2014 Acura MDX Foreshadows Next Honda Ridgeline

2014-Acura-MDX-Jim-Kellor

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

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Comments

I had a Tundra. That truck was a beast. Eight cylinder monster. I loved it but needed better mileage as I was commuting 100 miles a day. I traded it for an outback. Great car. Reliable and went through snow that stopped big SUVs and full sized pick ups.

I am looking for a new "Truck". I test drove the Tacoma and the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline has way more interior space and is much more comfortable. The ride is smoother and plush. I went in thinking I would get the Taco. I am now set on the Ridgeline. I am not a contractor. I don't haul stuff on a daily basis. I don't trailer a boat or camper.

I see the Ridgeline as an SUV with a Truck bed...and that is a GOOD thing. You get a better ride with the versatility of a bed. I don't need a truck every day but when you need a truck you need a truck. The Ridgeline's versatility fits my needs as a suburban Dad hauling my Kids to activities with all their gear, hauling my fishing gear, skiing gear, SUP board, trips to the beach, and can handle the trips to Home Depot and the local nursery for mulch and plants. The bed is awesome for hauling brush to the compost site.

To sum it up the Ridgeline is not a heavy duty truck. It is a versatile, comfortable vehicle that is perfect for my needs. A great choice for someone who occasionally needs a pick up but wants a comfortable daily driver.

Honda needs to update the engine to get more power and better mileage and update the interior.

I'm 61 and have owned about every truck known to man. The Ridgeline is my 1st Honda and I'm very pleased. The quietness of the ride, storage, rear seats lift up out of the way for the dog or extra storage space. I have a 18 1/2 Kenner center console with a 130 Johnson and it's trailers it with no problem. If I get on a slippery ramp, 4/4 pulls it right out. You have the comfort of a car and a workhorse of a truck. You guys are missing out on a great vehicle. By the way, the four light in the bed and swing tailgate, and large trunk make for great fishing on the beach.

Chuck
San Antonio, Texas

My wife wants the Ridgeline, however I'm reluctant to go forward with the purchase unless the 2014 model has been redesigned with better performance and better mileage.

She wants a sunroof and heated seats.

We have owned several Hondas (Odyssey, Accord, Civics x 2) and have been nothing but pleased with each. However, I have also had good luck with Toyotas and like the Tacoma 4 door truck. However, you can't get a sunroof in the Tacoma (a "must have" option for my wife).

Honda is certainly capable of developing a true body on frame truck and I hope that is what we'll see for 2014 from HOnda.

I got a Ridgeline in 2005(new) towing 1800lb boat twice a week.
Traveling dirt roads on regular basis (if you ever been in Clova, Québec you know what I mean)
It has 198,000 mi. for exception rutting maintenance have not fix anything on it.
As soon new model come out I am baying.

Trucks/suvs we have owned:
1. 1995 Chevy S10 zr2 decent to drive, good off road, horrible reliability. If you looked at it wrong something would start leaking, oil, radiator, transmission, transfer case, etc. Brakes had to be replaced every 15k miles. Pads must have been made of Jello. All kinds of stuff broke on it. Last Chevy my wife and I will ever own.

2. 1998 f150. This was a decent truck, i would rank it second of all of the ones we owned. Big v8 held up well, only minor problems. Sold it to a friend who still has it. Could carry three MX bikes no problem. Crappy mileage, too big for our garage.

3. Isuzu rodeo. Bland boring, not fun to drive, but reliable. So unremarkable I can't even remember the year.

4. 2007 Toyota FJ. Fun at first but visibility was a problem. Interior claustrophobic and suicide doors got old quick. Good offroad but not fun on road. Reliable but overall not impressive.

2010 VW Touareg TDI. Hitlers revenge. In the shop every month. Stranded us three times, cracked water pump housing fried Electronics, turbo, etc. I didn't think anything could break down as much as this. We got rid of it a year later at a huge loss.

2008 jeep GC diesel. Bought used, a lot of repair costs. Poor body construction, doors didn't fit well, etc. general poor quality.

Which brings me to the Best truck we ever owned. 2006 Honda Ridgeline. 130k without a single problem! Nada! Not one! Service costs even cheap. Very comfortable inside, even in back. Can haul 2 dirt bikes, a quad, or many mountain bikes safely in the bed. Locking in bed trunk is wonderful. Tows pretty well, ok for light off road. Yeah the mileage needs to improve. But I would buy another in a heartbeat!


If you don't have one shut the f#ck up.

Sorry to see so many critics of the Ridgeline. I've owned a jeep, Tahoe, suburbane, trailblazer, Toureg and 2 RX 350's among others and I'm very satisfied with the Ridgeline. Trunk hauls amazing amount of cargo and keeps it out of sight. The back seat belongs to my two labs but when needed it is comfortable and roomy. I travel from the northwest down to So Cal/ Arizona every year and the Honda is very comfortable to drive while still providing space for golf bags and luggage. For my money, it's been a great truck.

I bought a 2007 RL new off the lot in Dec/2006. It now has 203,xxx miles on it, with a large portion of these towing a 4500 lb enclosed race car trailer through the mountains and all across the USA. I bought the RL over the traditional trucks for two reasons; Honda reliability and the unique features. Aside from changing the fluids regularly for towing service and the required/expected other maintenance items, the truck is mostly original and totally functional in every respect. With a Leer topper it has served my needs very well, which I personally don't need or want a serious off road vehicle. With good snow tires I'll put it up against any other truck for safety, handling performance, and speed capability in the worst winter road conditions. It is truly amazing in this capacity, saying this as someone with a long automotive competition driving history.

It's true that gas mileage is the weakest point. The issue is in traditional Honda mindset it has an undersized engine with too little low end torque with all the power at high rpm combined with being very heavy. To get it to do anything you pretty much have to mash the gas pedal down hard. It now serves as a tow vehicle/road hauler vehicle only for me. Despite many years of being ridden hard and put away wet the RL hasn't ever let me down. If you need to get into the trunk and the bed is full it is a bit of a pain, but the flip side is that you would otherwise not have a trunk, or the extra storage capacity, which I love and use to it's fullest.

The folding rear seat and storage under same is another great feature. While I did pay approx. $35k for the fully optioned model including Navigation, I feel like I have gotten my full money's worth with many more years of service still left by all indications. The interior and exterior are both still in great condition despite having not done anything more than the minimum washing/cleaning. The entire vehicle has worn extremely well. There's nothing like having a fully paid off vehicle that just keeps going and going and going. I know too many other truck owners that have had too many expensive break downs and repairs, or just continuous smaller problems and issues.

In general, most of the people who knock the RL have never owned one ....

2006 model...230,000 miles...no problems...no oil consumption yet...tows car trailer with no trouble...give me a v6 diesel next...GREAT TRUCK

It's obvious the haters have never owned a ridgeline. I have owned Chevy, GMC, Ford and Dodge pick-ups and my 2005 ridgeline has filled all MY needs and then some. I don't travel off road excessively but when I do this truck has never let me down. Handles snow and mud much better than and of my other trucks (i live at 6000' elev) carried many load over 1000 lbs (pallets full of ceramic tile) fork lift puts a loaded pallet in with no problem. Tows ATV, Side by side on trailer with no problem... I guess it all depends on your realistic everyday need for a truck and for me I use the hell out of my Ridgeline way more than I could with any of my previous trucks. BTW 126,000 mi just had first tune-up, only on 2nd set of tires, tight as can be no rattles etc... cost of ownership vs. other trucks far out weighs the marginal MPG on the ridgeline.

I've owned a ridgeline for 7 years now. What sold me was the trunk so I can hide my shot guns and golf clubs without worry of someone breaking into the truck. I've exceeded the payload many times with lumber and materials without any issues. Yes it is ugly and I only average 18 mpg overall , however, with 177,000 miles on it, I've only had to do basic maintenance on it, oil, brakes and a timing belt. I've also owned Fords and Chevys. When the 36k warranty ended on those two the problems started! Coil packs, transmission problems etc. I get the debate, it is a girly truck. But it hasn't let me down yet, it's a Honda!

Awesome Reliable Truck !!! My 2nd one. I had an 06 RTL Navi now 2011 RTL Navi. The weatherproof trunk is the greatest thing to have in a pickup. No other manufacturer figured it out. Honda did it first try. Holds a family of 5 in comfort. Moved 2 kids hundreds of miles to and from college. Does what I need it to do very well. Great long trip vehicle. Smooth, quiet, great acceleration, and handling for V6. Great for my 4 by 8 sheet runs and towing my 4000 pound tractor. I have hauled stoves refrigerators furniture and fish tanks. Works great for anything I have ever wanted to do with it. I never needed an 8 foot bed. Its not a 15000 pound hauler or a monster truck to climb 6 foot walls. Its a Honda.

I have owned one for seven years after having to trade chevy trucks in every three years . Never thought I would by a foreign vehicle . I love it the trunk keeps tools dry and locked built a ladder rack . All I've done is scheduled maintenance and no issues. Can't wait to see a knew one. This truck does what most people need. A fuel efficient diesel would be nice.

I don't work in construction, nor in agriculture. I've driven Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Nissan and Toyota full size and smaller trucks. For maintaining a 2.5 acre landscaped property, hauling stones, trees, and mulch, and the occasional 5 folks and gear on vacation, comfortably, the Ridgeline serves admirably. It is unibody on box frame technology. 84,000 miles on mine and still no squeaks or rattles. Front wheel drive efficiency and traction until 4WD is needed. My back would want you to know that it rides like a Buick. Fits in my small garage. Name another mid size/compact truck that meets those criterion and I'll buy it.

I have a 2006 Ridgeline and have beat the heck out of it and it never complains. It's been a great light duty TRUCK. I use it to occasionally haul a full 275 gallon tote of water, which is ~2200 lbs IN THE BED with no adverse consequences (I do drive slowly back to the farm because the springs are fully compressed. I should try to get some load leveling shocks).

I hate the way it looks, and the gas mileage could be much better, but after about 110k miles on it, I think it's a pretty good vehicle.

The under bed trunk is the best feature by far. No one else can touch that. It is extremely convenient free space that reduces the need for a truck bed tool box.. Once you've had that, you won't want to go back.

love the ridge and honda quality
hate the price and lack of muscle
i also loved the toyota pick up when it was a small size pickup like the ole ford ranger

i'd like a little more muscle in the ridge
i have an 08 and no complaints, other than even towing my jetski trailer, it can use some muscle
but its a whole transaxel design deal

when the price starts going up, hard to justify it compared to a truck that has muscle

in a s imple nutshell the ridge is like a 4*4 version of the accord
it has its place for sure
i own both, and love both

I am on my second Ridegeline with 130,000 miles on the one
I am currently driving.I bought the Ridgeline to use it on and off the road and tow with and carry full grown adults in the rear seats.
I have done just about everything including towing 10000-13000 lbs with the rig and haven't broken it doing so.
Yeah, I'd like to get more mpg's -who wouldn't but the vehicle has ben versatile, cost effective and durable for me.
I don't need to massive haul every day which is why I don't
own the bigger truck and I love the trunk in the bed.
If gm ford or chrysler gave me the uasability that this truck gives me I would think about changing. So far none have and Detroit trucks with 4wd or all wheel drive cost more than I have paid for my Honda.
Is it a real truck? for me it is.

you have to be an idiot to pay over 25k for any what so call domestic truck , but they all are made in mexico or china. They are crap for a truck compare to the ridgeline. You can get a crew cab f150 stx right now for 23k. I've made that mistake trying to save money. Brand new f150 over heated on the way home, got it fix under warranty, trade it in for a ridgeline and not even a ford dealership gave me more than 15k. It's make me laugh when i see all these big truck go off road in a walmart parking lot. only 1% of you idiot use it to tow anything. Just because you can't afford a ridgeline because honda don't give 12k rebate, you have to talk bad about it. so sad.

This is the perfect vehicle for those with small to mid-size boats. Trails like a dream. Keep your gear in the in-bed trunk. Wash boat and throw cleaning supplies, hose, etc in trunk. I hope they don't change it much. It was never meant to go off road. You sacrifice mileage but don't have to buy some towing package/cooler upgrade.

Ridgelines are pretty cool. I don't haul cows or hay so the Honda fits my needs perfectly. It's funny to see these idiots with their full size trucks drive to the Apple store or Starbucks.

I have owned a Ridgeline for 7 years. I am a contractor and have towed with it almost every day since I bought it. My last truck was a V8 Dodge and I can that the Ridge pulls my CAT Skidsteer better on grades. I haul horses pallets of concrete everyone I meet with diesels think that I am overloading it, but I haven't broken it yet and I have 165K mi. now. The weak points of the ridgeline I have found is it does not like more than 600lbs tounge weight and the gearing is a bit tall especially when you have a trailer weighing more than 8K lbs and have to go up steep hills. I have also used my Ridge off road and with the Truxx 2" lift and 32" Tires it does really well in snow and mud.

As a two time 4x4 Avalanche owner, let me say it's my favorite truck. I have owned Jeeps, Ford 4x4, and two Chevy 4x4's. At present my wife and I are towing a 2006 Avalanche behind our 40' diesel motorhome. I have always wanted a Honda Ridgeline, similar design to the Avalanche, lighter, better gas mileage, smaller overall. But you can't flat tow the Ridgeline. If Honda would correct this major flaw they would, from the many RVer's that I have spoken to, take a major share of the dinghy (towable vehicle) from Jeep among others. Just a thought; there are a lot of motorhomes on the road.

You really need to drive a ridgeline to know how nice it is. You can be doing 85 and its so quiet. Its such a sturdy vehicle that during tests it was supported by only 2 caddycorner wheels and the door gaps didnt change position by even a millimeter. Also to those who are so positive about how the SUT(thats sports utility truck) is built, it actually IS a combination of uni and ladder frame. The bed is made of fiberglass panels bolted to a subframe with individual cross beams that can be replaced if they get damaged. I wanted to convert my 07 with no hitch into the 2010 version which came standard with one, but after I totalled up the 4 sections necessary including the rear bumper facia, the price was out of my range. And a dashboard shifter as someone sugggested? YGTBFK!! Can you say '62 chrysler new yorker? Oh man..a 413 wedge in a ridgeline...now we're talkin....

I bought my mid-trim RL new in '06. Now has 100K miles/160K km. Have changed tires once, battery once, rear seat strut mechanism once. Original everything else, including brakes. We have made several cross-continental trips in great comfort. Honda's after-market tonneau cover leaks in heavy rain, but we put our bags in plastic boxes, which solves that problem. The incredibly useful in-bed trunk is dust- and watertight. As another commentator remarked, it is a very comfortable truck to drive all day. Rear visibility is poor, but those big pillars offer good protection in a crash. My wishlist for future RLs? Better mileage (maybe using the Pilot's variable cylinder management); better rear visibility, and a modern GPS in the top-of-the-line model.

I have a 2006 Ridgeline. Prior to this, had a full sized GMC and Ram. I am retired and do not need a full size anymore. The Ridgline does the job now. I use it for Lowe's and Depot and the tree nursery. I transported a 560 lb motorcycle from Florida to New York and averaged 21 MPG over 1200 miles. I moved my Mom twice and brought a dismantled wood shed to the landfill. It works for me. Ego does play huge on why people purchase certain trucks. Bigger truck means bigger men to some, well, LOTS of guys. I get lots of grief from guys I worked with, as over the road truck drivers. My son calls this a "puppy truck". If you are a full size PU driver, then you are the alpha dog I guess. Local fuel milage is pretty poor, but on the road, it usually averages 22 - 24 MPG. I will/would buy another.

My 2007 Ridgeline is amazing, never seen the shop - ever, other than fluids. I am buying a new one just to be sure I have one of these "good ones" before Honda screws it up. Mileage is inmaterial in light of reliability and function.

The front door interior handles that all malign are amazing works of functional art. They knew what they were doing!

Off to buy an RTL Navi. In white of course.

I just rolled 80,000 on my 2007 Ridgeline. I've bought a new vehicle every 2 years for 34 years previous to the Ridgeline. I'm keeping this one until they do a TDI. Nuff said!

I have owned a Ridgeline for 5 years and I love it. It does everything I need including hauling a 16ft inclosed trailer. The ride and handling is superior to any truck on the market. There are a few things I would change. The navigation system should be updated with a Bluetooth enabled google map gps system. It could really benefit from a diesel motor. A complete update from the ground up really. After 130,000 my Ridgeline is by far the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Way to go Honda

before you comment drive a ridgeline I have for 7 years and you wouldn't believe all I've hauled and where it has gone and the weather conditions it has been in.
This is one hell of a versatile and tough truck!

I am an over satisfied Ridgeline owner for over 5 years now. It is perfect for me & my business; I'm a residential electronics consultant/installation contractor in Hawaii. I always have about 600lbs of tools & wire with me, & regularly haul mid-size loads with ease.

I DID find the Achilles heal: smashed up my differential and driveshaft on lava rock trail. Costly lesson, now have skid-plates.

The Ridgeline is indeed a niche product, but so is an iPad. Comparing Ridgelines to traditional pickups is like comparing an iPad to a laptop. Your laptop is a real computer, your iPad is a niche product you didn't know you wanted just three years ago. But you love your iPad (or imitation tablet) now, don't you?

If I needed a real full size pickup, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Ford tomorrow. But my Ridgline fits my needs like a glove......perfectly.

I own a 2006 honda ridgeline with 183,000 miles the TRUCK IS SOLID they don't rust the rtl version interior like mine is all leather there spacious they have more style then the 2014 silverado and this is coming from a chevy guy honda sticks out of the pack they are a luxury vehicle and honda took some swing and hit a homer with this truck between the in bed trunk to hiding the spare in their making the trunk double as a cooler the skid out center consol the window idea on the remotes I have yet to recieve a negative comment about the look of my truck it's sleek and strong and if you have doubts about the ridgelines off road performance obviously you've never take the best off the road or drivin one their fast they got power just not the power to haul anything large and of the 3 Chevys and 1 ford I owned the traditional truck I choose my ridgeline any day over them their strong and honda engineers brought it all to the table where as other manufactures refuse to take any chances an keep their trucks basic honda is on point with performance, luxury, and off-road capabilities....at least they didn't copy the avalance like cadilliac did with their escalade truck version and didn't take any of another maufactuors ideas but rather jumped to the head of the line

I own a 09 ridgeline I think it is best looking pickup hope they don't change the body style needs better fuel economy and easier power steering like the swing out tail gate use that feature all the time Honda should offer a factory bed cover instead of the after market add ons

@Jeep

Honda should let the Ridge die a peaceful death.

Small and midsize pickups are a dead market in the US. Toyota is killing its regular cab Tacoma, and will soon become a specialty manufacturer of pricey jackedup, off road 4x4 Tacomas.

They will soon lose the commercial and fleet fight to GM and Nissan.

Ford will have the good sense to stay out of it in North America--and so will Honda.

The wild card is Fiat. Let's see what they do.

I have owned a Ridgeline since '07. I love my truck and its reliability. This is the 4th Honda/Acura we have owned. The rear trunk and two-way lift gate are two of the features that sold me. I have three recommendations for the redesign of the Ridgeline:

1. Something quieter. There is a lot of road noise in a Ridgeline which was also pointed out by Consumer Reports

2. Better fuel economy. I own the Ridgeline because I don't need a full size pick-up and I want the best fuel economy possible.

3. Better GPS system that is faster and easier to operate. Maybe add something that you could approve one time as an owner and not have to go through the frustration of hitting OK every time at start-up and waiting for the system to boot. I use my truck for work and need the GPS to find locations and it is so slow that it is frustrating.

I had a Ridgeline for 5 years. It was OK, but, like so many have said- it did everything half-arsed. POOR fuel mileage-for it's abilities. LOUSY at towing anything more than a mini utility trailer. WAYYY behind the competition in the farkles dept. It was great when empty(again, except for mileage) and really great when there was 6 inches of snow on the paved street. I traded for a new F150(when did Ford get so good?), And I get better mileage(with a V8), and have about 10 times the capabilities that I had before

I don't know what type of experience you ppl had with a Ridgeline, but I will have one in my garage even if I won the lottery.... This TRUCK is the best, most reliable,safest, TRUCK on the road... It may not have the large bed, but still hauls everything I need and more. I must be very lucky, as reading some of these comments, I see some have not been. I have had 4 of these, and will buy the new one in 2016. Yes, there are many upgrades that should be set in motion. I would love to see better MPG, a little more styling, and keep the dependability. I say great job Honda, bring on the next gen...

I have read some of the comments, as in, 'It does nothing well'..... what planet are you on???? I raced motorcycles for 5 years on the tracks in California. At an event sponsored by Toyota, I was challenged to race 3 laps around California Speedway. I accepted, let the Toyota race out to the lead in the first turn, then smoked him inside and never relenquised the lead.... This truck will out handle any other competitor. In MANY categories. Sharp reposiveness, ultra fast braking, and an overall tight feel (we are talking trucks here, not cars).
I rolled one of my ridgelines on the 101 at exit 33 in Calabasas. Every window was out, every airbag deployed, roof was 1 inch from my head, and I walked without a SCRATCH on me... I will never go without one...cheers,



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