2014 Acura MDX Foreshadows Next Honda Ridgeline


If ever there was a truck in desperate need of performance and styling updating it's the Honda Ridgeline. Essentially using the same chassis and powertrain strategy since its 2005 introduction (as a 2006 model), the Ridgeline is built off a modified version of the Acura MDX and Honda Odyssey platforms.

So far Honda has been tight-lipped about what types of changes could be coming for a next-generation Ridgeline — that is if Honda decides to stick with the vehicle at all. Some reports we've heard have the Ridgeline taking a year or two off from production to give Honda engineers time to make the pickup trucklet a better midsize competitor and/or a better player against full-size competitors.

We recently had the chance to catch up some key Honda engineers during the introduction of the all-new 2014 Acura MDX. Although they never directly made comments about the next-gen Ridgeline, we were able to read between the lines. Sure, the MDX and Ridgeline are two very different vehicles with very different capabilities and customer profiles, but there are likely to be several clues in the new MDX that could impact a future Ridgeline — mostly because they will continue to be produced at the same Lincoln, Ala., plant where the Ridgline's siblings — the Pilot, Odyssey and MDX — will continue production. Just as the last-gen MDX structure had similarities to the current Ridgeline, the new MDX could be a preview of a new Ridgeline strategy.

Jim Keller is the large project leader for the new MDX, which means he manages the engineers (engine, body, electrical, etc.), many of whom are also working on other platforms in Alabama. Based on the last-generation MDX, Pilot and Ridgeline, we can expect a new, lighter and stronger substructure (now with plenty of high-strength steel) will make it into all similar vehicles, with each of the rear suspensions getting a unique design and tune.

The MDX has departed from its previous trailering arm/link strategy in favor of a new stiffer and less complicated three-link setup. With that said, the current Ridgeline did not exactly use the previous-gen MDX's rear suspension; instead it used a highly modified and reinforced setup over the rear axle for handling heavier loads and towing.

To be competitive, a new Ridgeline will have to get lighter, stronger, offer better fuel economy (possibly another powertrain choice), be more versatile and deliver additional, unique (we like the bed trunk) storage solutions. If Honda wants to increase the appeal of the Ridgeline, it's going to have to make it attractive to traditional pickup buyers who understand what trucks are designed for and can do.

From what we've heard from those who considered purchasing a Ridgeline (and we know how passionate Ridgeline owners are), the vehicle needs to get a little more traditional to capture the attention of prospective buyers. We'd also suggest stuffing more clever storage compartments inside and outside the truck. Of course, a little fuel-saving technology couldn't hurt either.

2014 Acura MDX rear II



The ridgeline has never been a 'truck'.If honda wants to market a pickup truck here,then all they have to do is MAKE a pickup truck,and make it competitive in price and performance

Theres nothing wrong w/ a soft not so classic like truck like a ridgeline. But if people are going to sacrifice real truck performance towing off road etc. at least give them great MPGs the ridgeline doesnt do that. And its but ugly. I love the trunk bed on it though.

It's ok. I still think of them as cuv's with a bed. It's also a Honda. In my mind they make reliable small no frills 4cyl cars. That's it. Even their small engines in the 5-25hp range are poor quality now. You're far better off with the fuel injected Kohlers. While it might take longer, I think Honda will go by the wayside eventually like lot's of those Japanese companies. Toyota and Nissan are the one's to watch out for. And the Korean's as well.

I'd love to see Honda make a Full Size truck, although it probably won't ever happen as the don't have any ties to the truck market like Toyota and Nissan do overseas.

It is NOT a truck..it is something in-between. Poorly labeled as truck.

It really needs to reduce in size, get double the mpg's and then marketed as a car with no trunk.

The huge C-pillar coupled with the sloped bed sides is what killed the Ridgeline as a vehicle for our family. It rides nice, has decent power,and decent interior comfort and room. Accessories like cargo racks and canopies are expensive.
I'd get a Tacoma or Frontier before one of these.

I own a Ridgeline and while I agree it's not the most attractive vehicle on the planet, it is truly one of the most useful for my needs. I don't tow anything heavier than a pop-up camper, so I have not use of a full size truck for towing. With it's 1500 lb payload capacity, I've never had a problem with the items I need to haul. So as a current owner, I would be very interested in whatever it is they end up doing with the next gen Ridgeline. I wish it had higher ground clearance, but aside from that it's been an amazing vehicle for my family's needs.

the bed sides are to sloped to haul anything much in it. The gas mileage is worse then most full sized trucks and the trunk is useless when you haul anything in the bed.You have to unload your cargo if you have a flat tire or need anything out of it.
Besides hauling a push mower or a bag of mulch it isn't very useable.A van would proubly be a better option over this.

@paul w - how many full sized 1/2 tons do you see running around with a load? or ever get a flat in the winter and have to crank down a slush coated and frozen tire or gotten a flat in a mud hole?

You can "what if" any vehicle design to death.

Actually the Ridgeline had a provision for 2 spare wheels.
One in the "trunk", the other bed mounted.

The Ridgeline doesn't need an update - it needs put out of its misery.

Glenn, many people find the Ridgeline a usefull vehicle, and if it can be updated to get better mileage and make it even more useful why do you care so much?

The Honda Ridgeline is a light-duty pickup TRUCK. Our oilfield service company has a fleet of Chevy, Ford and Dodge Trucks ranging from 1500 to 6500 sizes. They all have a purpose. They all do certain things well and certain things poorly. My experience is thus, if you take male ego out of the equation, then the Honda Ridgeline is the pickup that probably does the best job of meeting a majority of private pickup customer NEEDS.

Obviously, it is now behind in the powertrain department and interior technology department. Styling needs more traditional distinctives. But minus a little bit of torque steer, the driving dynamics are superior to any pickup truck ever manufactured. Period. Honda actually has a niche that they can develop if marketing and sales had as much sense as the engineers.

The ridgeline is a "truck" for women.

I all i have to say is F'U to all the haters. Trucks are what you make them. Mine is fitted to my needs & wants, couldn't ask for a better engineer truck. This is Honda's 1st truck "YES TRUCK" and it will continue to be great so. If you dont like it go VTEC yourself.

Its ugly
the interior is 1980s gm looking
poor gas mileage
you have to unload cargo to get to the spare
the bed slopes making it useless as a truck
no low range
weak motor
does nothing really well
its a van with a bed!

We all know that different customers have different needs, so why are some of the comments so mean? The problem the current Ridgeline has isn't that it's not a real truck, its problem is it's too expensive and gets poor MPG. I'd like to see Honda so the opposite direction with the new Ridgeline by making a hybrid compact pickup like the Toyota A-BAT concept. It claimed good MPG, FWD/AWD, could haul 4 x 8 sheets with the mid-gate and tailgate down, and was to be priced around $25K. A vehicle like that could meet the needs of those that want a truck as a daily driver and for occupational towing or hauling.

People call the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chevy Traverse a truck, but somehow the Ridgeline isn't. However the JGC and Chevy Traverse are fully unibody, the Ridgeline is unibody in the front and body on frame in the rear. Let's also not forget the Ridgline has better driving dynamics than it's Full-size competitors. Lou makes a great point, most people rarely use their pickups as trucks. They mostly use them as commuters.

If there was ever an opportunity for Honda and Toyota to share a platform, this is it. The next-gen Ridgeline should be a Tundra with some Honda interior treatments and badges. That way, it would offer respectable towing and hauling (compared to the current Ridgeline, which doesn't even measure up to a Tacoma), credible truck performance, and quality Honda buyers come to expect.

Instead, Honda will build another poor excuse for a truck that doesn't do anything well...and Honda loyalists will keep on buying this product, because they're simply unwilling to consider any other brand.

It's a sad state of affairs when two Japanese automakers can't work together, yet Toyota and Ford can collaborate on an F-150/Tundra hybrid...

@AgenOrangeFortWorth: You are incorrect on the body of the current Ridgeline. It is a complete unibody. I actually like the Ridgeline and a good friend of mine is a farmer and he has Ridgeline that he uses for light duty work like moving grain heads from field to field. Of course he uses his 3/4 ton Chevy to haul seed and other heavy items. There is and always be a market for a light duty truck like this.

Some of the comments are quite interesting.

It's horses for course regarding what is wanted in a truck.

First up considering the low load capacity of your full size trucks, load capacity isn't really an issue with the Ridgeline. These are generally used as SUVs, not heavy tow vehicles, which make up a small percentage of trucks.

Also Honda hopefully will be innovative and come up with some new engines and start taking diesels more seriously.

As for unitary constructed vehicles, as a rule they handle better and are lighter, with more rigid bodies.

Some people don't want to tow and will use their Ridgeline for traction in icy/snowy conditions. Have more car like handling with the versatility of being able to go to Home Depot.

The pickup market will hopefully become more like the car market where a range of suitable vehicles are available to the average American customer.

People pay big bucks for smaller cars, vehicle cost doesn't necessarily have to translate into greater weight and the size of the vehicle.

The people who think like that probably up size at MacDonalds.

I hope Honda comes up with a competitive pickup. Your smaller midsize market can do with some decent trucks.

I own a ridgeline and use it for my custom cabinet business. I consistently get 10 to 11 L/100km (as opposed to my friends with f150 and dodge Ram who get any where from 15 to 19 L/100 km) and tow a big enclosed trailer all the time, it is an awesome truck!

The biggest mistake Honda made was initially calling the Ridgeline a full-size truck. If they had properly squared off against the Tacoma and Frontier. Compared to those, the interior is roomier and very functional. For what is gives up off-road, it is worlds better on the road, where most trucks spend +97% of the time. Despite being a uni-body vehicle, it didn't weigh any less than (what should have been) the competion. Its heavier, actually. Tow ratings are a less, too, but enough for most in that segment. payload is about the same, but the rear suspension cambers badly when loaded. It really needed some sort of load eveling. For what it gives up in tow capacity, fuel economy really should have been better. To me, the next model needs the following:
Mid-high 20's fuel economy. No excuses.
Load leveling suspension. The IRS doesn't do well when its sagged under load.
Flat bed-rails.

"Glenn, many people find the Ridgeline a usefull vehicle, and if it can be updated to get better mileage and make it even more useful why do you care so much?"

If Honda wants to sell what is obviously a niche vehicle at a sales volume of 10,000 to 14,000 units per year(with incentives, no less!), they are certainly free to do so. However, good business sense says that it is smarter to turn that capacity over to a vehicle which is more profitable, like the Odyssey(on which the Ridgeline is based). The Ridgeline, with the thousands of welds necessary to make its unibody structure stiff enough for truck use, is a very expensive vehicle to manufacture. I have to wonder if Honda has ever turned a profit on the Ridgeline.

The Ridgeline was designed for a target market - people who want a pickup but will only buy a Honda. That market was quickly satiated. Have people outside that target market bought Ridgelines? A few have, yes - but not many, and certainly not enough to justify keeping it in production. Chevy sold nearly twice as many Avalanches as Honda did Ridgelines in 2012, and yet the Avalanche got canned. The Avalanche was a niche vehicle like the Ridgeline and GM, to its credit, saw the writing on the wall for the Avalanche - so how much business sense does it make to keep the Ridgeline in production at roughly half the sales volume of the Avalanche? Not much!

There will always be people who find a certain vehicle useful, but that in itself does not justify keeping said vehicle in production.

Our local Honda dealer doesn't even bother stocking Ridgelines anymore because he can't sell them.

GM is considering producing a new unitary bodied pickup, that would negate your argument on a saturated market.

I even think Ford and Fiat/Ram are considering the same style of vehicle.

CAFE regs will force this to occur, American made utes will eventually become more and more popular because HD sized 1/2 ton trucks or expensive exotic materials and engine tech in half ton trucks will make them much more expensive.

I would like to see more manufacturers outside of the Big 3 start to take this area of your market more seriously.

As someone has already mentioned, the Ridgeline came out because of the Chevy Avalanche; it's really a good basic concept for those who don't NEED a full-on pickup truck on an everyday basis and I will admit that I was somewhat tempted by the Avalanche itself when it first came out--though I was turned off by its overall size and high price. The Ridgeline has those same two issues. Then again, all the so-called full-sized pickups are too big and too expensive on average. Sure, you can get some for under $30K, but those are rare and, as some like to call them, are 'strippers'.

Ok, so personally I'd be much, much happier with a first generation Ranger or S-10/15. The small size makes it easy to maneuver in tight places (most parking lots are now marked for so-called 'compact' cars, forcing truck drivers to occupy more than a single space) and also offers a measurable improvement on gas mileage due to smaller frontal area and lighter weight while running on a 4- or 6-cylinder engine.

A proper compromise would likely serve the non-full-size market the best. Maybe make a truck that's roughly 75% the size of a full-sized truck. As long as it can carry a full sheet of plywood reasonably flat in the bed (not necessarily between the wheel wells, but with built-in supports to do so) and the means to tie down that load so it doesn't slide out the open tailgate and you'd have a functional rig for the DIYer, the home craftsman and hobbyist. These people don't need a purpose-built work truck.

The Ridgeline, scaled down somewhat, COULD meet that need and see more sales than they're currently enjoying (or hating?). The truck wouldn't need to be more than 60" wide (as compared to full sized 72" or more) and a 5' bed with proper supports could still carry that sheet of plywood After all, the tailgate only needs to be 4' wide. Lower the stance for a more car-like ride and limit the payload to... well, let's say 500# over and above whatever 4-passenger rating they should be using (I'll assume 200# per passenger since that seems to be the American average right now). So let's call it a max payload of 1300#. That shouldn't be too hard even for a coil-spring suspension. An overall length of less than 15' should let it sit comfortably in most garages and parking on the street or in a lot would be no more difficult than parking the family sedan. It would offer realistic competition to the Toyota Tacoma, too.

"GM is considering producing a new unitary bodied pickup, that would negate your argument on a saturated market."

Hi Al,

Unitized construction itself is not the reason for the Ridgeline being a niche vehicle, although many truck buyers shied away from it for that reason. (For the record, I am not opposed to unitized construction in a pickup truck. Unitized construction works great if it is done right.)

Bringing out a new product in an unfamiliar market segment is not an easy thing to do, as Honda has learned the hard way. The Ridgeline was not competitive from the day it hit the market. It was only offered in one cab style, a V8 engine was not(and still is not) available, and its 4wd system is not a transfer case-style 4wd system like the American trucks/Tundra/Titan. Does Honda's 4wd system work? Yes, no question! But potential buyers didn't see it as being comparable to the competition. Honda is also not known as a "truck company" in the US, and the Ridgeline was priced higher than its competitors, which didn't help things. There were other issues as well.

Toyota learned that bringing a competitive full-size truck to market in the US is a very tough nut to crack. Toyota has tried for years to do it; after three attempts and billions of dollars spent, the Tundra still isn't a big player in the US truck market(even when its truck is competitive on paper). Honda, in its effort to get in on the truck party, cut too many corners on the Ridgeline and wound up making it a niche vehicle. To be competitive in the US full-size truck market requires an enormous commitment, something that I surmise Honda's Japanese management is not willing to do.

If Honda wants to make another attempt at a full-size truck, I say "go for it!" Competition only improves the breed, and that's a good thing for the consumer. But competing in the US market will take a multi billion-dollar commitment on the part of Honda - if they want to do it right - and I have not yet seen evidence of Honda's willingness to make that large of a commitment.

It's ok. I still think of them as cuv's with a bed. It's also a Honda. In my mind they make reliable small no frills 4cyl cars. That's it. Even their small engines in the 5-25hp range are poor quality now. You're far better off with the fuel injected Kohlers. While it might take longer, I think Honda will go by the wayside eventually like lot's of those Japanese companies. Toyota and Nissan are the one's to watch out for. And the Korean's as well.

Posted by: FordTrucks1 | Jun 3, 2013 12:19:51 PM

Honda is twice the car that Toyota and Nissan are just like RAM is twice the truck that the Ford and GM trucks are. That is why my next truck will be a RAM.

MPG's is where the Honda needs to focus when it comes to the Ridgeline. There are many people who appreciate the size, comfort, handling and innovative utility of the truck, but its similar fuel economy to more traditional trucks removes an obvious advantage opportunity.

@Big T
You are correct if you don't want those positive attributes you described.

Like cars, truck buyers look and scale features according to their wants. It's not just about size, hp and mpgs.

Not everyone wants a 'clone' pickup, that is similar in all areas of performance.

I agree with your views on Honda, as a company it isn't a manufacturer of commercial vehicles. I think it will produce a more radical vehicle concept than the other manufacturers would attempt as well.

I do think there is a market in the US for a smaller pickup, irrespective of its construction. I hope Honda get it right and can offer a product that would be competitive.

I think this shouldn't be hard to achieve since the Taco and
Frontier are getting on in age.

As most everything its about the $$$ / Price. The ridgeline doesn't offer any advantages for the price. the only one imo is the in bed trunk. YOu can buy the competitors real trucks and have a lot more capability size and space and get about the same mpgs and have a lot more power too !
Yes you can still buy full size crew cab trucks in the low $30s.
The sticker price is just wishful thinking by dealers mfg. SO same price as Ridges.
Now if the Ridge was priced at least $6-10K less than its competition a lot of people including myself would seriously consider the ridge despite its above mentioned short comings. Same rational with tacomas, why get less truck for the same $$? it makes no common sense, though there are many things occuring in this country that make no sense whatsoever but i try not to drink the liberal-aid where everything is free and we can overspend our way out of problems and if not just spend more.
Ridge includes, less ground clearance, less power, same mpgs, less bed space, less interior room, hardly any real off road capability etc vs real trucks. For me it would be fine 80-90% of the time BUT when i need it for that other 10-20% i would rather have the peace of mind i have with my full size truck.
IF i could buy one for like the mid $20s, i would probably be driving one now. If i get tired of my tundra, may buy a used Ridge and budget $$ for new motor mounts, timing belt, LT tires, better shocks and struts and service trans which one really cant, you have to pull the trans fluid out of the dipstick tube unless you want to completely remove trans which is BIG $$$. You cant get to trans filter unless you drop trans and completely disassemble, so change fluid often if you plan to keep it for awhile. They have been known to leak water from the windshield also, probably more so on older models. Honda should have that issue taken care of by now. But all the trucks are getting way over priced so maybe the honda fits the lower price bill now. I am getting tired of overpriced beer can for truck bodies, im thinking going old school truck with no emissions and let all the other suckers overpay for low mpg overcomplicated machines.
They are all the same junk more or less. Its ridiculous that 40 yr newer trucks only get 20% better mpgs at best and you can even lean on the truck body anywhere without it buckling. Give me 12 less air bags and put that weight back into the body panels !!!

Have you seen the prices Honda puts on these cars with small beds attached? For a loaded Ridgeline you are WELL inside 3/4 diesel truck territory.

It's like if a McD's cheeseburger and Quarter Pounder were the exact same price...how many cheeseburgers would they sell?

I think the Honda Ridgeline is a cool CUT (crossover utility truck). However, it needs an available more powerful engine, a six- or seven-speed automatic transmission, more conventional c-pillar, a dashboard shifter (seriously, import with column shifter?), an entry level FWD model that can get 28 mpg, more mix-and-match option choices with the trim levels, and I could go on... If Honda addresses all these issues, the Ridgeline will do OK.

Anybody that says the Ridgeline is not a truck, has never sat in one, has never driven one, has never owned one, and has never used a Ridgeline for camping, hauling stuff, or trips to the Home Depot and such. In other words, you have no idea what the heck you are talking about.

The RL towing/hauling capabilities put it right in between most mid-sized and most full-sized pickups. You can put 1520 lbs. in it and tow 5000 lbs. That will mee the needs of most folks who want a truck. It also handles, parks, drives better than any pickup on the market; and was the first to get a 5 star safety rating. Plus, you can comfortably fit 5 people in it, and the trunk is one of the niftiest things I have ever seen in a truck. I use mine in the summer to store my golf clubs and, in the fall/winter, when I go hunting, I can stow all my hunting gear...in the water tight/lockable trunk. Try doing that with your F-150/Tundra/Dakota/Colorado/whatever.

Admittedly, I am a Ridgeline owner, and my truck has been bullet-proof. Other than fluids, brake pads/rotors, and new tires, my truck is completely original. I have not had one major mechanical failure in the almost 8 years and 126,000+ miles. The same cannot be said for the Chevy I owned...by the time I had 100,000 miles on it, I had sunk over $5000 in repairs into it. The final straw was a $1000 fuel pump repair (which GM knew was a faulty design, but would not do anything about it).

So, long story short, all you people who say the Ridgeline is not a truck...you need to shut the heck up, because you have no idea what you are talking about.

You guys know what would be cool? And we're more likely to get a snowstorm at the Equator. Speaking of the Equator, below it, actually they sell small unibody passenger utility vehicles like the Chevrolet Montana.


Since the "compact" pickups that we know are midsize pickups that are nearly in size and capabilities (and price) as the full size models, auto manufacturers should build true compacts like these. Most would be four cylinders, front-drive, fit for those who haul light loads like chipper wood or something. If they get the formula right these should be really good gas-sipping haulers.

Sorry to all of you who keep wishing for the Easter bunny, but small pickups are dead in the US market. The GM twins, the Ranger, the Dakota, the Frontier, the Sport-trac, the Ridgeline, the S10. All had their day in the sun, but in 2013 you will lose money trying to compete with the Tacoma, period.

Not that I want something that small. If I was five foot ten, maybe, but I'm not. If I weighed less than 225 lbs, I might; but I don't.

For the price you pay for a new 4 cylinder stripped Tacoma I can buy a nicely equipped 3 yr old certified pre owned Titan, F150, Ram or Chevy half ton in basic trim and have a much more capable truck.

Gas mileage is the only penalty apart from not having a new truck. I know this is true because it's exactly what I did and have no regrets.

Toyota A-BAT concep First manufacturer to make the Toyota A-BAT concep gets my money and a ton more from the pent up demand a vehicle like that would create. Chevy was close but made one full size. Needs to be small size to work

ronmccord, the Toyota concept is fine until they start talking hybrid powertrain.

Hybrid only wins if gas prices are double today's pump price. Otherwise the extra cost and complexity of the hybrid powertrain make it a no go. Look a the GM experience with Tahoe and Silverado hybrids! They added a huge amount to the price, and hurt payload.

The payload in compact trucks is already compromised by the smaller design, so you need a much higher fuel price and buyers who can stand the higher price of buying a new truck.

The Ridgeline has a Unibody welded onto a ladder frame. It's a hybrid frame. Not one or the other.

All you peckerheads saying it's not a truck, IT IS a TRUCK, it's a "light" light duty truck, I used to have this dumb mindset where I looked at the RL as a mickey mouse vehicle, but at my work I got a chance to drive the RL, for some time, and it actually is pretty useful (as long as you recognize its limits), I started running pros and cons in my mind (I'm sure other people can come up with other pros/cons),


-It's a Honda=reliable and it has been even with 177k miles,

-interior room/storage is pretty good (I like how the rear seat
folds up like the full sizers), and of course the trunk next to
the stored away (and protected from the elements) spare tire,

-power is more than adequate IMO but if it's going to have this
fuel economy it should have 400 hp/400 ft-lb torque at LEAST!

-handles good, in the city with its full independent suspension,

-I found out this little truck not only finished but WON 1st place
in its class in the Baja 1000 race (it was mostly stock except
for required safety and some suspension mods), this alone
made me have a little more respect for this little truck,

-looks good at certain angles (lol) especially with better looking
wheels (nooo not the big gay chrome ones)

-IMO I think it has a very good size, not to big, not too small,
fits everywhere easier; garage, drive-thrus, parking lots, etc.


-poor MPG

-needs better looks, most people don't like what they call a
"hump" in the back (big C-pillar, sloped bed rails), I suspect it's
sloped like this for better unibody strength and/or better
aerodynamics (which probably isn't working so good looking at
the MPGs.), Honda should straighten out the bed rails, not only
would it give it a more traditional look, (that won't freak people
out) but it would give people better access to grab stuff that's
in the bed.

-of course it needs an interior tech and engine upgrade

-AFAIK there is no aftermarket suspension/shock kits available
(preferably mid/long travel kits that give it a 1-3" lift at least),
Honda should team up with FOX and make an off-road RL
model with suspension similar to the Baja RL and a more
powerful engine, a raptor-killer in other words. I know Honda
can but wont.

this TRUCK fits MOST peoples truck NEEDS, even a lot of the ones driving full size, crewcab trucks, but the mental stigma won't let them recognize this fact and then again, people can buy what they want, as long as they can afford it.

@C thanks for the lecture. The rest of us "peckerheads" as you so kindly describe us, really appreciate your insight.

You're welcome.

It's funny how people get so wound up over what a 'real' truck is. I've owned an 06 RL RTL trim (highest) for 3 years. I've owned an F150, a Chevy Silverado, and 1500 Ram over the past 20+ years, so it's not my first rodeo with pick-up ownership. So my impressions after 3 years: I think it's a great buy for a used truck. It's got every option available (Nav, Leather, Moonroof, etc) and the best cab space for a mid-size. They seem pricey brand new for their size. Otherwise, I'd recommend it for anybody who doesn't need a huge bed or large towing capabilities. I can carry a 13ft kayak in the bed, and have a Bakflip and tailgate lock that keeps gear secure. I've hauled well over 1,100 in the back with no problem (tiles, mulch, sandbags) The big pillars and slopes in back actually help keep things in. No arch intrusion means a riding lawn mower and 4x8 plywood fits FLAT. Volume-wise, I'd bet it holds more than other 5ft beds (Toyota/Nissan/Colorado). The AWD system works well and you can lock the rear wheels if needed. It's not a rock crawler, but can handle deep sand and mud pretty darn well.
Regarding the spare in the truck, I admit I worry about the day I've got a load and need to get to it, but at the same time, I'd probably unload anything heavy (if possible) before jacking up a fully loaded pickup anyway. You could also put it in the rear seat area with the seats up.

It's a really good option as a utility pick-up.

For the next generation, I think Honda should...
1. Give it a more traditional pick-up look.
2. Give a 2wd, low trim option (better mpg) for entry or fleet buyers. The AWD system basically gets you the same mpg's that you get in a RWD full size truck.
3. Put the bigger Acura engine in.
4. Provide an off-road Baja version (basically a suspension upgrade) like someone mentioned earlier.
4. Most importantly... Improve overall mpg for this size vehicle. As much as I like the RL, if you're buying a new truck, for the price it's no wonder most people are drawn to get a mid-trim larger truck. With Honda reliability, I've been very happy with what I've got out of a used pick-up with almost 100,000 miles at this point. I plan on keeping it till 200,00+ at this rate.

It doesn't haul better
it doesn't get very good gas mileage
its a ass ugly design
the trunk is useless unless you haul mittens in it
the interior is 1980 gm
it gets stuck easily
very weak motor
wallers when you haul with it

Its a van with a bed!

Purchased a 2008 model new just over five years ago, love it. Five years and NOT ONE PROBLEM, that reliability has made my like for it grow over time. Compared to a previous full size the reliability and trouble free experience overcomes the looks compared to the previous full size.
I am a male at retirement age and have owned a lot of vehicles and like this Ridgeline as much or more than any.
It is not a replacement for those with the real need for a full size or those looking for a macho booster.
I almost did not buy it because of the looks but sure am glad that I did.

The Ridgeline fit a niche that didn't really exist. The Ridgeline and Titan sales are nothing to write home about, although each is markedly different in nearly every aspect.
Ridgeline fans may love them, and that's fine, but take out the emotion and you'll see it was like the 4cyl Accords when everyone else had V6s.
The Ridgeline does nothing exceptionally well and that is the problem. It should get amazing fuel economy, be light and nimble, very cost effective, and/ or have unrivaled reliability. Quite simply it doesn't. True the Ridgeline can handle the majority of tasks associated with the typical truck driver well, it is the 10-25% that it cannot. They are terrible off-road (not graded flat dirt), they perform bottom of the pack fully loaded and they are severely limited in trailer towing.
The Ridgeline is a good concept, existing SUV technology, partially shared body structure, space efficient FWD, tons of niche gimmicks. It simply needs to be smaller and lighter. Tacoma sized, not almost Tundra sized.

The Honda Ridgeline is the best city driver and road trip vehicle... After the first 12 hours of driving, I'm still comfy! I don't give a damn if you want to call it a truck or a chopped off SUV with a bed. I'm happy with the latter designation, if you must put a label on it.

Name me another vehicle of its size (not too big!!) with heated mirrors, heated front seats, awesome visibility, back-up camera, flip-up back seats, short bed (fits furniture coming home from the store, etc.), in-bed trunk with a cooler drain, giant nav. screen, built-in XM, MP3 6-CD player, voice-controls for everything, etc. etc. I just hope I can replace my 65K Ridgeline RTL with a new one in a few years. There are only 2 flaws: (1) gas mileage could be better, and (2) bluetooth hands-free mic is total crap.

Honestly, I could care less about two minor flaws when riding in total comfort...

I have an 07 Ridgeline and it is a great light duty vehicle. It's the "soccer dad's truck" and I want a 2014. Better MPG would be great but I've had a small Toyota pu, then a Tacoma, full size Chevy, a full size bronco, and several mid size SUV's. Ridgeline does what I need and its a Honda - never had a single problem. The Ridgeline has a spot. It just needs real updating. You're a contractor - get a full size 3/4 ton truck. You rock crawl off road, fix up a small Toyota. You live like 70% of us in random neighborhoods with mixed weather, have kids, and are about as serious an offloader as a Subaru owner might be... ah you get the point.

"Then again, all the so-called full-sized pickups are too big and too expensive on average. Sure, you can get some for under $30K, but those are rare and, as some like to call them, are 'strippers'."

My F150's price before TT&L was under $30,000 and it is not a "stripper" Model. Though I guess not having heated seats and leather to some folks classes it as a "stripped down" model.

The problem with the Ridgeline is it's one huge dissatisfying compromise. It does nothing well enough to set itself apart from the competition. The fuel economy is worse than my F150 Ecoboost and I have almost 2x the torque at my disposal. If the Ridgeline were getting 25+ mpg then the other shortcomings could be more than overcome.

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