If you had to alarm a auto barter to an conflicting from alien space, could you?
The boilerplate layperson adeptness stick to the basics: two or four doors, somewhat able engine, accessible bed in the rear, acclimated primarily for working, carriage or towing, etc.
A allegiant barter fan would acceptable go deeper, though: body-on-frame, assorted cab and bed variations, gas or agent agent options and so on.
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Enter: the Honda Ridgeline, the Japanese brand’s aboriginal auto barter in the U.S. bazaar that originally debuted in the 2006 archetypal year. The Ridgeline is aback for a additional run at American barter buyers, and it avalanche durably in the above chic of auto barter descriptors.
But admitting its anarchistic unibody design, a acute aggregate of features, tech and animal comforts may aloof accomplish it the absolute barter for the auto client that isn’t all too into trucks in the aboriginal place.
Don’t get me wrong, but I absolutely dig Honda’s new architecture language. The sleek, chrome-laden attending activated to the new Civic, facelifted Accord, and Daily News Autos Award-winning Pilot makes for one of their best-looking lineups yet, but by authoritative the new Ridgeline attending like a Pilot with a bed on the back, Honda’s designers accept larboard me with a agony of disappointment.
I abatement durably in the boyhood of bodies with eyes that anticipate the aboriginal Ridgeline was cool-looking, if alone for how altered it was from the blow of the auto trucks on auction in the mid-2000s, but by authoritative the 2017 Ridgeline added conventional, they’ve additionally fabricated it a accomplished lot added boring. The Pilot-like advanced end is acceptable for affairs up to the aide at a golf club, and it’s got the appropriate auto looks from rear angles, but the actuality is that administration sells vehicles, and the abridgement of administration on this one may be its greatest weakness.
The adventure is no altered central either, with an endlessly applied autogenous that’s aerial from the Pilot too. That makes for a familiar, ergonomic experience, but I absence the hose-it-out artificial berth of the old Ridgeline, complete with added accumulator cubbies than you’d apperceive what to do with.
One account of appropriation the autogenous from the Pilot, however, is the immense levels of abundance this Honda manages. A fully-loaded Ram 1500 or Ford F-150 may accept covering thrones that can beating or accumulate you balmy and cool, but few pickups – or alike SUVs for that bulk – can bout the abundance affiliated of alike a abject trim Ridgeline.
The advanced seats are endlessly supportive, and there’s affluence of amplitude for rear cartage too, acknowledgment to Honda’s engineers’ adeptness to accomplish the best out of every distinct inch of autogenous space. It’s badly quiet too, with basal alley babble affiliated to putting on babble cancelling headphones the additional you arch out on the road. The calmness of the berth goes hand-in-hand with the ride affection too, but added on that later.
I’ve got a austere catechism for the car-buying accessible of America: how abounding of you asked for acceptable knobs and buttons to go away? None of you? Great, looks like we’ve acclimatized that.
For some reason, Honda’s designers subscribe to the aforementioned “no knobs” aesthetics that added brands like Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz do, and it continues to be infuriating. Reach for the atom in the Ridgeline breadth you’d commonly acquisition a aggregate punch and you’re met with a allotment of piano atramentous artificial that has blow sensors congenital in. Turning the audio affiliated up and bottomward is a abundant added annoying – not to acknowledgment confusing – action than it was anytime meant to be.
Fortunately, the altitude controls and alive assurance affection buttons are abundant added traditional, and logical, for that matter, so configuring the Ridgeline aloof how you appetite it is adequately easy… at atomic if you don’t accept to use the touchscreen.
By accomplishing abroad with that annoying anatomy that underpins all added pickups and implementing some actual acute features, Honda has fabricated the Ridgeline possibly the smartest barter out there, if it isn’t the toughest or best capable.
There aren’t absolutely as abounding little accumulator cubbies central for all of your knickknacks as the antecedent generation, but with a big cuff box, astronomic centermost animate bin, and accessible shelves and pockets on the doors, you’d be adamantine apprenticed to ample up every inch of the interior.
The Ridgeline is additionally alone accessible in a aggregation cab, but don’t bewail the accident of a best bed aloof yet, as the rear seats borrow from Honda’s littlest offering, the Fit, and bend up collapsed adjoin the back, abrogation a collapsed bulk attic beneath in which you can fit a full-size developed bike or 50-inch flat-screen TV box all the way across.
Honda’s engineers accept spent the majority of their time with the Ridgeline’s bed area, though, and it’s paid off. Admitting the aboriginal address featured abounding of these tricks, the lockable in-bed block is still a game-changer, and alike has a cesspool bung so that you can ample it up with baptize or ice to use as a acknowledgment or if you go fishing. The double-hinged tailgate is a big additional as able-bodied and makes extensive items added in the bed abundant easier.
As far as auto trucks go, the 2017 Ridgeline is as tech-savvy as they come. My top-tier RTL-E trim tester had about every tech advantage in the book, including Bluetooth buzz and audio, accessory radio and aeronautics with traffic, affiliated services, ambient autogenous lighting and the alarming barter bed audio system, which allows you to use the Ridgeline’s bed as a behemothic apostle cone and advertisement the audio to the exoteric of the truck. Unfortunately for those of you attractive to allotment your music with the blow of your neighborhood, the affection alone works up to 11 mph, but it may be the best affair affair ambush on any auto yet.
The 2017 Ridgeline is additionally accessible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, putting your smartphone interface appropriate on the touchscreen and authoritative allotment music, accepting or authoritative calls and alert to and responding to argument letters easier and safer.
Where the Ridgeline avalanche short, however, is in how the technology functions in practice. Honda’s infotainment arrangement is one of my atomic favorite, apparent by apathetic acknowledgment times, a chaotic interface and a aeronautics arrangement that looks like it was yanked out of my old Garmin GPS unit. I begin myself abaft to Apple CarPlay every time I got abaft the caster because it was so abundant easier to use, abnormally while driving.
The Ridgeline has not yet been rated by the National Artery Cartage Assurance Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance (IIHS), but address in apperception its unibody architecture and abounding identical structural apparatus to the Pilot SUV, which accustomed the IIHS’s Top Assurance Pick accolade for 2016, Honda anticipates accomplished blast analysis results, an breadth in which abounding pickups tend to struggle.
In addition, the accessible Honda Sensing apartment of free assurance appearance adds a confidence-bolstering band of protection, with appearance like adaptive cruise control, free emergency braking, lane abandonment warning, alive lane accumulate assist, alley abandonment acknowledgment and advanced blow warning. Admitting there were abounding times in bound burghal cartage that the Ridgeline warned me to anchor back I absolutely didn’t accept to, the accomplished arrangement works able-bodied calm and adds a aegis absolute that can’t be begin on any added pickup.
The Ridgeline is motivated by a allegiant adaptation of Honda’s 3.5-liter V6, which makes 280 appliance and 262 lb.-ft. of torque in this application. Front-wheel-drive is accepted and all-wheel-drive is alternative beyond the range, but comes accepted on the top-tier RTL-E model. Ability is added than able for dispatch and artery passing, but this is no sports truck, afterwards all. The majority of the antithesis comes appear the top of the rev ambit at 6,000 rpm, so apprehend to choke out the Ridgeline a bit to get the best out of this bland ability plant. Fuel abridgement is appropriate at 21 mpg accumulated for all-wheel-drive models, admitting I saw a hardly bigger 21.6 mpg on my analysis loop. This is the second-best bulk in the segment, falling abaft alone the diesel-powered Colorado.
Thankfully, beefed-up structural apparatus advice the Ridgeline tow up to 5,000 pounds, and admitting that’s at the low end of the midsize auto class, Honda doesn’t apprehend a majority of its buyers to do added than the casual baby bulk back towing. Maximum payload, however, is rated at 1,584 pounds, around attached the segment-leading (and Daily News Autos Award-winning) Chevrolet Colorado, an absorbing accomplishment for an anarchistic truck.
The absolute brilliant affection of the Ridgeline, however, is aloof how un-truck-like it is to drive. If you never looked in the rearview mirror, it would be absurd to anticipate the Ridgeline from the Pilot in agreement of its alive manners… in fact, the beefier barter abeyance may absolutely accomplish it bigger to drive than its ample crossover sibling.
With its absolute abeyance architecture and abridgement of a accurate frame, the Ridgeline is added calmly able to cope with bumps and after-effects in alley surfaces, while all added pickups acquaintance a atom of shimmying and shaking. The berth is buzz quiet on the highway, and alley blemishes appear and go as if they were bisected the size. Of course, the alpine ride acme of the Ridgeline makes it a little ample in the corners, but the council cuts the antithesis accurately amid actuality accessible abundant to accomplish and accouterment a acceptable bulk of feedback.
It’s so accommodating on the alley that I wouldn’t be afraid if added acceptable truck-making companies or auto newcomers alpha dabbling with unibody designs aloof to address to barter who like the abstraction of a truck, but abhorrence how they ride.
You’d anticipate that the best commonsensical of commuter agent styles – the auto barter – would be a absolutely analytic purchase. If that were the case, the Ridgeline would outsell all of the added midsize trucks by a landslide, boasting the best aggregate of safety, account and drivability in the class.
But the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado both accept commodity that the Ridgeline about absolutely lacks: tough, dejected collar auto barter bravado.
The Tacoma allowances from a accurate platform, dune-bashing acceptable looks and Toyota’s allegorical reliability, while the Colorado may aloof be the best all-around barter money can buy, alms full-size affiliated adequacy and abundant looks in a smarter-sized package. I won’t bother affecting on the Nissan Frontier at this point, because that barter is about earlier than I am… Next to its adult counterparts, the Ridgeline looks like, well, a Pilot with the rear cut off and replaced with a bed.
Yes, the Ridgeline is assuredly the acute buy of the group, but if you alarm yourself a “truck person,” you’re beneath absorbed to like this one than a added acceptable offering. It seems that in re-thinking the midsize pickup, Honda has fabricated the absolute barter for bodies who appetite best of what a auto has to offer, but don’t absolutely like trucks.
If you acquisition yourself adulatory your crossover had a lined bed and added autogenous cubbies, buy the Ridgeline. But if you intend on demography your cast new auto to the bounded barter enthusiast meet-up, it may be bigger to attending elsewhere.
Learn added about the 2017 Honda Ridgeline
PHOTOS: 2017 Honda Ridgeline
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