What's Going on With the Honda Ridgeline?

Ridgeline-main

It seems that the Wall Street Journal understands the pickup truck market better than you might think. In a recent blog post, Jonathan Welsh questioned whether the Honda Ridgeline will really stick around, even though Honda’s SUV and truck product planner said the midsize pickup isn’t going anywhere.  

Frankly, all this seems a little odd given the Ridgeline hasn’t gotten any significant redesign or engineering upgrades since it was introduced in 2005 for the 2006 model year. Add to that the fact the sales numbers are about half of what they were a year ago — only 6,500 sold so far this year, and I’m sure the earthquake in Japan didn’t help — and it seems like there’s a pretty good case for removing the Ridgeline from Honda’s lineup.

Still, Honda seems reluctant to give up on it because some say this should be the best time for the vehicle to succeed. Fuel prices are unstable and high, full-size pickup trucks continue to be targets of politically correct pundits, and the Ridgeline doesn’t have an imposing, overly aggressive stance. Plus, it has a cool bed, and the interior isn’t too “trucky.”

To some, the Ridgeline appears to have a lot going for it. So why isn’t it selling?

The Ridgeline is one of those odd vehicles that attempt to play in a segment while assuming those they play with have it all wrong — sort of like pretending to be something it’s not. (Vehicles like the new Ford Explorer, Pontiac Aztek and Subaru Baja come to mind). The Ridgeline can’t really tow well, it can’t really carry a heavy load well, and it can’t be beaten up too hard.

In short, the Ridgeline can’t really do what most people who like trucks need it to do. It’s almost like it’s a pickup made for people who don’t like pickups. Talk about your self-hater.

Still, in the world of midsize pickup trucks, it keeps hanging on, and there seems to be a place for it. At least that’s what we’re hearing when listening to other product planners at rival manufacturers.

Rampage

Ram CEO Fred Diaz — the guy who had to make the call to allow the Dodge Dakota to die — says he hasn’t taken any option off the table as Ram discusses whether or not to offer another midsize or smaller pickup. Certainly, with Jeep coming to market with its own small pickup truck platform in the family, the parts and pieces may be relatively inexpensive to reshape and/or redesign. For a while, Ram was also talking about trying to “Ram-ify” or “heavy-duty-ize” a minivan platform to offer something more versatile than the old-school Dakota. It wasn’t too long ago when we saw the Dodge Rampage (pictured below) on stage.

2008_01_20_ABAT_Concept
 
Several years ago, Toyota showed the A-BAT concept, a vehicle that wanted to straddle the pickup/crossover/wagon delineations. We’ve heard several strong rumors that the A-BAT will see the light of day, but more likely with a Scion or Prius badge rather than a Toyota or Lexus marque.

We have no doubt there’s likely to be a group of people that still wants a small pickup that doesn’t look, act, drive or work like a pickup truck. Lord knows the truck-haters out there keep telling us that.  

Welsh, who doesn’t believe the Ridgeline will be around for very long, said it pretty well. “Pickup trucks, after all, aren’t for the driving we do, but for the driving we wish we did.” I would add that they’re also for the work we actually — or even occasionally — have to do.

“For many weekend warriors, the truck’s purpose is to project an image of capability when they pull into the Home Depot parking lot. Perhaps if the Honda had a more imposing stance, the trick would have worked,” Welsh said.  Alright, so maybe Jonathan doesn’t really understand pickups.

Owning a pickup is not just about projecting an image or having an imposing stance or worrying or even thinking about what other judgments others might make. It’s about having the right tool for the job. However, if you want others to know you don’t do much work or don’t really need a pickup, I defend your right with my last breath that you should be able to choose what you want. Perhaps a new crop of anti-truck trucks may be just right for you. And when they get here, you can bet we’ll test the snot out of them. 

 

Comments

I wish they would have just left the 1997-2004 Dakotas alone. I'm holding onto my 03 until she dies. Which will be a long time from now!

@03 Dak

Nah you'd be complaining that they're too old...kinda like the Ford Rangers.

But I agree with you that the 1997 through 2004 model Dakotas were the best and the hottest. They should have built the 2005-11 Dakota off the Mitsubishi Raider platform aka rebadge. I'm hoping, but doubtful, they make the next Dakota resemble the Ram and Dodge Durango...think Comanche-ish.

Pretty simple really. Its ugly and the interior looks like a mid 90s chevrolet. The gas mileage is sub par for a mid sized trucklette or van/truck or what ever its trying to be.

It has a trunk in the bed that can't be used at all if you are useing the bed.? ? ? ? ? ? The tailgate swings to one side. again? ? ? ? .

The bed angles off so anything that you could haul now has to be tied down.Again ? ? ? ? ?.

A mid sized truck based off a van could have been a great idea but with all the weird angles and useless bed trunk and bed for that matter makes owning a van a better choice.

Make a truck the size of a ranger/colorado with all wheel drive like alot of family cars now have.99% of small trucks are daily drivers with the occasional light hauling duty.Make it look like a truck with rugged looks but not car looking like the ridgeline.

Not everything needs to be 900 hp or tow a house.The truck needs to be small with ecoboost like power and economy.You shoulden't need a ladder to get in or too get something in the bed.The bed sides don't need to be a 5 ft tall.

Honda had a good idea but killed it with odd looks .Hey ford chevy dodge toyota do you remember the courier luv mazda datsun.

People like trucks.They are the best sellers in america.Small cars haven't taken off. Small trucks will!

I agree that the Ridgeline is a great truck. But it's great in ways that don't appeal to mainstream car buyers.

-Hardcore truck guys don't care about ride, interior and the other best parts of the Ridgeline. They want big, tough, and brutish. They go for big trucks no matter what.

-Car guys who need a truck might be interested in the Ridgeline, but it isn't fuel efficient (no better than an F-150 at this point, if not slightly worse) and it's relatively expensive.

-Compact truck guys are turned off by the truck for two of the same reasons car guys are (too expensive, not fuel efficient) and they also don't like its lack of off road capability (especially the TRD off-road and FX4 off-road guys).

I think if they brought back a Baja-like small truck, it would probably sell right now because it would be small enough and fuel efficient enough for the car and compact truck markets. Fullsize markets will never go for anything less than a fullsize truck, even the poseur guys who haul air.

A Jeep pickup will also sell well to the compact-truck off-roader crowd (if I remember correctly, the pickup bed alternate for the Wrangler is surpassing Jeep's expectations in sales).

But I don't think a truck like Ridgeline has a future. Simply put, ride and interior aren't important enough to guys that are really going to buy a truck for them to give up the parts of a truck that they need (e.g. towing, off-road capability, etc).

P.S. It still drives me nuts that Ford kills the Ranger that was selling 50,000 units a year, and Honda kills the Ridgeline that's barely selling 6,500 units per year. Life isn't fair.

Ram just isn't telling the truth. I'm an 04 4X4 Dak owner...awesome truck. Should've left the 97-04's alone. Its really really simple (for Chrysler at least). Copy the Tacoma......a lighter, boxed front, open channel frame (like mine, and its still very tight)...tough, prerunner stance (for all models), nice V-6 (pentastar finally available) and proper 6 speed auto. Not too big....quad cab though....and a decent 4X4 package. Tow around 6K.....get 20-21 on freeway. Ram is gonna say they had to change 97-04's due to crash regs or something....but I call bs on that. Aaaahhhh.....real reason they don't do this tho.....don't want 1500 competition. Nothing to do with 'platforms', or 'market forces'......blah blah blah. And the 05-11's didn't sell because they were ugly......plain and simple.

If jeep made the jk8 a factory truck and not a very expensive aftermarket mopar package (thus bringing the price much lower and allowing them to market it as a sperate model) I guarentee it woudl sell. Especially w/ the new pentastar v6 giving the jk no quite good mpgs but not a complete abomination like the 4.0 and other motors used the Wranglers. The only thing Id trade my Ram in for before it dies woudl be a jeep pickup. I use my bed all the time but usually only in the 100-600 pound range so a jeep could handle it and all I tow is a small bass boat. But I going wheeling for sport or take it off road for hunting fishing etc. everyweekend a jeep w/ a 6ft bed would be perfect.

And still Consumer Reports still has the Ridgeline as the top midsize. Little do they really know about something in the way of trucks!

@The Luigiian That is why Ford/GM has the new BOF Ranger and Colorado and pitching their "car " qualities. A Holden Ute or the Cab Chassis Ford Falcon Ute has similar characteristics to the Ridgeline, but has 1800lb and 2,800lb payloads as well as LPI LPG engines.respectively. Honda does not offer the Ridgeline globally as such. I think one South American country, is the only other place outside the US/Canada to have it.

Also missing on most small truck offerings: STANDARD SHIFT TRANSMISSION. Well, for that matter, it's missing on the larger trucks too. We are becoming a nation of girly men.

I've got an '00 dak 5-spd small 8 quadcab. I'd rather drive it than the '10 MDX on the other side of the garage.

The Rampage or ABAT concepts aren't too bad, but for me they'll kill it because they'll give it some neutered slushamatic rather than a true performance transmission. At least at home in the US. That is one of the most exciting things about the 3rd world Colorados and Rangers: standard trans! PLUS: small, efficient turbo diesels! I would love to have those choices domestically.

It absolutely totally sucks that the only pickup you can buy domestically with a stick is Toyota Tocoma.

@El Pablo, in Europe it is manuals(they love them)and here it is going to be automatics and efficient diesels.

I've got a 2006 Ridgeline RTL. 83k miles. It's plenty capable as far as mid-size pickups go.
Regarding the Ridgeline they should do the following
CHANGES:
1. Make it look more like a traditional pickup. The Rampage concept is a good cue for that. That would attract more mid-size truck buyers.
2. Offer a 2wd version. That should increase fuel efficiency and make it more affordable.
3. Offer a 6ft bed. (The 5ft bed is as long as other mid-sizes' and the lack of a wheel well intrusion is nice. I"ve crammed a lot into that bed, but an extra foot would be welcome.)
4. Offer an off-road version, similar to modifications to the struts/shocks and a factory 2-3" lift, like the baja racing version of the Ridgeline that was so successful.
5. Maybe offer 4hi-4lo. I've got no complaints about the awd system, but this would make it more capable in certain situations
6. Build a base-work truck trim level, (maybe w/2wd) geared toward a younger buyer, work fleets and handyman types. Fill the gap that the Ranger is leaving behind.
They should CONTINUE:
1. Building a reliable vehicle.
2. Putting the trunk in the bed.
3. Making the most spacious and comfortable cabin in the mid-size class.
4. Including lots of standard features, BUT... (see #6 above)
5. Building this truck in the USA.

@Billy,

The Mitshubishi Raider was a Dodge Dakota !!!

It was a Dodge,the only reliable Mitshubishi ever made.Along with some Eclipse and other models that used the Chrysler 2.0 4 cyl.Mitshubishi gave Chrysler cars and minivans a bad name because they were unreliable,Chrysler used many small engines from Mitshubishi in its minivans and fwd cars from the mid 80's to the early 00's and they were lemons 2.6 4 cyl,2.5 v-6,3.0 V-6 known for bad transmissions and engine smoke that gave Chrysler a bad name but it was 100% Mitshubishi's reliability problems.

Again,the MITSHUBISHI RAIDER is a DODGE DAKOTA !!

Honda Ridgeline suffers from being Ugly ,slow and using more gas than a loaded half ton V-8 from the big 3 and mechanical issues.

Honda has bad :

Timingbelts
Transmissions
Shutering transmissions
Axle/suspension failures
Waterpumps cracking at waterpump housings
And several other problems with internal engine issues

**these are all known recall issues,and alot are not considered a recall, but Honda sent out letters for them to get fixed,and flew under the radar of being a recall.I was a Honda Tech for years and it was a joke of how Honda got away without recalling their inferior rolling garbage.

@ Matt Landrum ,

Actually the 2005- 07 Dakota sold very good, the 2005 sales numbers are the same as the 2004,06 was good 07 wasnt bad considering the truck gained a huge price jump.

The Dakota sales were down only because it was more than a Ram 1500 from mid year 2007-2011..

The economic crisis didnt help sales either.

And government regulations probably changed as did crash testing ,so they had to change the structure of the Dakota,notice how even small cars today are the size of a 1980's and 1990's mid size,cars are bigger and heavier than ever,because of regulation.

Remember the 2008-2011 4.7 V-8 Dakota was a 6 second flat 0-60,but the price of a Ram 2500 with diesel.

I actually like the last generation of Dakota,the Laramie trim looks great,chrome wheels,chrome grill..most people see the pictures of base model with the argent grill and trim,base wheels.But the price was $6300 more than a RAM 1500 so I bought a 2010 Ram 1500 QuadCab 4x4 Laramie it was $6300 cheaper than a Dakota .

$$$$$

Why would you pay $30-40k for a truck-lite that gets the same gas mileage as a full size truck, without the hauling/towing/off-road capabilities?

They need a major price cut to stimulate sales, if they really care that is.

I had a Honda Ridgeline for 3 years and this is THE BEST VEHICULE I OWNED PERIOD , just for your info Dakota lover the Ridgeline with 5000lbs in the back is faster than a 4.7 dakota ( first gen ) , if you don't beleive me check CR , the chevrolet colorado is not even close with a 3500lbs in the back ,

1-Nissan Frontier
2-Toyota Tacoma
3-Honda Ridgeline
4- Dakota 4.7
5- Colorado

the confort is on par with a big luxury car and the payload is round 1500lbs same as a 1/2 ton , the truck was design in USA ( ex chief engineer of GM S10 Lary Flint ) and built in USA , not even sell elsewhere , so its more american that the new made in india colorado , from my experience 5000lbs in the back 13% grade 45mph steady , yes the powertrain need a refresh , I love this site but it should be renamed redneckpickuptrucks.com.

Let this thing die already, Honda. Swallow your pride and admit that the Ridgeline was a mistake.

trx4TOM- Consumer Reports' specialty is home appliances. Their attempts at rating automobiles is a joke.

el pablo- You can still buy a Ford Ranger with a stick-shift.

TX RL owner- Why build it in the U.S.A. It would not change the fact that it is a Japanese product. You either like/want a U.S.A. product (Ford and G.M.) or you are happier with an import product (Honda, Nissan, Toyota, etc.).

Mechanic- That is why our good friend Lou, from this forum, despises Chrysler mini-vans -because powertrains and pieces, borrowed from Mitsubishi, screwed the vehicle up.

Ford's Mike Rowe just cannot compete with the proven power and reliability of GM's Howie Long! Ford needed to give Mike a 'Man Step' and a computer that applies the brake for you when going down hill because Mike Rowe isn't a real man and doesn't know how to go down a hill! These are just some of the cold hard facts that Ford Cheerleaders cannot deny! But they will try to come up with some stupid excuse or remark to try and make their precious brand look better! GM rules!

@Keven Vachon
"I love this site but it should be renamed redneckpickuptrucks.com"
Now thats the truest comment made on here ever.

@5.3lol- True but that is how the majority of us like it, and thus it should be.

Frankly it was garbage when it was introduced, and Honda made it worse.

Honda has low tech engines. Timing belt + no variable valve timing.
Honda is still using a 5 speed automatic.
Honda took a retrograde step of going from amber turn signals to red.
Honda uses dual beam headlights, and instead of fixing that, Honda grafts in DRLs
Honda says "††Premuim unleaded fuel is recommended when towing above 3500 lbs"
The transmission selector is terrible. P R N D 2 1 (+ a button for D3) D3 is too short for towing, D4 is what you want.

Take it out behind the shed

When the Ridgeline first came out, I immediately thought of the El Camino. Honda just modernized it. Now Ford, Chevy, Toyota and Dodge have new mid-size concepts that all look similiar to the Ridgeline. I think the mid-size truck would sell well, if it had a better fuel economy. Why give up my full-size truck for a mid-size that gets the same gas mileage or a touch better.
Now I have heard that the new Chevy truck will have the I4 enging from the Equinox as an option. That has my interest as it gets great gas mileage.
If Ford and Chevy are serious about bi-fuel or straight CNG in its full-size trucks then I'd buy one in a heart beat. CNG is the way to go to get off foreign oil dependency.

@Buy American - I 'd like to clarify a few things - the Grand Caravan I owned was NOT a Mitsubishi variant.
All Chrysler/Dodge.

That same old import argument - if it is made on the soil that you live on - it is NOT an import. The badge only denotes where the head office is located.
It won't be too long and GMC will be importing more vehicles than Toyota.
Quote "You either like/want a U.S.A. product (Ford and G.M.) or you are happier with an import product (Honda, Nissan, Toyota, etc.)."
Interesting - you only mentioned Ford and GMC as a USA product.
Was that a Freudian slip?
Did you go "wheeling" in your import truck this weekend just like oxi?

If you don't like the definitions of import/domestic vote someone in that will change them, and then they can build a fence around the USA.
Trust me - that would be much worse for everyone than the status quo. (Look at Cuba).
I am like most people - I like/want a quality product.
That is the biggest reason why so many people have bought foreign badged products. That is why a Sienna sits in my driveway and not a Grand Caravan.
Same reason why an F!50 sits in my driveway.

@Mechanic - same old tired arguments, why the name change?
Trying to sound more credible?

Lou-

My apologies for my mistake of identity regarding your Grand Caravan.

I failed to mention the Chrysler Group L.L.C. intentionally. I, as strange as this will sound, do not want to be a hypocrite. I am well aware of the Chrysler Group losing the majority, not all, of it's Americanism. I still consider purchases of Chrysler products to be of benefit to the U.S. economy. Not as much as a Ford or G.M. product. Although still more than any other brand. The Detroit 2-1/2 is best for our economy.

I really like Hondas. Our old CRV is tougher than nails and it gets a regular beating hauling stuff to and around the farm when we don't need the 8' bed on the pickup.

We looked at the Ridgelines, but it was ugly to my wife and lacked a big-enough bed to do any real work for me. As a result, we have two vehicles: a work-truck with poor MPG and the CRV, with excellent MPG for a 4WD vehicle.

@Mark the author: don't sling the anti-PC BS. If anything, haters of big SUV (I'm one of them) respect pickups, full-sized or not, if they are used for WORK. Otherwise, they are just wasteful toys. Show me a Ford Superduty dualie with a few dings, tools in the back of the cab, and some dirt in the bed, however, and I'll say "right on," despite the low MPG of the vehicle.

Too bad, Honda. You could have made a great light-duty truck that would be efficient and practical. But the Ridgeline is NOT that truck.

It is a Honda...disposible vehicle, GM made the mistake of putting this honda drivetrain in its 2004-2006 Saturn Vue, transmission failures galore. Honda has crappy vehicles and this is a suv with a bed in it. Until they can make a transmission that will last past 90k they will be purchased by the uninformed

I've had my Rideline almost six years and over 100,000 miles and it's only needed routine maintenance. My previous two trucks were nightmares in that regard so I really appreciate this truck.

According to this article I must hate myself because I love my Ridgeline. I car pool with four other people and they all love my Ridgeline. I also buy building supplies almost every weekend and I sure appreciate being able to haul what I buy home. This weekend I had my snowtires put on and as I drove home with my summer tires in the back I wondered how people who don't have trucks deal with that situation.

Maybe the Ridgeline market is niche but I think it is larger than most people realize and I just wish Honda would market the Ridgeline differently.

I was going to by a new Ridgeline last year, but the horrible gas mileage was the deal killer for me. 15-20mpg with a 3.5L V6, jeez Honda! If they play catch up to current engine & tranny tech, I'd buy one. Put a 6 speed auto with a Direct Injection version of their gas motor, OR even better, a Direct Injection Turbo Diesel with the 6 speed auto!! 30mpg Hwy would be awesome.

I owned two Ridgelines however the fuel mileage always sucked. Due to some life/job changes I had to get out of the RL and move into a diesel dually (GMC 3500) bone stock. I am still stunned that my dually gets better fuel mileage than the Ridgeline did. Clearly, there is something wrong with this picture. The general public knows how bad the fuel mileage is for the RL. Unless Honda does something to fix the fuel economy, this truck is doomed. I would never buy another one.

The El Camino had a cult following but remained a low volume 'niche'. The Ridgeline is Today's El Camino and despite poor poor fuel economy, is perfect for many occasions I'm sure but without sharing more drivetrain or body parts like the Avalanche does, it must die.

The Ridgeline and Titan need to go the way of the S2000 and the Stanza. Put out to pasture already.

The reason the Honda Ridgeline ain't sellin' is because of similar vehicles that cost less and carry more. For example, The Chevrolet Avalanche (A full size) can carry a lot more, has more horsepower, torque, and even one more MPG then Honda. Another example would be the Toyota Tacoma, it carry's around the same weight, has a lower bed height so you can actually reach over, a little more "truck like" interior, and you can go off-roading because of the hug tires they out on it. The competition is surly why the Ridgeline is headed for the grave.

For me, the Ridgeline is a respectful pickup that has got its charm. Pick ups I consider as better than SUVs or sedans as they are practical in every situation and can be modified to give the feel one wants.

The G.M.C. Envoy X.U.V. was a more practical and capable design than the Ridgeline is. Too bad General Motors failed to advertise/market it appropriately.

First of all let me say, I have owed full size truck in the passed and the Honda Ridgeline mades a very competitive truck. If you don't really need full size features and like SUV features this is a truck that can fit in the taste of those who don't want full size duty.

I am curious to see what changes, if any, have been made to the Ridgeline's interior. It would be nice to see a USB line for the radio/Navi. If Honda really is planning on keeping the Ridgeline going, they should look into a 2nd generation model that includes better fuel economy and maybe even a few changes that the truck guys have been complaining about. I like that this is a truck alternative. They could improve some things a bit to make it more marketable. I wonder what is going on in Lincoln, AL right now?

I know one thing that is worse than a RL...Its Bobbeh(aka Bob, Bitchigan Bob, etc..), just read his post that has nothing at all to do with this article...wait its so good I will paste it here so you all can see it in all its glorious awesomeness.

"Ford's Mike Rowe just cannot compete with the proven power and reliability of GM's Howie Long! Ford needed to give Mike a 'Man Step' and a computer that applies the brake for you when going down hill because Mike Rowe isn't a real man and doesn't know how to go down a hill! These are just some of the cold hard facts that Ford Cheerleaders cannot deny! But they will try to come up with some stupid excuse or remark to try and make their precious brand look better! GM rules!"

Nothing to do with the RL...'sigh' he is relentless I will give him that.

Most of the negative comment hit the nail on the head.

There is no question that the Ridgeline is:
Ugly
Has an outdated drive train
Is overpriced compared to its full sized competitors.

Honda needs to:
Make it not ugly. (inside and out)
Offer a 2 wheel drive version that is less expensive.
Update the power train... increase the fuel economy without sacrificing capability.
Offer a capable offroad package for those who want it.
Price it competitively.

If a Ridgeline was to keep up with or out accelerate a Dakota 4.7, it woulda been the stock pre 08, non 05-07 Ho, read, the lowest performance 4.7, with 3.55 or 3.21 gears. Or a dakota driver wasn't trying! High rpm honda engines! But you gotta love it the folks come on here and say "honda builds junk" Just like any other car company, some are very long lasting, some not so good. Civics last a good long time. But here in the hills, not alot of Ridgelines, no torque.

As for the Dodge minivans, make mine a 2.5L with a turbo and 5 speed! They made them!

IMHO, Honda's biggest mistake was comparing the Ridgeline to full-size trucks, instead of going after the Sport-trac, followed by the other Midsize crews. The Powertrain in the Ridgeline was par when they launched it, but has grown a little long in the tooth. Upgrading to the engine to a J37 (maybe with iron liners), and a beefier trans with more ratios would be nice.
@George- Nothing wrong with a timing belt. You replace 'em every 100k for half of what an OHC timing chain will cost you every 200k. No VVT? News to me:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_J_engine#J35
come on, it even sais VTEC right on the valve cover.
@TJ- thousands of 300k+ Honda owners would disagree.
@Ned Nelson- My little old 3 series fit 4 tires in the trunk no problem.
@Buy American- Difference is the S2000 was widely regarded as one of the(if not the) best vehicle in its class.
@Bradley- The 'Lanche stickers a full $10 grand more than the Ridgeline, and is rated for a heady 1263 punds payload. I challenge you to actually find a 4x4 crew cab Taco in a dealer lot for less than 30k. Those are rated for 1295 pounds, btw. The lowly Ridgeline is rated for 1545 pounds. All ridgelines have rear lockers. Try again.

@Mechanic

I KNEW THE RAIDER WAS A DAKOTA! I REPEAT...I KNEW THE RAIDER WAS A DAKOTA!!!

I'm just saying, Dodge should have used the Raider's aesthetics for the Dakota rather than going for the Caliber-like front end as seen on the 2008 and out model year Dakota. Like take the Raider as is and rebadge it as the Dodge Dakota. IMO the Raider looked a lot better than the current Dakota. The only reason Raider didnt sell to well was because, well, it was a Mitsubishi.

Now, on the real topic... The Honda Ridgeline was unique in its own way. My opinion is if Honda had made it look more like a pickup (i.e. without the integrated "cab collar"), plus a bigger V6 engine, like 3.7 to 4.0L range, 300hp, and 6-speed auto, and a floor shifter since the thing only has front bucket seats, it'd probably sell better

All these comments about the horrible gas mileage of the Ridgeline don't really make sense to me. Before I bought my '06 Ridgeline I had a '99 Ranger for 10 years. I averaged 17 mpg on my daily commute with the Ranger. My Ridgeline averages 20.5 for the same drive. So for my needs, the Ridgeline is saving me money on gas compared to my last vehicle. It's all a matter or perspective I guess. Also, the Ridgeline has a higher payload capacity than my Ranger (1500 lbs vs. 1250). It gets better mileage and can haul more than my Ranger did. Again, it's all a matter of perspective, but for me the Ridgeline is a better truck than my old Ranger.

I'm the perfect market for the Ridgeline - I *do* hate trucks! I live in an urban area, I hate swinging around a huge wheelbase, and I got over my addiction to solid axles with my last Camaro.

I don't need a work truck. I need something I can fit two sport bikes in to take to track days, with FWD/AWD that works where 90% of US low-traction driving takes place (on-road snow), and that will carry four adults in comfort.

The Ridgeline is *perfect* for me. I wish it had a Hi/Lo transfer case, but realistically I can get by without it, and appreciate not having to bulk up the axles and hubs to deal with the extra leverage. Other than that, it will go anywhere there is or was a road, it will do it carrying a full load, and it will do it without sounding like its falling apart in the process. It's a Grand Cherokee with a bed and good build quality, and how is that a bad thing???

This whole notion that "a truck aint a truck lessn you can haul yore moBILE home through the swamp with it" is ridiculous. There are a lot of different roles for trucks. I need a toy hauler, and the Ridgeline is a great one. If I needed to haul a four-place horse trailer, I'd have a different truck. If I needed a rock-crawler, I'd have a different truck. None of them would be optimal at the other tasks. You pick the best balance for your needs.

KeS

I need a truck that can take my gear on the job, and at the same time carry my clients in comfort. The Ridgeline is excellent for doing exactly what I need. No van exists today that goes in the snow like my Ridgeline. I don't need to tow anything.

The answer to all the questions posed in this article lies in the fact that most owners love their Ridgelines. It provides an excellent entry point for some shoppers, as Honda has announced.

There is a market for this vehicle. Unfortunately, as the article mentions, the full-size crowd have down-talked the Ridgeline so much that it takes a man with real balls to buy one.

A Ridgeline may out accelerate a Dakota but a Dakota can take more punishment before something break.

And if you need someting fast buy a sport car.

My Ford F350 out accelerate a Freightliner which one is the best the strongest and the most durable. Onlya Honda nuts can think that way so get back to your civic and leave the real truckers alone.

I love my fully loaded 2008 Ridgeline. I wanted a truck that was more road friendly in the city and still can take it to the country roads or off roads. And that's what I got. If I need to haul more than it can handle I'll call up my boys with the "real" trucks. By the way my boys love my Honda Ridgeline. They are 6 footers that can climb in and be comfortable when we're going out for the night. Forget mpg if you want a truck, I don't care about it. Just tired of senseless idiots trash talking on the internet about how much the Ridgeline sucks. There is a market for it, Honda just did a poor job marketing it.

I'm the owner of a 2011 Ridgeline. Fits my vehicle needs perfectly. Please notice I didn't use the word truck as it offends many readers here to think of the RL as a truck. No, it's not a big F350 pick em upthat can out accerlate a Freightliner(whatever the hell that means) but it could serve many pickup owners quite well. Gas mileage is not good but I knew that going into the vehicle. As far as the "buy American" rants go: the RL was designed in America, is made in Alabama by Americans. It has 70% American parts content. Check the "Big 3" content.

Here is a great, related, exerpt from an expert:

Buy American Mention of the Week

Buying an American-made Camry is not buying American

By Roger Simmermaker

10-9-11

"A few auto review websites have recently listed the U.S.-built Toyota Camry as the apparent “most American vehicle” for 2012. The problem with this declaration is that it is determined on criteria that is simplistic at best.

For the 2012 model year, according to TheCarConnection.com website, the gasoline version of the Camry is projected to have a 92 percent domestic parts-content, while the hybrid version scores a much lower 59 percent because the drive components and battery packs will be imported from Japan.

And since the automobile window stickers must combine content percentages based on a “carline” basis, the combined 2012 figure for the Camry is 89 percent (the 2011 percentage is 80). Now how we can combine 92 percent (for gasoline Camrys) and 59 percent (for Hybrid Camrys) and come up with 89 percent (according to the American Automobile Labeling Act) is beyond me, but this is just a minor distraction from the main “most American vehicle” classification problem anyway.

Buying American is more than just about point of manufacture or assembly and the domestic content of any given product. The true definition of “Buying American” is buying an American-made product from an American-owned company with a high domestic parts-content within that product. Prime consideration should be given to the ownership of the company since American companies typically pay nearly twice as many taxes to the U.S. Treasury as foreign-owned companies.

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac actually has the highest domestic parts-content (90 percent) but Ford ceased production of the Sport Trac at the beginning of the model year. The Ford Explorer comes in at 85 percent.

If you would like to see where major components like engines and transmission are manufactured for various vehicles and where they are actually assembled (2010 data), please visit http://www.howtobuyamerican.com/content/db/b-db-autos.shtml. When you do, you’ll see American companies overwhelmingly produce more cars and trucks along with their engines and transmissions in America.

After all, which is more American: a U.S.-built car from an American-owned company, or a U.S.-built car from a foreign-owned company? Answer: a U.S. built car from an American-owned company. Why?

Because when we ‘Buy American’ in the purest sense of the term (buying an American-made product from an American-owned company with a high domestic parts-content) we reward American owners, American investors, and American stockholders, keeping jobs, profits and the tax base here.

When we buy an American-made car from a foreign-owned company, we reward foreign owners, foreign investors, and foreign stockholders.

If it’s an American company we’re supporting, the profits either stay in America or are repatriated here, and the taxes on those profits are paid to the U.S. Treasury rather than to the treasuries of foreign governments in foreign lands.

We must consider more than just assembly or manufacturing jobs. It is widely known that about 11% of all jobs in America are currently in the manufacturing sector. That leaves 89% of American jobs for other sectors like engineering, design, research & development, testing, and administration. When we support American companies, these jobs are much more likely to be located in America. Conversely, when we support foreign companies, these jobs often reside in the foreign country where the ultimate parent headquarters is located.

Case in point is the Toyota Camry itself. You know, the one that seems to have won the “most American vehicle” award we’ve been talking about?

For three years running, Cars.com has ranked it number one in its American-made index. And to add insult to injury, the Camry will debut as the Daytona 500 pace car next year.

But despite all these lavish American awards and distinctions, Toyota isn’t ready to fully design and develop the car in the United States because Toyota doesn’t “have the guarantee that there is the existence of the facility or the know-how in the United States," according to Camry chief engineer Yukihiro Okane.

Excuse me? The Big Three American automakers routinely spend $16 billion annually in the U.S. on research and development alone, and Toyota execs aren’t sure American engineers have “the know-how” to do these same tasks for their company’s supposed “American” vehicles?

When Camry chief engineer Yukihiro Okane was asked if U.S. engineers took part in developing the 2012 Camry, he stared at the ceiling while coming up with a face-saving answer, and eventually said that American engineers helped with color design and local road condition testing.

And what about the details behind the Georgetown, Kentucky plant where the Camry is built? Did Cars.com or TheCarConnection.com account for the following facts?

1. The Toyota plant built in Georgetown, Kentucky in 1987 was built with Japanese steel by a Japanese steel company.
2. Toyota was given 1,500 acres of free land.

3. A “special trade zone” was established so Toyota could import parts duty-free from Japan.

4. Financing was handled by Mitsui Bank of Japan.

5. Total federal, state, and local tax incentives (tax giveaways) reached $100 million, courtesy of your tax dollars and mine.


Now I know that $100 million sounds rather frugal compared to the record $577 million (that’s over half a billion dollars) set by Volkswagen for their first American plant built in Tennessee this year, but we are talking about 1987 when $100 billion was a much bigger sum than it is today.

And what about multi-billion dollar payouts American auto companies have made over the years for things like health care to support their American workers, American retirees, and their dependents?

In 2004, for example, General Motors spent $5.2 billion on health care for alone, which I’m sure was much more than Toyota spent on U.S. employees given the fact that they employ far fewer American workers. Maybe that could be part of the criteria for the most American vehicle award? Doesn’t it make more sense for the award to go to a company that actually contributes many times more to the U.S. economy than any foreign company?

I’m sure Toyota has far fewer retirees as well, since the most-senior employee at the Georgetown, Kentucky facility would today have only a maximum 24 years with the company if he or she was still employed there.

And if we want to consider a broader “carline” basis, or more accurately, a fleet-wide basis for the most American vehicle award, the facts are that American automobile companies have more American factories, employ more American workers, support more American retirees, use more American parts in their vehicles, do more research & development in America, and pay more taxes to America than any foreign auto company ever dreamed.

It usually takes 20 months to research, engineer, design, develop, and test a vehicle and only 20 hours to put it all together, yet most Americans only focus on where that 20 hours of work for each car takes place. We need to broaden our focus and consider where the jobs are located for the 20 months of work leading up to the actual assembly. Again, if it’s an American brand, more of the work for the jobs prior to vehicle assembly listed above will be in America.

Cars.com does admit, however, that out of the 37 models that have domestic parts-contents of 75 percent or more, 28 of them come from Detroit-based brands. So maybe they get it about American cars dominance overall in the industry on a fleet-wide basis.

However, their criteria for individual cars and how they are awarded with the “most American vehicle” award is narrow-minded at best, and leads many patriotic-minded American consumers to buy cars from foreign companies that do not support the American economy nearly as much as American automakers have and continue to do so."

Just a little food for thought.

Seriously, I don't think we need to post other website's (long) stories. If you want to provide food for thought, feel free to make it bite-sized but this is just wasteful. Good info, but just too much. Thanks.



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