2017 Honda Ridgeline, the Urban Pickup

White 2017 Honda Ridgeline

2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Urban Pickup

(Audio at end of review)

I had the opportunity to briefly drive the 2017 Honda Ridgeline last October at the Texas Truck Rodeo and was looking forward to having it for a week to really get to know the pros and cons of the redesigned 2017 model. I was prepared to like it just based on the limited time I had already spent driving the mid-size pickup.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is a different breed of pickup from the inside out. The unibody construction defies the body on frame standard of pickups. It is the only transverse engine, front wheel drive pickup on the market and offers all of the traction advantages of front wheel power. It uses 4-wheel independent suspension that smooths out the road and eliminates the jounce that comes from straight axle found under framed trucks. Honda Ridgeline doesn’t try to compete on horsepower, payload or massive towing capacity. It is not the normal pickup by any standard today.

The Honda Ridgeline is built on the popular SUV platform of the Pilot. It drives like a Pilot, rides like a Pilot and performs like a Pilot, but with a pickup box behind a full 4 door cab. The Ridgeline is an effective pickup with a 5-foot bed, longer than most in this class. It is also the only mid-size pickup bed that is wide enough to lay a 4-foot sheet of plywood flat between the wheel wells. Honda offers 2 bed

Honda Ridgeline 2 way tailgate

Honda Ridgeline 2 way tailgate

extenders, one specifically designed for carrying motorcycles. Unique to Honda is the two-way tailgate that hinges at the bottom as most, and on the left side. Inside the bed you will find a huge locking, water tight storage trunk equipped with drains so it can         

Honda Ridgeline in bed storage

Huge in bed locking and watertight storage

functions as a cooler or dry storage. This provides a great place to keep tools, sports gear, or packages while out shopping.

Bed Audio

One of the most innovative features of the Honda Ridgeline is the bed audio system. With the push of a button on the infotainment screen the bed side panels become speakers. Exciters are mounted to the back of the specially molded plastic panels turning them into speaker cones. The sound quality is good, the volume load and the possible uses limited only by your love of the outdoors.

Honda didn’t design this truck to haul huge loads. The payload is 1000 pounds and towing with the $1900 optional all-wheel drive package is 5000 pounds. That is more than enough for the average pickup user.

The Honda Ridgeline is in my opinion an urban pickup. It is the perfect solution for an in town dweller that loves to garden, helps with the sports teams, does Boy Scouts. or has any other need for hauling moderate loads or towing small trailers around. Because of the independent suspension, the ride is very smooth over often rough inner city pavement. The smaller size, in both length and height make the truck easier to drive, park and access. The Ridgeline will fit in most garages without a problem, something few full-size pickups today will do.

Powered by the Honda 3.5 liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound feet of torque the ridgeline has plenty of motivation. It will do 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. The slightly disconcerting squat in the rear on hard acceleration is due to the independent rear suspension loading. The engine is used in all trim levels and coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a console shifter. All-wheel drive is available on all models and can be mated with an intelligent drive system that will transfer torque as needed for any condition.

Inside the cabin you find embossed leather trim, comfortable 10 way power, heated and cooled seats up front and heated seats in the

2017 Honda Ridgeline interior

Honda offers a very nice leather trimmed interior

rear.  Controls are easy to reach and clearly identified. Honda offers a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear glass on the higher trim levels. Storage in the cab is excellent with a deep console, multilevel door pockets and a fair size glove compartment.

I did not like the infotainment system! I found the lack of a volume knob frustrating and the touch screen a bit tricky to use. Fortunately Honda offers both Apple Car Play and Android Auto and they work very well indeed. Rather than frustrate myself I quickly learned to use Car Play exclusively.

The Honda incorporates almost every available safety feature in the higher editions of the Ridgeline. Blind spot monitors light up inside the cab, instead of on the mirror. Lane Keeping warns and corrects, adaptive cruise maintains the preset distance and can slow the car to 20 miles per hour. This should be fixed to zero. The brake mitigation will help stop you short of the bumper in front of you. The backup camera is excellent with predictive guide lines and 3 viewing angles. Parking sensors will help prevent minor bumps.

Fuel economy is near the top of the class and I was able to get a true 22.1 mile per gallon with combined city and highway driving.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is not a farm truck, it’s not for hauling RV’s across the county, but it is a great option for most pickup owners who never haul anything more than a few bags of potting soil or a new washing machine. Easy to drive, competitively priced, economical to own with legendary dependability and resale value the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is definitely a pickup to consider.

Reviewed on air February 4, 2017