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2017-honda-ridgeline-34-rear-1Honda’s Ridgeline has presented a departure from conventional pickups since its introduction just over a decade ago. Now, after a hiatus of several years, Honda has brought an all-new Ridgeline back into its lineup with features that make the model better than ever.

Available as a four-door crew cab with seating for five, the second generation Ridgeline delivers fresh new styling with a more traditional pickup appearance and loads of on-board tech. It shares its platform with the Honda Pilot SUV and thus continues to march to its own drummer by featuring unibody construction, rather than the body-on-frame underpinnings typical of pickups.

2017-honda-ridgeline-dash-1Why the departure from conventional pickup construction? Honda's aim is to provide all the functionality expected of a modern pickup with a very high-profile differentiator: a much more comfortable and car-like ride for the short and long haul.

Several innovations from the earlier Ridgeline are retained including a dual-action tailgate that folds down or swings open, conveniently meeting diverse loading needs. Tailgaters will appreciate the Ridgeline’s in-bed audio system that positions speakers behind bed liner sides, effectively making the bed liner a giant speaker baffle. A lockable trunk in the pickup bed floor can hold more gear securely or serve as a cooler for tailgating since it’s equipped with a bottom drain plug.

2017-honda-ridgeline-frontRidgeline is powered by a direct-injected 3.5 liter i-VTEC V-6 with variable cylinder management. It makes 280 horsepower, 30 more than its predecessor. This offers both desired power and an EPA estimated 26 highway mpg. A six-speed automatic replaces the previous-generation’s 5-speed automatic. Buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive.

We’ve now put several thousand miles on the odometer of our long-term Honda Ridgeline Black Edition, already heading out on a few road trips and putting its user-friendly truck bed to work. With this pickup now in the long-term garage, it promises to be a good year indeed.