2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD

When the Honda Ridgeline first appeared in 2005, we put it in a comparison test against the mid-size trucks of the day, and the Ridgeline came out on top. In that test, however, we got it wrong on the question of whether the Crestline, with its one-piece construction and transverse powertrain design, was an actual pickup or a car disguised as a pickup. we call it “a new breed of utility vehicle.” There’s a new ridgeline now, and Honda sticks with its unconventional design, though it worked on the edges to make the ridgeline fit better into the trucks landscape. Hard-core truckers may still question its bona fides, but the Ridgeline once again looks impressive next to its peers.

split profile

While the previous Ridgeline carried on its one-piece construction with wide C-pillars that sloped down to the high-sided cargo bed, the new version has a more traditional profile. The narrower C-pillars are nearly vertical, and there’s a seam between the cab and bed, mimicking body-on-frame trucks. But the Ridgeline isn’t a body-on-frame truck; It once again uses a unibody architecture, shared with the Pilot SUV and next-generation Odyssey minivan. And as much as the rear half of the crest now looks like a standard pickup, the gently rounded front half stands more or less straight up off the rider.

Reading: 2017 honda ridgeline review car and driver

Compared to the previous model, the wheelbase and overall ridgeline length have increased by three inches. The new dimensions put it right in the mix with the current crop of midsize, crew-cab, and short-bed pickup trucks: The wheelbase is between 0.7 and 3.1 inches shorter than that of the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Cannon. colorado/gmc. Overall length is longer than Nissan but shorter than Toyota and General Motors. Honda lengthened the Ridgeline’s cargo bed by four inches, to 64.0 inches, making it the longest of the bunch in their standard lengths. And with 50.0 inches between wheel wells, the Ridgeline is the only midsize truck that can carry four-by-eight-foot sheets of material flat on the ground.

That being said, GM, Toyota and Nissan also offer a longer six-foot bed on long-wheelbase models. In crew cab form, those trucks literally expand the definition of “midsize,” but some offer the longer bed with a smaller cab. However, Honda once again builds the Ridgeline with a single cab configuration, one wheelbase, and one long bed.

quick one six

The Ridgeline also comes with a single engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (the Pilot’s nine-speed gearbox isn’t available here). but we could argue that it doesn’t need another. Honda’s V-6 makes 280 horsepower, compared to the previous 250, and 262 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 247. That 280 horsepower puts it in the middle of this group (with the GM twins in the high side, at 305 with its v -6, and the border at the lower end, at 261); Honda’s peak torque is the lowest, but not by much, trailing the Toyota and GM V-6 by less than 10 pound-feet, the Nissan by 19.

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on the test track, though, all of that was academic. The Crest hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds and did the quarter mile in 15.2 at 93 mph. That smokes the Tacoma, which set a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds and a quarter mile of 16.1 seconds at 91 mph in our most recent test of a V-6 Limited 4×4. The Honda was also a full second faster than the more powerful Colorado at 60 mph, besting it in the quarter mile as well. Subjectively though, the Honda doesn’t always feel particularly muscular. When going up gentle grades, you have to get a good foot on the throttle before there is a downshift, which gives the impression of the crest line struggling to keep up speed. but hit the throttle, when, for example, jumping into fast-moving traffic, and the crest line roars forward.

stigma? what stigma?

Seeking to avoid the stigma of front-wheel drive, the previous Ridgeline came standard with four-wheel drive. With the new version, Honda has changed its mind. Considering the popularity of competing two-wheel drive trucks, particularly in California, the largest single market for trucks, Honda decided to risk the embarrassment of the FWD label and this time offer two-wheel drive. the benefits are a lower price ($1800 less than all-wheel drive versions) and slightly better fuel economy. Honda still offers four-wheel drive on any trim level, and it’s standard on the top-spec Black Edition (like our test truck) and the penultimate RTL-E.

In fuel economy, the more Honda-like build pays less significant dividends than you might think. Yes, the Ridgeline’s 19/26 mpg (two-wheel drive) and 18/25 mpg (four-wheel drive) EPA city/highway ratings are the best among six-cylinder trucks. But the Tacoma ties both city figures, even though it’s 2 mpg lower on the highway. And GM two-wheel-drive trucks match the ridgeline on the highway, but get 1 mpg less in the city and with four-wheel drive. the nissan goes further back.

what about the four-cylinder variants of the competitors? They enjoy at best a 1 mpg advantage, and in some cases none at all. Only the GM diesel is noticeably better, at 22/31 mpg (rwd) and 20/29 mpg (4wd). But running at a steady 75 mph in our highway fuel economy test, the Ridgeline topped its EPA number, with 28 mpg, which tied the figure we recorded with our last GM diesel truck. Oh, and the Honda engine is commendably smooth, too, and the Ridgeline is the quietest midsize truck we’ve ever tested.

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In that comparison test of the first Ridgeline, we said its handling was “heads above the competition,” and ride and handling remain strong points with the new truck. On the skid deck, the Ridgeline’s 0.80 g easily outperforms the midsize-truck field. Stiffer than the Pilot, with half of its suspension components redesigned for truck duty, the Ridgeline offers firm but small kicks over most bumps; Wheel control is generally impressive, and so are the tall sidewalls of the tires (all trims ride on 18-inch wheels). with 245/60 rubber) remove the edge of the broken paving. Plus, there’s none of the body-shaking that moves in most trucks, with the cab and bed moving out of sync with each other. The crest line gives the impression of stiff, solid bodywork and indeed the Honda’s torsional rigidity has increased, although the rear fenders are no longer an integral stamping with the bed sides, but are now joined with bolts and adhesive. Overall, we found the Ridgeline to be an extremely enjoyable driver, to the point where we preferred its firmer chassis to the softer tuning of its Rider sibling.

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Braking, unfortunately, is one area where the Honda performs like a traditional truck. His 195-foot stop from 70 mph was 10 feet longer than our last result for the Tacoma and even further back than the Colorado. we also noticed a soft brake pedal.

party in the back

Although it has independent rear suspension instead of a solid axle, the Ridgeline’s cargo floor is still nearly waist high, making hauling heavy cargo a pain. at least the two-way tailgate, when opened like a door, lets you get further into the cargo bed. That tailgate design (pioneered by Ford and Mercury trucks in the mid-1960s) was a key feature of the earlier Ridgeline and, surprisingly, hasn’t been appropriated by any other truck. Opening it up like a door provides easy access to another returning Crest feature, the trunk under the truck bed. That 7.0 cubic foot well is sealed at the top to keep luggage dry and also comes with a drain plug at the bottom, allowing it to be used as a cooler. For an even rockier tailgate party, the RTL-E and Black editions come with actuators that vibrate the cargo bed, turning it into a big audio speaker, and an AC outlet on the bed’s side wall can power a flat screen TV.

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Honda equipped not only the bed, but also the cabin with smart features. There’s a useful amount of space (nearly three cubic feet) under the rear seat cushion; Raise the cushion to create what Honda claims is best-in-class interior storage volume (50 cubic feet, measured from floor to ceiling), enough room for a standard-size mountain bike. Unfortunately, the rear doors are a bit narrow and don’t open very wide, so loading bulky cargo can be a challenge. The rear seat also excels at hauling human cargo, and both it and the front seats are comfortable perches. We noticed luxury touches like the heated steering wheel and tri-zone automatic climate control. We were less enamored with the Garmin-based navigation, which looks, well, like a Garmin and not a high-end factory unit. And the audio from Honda’s 8.0-inch screen (in rtl-t, rtl-e, and black editions) is a disaster: a no-button, no-knob, entirely touchscreen-based system, with an annoyingly imprecise slider. touch for volume. we ended up relying a lot on the steering wheel audio controls.

The Ridgeline also leads the field in its list of available active safety features, with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, and turn signal warning. blind point. all of them, however, are reserved for the rtl-e and black edition. during our time with the ridge line, the forward collision warning had a couple of issues, with especially curvy roads setting off false alarms from oncoming traffic.

master of automotive arts

The Ridgeline impresses in passenger car activities: ride, handling, acceleration, fuel economy. Among the trucks’ abilities, its now larger – and still innovative – bed strikes us as an advantage, and its 1499-pound payload rating is just 91 pounds less than class-leading GM trucks and better than Toyota’s. and nissan. However, when it comes time to hitch up a trailer, the Honda shows its biggest weakness, with a max tow rating of 5,000 pounds, while the Colorado/Canyon can be equipped to tow 7,000 pounds, and both the Toyota and Nissan can. towing over 6000. you can almost hear the guys in the truck giggling.

The Ridgeline may never be accepted as a true truck by discerning truck types, given its non-traditional design and kinship with Honda’s crossovers and minivans. And those who want something more than a four-door, short-bed body style have no choice but to look elsewhere. The Ridgeline’s long list of class-leading attributes may not be the virtues of a traditional truck, but they are definite advantages whether you consider it a truck or just a new breed of utility vehicle.

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