Pickup utility meets SUV comfort

by Michel Deslauriers . Aug 24 2018
HondaStarting at the base trim, the Honda Ridgeline comes with a seve-speaker soundsystem with an eight-inch touchscreen.

Honda

Starting at the base trim, the Honda Ridgeline comes with a seve-speaker soundsystem with an eight-inch touchscreen.

When Honda launched the Ridgeline back in 2005 as a 2006 model, it immediately stood apart from the rest of the pickup truck segment in North America. It boasted unibody construction and integrated its bed into the bodywork, and although it was considered by many truck enthusiasts as not being a “real” pickup, it proved its worthiness over time.

The second-generation model appeared for the 2017 model year, and although some elements have been toned down — such as the bed design, which is now separated from the cabin — for a more conservative look, the Ridgeline is still a unique proposition. For 2019, it gets very few changes.

Under the hood, we find a 3.5-litre V-6 which develops 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and — in Canada — standard all-wheel drive. The engine features a cylinder deactivation system to save fuel in light driving conditions and runs on regular unleaded gasoline. Fuel economy is rated at 12.8 litres per 100 kilometres around town and 9.5 on the highway, for a combined figure of 11.3 L/100 km.

The AWD setup, called i-VTM4, works on its own to provide the best possible grip according to driving conditions. The system favours the front wheels in normal driving situations and can quickly send torque to the rear wheels when slippage is detected. It also distributes power between the front and rear axles during acceleration and can vary the torque between the left and right rear wheels for enhanced handling and stability. Honda also chose to install a fully independent suspension for the best combination of ride comfort and handling.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline comes equipped with a standard tow hitch, providing its owner with a maximum capacity of 2,268 kilograms. As for payload capacity, it’s rated from 674 to 694 kilograms depending on the chosen trim level. Despite these numbers, the Ridgeline offers the practicality of a dual-action tailgate, which can be opened downwards — like on any other pickup truck — or swung open sideways like a car door. There’s also a lockable trunk under the cargo bed — a unique feature among pickups — that boasts a volume of 207 litres, and that can easily be cleaned thanks to a drain plug.

The Ridgeline LX is no longer available, so for 2019, the base trim is now the Sport, which is priced at $40,790 before freight and delivery charges — a $500 price increase over 2018. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a wiper de-icer, a power sunroof, a power-sliding rear window, an intelligent key with remote engine starter, a power driver’s seat, three-zone climate control and heated front seats. Also standard is a seven-speaker sound system with eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Siri Eyes Free compatibility and a couple of USB ports.

The $43,790 EX-L adds heated rear seats, leather upholstery, a power front passenger seat, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio compatibility. The $48,290 Touring gets rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors, a cargo bed power outlet, ambient interior lighting, navigation, driver’s seat and mirror position memory, ventilated front seats and a sound system upgrade with rear-seat USB ports. There’s also what Honda calls its Trunk-Bed Audio System, which integrates loudspeakers in the cargo bed for making tailgate parties more entertaining.

Finally, the $49,790 Ridgeline Black Edition benefits from the Touring’s features, but with a monochrome appearance featuring black alloy wheels, door handles and bumper garnishes as well as a black front grille.

On the safety front, every Ridgeline comes equipped with a collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and the Honda LaneWatch passenger-side blind spot display. The Touring and Black Edition variants skip the latter for a blind sport information system with rear cross traffic alert.

While its competition — the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma — may offer greater towing capacities, a more truck-like design and, in some cases, better off-road capabilities, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline offers its own unique and practical features for families wanting a pickup truck without sacrificing the comfort and ride quality of a car or SUV.

— LC Media

HondaThe 2019 Honda Ridgeline comes standard with a 3.5-litre V-6 engine and puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

Honda

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline comes standard with a 3.5-litre V-6 engine and puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

Photos by HondaThe Ridgeline features a dual-action tailgate, which can be opened downwards or swung open sideways, and for tailgate parties Honda’s optional Trunk-Bed Audio System integrates speakers into the cargo bed.

Photos by Honda

The Ridgeline features a dual-action tailgate, which can be opened downwards or swung open sideways, and for tailgate parties Honda’s optional Trunk-Bed Audio System integrates speakers into the cargo bed.