Honda Ridgeline Road Test

First Drive
2017 Honda Ridgeline Pickup Truck Looks Conventional but Still Innovative
Second-generation goes heavy on car-like qualities, lighter on rough and tumble.
Overview
The redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline takes on more traditional trappings while at the same time seeking to be the truck for the rational consumer.

Honda pleased many weekend warriors with the introduction of its 2005 Ridgeline, which was considered a smaller, lighter pickup than its work-bred competitors. Rather than following the decades-old formula of body-on-frame design and a live rear axle, the Ridgeline used unit-body construction and an independent rear suspension, like the mild-mannered SUV it was based on. Despite that seemingly sound logic, the first generation's unconventional styling didn't help sales.

Impressions
This new Ridgeline looks more conventional, with a longer, flatter hood and a flat-topped bed. Honda did away with the old Ridgeline's sloping sides, which consumers found to be an obstacle when loading some cargo. But the 2017 Ridgeline retains the key ingredients of unit-body construction (sharing its architecture with the Acura MDX, also owned by Honda, and Honda Pilot SUVs) and innovative features like a tailgate that can swing open like a door or flip down in normal fashion, and a lockable trunk-like cargo space beneath the bed floor.

The independent suspension that makes the trunk space possible also contributes to a much more comfortable ride and better handling than all conventional trucks. In addition, the Ridgeline retains the slick V6 powertrain, which contributes to a quiet ambience.

Honda claims the Ridgeline outpaces traditional midsized trucks in towing capacity and cargo hauling, but like the first generation, towing is limited to 5,000 pounds. Competitors like the Chevrolet Colorado (nearly 7,000 pounds) and the Toyota Tacoma (6,400 pounds) have greater towing capacities. While the bed is shallow, it's easy to load gear into thanks to its lower height. Honda's given the Ridgeline some off-roading capability, but this truck is certainly not for boulder hopping.

Like in all recent Honda models, the infotainment screen suffers from a convoluted menu structure and doesn't always respond immediately to taps.

CR's Take
The new Honda Ridgeline has real appeal, thanks to its supple ride, relatively responsive handling, punchy engine, and cabin and bed that are full of clever tricks. Check back with us once we finish testing it in the entire battery of Consumer Reports' tests.

New Car Reliability Prediction

Based on the latest survey, we expect reliability of new models will be average

Warranty

All cars come with basic warranty coverage, also known as a bumper-to-bumper warranty. This protects consumers against unexpected problems with non-wear items. Powertrain warranty protects against engine and transmission troubles. Rust through, or corrosion warranty, covers rust to non-damaged components. Roadside aid provides on-location assistance in case of a breakdown and may include limited towing services.

Extended warranties provide peace of mind. Owners of models known to have worse-than-average predicted reliability can mitigate risks with an extended warranty. Generally, we recommend buying a model with better-than-average reliability and skipping this expensive add on. If you do buy an extended warranty, it is key to read the small print to understand what is covered and where you can bring the car for repairs.

Basic (years/miles)
3/36

Powertrain (years/miles)
5/60

Rust through (years/miles)
5/unlimited

Roadside aid (years/miles)
3/36