Honda has been teasing us with its rebooted Ridgeline pickup since it temporarily discontinued the last generation of the midsize pickup. This has left many of us wondering what the Japanese automaker had in store, and if the Ridgeline would bring with it a little more truckiness in its new model year. Well, I guess I can answer that as both yes and no.
Let’s start with the no… That front end is definitely not what any of us would expect to see on a truck. It almost reminds me of when the F-Series pickups went all futuristic in the 1990s. Luckily for Ford, the F-Series was, well, the F-Series, and the polarizing looks didn’t impact its sales. For the Ridgeline, however, this crossover-like nose makes it look weak, plus it is a stark contrast to the rest of the 2017 Ridgeline’s truck-like body.
Aside from its funky nose, the rest of the Ridgeline’s body is pretty pleasing. It has all the body lines I expect from a pickup, plus it is pretty versatile. Its bed measures in at 5-feet 4-inches long and 5-feet wide, and has the widest flat load floor in its class at 4-feet wide. The bed also features a few exclusive features that set it apart, including an In-Bed Trunk, a dual-action tailgate, and an available 400-watt AC power inverter. Oh, and did I mention it also has an available in-bed audio system?
The Ridgeline’s cabin is pretty simple, but plenty useful. It comes only as a four-door pickup with seating for five, and inside there are available premium amenities like leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, push-button start, an 8-inch touchscreen, and more. The rear seats offer versatility, as they are 60/40 upward folding to fit longer items that you don’t want to toss in the bed.
Powering the 2017 Ridgeline is the brand’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V-6 i-VTEC engine. Unlike the other trucks in its class, this V-6 engine is transversely mounted. That’s right, the 2017 Ridgeline will come standard with front-wheel drive… ugh…
Fortunately, the Ridgeline will have available torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, eliminating the travesty of your Colorado-owning friends riding you too hard for you crossover pickup. One good thing is that Honda claims this V-6 engine and its six-speed auto transmission will deliver class-leading fuel economy and acceleration.
The capacities of the new Ridgeline are yet to be released, but Honda claims its payload will be around 1,600 pounds. I suspect towing will be somewhere in the 3,500- to 5,000-pound range of the 2016 Honda Pilot.
The 2017 Ridgeline will hit dealers in the middle of 2016, and pricing should arrive around the same time, Stay tuned for updates.