The 2012 Midsize Shootout is Live!

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It's finally here (and thank you for your patience). We took all the non-full-size pickups sold in the U.S. and beat the snot out of them over the course of a brutal weeklong test, and we have all the data and judges' impressions ready for your viewing.

We've tried to be as thorough and transparent as possible, but of course, we expect you'll have a thing or two to say about how and what we've done here. Feel free to let us know what you think and how you felt the different vehicles performed. No doubt a lot of interested parties (i.e., factory engineers) will be watching for your comments and observations. 

For now, check out the full seven-part test: 2012 Midsize Shootout


Results page is not available as of 10:07 Central 1/18.

Ridgeline best mpg.
Ridgeline highest payload.
Ridgeline 3rd place ahead of Ford, GMC, Chevrolet and Suzuki is impressive.

I just know the Ranger is gonna take it no matter what the results say, I'll take a 1980's truck over many of these 2012 trucks.

Ridgeline: almost the worst braking empty, THE WORST loaded. Who cares how great the payload is if it can't handle it? Let's hook a trailer to it and see how it tows 5000 pounds. Put a load behind it and it will bring the mileage way down.

@Mark Williams: Can you tell us what tires they all have? The Ridgeline prob has the least rolling resistance tires. There's part of your gas mileage.

The Ridge impressed, like it does almost everyone who's driven one. Even in its 7th year its still a good compromise for everything except offroading. Better tires are easy and if Honda ever updates it a six speed transmission with a deeper first would make the missing low range less glaring.

Homers demanding the toughest tow truck, (to drive on pavement with an empty bed most of the time) are threatened by it but what else is new?

Why do people hate the Ridgeline so much? I don't own one and wouldn't buy one as my old F150 suits my needs just fine for truck duty. But come on people, you CANNOT distinguish the difference of the buying group between the Ridgeline buyers and the tacoma buyers. Sorry, but it sounds like some of you like to just pick apart someone elses purchase because it doesn't jive with your ideas. If the Ridgeline is "oh so bad", don't buy one. The way I see it, if it does what the owner wants it to in a fashion the owner wants it to, then its win-win.

Ridgeline is not a is a crossover at best.

so would any vehicle, doesnt mean its gonna fair too well in the end but itll take it. i would take a new truck over any old truck any day simply due to the fact, old means worn n fading parts. dont something giving out when u need it the most.

to me it was kinda expect the ridgeline would ride the best n performed the worst when the pavement ends.

what surprised me is the colorado with its 5.3 v8 n 4.10 axles is unable to shake off the frontier n tacoma performance. likely due to the old 4spd tranny? old in the tooth also.

interestingly, i knew the frontier n tacoma would be the ultimate standouts when it comes to head to head shoot-out like this.

At the Ridgeline is a pickup truck.

Who is more credible, or Scott? Sorry Scott, even the Ranger is rated higher than you.

First, it was "the Ridgeline is not a truck, it can't haul anything." Now it is "well, it's not how much you haul, it's how you haul it." Time to 'fess up guys, the Ridgeline is a performer, and you'll know it when you ride in one. Thanks to trucksdotcom for a good, objective test, and not being afraid to call the Ridgeline a truck.

Although they did forget to point out that the Ridgeline is the only one of these that can lay a 4x sheet of material flat on the bed floor.

Scott: Your misguided opinion at best.

It qualifies as a truck even if you're not big enough to admit it.

RL fan: Good point. It seems to qualify as a truck more than the others where that is concerned.

uh huh: EagleXYZ is a ford fan, so it is not suprising he would rather have old antiquated truck over a new one. figures...

No surprises here. The Ridgeline continues as the best all-around mid-size truck, and the worst for hard-core off-roading. Ridgeline critics continue with their heads in the sand. The moon will come out tonight and the sun will shine tomorrow...

Good objective test and good reporting! Nice to see a test like this. Seems like there are oodles of comparisons of full-sized pickups, but very few reviews like this for mid-sized trucks.

The results are about where I figured they would be. When I was looking for a MS truck, the top 3 in this test made the final cut. I ended up going with the RL, just because it made the most sense to me, and fits my lifestyle the best. I don't need "rock climbing" ability, medium off-road capibility is plenty for me, and I needed something for a daily commuter or something that I could take the whole family in on a long trip, that wouldn't leave my kidney's aching at the end of the drive. The RL's superior handling, ride, AWD grip in questionable road conditions, and 5 star safety rating were the deciding factors for me. Plus, the dual-action tailgate and water-tight, lockable, trunk are great. In the summer I have my golf clubs in the trunk and in the fall my guns.

Also, as mentioned above, I can go and pick up 4x8 sheets for drywall or plywood and lay them flat in the bed. With no wheel well intrusion and the 49" width, it makes it super-easy load/unload drywall/plywood.

Oh, and I do have one question for the author of this excellent article. In the hill-climbing test, the article notes that the RL was the only one not able to get to the top. I wonder...did the driver(s) push the 4x4 button, put it in 1st gear, and then attempt the ascent...?...or was it just put in "D" and a run taken at the hill?

Finally, to all you Ridgeline haters...I think this review shows that is it a very capable little truck. I also suggest...take one for a test drive...I don't think you would be a hater afterwards.

Flash o Matic: I own a F150 myself, but have always thought the Ridgeline was a capable truck. You see, most of the guys on here that bash it never use their battle tank to its full potential.....but rest assured they will embark their nonsense drivel towards the RL and their owners.

Most of these "urban cowboys" never see much more offroading in their F150 than a wet soccer field when their wife demands thm hand over the keys to "her" truck. I have probably done more offroading in my wife's sedan than some of these crybabies on here have with their "super capable" full sizers.

Mark Williams: well written article, good job!

I agree with Scott. The Ridgeline is not a truck. It is a sport utility truck aka SUT. A sport utility truck (SUT) is a vehicle deriving from an SUV or Crossover.

we are US citizen about we are very very jealous about next generation midsize/compact Volkswagen Amarok from Argentina and Ford Ranger from Thailand dont coming to US Market why it is almost diesel and four cylinder with gasoline than V6 with gasoline. Ford and VW officials are real greedy to US Market. if you think different Toyota Tacoma and Hilux.

@ RL fan

you can lay a 4x8 sheet on the floor ONLY because it doesnt have a FRAME! its a unibody which makes it MUCH less desirable for folks that need a "truck". I dont have a single problem with people that want a Ridgeline so dont misinterpret what i'm saying, its a Pilot with a bed. It would be much like Toyota taking a Highlander and putting a bed on the back of it, sure with the 3.5 it'll get better fuel economy but a FWD based vehicle is NOT good for towing PERIOD.

Dave said: "I agree with Scott. The Ridgeline is not a truck. It is a sport utility truck aka SUT. A sport utility truck (SUT) is a vehicle deriving from an SUV or Crossover."

Okay, it's not a truck. But, it is a "sport utility TRUCK" he says.

Definition of pickup TRUCK: a light truck having an enclosed cab and an open body with low sides and tailgate —called also pickup truck .

Of course, here in PUTC world, Websters Dictionary may be incorrect as well. Gawd, I guess if it doesn't have a separate bed/cab with a ladder frame under it, it is not a "TRUCK" as the urban cowboys on PUTC say.

Not trucks according to posters on PUTC:


These trucks ceased to be "TRUCKS" when the definition changed sometime, even though it is not duly noted in Websters. You people should really quit grasping at straws here....

hemi lol: since you like schooling people so much, how would you like to present the class with the proper definition of truck. Not a twisted, off topic definition that is called YOUR OPINION, but from a reputable dictionary. The class would love to hear what you, Dave, and Scott would have to say.

You guys really think RL owners care that my F150 at home has a frame and separate bed/cab? No, all they care about is function, and it functions as a truck, just like the Comanche, Escalade, Avalanche, etc.

I am starting to think you people have some type of personality complex when the words RIDGE LINE are mentioned, you go into this twisted definition of "TRUCK" to justify yours being better.

I don't get what is so hard to understand with a few of you? A truck, is a truck, is a truck! so what if it does not meet YOUR definition of a truck, if it meets the definition of a reputable dictionary, then its a moot point.

peeps complain about everything. u soften the suspension for better ride, peeps complain it cant hold the load. u stiffen up the spring for greater load carrying, peeps complain its too rough. this reminds me of the 1st gen tundras, greatest riding truck but its softer sprung leafs made carrying a hvy load less desirable. now that the 2nd gen tundra stepped up n stiffen the suspension to be able to carry n tow heavy loads, peeps complain about it riding too rough. u just cant win.

imo, the ridge line is a fantastic truck for 90% of the peeps who buy truck anyways. 9 out of 10 trucks run empty everyday on the roads. it just hurts alot of peeps ego to admit they dont use their truck as truck but like ti have it for ego chest thumping.

carry on

The ranger is diacontinued why was it tested? The new Eco bust gets good gas milage as good a the range old teck.


Plus the Ranger is a compact.

The should be called the Ranger last of the compact trucks vs Mid-size shootout.

The only way Chevy could weasle out of "last" place was by beating up on a smaller compact truck.

uh huh: My sentiments exactly!

I am always amazed by the bashing the Ridgeline receives. I think it is a decent truck. I looked at them and found they didn't fit my lifestyle. I have to agree with uh huh and a few others.
Guys can complain about the Ranger being included since it is discontinued. The beauty of its inclusion is that it shows how far trucks have progressed developmentally.
The Ranger deserved the ranking it got.

@Fat Trucks R' Nasty

I just have an appreciation of all trucks but I would prefer a well maintained close to new looking 1980's truck over 2012 trucks of today even though the 2012 trucks are better in todays standards in most categories.

Example: the Old Rangers and old Toyota trucks of the past are some of the best trucks ever made. We had options in the past that far outnumbered the 1z of today. Also take note I liked the s10 and I would like the older dodge trucks if they were better built. The Ranger may of been outdated but that is also what people have liked about it, true to its work ethic and what is was made to be.

Also a Ranger back in the 80's without all the regulations and accessories was able to get (single cab manual) 37-40 on the highway, while the average Ranger got close to 25 to 30+. So we have moved forward in technology but as far as some issues are concerned we haven't moved that far, I am still waiting for some1 to bring a compact pickup truck with a 4cy cummins in it that gets 35+ without compromising on power so much. Ya I know in my dreams

@EagleXYZ - I had an "84 Ranger reg cab long box with 2.8L V6 and 5 speed manual. the best I ever got on the highway was 25 mpg.
My 2010 F150 5.4 SuperCrew is considerably bigger and heavier, and I get 18 - 20.4 on the highway.
If I compare my current truck to the 1990 F250 reg cab long box 4x4 I owned, my current truck has over 100 hp more and beats it by 2 - 4.4 mpg.
I feel much safer in my current truck than anything I've previously owned.
There is a whole bunch of "old" trucks I'd love to own for fun but not as a daily driver responsible for hauling my family.
I do wonder if modern trucks need to be as complicated as they are? Government safety regs that protect us from ourselves are partially to blame. People want luxury, that is another factor. Even thought my XLT is the fanciest truck I've ever owned, it isn't even close to the top of the luxury scale. That is amazing and shows how much times have changed.

I think the Ridgeline is a SUT.
The Ranger is a compact with a body style from 1993.
Would have been cool to see a Dakota in the test.

wy you did test the hummer h3t.....big difference in result..

These trucks are "midsize trucks"? Can't wait for the "compact trucks" review.

Would like to have seen much more "real-world" testing of these trucks. By that I mean how the average mid-size truck owner might use these trucks.


• Put a load of 4x8 plywood and/or sheetrock in the bed along with a bunch of 8' 2x4s. This is something many do-it-yourself homeowners might attempt. Just putting a load of rocks in these trucks doesn't tell the whole story about the utility of these trucks.

• Compare the traditional tailgate with the Honda's 2-way tailgate, in terms of daily usage. On the RL, which way did the testers access the bed most often? Drop-down, or swing-out?

• What about the usefulness of Honda's bed trunk? In real, every-day life, is it the huge negative that many critics claim?

• Which truck was preferred on snowy roads. Yeah, I know this was done in SoCal, but I think some attempt to find a snowy local would benefit readers of this test.

So while dyno testing, climbing steep hills off road make for a fun read, they do little to answer questions of how the vast majority of owners might actually use their trucks.

So while I applaud for their efforts here, they really didn't go far enough in describing the day-in-day-out experience of what it's like to own these trucks.

@Bob H: Me too, more real world testing! Let's hook up travel trailers to them that are 70% of the rated trailer tow. Surely a Ridgeline should be fine towing only 3500 pounds of a trailer, right? In the hills or mountains too, not flatland area. Real world. Lets see you unload all that stuff out of the bed cause you got a flat. Course your spare will be nice and clean, but now all you stuff in the bed has been sitting in the snow. Now I didn't buy my truck to autocross, but in the past the shootouts had autocrosses, with weight in the back. So lets see that too. And it would be neat if all trucks were tested with the same type tires, so the ones equiped with the low rolling resistance mileage tires normally don't shine as much. How about that Ridgeline loaded braking?

@Fat Trucks R' Nasty Amusing, I admire your quest for peace in the truck world.....ironic however that your display name is attacking anyone with a dually or large truck. Is it not you who says "The way I see it, if it does what the owner wants it to in a fashion the owner wants it to, then its win-win."? Perhaps you need to change your display name before writing posts like that!

I always considered the Ranger more of a mini truck with no option for 4 fullsize doors its really quite petite compared with the rest of these trucks..

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