By Kelsey Mays
Resurrected after a two-year hiatus, the Honda Ridgeline returned for 2017 to capture the top truck honor from the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year jury and land in the consideration set for Cars.com's Best Pickup of 2017. It didn't win in the end, but the unibody Ridgeline still boasts a degree of ride composure its truck-based competitors seldom achieve, and its EPA-estimated gas mileage compares favorably with many V-6 gasoline rivals. In fact, it almost won, by the narrowest of margins, our most recent Midsize Pickup Challenge.
How does that mileage hold up in the real world? We took an all-wheel-drive Ridgeline RTL-E (EPA 18/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined) from Chicago to Iowa's Quad Cities region on a route that put its strengths on display: mostly highway driving to and from the area, plus 83.3 miles of errands once there. All told, we put 363.1 miles on the Ridgeline over three days at an average speed of about 59 mph.
In the end, the Ridgeline's trip computer logged 23.0 mpg. That's short of the truck's EPA highway mileage, but it easily beats the combined figure.
- We began and ended the journey at the same gas station and pump in Chicago's western suburbs, returning with the needle near empty. But upon fill-up, our pump — which was problem free the first time around — developed a habit of clicking off every few gallons. We repositioned the nozzle several times to no avail, then abandoned the effort when it stopped for the umpteenth time at 16.651 gallons. That's 21.81 mpg if you're keeping track, but our equipment difficulties throw too much doubt on that figure. The trip computer's 23.0 mpg is the number to go with here.
- The entire trip was done with two adults aboard. Around the Quad Cities area, we drove 34.5 miles with a wood jointer secured in the front of the bed, plus another 22.6 miles with the jointer and some light lumber. Other than that, the bed was empty.
- We drove as we normally would — no acceleration tests or hypermiling — and we used plenty of cruise control. We kept the Ridgeline's automatic climate control in fully automatic mode between 68 and 72 degrees, and avoided the drivetrain's Econ mode, which noticeably relaxes accelerator progression and dials back climate control.
- Temperatures were in the high 20s throughout, per Weather Undergound. Our journey to and from the area had a slight tailwind bias (14-17-mph tailwinds on the west leg versus 12-14-mph headwinds or crosswinds on the east leg), but significant crosswinds (17-19 mph) during our drive around the Quad Cities mitigated any gains from that.
Want more thoughts? Read our full review of the Ridgeline for more impressions.
Cars.com photos by Kelsey Mays