing it to something it's not.

The Ridgeline is for the weekend Home Depot truck user, great for everything - if you don't need 10,000 lb towing or suffer from monster truck envy.

I own 2007 RT, it now has 25,000 miles on it and I have had no problems. Like everyone else I think the gas milage could be better, a good diesel would be the thing in this truck. It is a very user friendly vehicle, tons of storage everywhere. I hope they continue to make the Ridgeline, it is just a good all around vehicle. I would consider owning another one.

My wife had a 2007 and put over 125,000 trouble free miles on it. It has been loaded to the max most times as she is a contractor. Up here in New England the roads are tough and icy in the winter and ruts and potholes in the spring. Muddy back roads and driveways are a piece of cake. Her 2010 has 46,000 miles on it now and same results!! Keep the same platform Honda!! She averages around 18-19 loaded and high as 23 on highway...no problem with that! Swing gate is great as well as the storage compartment, another new one next year



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