Long-term tests allow really getting to know a vehicle, and the 2017 Honda Ridgeline in our test fleet is no exception. We’ve spent some 5,000 miles behind the wheel now under varying driving conditions. Plenty of these miles have been in city driving with commuting duty and road trips thrown in for good measure.
We have enjoyed all those miles. The Ridgeline’s efficient i-VTEC 3.5-liter V-6 benefits from direct-injection and variable-cylinder management to increase efficiency, making 280 horsepower along the way. This provides all the performance we’ve demanded from the pickup and it’s never left us wanting for more.
Honda provides an option to enhance fuel economy by activating the Ridgeline’s ECON button, although this does diminish performance somewhat and also scales back some other systems in its mission to increase efficiency. The front-wheel drive 2017 Ridgeline is EPA rated at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, with a combined estimate of 22 mpg. Our Ridgeline Black Edition is an AWD model and sacrifices a bit of efficiency for the capability, offering an EPA estimated 18 city and 25 highway mpg, with a combined average of 21 mpg. Overall, with our combination of city and highway driving we have been averaging combined fuel economy of 20.9 mpg.
We’ll trade the AWD variant’s 1 mpg loss for the additional traction and functionality, though. While we haven’t had the occasion to ford streams or slog through snow, we have spent time traversing dusty ranch roads and occasional wet pavement, and we do appreciate the extra bit of confidence that AWD delivers.
Seating in the Ridgeline gets high marks. The pickup’s front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive. In the rear, we’re big fans of the split and fold-up seats that make this truck even more functional with their ability to reconfigure for people and gear as needed. Even with the seats down, there’s extra space beneath the seats for stowing gear. Plus, of course there’s the Ridgeline’s 53-inch pickup bed and unique tailgate that either drops down or swings out for easy access.
And did we mention our Ridgeline’s truck bed audio system? Those into tailgating will find this system fascinating. Honda has made the pickup bed’s side panels act as speaker baffles to produce some pretty quality sounds. Plus, Honda has built in another handy feature in the pickup box, in the form of a lockable trunk in the bed floor. After months of everyday driving in our Ridgeline tester, it’s hard to imagine how we could do without this handy trunk feature…or for that matter, how other competitive pickup owners could do without one as well.