2017 Honda Ridgeline Is More Than Ready to Compete

Ridgeline Track 3 II

What happens if we take the newest midsize pickup truck in the category and toss it into one of the bloodiest head-to-head PickupTruck.com Challenges in recent memory? Well, we can't tell you that now, but after you read our full 2016 Midsize Pickup Challenge coverage later in August, you'll have a much clearer idea how the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline stacks up against the competition. As a small hint, we can tell you this new Ridgeline won more specifically measured contests than any of the other players.

Here are just a few highlights of the 2017 Ridgeline and where it's designed to fit into the midsize pickup segment. Look for the full story to go live tomorrow. 

Cars.com photo by Angela Conners





It's designed much better than the GM's mids. It looks like a smaller truck, rather than an SUV with a mis-matched bed slapped on the rear that the GM's have. I'm sure Toyota wins the toughness contests, and this Honda tops most of the rest due to its design.

When I was filling up my motorhome last week the guy next to me had one of these new ridgelines. In person they are a really nice midsized truck. If you were in the marker for a small car like SUV with the ability to haul smaller stuff and tow, this looks to be a very nice option.

Kudos to Honda for making leaps and bounds with their second attempt at a mid size pickup. It sounds as though they listened to current and future customers during product development. Can't wait to see the results!

Honda needs to install their 10 speed automatic ASAP.
Likely for the '19 model year.

@George_C: Check out their 11 speed tranny the patented:

Intriguing. There may be factors against it of which I'm unaware at the moment, but it has been added to my list of potential Wrangler/pickup replacements. (Wife doesn't want to let go of her Fiat 500 and the open bed of the pickup is too convenient, but I still need AWD capability.)

Here we go, focusing on car categories instead of truck ones!

If a truck has a 4x4 option, off-road is the ONLY test needed!

The rest are for grocery getters!

Oxi, this isn't 4x4.com, it's pickuptrucks.com.
May not fit your needs, but it does for most people.
All I see most Rams, Fords and Chevies doing is fetching groceries or commuting to work.

I tend to think of the Ridgeline as a CUV with the back end missing. But it's a very well done "CUV-with-the-back-end-missing": at least when new. But, like most Honda's, I imagine it will not rust/corrode easily and will last long time provided it does not get overworked or tortured in off-road situations that cause stress-cracking of the unibody members that substitute for a frame.

There is no question that this vehicle may be a perfect suburban carrying/towing machine, for light duty in both categories. And it may be ideal for winters with deep snow (here simulated by soft sand) and icy streets. Or for cruising comfortably and economically on highways at 75 mph, being less susceptible to cross winds because of its independent suspension all around and lower body profile.

BUT: one of the things I look for in a real truck is overload and abuse capability. For example, I have 1996 half-ton Dodge Ram 1500. It has a 350-lb fiberglass cap, and I put 2400-lbs (one pallet) of wood pellets in it. Now add my 190-lb weight. That's total of 2940 lbs in a half-ton truck. And it still did not settle onto the bump stops! I imagine the same or similar could be said of a Ford F-150 of Chevy Silverado (1500).

So, I look for real frame in any truck. For me, a truck without a frame is like house without a foundation; --- or a human being without a skeleton. Many frameless truck-like vehicles have been tried, including a FWD VW Rabbit truck in the 1970's and early 1980's. And they all look great on paper, and look great when new. Add 15 years (average pickup ownership); a salt-belt-corrosve environment; overload usage; pothole laden side streets; --- and even twisting off-road situations --- to those vehicles and let's see what's left after those 15 years. No amount of electronic "driver-assit" packages will apply to that.


Here we go, focusing on car categories instead of truck ones!

If a truck has a 4x4 option, off-road is the ONLY test needed!

The rest are for grocery getters!

Posted by: oxi | Aug 23, 2016 9:10:03 AM

Ahhh yes, because we live in some twisted world where the <1% of end users think that they are the only stakeholder who's opinion matters.

If you constantly find yourself asking the question "I want xxxx options but none of the manufacturers make it that way"... its because you arent a big enough consumer for them to care.

I wouldn't argue with anything you said NMGOM. I think anyone who is looking for what you want shouldn't look at the ridgeline.

Its hilarious that the best "truck" for 90+% of the people buying/into little pretend trucks and dont really need a truck at all isn't even a truck. Nicely played Honda.

For those whos egos don't do the spending on pretend trucks the Ridgeline will be a welcome surprise. Odds are there aren't enough of those people to make it lucrative for Honda though.

@ devilsadvocate,

Than do not buy a 4x4 option if all you seek is grocery getting!

@ Gomjabber,

When you test a 4x4, it is all about off-road!

The new Ridgeline is an impressive answer to light midsize truck needs based on content and execution. Alas, the styling is a bit too car-like for my tastes as the last model was much more masculine. I'm perplexed by this design direction, because I'm certain that the vehicle's core market demographic is male.

I really like this truck. It will fit most needs but its no hard core truck. Its nicely made and has Honda quality. NICE.

No unibody truck for me.

Honda will do well with this truck. All they need to do is market it well. A uni body truck will work well for the target buyers.

Than do not buy a 4x4 option if all you seek is grocery getting!

Posted by: oxi | Aug 23, 2016 11:22:18 AM

My next truck likely won't have 4x4 if I must be honest, of the last 100trips to the ranch I actually needed it maybe 10 of those times, so I spent $5000 more for something that honestly just got me more stuck than I otherwise would have been.

You missed the point of my earlier comment. Bravo to you for using your 4x4 as intended, just realize that you represent probably less than 1% of the truck buying public. So your desires, very frequently, will not dictate the decisions made by the manufacturer. And you know what? Thank god for that, because otherwise we would be stuck driving regular cab dogs with drivetrain a that were good for slow work/hauling but absolute pigs on the road, with plastic dashes, cloth seats, crank Windows, am/fm radio, and an off-road tuned suspension that bounces around on paved roads like a speed addled child on a pogo stick. People and trucks have evolved, with all the luxury, tech, and efficiency in new trucks; I can own one vehicle that is right at home parked outside the nicest restaurant downtown yet can haul me, my family, and all my toys to the ranch for the weekend.

It seems to be a nice vehicle for what it is. Some say it's more truck looking then the old model. After seeing some on the road I disagree it sits lower and has a more CUV like front end where the old one at least looked taller and more blocky. I do like how they put the fake bed seem on the sides though.

This suv is just plain ugly. Blows my mind anyone thinks it's not.

@Oxi- at one point I might have agreed with you. I swore up and down I would throw down my money with whomever offered me a diesel midsize crew cab. Now it's here and it just rubs me the wrong way from its feel, although it checks every box on paper.
For years I lusted after a wrangler pickup- no that its coming, I don't know if want to live with something like that every day.
I'm still bummed that Toyota chose to refresh the Tacoma on its landcruiser chassis, rather than bring us an adapted hilux.
I will not own another 2wd truck in Michigan. The next truck will probably get the front leveled, some bags to hold the back at that height, and some plus1 tires. It might not ever get offroaded. If it can push through snow, pull a boat up a slippery ramp and haul dogs, kids, and other dirty stuff, it's good. Most people who drop their 40 large on one of these isn't looking to sink it in mud to the door handles, or even to the hubs. That's why testing 4x4s on the street makes sense.
@Clint- I see it exactly the other way. The posers are the one who think they need solid axles and a diesel to commute and transport yard waste.

I've seen several of these on the road already.

I haven't seen ANY Titan XDs.

I think that says a lot about what works and what doesn't.


you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Re Honda and the Titan

They are as different as night/day. The Titan is a real truck and the Honda is a car that looks like a truck. I want one of each, just in case you're curious.

One for me, one for my wife.


I always see the same things when I read comments about this.

"Uni-bodies are weak and don't work for a truck". Commercial vans are uni-body and seem to be fine carrying more than an average truck, without falling apart.

"It can't go off-road". How many people are taking their new $40K truck off-road, like really off-road? My neighbor has a Tacoma with a lift and as far as I can tell he's never ventured past his morning commute and the grocery store.

"This can't tow 50K pounds up the Eisenhower". If towing is your thing don't get a mid-sized truck. I wouldn't tow over 5K with any of them.

Most trucks in my area (PNW) are bought for weekend adventures and the Ridgeline would do that perfectly. The rest of the time (95%) you could pretend you're driving an Accord - to me that's not an insult.

I agree with oxi!

The Ridgeline is a grocery getter!

How many people actually use a Ridgeline to off-road? Not many, thus it is A GROCERY GETTER!

oxi increased his payload on his Tacoma to go off-roading! A TOY is when you keep a vehicle stock or just buy it for showing off. oxi actually uses his vehicle off-road in the hard stuff...

oxi was running 33" tires and, that puts extra burden is just like towing a trailer...

I'm not naming any names, A TOY is the equivalent to a person who buys a truck with a 10,000 lb tow rating to haul his empty tool box, his dog and some groceries around! That is a status symbol of a grocery getter!

Get a clue.

I saw one on the road a couple weeks ago for the 1st time. In all honesty I thought it was butt ugly. I'm all for form over function stuff, but the Ridgeline form is homely.

All one has to do is sit in the new Ridgeline and see how poorly designed the seats are. They are too small for most Americans and the armrest is a joke. It feels like it will fall apart within a month. The head restraints are poor.

Seconding what E82 said. I sold our '07 Tundra 5.7L double cab w/6.5 ft bed to get a Ridgeline. The Tundra ran 14.4s at 94+ MPH, got 20-21 MPG hwy (14 city) and hauled our MX/mountain bikes to trails just fine. But the Tundra was overkill, as we'd sold our autocross car & only towed it 6 times during 7 years of ownership. Ridgeline's smaller parking footprint, better mileage, better ride/handling and updated interior is a better fit for our needs these days. Wish it was quicker than the 15.1/92MPH showing up in instrumented tests, but that's a reasonable trade-off when examining the bigger picture. And for those who say the demo is primarily male, don't underestimate some of those males have female significant others who don't like driving/parking a full-size truck. And for those who need full-size or rock-hopping 4x4s - no argument there are better choices than the Ridgeline for those use-cases. All depends on what you need & what gives you the grins (and not just a few hours a month at the off-road park for us - we needed to enjoy more of the time just driving around / taking trips / commuting).

I like how everyone is arguing about the same thing.

1. It's not a real truck. No kidding.
2. It's a grocery getter. yep, just like most of the big three trucks driven but fat chicks and dudes.
3. It sucks at 4x4. Yep, most don't go off road.

Everyone drive what you like. the ridgeline works for some people, others, it doesn't.
If it would work for you but you hate it because of looks, rice, whatever, don't buy.

None of this doesn't mean it isn't a intriguing product, it is.

And now for some real news....

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—A man on the First Coast says he has a problem with his car, a Ford Exploder.

When he drives, especially on roads with high speed limits, gas that he says he believes to be carbon monoxide comes into the car.

"It smells like exhaust in the cabin," says Colin Olson. "Some people describe it as burnt egg smell. It will smell really bad for a few minutes and then it will just be gone."

Olson originally bought a 2015 Exploder from a Jacksonville dealership.

Concerned about the smell, he took the car back to the dealership he bought it from. A long road of maintenance appointments, internet research and Olson says concern for his health followed.

"I got it right in, right away to the service department," he says. "There was a technical service bulletin. It's not an official recall."

Ford made multiple attempts to service the car.

The automaker had issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) titled Exhaust Odor in Vehicle. The bulletins serve as a guide sheet for mechanics on what to do for a specific consumer complaint....lol

Earlier this month, Ford settled a multi-year federal class action lawsuit.

The complaint called the 2011-2015 model years of the Exploder "dangerous and defective." It says "exhaust and other gases, including lethal quantities of carbon monoxide, may enter the passenger compartments."

When the judge approved the class action lawsuit, he said "plaintiff's showed substantial evidence demonstrating that the exhaust contamination system is a systemic problem caused by a combination of design and manufacturing defects."

Federal court records say attorney's for both sides will go before the court next month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also investigating complaints against the 2011-2015 Exploder.

Documents published on the agency's website about the investigation suggest more than 630,000 cars could be impacted by the investigation.

"If it's true that there's carbon monoxide leaking into the cabin, it's a very serious issue and Ford needs to deal with it immediately," says Kelsey Mays.

Mays is the Senior Consumer Affairs Editor at Cars.com, a website owned by First Coast News' parent company.

He says there's no threshold number of complaints needed to trigger a federal investigation.

"Certainly this is a significant number of people that have complained to them and so the fact that NHTSA has moved to an investigation and not a recall indicates Ford is probably going to have to provide more information," Mays says.

When Olson took First Coast News on a drive in his 2016 Exploder, we brought a Sensorcon carbon monoxide detector.

We paid about $150 for it on Amazon and used it to get non-scientific results about the levels of Carbon Monoxide in Olson's car.

During our drive on Interstate 295, the readings went as high as 23 parts per million (ppm).

We tested 5 other cars, driving at interstate speeds under similar conditions. In those other tests, Carbon Monoxide levels never went above 1ppm.

Federal agencies say at levels between 35 ppm and 70 ppm people can begin to have mild exposure symptoms.

After at least 4 attempts to repair Olson's 2015 Exploder, an arbitrator under Florida's Lemon Law required Ford replace it with a 2016 Exploder.

"Ford was pretty much forced to replace my vehicle," Olson says.

With a baby on the way and his family's health on his mind, he's still trying to get rid of his 2016 Exploder.

"I want to get rid of this car," he says. "I want my money back. I'm done."

Have you smelled a Ford lately?

My wife has an 08 Ridgeline. I was totally against it when she said that's what she wanted. Over the years it has actually grown in me after having it it the beach and hunting camp. Actually even got it stuck on the edge of a freshly plowed field after having to wait out a torrential downpour once. Thought I was going to have to walk a couple miles to get a tractor to come pull us out but after a little digging and a few limbs under the tires we got out. I even started to like the way it looked, kinda beefy with the flared fenders. She loves her truck so much we decided a couple years ago that when the new one comes out she would get to upgraded. All I can say is that even knowing how functional this vehicle is she is pretty devastated by the looks of this vehicle and will probably be moving on from the Ridgeline. :(

Ugly! If people want a minivan with a bed, call it a minivan with a bed. Regardless what you call it, not many will want this vehicle.

I like my Titan, I just want one of these to replace my POS Volkswagen so I can commute to work here in Utah to a ski resort. Then after work, pull my mtn bikes out of the back and hit the trail. Titan pft, avg 12 miles per gallon. But that is my truck, this would be my commuter.

I was excited about the new Ridgeline when I heard Honda was redesigning it. I love my current Gen 1 Ridge and it handles better than all of the other pickup brands. The interior of the Gen 2 Ridge looks incredible and I've read the handling is exceptional. I'm not a fan at all of the exterior. There is nothing that makes it stand out by itself. It looks like a modified Pilot and very, very plain.

Ridgeline is a great idea for most people out there. Also think it's great for someone who needs a small truck for their small business and wants to use the same truck for personal use, instead of for example a basic Tacoma SR.

I don't like the looks though haha.

The comments to this entry are closed.