Test: 10,000 Miles in Honda’s Ridgeline

honda-ridgeline-frontWe’ve been driving Honda’s second-generation Ridgeline for some 10,000 miles now and have to say it has certainly got our attention. Actually, it first raised its profile with us in a big way as the Ridgeline beat out some pretty high-profile pickup competition when named Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Truck of the Year™ at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show. Over the months it has definitely lived up to all expectations.

The thing about the Ridgeline is that it’s a truck in every way – functional, durable, and capable in every respect – but there’s no ride penalty at all. It’s not that modern body-on-frame pickups haven’t come a long way over the years. They have, in meaningful ways that have brought much-improved ride and handling to the breed, to the point where pickups have become a second ‘car’ for countless families from rural environs to city streets.

honda-ridgeline-instrument-panelStill, the Ridgeline is different since it shares the Honda Pilot SUV’s lightweight and rugged unibody construction. Because of this the Ridgeline rides like a car rather than a truck, even as it delivers traditional pickup styling, a 1500-pound cargo capacity with its 5.3-foot cargo box, and up to 5,000 pounds of towing capability. We can’t overstate how important this may be to buyers who want the traditional capabilities offered by pickups but desire the ride comfort and handling of a car.

Also important is the Ridgeline’s impressive power and handling. Its 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission have consistently provided all the power needed under the varied driving conditions we’ve experienced over the months. The Ridgeline has delivered fuel efficiency pretty consistent with its EPA estimates of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, driving on regular 87 octane fuel. The pickup’s 19.5-gallon fuel tank provides about 370 to 450 miles of driving between fill-ups, depending on the mix of city/highway travel and driving habits.

ridgeline-seats-folded-up-1Our long-term test example is the Ridgeline Black Edition, which provides a sharp black exterior, wheels, and interior along with an array of added niceties plus all-wheel drive, the latter an important feature to those who often drive in less-than-desirable weather conditions. Like all other Ridgelines, our Black Edition is a four-door crew cab with seating for five and plenty of interior room. Especially welcome are the split fold-up rear seats that allow for configuring the rear area for people, cargo, or both as needed.

Featuring the same kind of highly-desired on-board electronics and connectivity as passenger cars and crossover/SUVs is also important to a pickup’s success story, and we’ve found the Ridgeline to definitely deliver here. The Black Edition is equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor, and more. An 8-inch touchscreen display features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and HondaLink satellite navigation with voice recognition. We have benefitted from all of these save for Android Auto, since our crew carries iPhones.

honda-ridgeline-tailgateAlong with all this, we’ve been enjoying some of the Ridgeline’s unique features during our regular commutes and road trips. We can’t say enough about the dual-action tailgate that either drops down or swings to the side as needed, with the swing-out action our default 90 percent of the time. The lockable trunk in the truck bed is also a favorite for stashing all kinds of necessities for our drives.

We’ll follow up with a wrap-up of our long-term test experience with the Honda Ridgeline soon, so stay tuned.

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