Spied! 2012 Honda Ridgeline RTL

Spied! 2012 Honda Ridgeline RTL
Photos by Brenda Priddy & Company for PickupTrucks.com

We recently covered the 2012 Honda Ridgeline's new Sport trim package, which adds several exterior changes to our favorite unibody pickup. But if you're wondering about changes to other models, our spies have come through with the photos Honda doesn't want you to see.

Other Ridgeline models, including the high-end RTL version caught here during hot weather testing, are set to receive a new three-bar grille that's similar to the 2012 Honda Pilot crossover's grille, plus restyled taillights. We hear there will be several minor interior changes as well.

2011 Honda Ridgeline RTL pictured above for comparison

Officially, Honda says there will also be a slight boost in EPA mileage ratings for the 2012 Ridgeline in addition to the cosmetic updates. The 2011 Ridgeline is rated at 15/20 mpg city/highway and 17 mpg combined.

The 2012 Honda Ridgeline goes on sale in November.



Too little. Too late.

The Tacoma has best in class fuel economy.

The 2011 Tacoma is rated at 21 city and 25 hwy and 2012 should be better.

So it's actually rated for worse fuel economy than a full size Ford F150 with the 365hp ecoboost or a full size Silverado with the 315hp 5.3L V8?

Even though it's FWD unibody-based truck with a 250hp V6.

Not for nothing, but I would expect a FWD unibody mid-size truck to do at least a little better than a full size BOF truck. Especially considering it weighs about 1,000lbs less.

@Paul810- the strange part is that the Fridgeline actually weighs a good bit MORE than the benchmark Tacoma. If Honda had given it the 6spd from the big Acura, it might be some benefit. Oh well. When everyone else starts making unibody pickups in a few years, they'll have Ridgeline to look at for all the things it did right (interior, handling) and wrong (fuel econ, weight)

Still Ugly.

Truck buyers hate the Ridgeline's minivan style interior.

Strange, never thought I see news about a Ridgeline on PICKUPTRUCKS.COM.

new grill is better


Everyone claims it has a unibody. It has the exact same body construction that the Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Liberty has; that being a unibody—with a welded steel frame. Haven't heard anyone complain about Jeep body construction for years.

@ tacoman

21/25 mpg from the Tacoma? Yeah, with the 2.7L 4-cylinder 2WD regular cab model, with the 5-speed manual tranny.

Try comparing apples-with-apples, as in a 4WD V6 double cab; that model gets 16/20 mpg, automatic. So it gets 1 mpg better in the city than the Ridgeline; big deal.

Its MPG is what you'd expect from a 3.5 having to push around 4,500 lbs. I'd rather have a 5.0 CrewCab F-150 4X4 KingRanch and suffer the 1 MPG penalty thank you very much. Have the Ridgeline perform actual work and watch the fuel gauge drop like you flushed a toilet.

@ DenverMike

If you own a King Ranch, it's unlikely it sees much "real" work. If you owned an XL or XLT I'd be more sympathetic to your comment.

No, most F-150 King Ranch owners, like Ridgeline owners, use their vehicles more as family vehicles. Yeah, they may haul a few bales of hay from time-to-time, or occasionally pull a boat trailer; but most of the time they're mall-mobiles. So realtime fuel mileage over the course of a year doesn't suffer as much as you suggest.

XLT ftw

I am not a fan of it either but I have a feeling with the new CAFE standards coming out, guys get used to trucks like this. If you want a small truck in the future it will be unibody.

@ Dave:

I see your hand and raise you one...

I expect full-size 1/2-tons to eventually use a similar unibody/welded frame construction at some point. The very tough upcoming fuel regs will almost certainly demand it.

@Bob Holland

It's an '04 XLT SuperCab 4X4 that's in absolute mint condition & 16,xxx miles 'cause that's how I roll. Yes most F-150s just move passengers but when my F-350 isn't available, the F-150 gets it done without a huge penalty at the pump. Load the Ridgeline to its max GVWR and watch its MPGs go single digit.

Wow!!! Holy name change Batman!!!...Bob just never stops. He never fails to complain about ford in a non ford related post. Its like he thinks his opinion counts, like anyone here would ever respect his definition of a "Real" work truck...does he even own a truck?

still fuglee, still junk , still just a minvan with an ugly mask on. the ridgeline wasn't the 1st unibody pick-up? made how about the Jeep made off the Cherokee?, that was more of a truck. and the VW pu was a closer match to the ridgeline, and even that could haul more, and get twice the mpg! Even Chevrolet made a uni-body truck, does anyone remember the Corvair Rampside? still better mpg, but just 80-110 hp. There are mor I'm sure but you get the point.

LMAO, so this minivan with a bed gets the same mileage as my 7400lb 3/4 ton 4x4 truck?

@ synrgy:

Try comprehending my posts before responding, otherwise you sound like a fool.

Fact is there is a ton of misinformation about the Ridgeline being perpetuated on this site by posters (not Mike Levine). Just setting the record straight.

...And nowhere did I slam Fords. I like the new F-150 the best of all the full-size trucks.

@Bob Holland people dont talk about Jeeps because they arent trucks. This "thing" is supposed to be a truck. However it just isnt up to par with the rest of the truck world.

think hes got the wrong Bob

@ evan:

How do you feel about car-based UTEs sold in Australia, Africa, and elsewhere? Do you consider them trucks? Or what about the mini-trucks sold in Japan and Southeast Asia?

You need to expand your (truck) horizons a bit. There is far more to the "truck world" than what was designed in Detroit.

@ tacoman

"The morons who drive these Ridgelines don't need a big gas hog V6."

"Morons," really? Why don't you talk to RL owners and see how they actually use their trucks, and if it's working for them. You might be surprised with their answers.

There's plenty of room for other types of trucks (such as the Ridgeline), even if you and others here don't agree.

Tacoma has one other advanatage: a 6' bed vs the Ridgeline's 5.5' bed.

Tacoma also has a double cab so don't start with the it's bigger so it should gess less economy crap. Tacoma is bigger if you seek more cabin room and more bed space, etc...

If the unibody Ridgeline can't even get better mileage than a 4wd Tacoma with a bigger bed and double cab which accoding to some is almost the same size as a full-size truck, this is a big deal...

You also wont' see many Ridgelines off-road because their owners are afraid they will get damaged on a simple wooded trail. A Tacoma can go off-road no problem.

Ridgelines are good for people who want a car but think they want a truck so they buy the worst of both...

Where I live (semi-rural) central Maryland, I see lots of Ridgelines. That may sound strange, but it's true. Most of them seem to be owned by folks with ~ 3-acre lots or larger. There's a lot of fairly large property here.

I see almost no young Ridgeline drivers. Most RL drivers I've seen are men in their 40s or 50s, and seem to be pretty well off, judging by the area that I live in. So I'm guessing mostly college-educated professionals, rather than blue-collar types.

That's not a slam on anybody; just an observation.

DenverMike - Tow 5,000lbs or more or max your King Ranch 150's payload and watch it's mileage drop too. I wish my MPG didn't drop when towing my travel trailer with my Titan. lmao

So will Honda address the biggest deficiency, the powertrain?

The Tacoma isn't any better.
The old, but proven 2.7 I4 still has a 4 speed automatic or 5 speed stick. Where is the 5/6 speed auto (or better yet, jump straight to 8 speed), or 6 speed stick?
Where is the updated 1gr-fe 4.0 V6 & 6 speed auto (and shorter axle ratio)?
The Ridgeline gets the same mileage as Tacoma V6 4x4 Double Cab. 16/20 is Access Cab (which is lighter)
Nada, the compact/mid-size pickup market is moribund.
Hopefully the 2012 Tacoma will bring new life, because the Colorado & Ranger are dead in the water, and Frontier hasn't received any attention.

@Bob Holland,

I share the same enthusiasm. The RL fits some peoples needs.

As a Ridgeline owner it cracks me up to read comments from people who have obviously never owned, driven or even ridden in a Ridgeline. It has a 1500 lb. payload capacity. My former vehicle, a '99 Ranger 4x4 XLT Supercab only had a 1200 lb payload capacity. In my book, that makes my Ridgeline a more capable truck than my Ranger was. And for the dude who made comments about the Tacoma having a bigger interior, I just have to shake my head in amazement. I test drove both trucks when I was shopping for a replacement for my Ranger. There is SO much more interior room in the Ridgeline, including a very large storage area under the back seats, and enough width to fasten 3 child seats in the back. With the back seats folded up, you can fit a mountain bike in the back with both wheels still on it. And again, the comment about the Tacoma having a longer bed.....that is absolutely true, but what the dude forgot to mention was the under-bed trunk that adds a large amount of storage capacity to the Ridgeline. I just used mine for a camping trip this weekend, and I completely filled the trunk with firewood, leaving the whole bed of the truck available for the rest of our gear. A lot of people don't like it, but you can't deny it's a very versatile vehicle that meets most family needs just fine.

People get 14-16 av mpg with these Honda RidgeLine's....
People get 14-16 av mpg with a Toyota Tacoma's...
People get 14-16 av mpg with a Domestic Dodge/GM/Ford full size Heavy Duty gas powered trucks.
People get 15-19 av mpg with a Domestic Dodge/GM/Ford Half ton..

It's funny when journelists or owner comments say the reason they chose a Ridgeline/Tacoma was for its good gas mileage,those people also think a full size truck gets 5 mpg ! People are extremely misled and uneducated/ignorant,and some are just plain stupid !

@ Bob Holland,

Funny,I live on acerage around here B.C Canada ,45 min east of nutt job Vancouver,sounds similar to the area near you,our properties are all over 1 million dollars and 1-50 acres and no Ridgelines,those are usually the stuck up left leaning Vancouver type who drive them,you know max out their credit cards to buy a $10 coffee everyday !!

Here mostly Dodge RAM's in our nicer area's,all shiny and some have alot of extra's on them,drivers ages are from 20's-70's(I would guess)most of them are 20-50 ish the large majority of Ram owners here ,there are Ford's as well but not as many as the RAM's they are everywhere,people use them as luxury personal daily drivers..take them out to the Friday night drags ect..The Ridgelines are usually dirty and older women driving them.

@wa2be, I know that it's crazy but it's true...

Oxi's Theme (Best You can Do)

Once in your life you find a truck
A truck that turns your heart around
And next thing you know you're driving a Tacoma Baja 1000
Wake up and the 9" of ground clearance are with you
Even though your 33" tires way across town
Wondering to yourself, "Hey, what've I found? A 2012 Tacoma?"

When you get caught between the Ridgeline and New Tacoma
I know it's crazy, but it's true
If you get caught between the Ridgeline and New Tacoma
The best that you can do ......
The best that you can do is buy a 2012 Tacoma

oxi he does as he pleases
All of his life, he's mastered the road and off-road
Deep in his heart, he's just, he's just a loyal Toyota owner
Living his life one day at a time
And in the Baja 500 he had a really good time
Laughing about the way everyone on pickuptrucks.com wishes they were like just like him

When you get caught between the Ridgeline and New Tacoma
I know it's crazy, but it's true
If you get caught between the Ridgeline and New Tacoma
The best that you can do .....
The best that you can do is buy the new Tacoma

When you get caught between the Ridgeline and New Tacoma
I know it's crazy, but it's true
If you get caught between the Ridgeline and New York City
The best that you can do .....
Is buy the new Tacoma


Ridgeline is full time all wheel drive not front wheel drive that is why mileage is suffer.

If the Ridgeline fits people's needs, why is Honda rumored to be canceling the Ridgeline after this year and why is Ram rumored to be cancelling its Dakota version of the Ridgline? Mike Levine said it was grim.

c5 the ridgeline is front wheel drive based, the only time the rear wheels get power is when the fronts lose traction, then up 50% can go to the rear. I've driven one many times, and dam if I could do a donut in one not int the durt, snow, ice, the nearist you can do is go side-ways or maybee do a 180% by just locking up the parking brake. My brother went to pickup some loam with his ridgeline, 2 yrd., he needed 5yrd. so I took my F-150 EB 8" bed 4X4 non HD package (1800) cap., when all was said an done his rear bumper was half way to the ground, and the susp. bottomed out on every nasty bump, in my F-150 the truck was still higher in the rear, and the truck rode like a caddy! no better!, and to top it off we tested for mileage, we both filled up, an then drove 25miles home, the m/t our trucks, drove another 25 miles back to get a little more, (his veh. not mine), when right around the corner and re-filled both trucks, we made a bet winner pays all. That was the best bet I've ever won,(but I didn't hole him to it, he's my brother!). ridgeline= 14mpg loaded half way, F-150 loaded halfway 16.5mpg! and I smoked the kid in the older 5.0 Mustang while loaded to boot!, needless to say my other brother is buying the same as mine next month!, AND it will cost him LESS TOO!!!. Granted the only thing is my truck is a reg. cab, but still weights more! anyway!!! no wonder honda will kill that thing after all.

I have to agree with most of Bob Holland's comments. I've never owned one but I've test drove one. They have a nicer interior than a Tacoma TRD Double cab. I also agree with the demographic that buys the Ridgeline.
People like it and find it useful.
The point I disagreee on - "If you own a King Ranch, it's unlikely it sees much "real" work."
Most of the logging contractors I see and or know drive "full load" King Ranch or Lariet HD's, or Ram Laramie HD trucks.
They rationalize it by saying that "I live and work out of the cab of my truck, I might as well be comfortable."
With that being said - there are always regional variations.
Guys complain about Ridgeline MPG ,but when they talk about their own truck will say "you don't buy a truck for MPG!"
Guys complain about the Ridgeline not being an offroader - how many guys really and truly run their trucks hard offroad?
@Canadian Dodge RAM Owner - not a fare comparision. A shack on any semblance of a lot is worth a fortune in the GVRD. Prices do drop as you head east, but still they are expensive. You must live in the "Ram Bible Belt" if everyone owns one;)

The thing that is killing small trucks are:
1. Conservative truck guys that will only by a traditional Detroit truck (full size, BOF, V8)
2. Outdated drivetrains
3. Questionable style ie. Ridgeline/ABAT
3. Purchase cost
4. Size
5. Fuel economy

My only complaints about the Ridgeline after a test drive were the huge C-pillar, the odd shape of the box sides, and last but most significant - price.
I couldn't carry my 12 ft aluminim boat without expensive aftermarket racks, and a canopy for the winter time was outrageously expensive (salesman shot himself in the foot when he said"if you want a canopy, might as well buy an SUV).
A base model Ridgeline was more expensive than an after rebate F150 SuperCrew. The TRD Tacoma Doublecab was also more expensive than the F150 one rebates/discounts were factored in. (That was my experience in my region - results may vary;)
The Ridgeline or Tacoma didn't fit my needs but it doesn't mean I have to ridicule the truck or its owners (well, only if the owners deserve it. LOL)

Mike Levine doesn't like the minivan design cues in the interior and the too many styling gimmicks.

The in bed trunk is a gimmick as you have to unload your bed to get to it and there is a long reach to spare tire behind hidden trunk. If you want a trunk, buy a car.

There are no two-tier loading or cargo-control slots in bed.

Tacoma has more front leg room. Ridgeline has more rear leg room but this is a gimmick because they took room from the bed.

Soccer dads who are confused on whether they should buy a car or a truck will be missing the Ridgeline. Core truck buyers will shop elsewhere.

Lou: all very good points! not enough there for the$$$ if the price was more resonable I would cut the ridgeline some slack, but poor design+enginering= 0 for honda, too bad , the interior is nice, lots of room, because they make so many fine to great products, they aguably make the best mowers and generators, trimmers, and yes cars, (not my style), but to each there own. They have in the past made some real outstanding motorcycles, one in particular was in the early 60's they had a GP racer, it was a 250CC 6cyl! it would rev to 16,000rpm's and were bullit-proof. Thay can do better! But no matter the American truck are much nicer!!!

@ sandman4X4 (and others)

Thanks for the support. I've never understood why some folks get so bent out of shape, when expressing opinions that might differ from theirs.

As to the "King Ranch" comment: I specifically said F-150 models. No doubt Super Duty King Ranches see their share of work.

@ Hank:

"Soccer dads who are confused on whether they should buy a car or a truck will be missing the Ridgeline. Core truck buyers will shop elsewhere."

No doubt, and that's the way it was always intended. Honda never planned on going after the HD pickup market with this truck. It was always aimed at the Harry Homeowner market. Why is that so hard to understand?

Who said anything about HD trucks?

Honda decided to go after the 1/2 ton full size trucks. Why is it so hard for Honda fanboys to understand Ridgline went after the 1/2 ton full-size pickups and failed miserably?

Although the Ridgeline is more aptly classified as a sport utility truck, this recently-introduced category is not well known with consumers, with the only other rivals being the Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Honda decided instead to advertise the Ridgeline as an alternative to traditional 1/2 ton full-size pickups such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Toyota Tundra, all of which had standard V8 engines. This likely harmed Ridgeline sales, as some cited its weak V6 engine (Honda has never developed a V8 for passenger vehicles and lack of ruggedness due to its unibody construction, while its relatively short cargo bed compared to a standard pickup truck made it unsuitable for contractors. - wiki

@ Hank:

It is an alternative to the full-size 1/2-ton—just as it's an alternative to the mid-size trucks out there.

It may not tow as much as the full-sizers, but it's in the ballpark in terms of payload with many 1/2-tons.

This truck splits the gap between the traditional 1/2-ton and midsizers. Most people consider it mid-size. I've seen Honda news releases that mention both 1/2-tons and mid-size trucks. I consider it more mid-size than full size—and that being the case, it's the only mid-size that can carry a sheet of plywood flat on the bed floor.

"Who said anything about HD trucks?'

Several people in this thread made reference and/or comparisons to HD pickups here.

There is a niche market/loyal following for the Ridgeline just as there was for the El Camino, Rabbit Truck & Subaru Baja but with less than 1000 sales per month, its days are also numbered.

The 2017+ F-150 HEVs could be no bigger or better than the Ridgeline and they can keep those too. Thing is, 3/4 & 1 Tons are exempt from this type of persecution/castration so care to guess what I'll be buying?

@ DenverMike

3/4 and 1-ton trucks are not totally exempt. They still have to meet strict new fuel econmy standerds. They just don't have to meet the same standered as 1/2 ton's and smaller.


I agree with Mike.

Mistake #1 for the Ridgeline was competing against full-size pickup trucks when it had no business doing so with a weaker engine, small 5' bed and worse fuel ecoonomy.

Mistake #2 was never updating it for so long.

The rumor still is the Ridgeline is being discontinued next year.

The Ridgeline copy by Ram is rumored to be becoming cancelled.

Chevy Avalanche is also rumored to be killed by 2013.

If these trucks fit buyers needs why kill them? Because these types of trucks don't fit buyer's needs. Even the confused soccer dad market is walking away from the Ridgeline, only 377 sold in July, down 75.2% from July 2010.

The Ridgeline for many, would do the job just fine.
Like I mentioned earlier - Conservative truck guys will only buy a traditional Detroit truck (full size, BOF, V8)

I've seem my share of 1/2 tons without box liners etc and the box looks as good as new.
I've also seen my share of HD's pulling a trailer that could easily be handled by a 1/2 ton.

Did Honda misread the market by targeting 1/2 ton buyers?
I don't think that marketing it as a 1/2 ton replacement was the main problem - the problem was underestimating how conservative truck buyers are in their choices.
They should of targeted minivan and SUV buyers. I suspect they chose not to as they would end up just chipping away at their own sales. (Like Tundra and Tacoma).

Forget the conservative truck buyers being biased argument. Very few are buying the Ridgeline no matter who they are.

Only 322 Ridgelines sold last month. Poor fuel economy, weakness, small bed and neglect is the reason for its downfall. They could have had a winner and owned the sport utility market if they tried a little harder.


Thanks for the article. $1,600 worst case penalty/increase over & above normal 2018 (model year) price bump is easy enough to swallow on a $40-50K gas 3/4 ton. I'll get all of that back in fuel savings possibly in 2 years. If an F-250 CrewCab 4X4 XLT that costs $40,100 today ends up costing $45K in 2018, sign me up! At least it will still be a 'truck' in the traditional sense.

Sales of mini F-150 HEVs will be as 'mini' as the Ridgeline's but everyone will be satisfied. It's kinda silly to assume half ton buyers will not simply sidestep these future smaller, ridiculously priced half tons for 3/4 tons and burn more fuel in the process.

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