Tom Crosby: 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup improves with redesign
Driving a pickup truck usually means a lot of jounce over road bumps and handling that doesn’t quite measure up to a sedan.
Honda addresses both with its all-new mid-size 2017 Ridgeline 4-door pickup that now boasts the longest truck bed – 6 feet 4 inches – in its class. And with all-wheel-drive, it can handle mud and snow adequately, although with only 7.9 inches ground clearance, it isn’t equipped for heavy duty off-road driving.
That’s OK since the Ridgeline now has a sedan feel behind-the-wheel, along with a roomy interior comfortable for all occupants, excellent gas mileage and a dent-resistant truck bed with a two-way tailgate – swing door or fold down.
Under the truck bed is a hidden well to keep luggage dry or use to keep beverages cool with a drain plug. There is a spare tire. While the 280-horsepower V-6 engine doesn’t have the towing muscle of some competitors (only 5,000 pounds), Ridgeline isn’t an every day down-and-dirty, pasture working, haul-stuff pickup.
The cabin luxury is impressive with leather trimmings, 8-inch electro-static dashboard touchscreen with navigation, spacious center console, heated front seats, split fold-up rear seats above a storage compartment, power sliding rear window, smartphone applications (ex: ApplePlay, Android Auto) plus Bluetooth audio. A 540-watt sound system blares out using as speakers bedsides and the front bed wall.
New model Ridgelines haven’t been sold since 2014 but the 2017 – built using many of the Honda Pilot SUV’s tried-and-true features and design – hit showrooms in June with robust sales.
Our all-wheel-drive (two-wheel drive is available) Black Edition is top of the seven trims offered. It rode on 16-inch alloy wheels with an independent suspension and front and rear stabilizer bars providing car-like smoothness on the interstate. Tire thrum was a minor noise irritant.
Electrical rack-and-pinion steering produced excellent handling and a bevy of safety features provided driver security. They included rear camera, forward collision warning/braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning.
Missing was Honda’s optional Lane Watch, which shows the road’s blind spot via camera during a right turn.
The uni-body construction meshes well with the crew-cab look. It is immediately identified with its side door indentions, muscular wheel arches, raked windshield, narrow C-pillars and low fog lights beneath a black slatted grill topped by a chrome bar.
As befits its name, black is everywhere, inside and outside. Chrome and red stitching provide contrast.
Likes: Versatility, handling, ride, interior, safety, visibility, looks
Dislikes: Tire noise, low towing limit
Bottom line: Surprisingly sedan-like drivable pickup with luxury feel
2017 HONDA RIDGELINE AWD BLACK ED
Base price w/destination fee: $43,770 (same as tested).
Curb weight: 4,431 pounds.
Wheelbase: 125.2 inches.
Length: 210 inches.
Width: 78.6 inches.
Engine specs: 3.5-liter, V6, SOHC, direct injection.
Horsepower: 280 hp at 6,000 rpm.
Torque: 262 ft.-lbs. at 4,700 rpm.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic.
EPA Rating: 18 city, 25 highway.
Range: 19.5 gallons, regular.
Performance: 0-60 in under 7 seconds.
Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.
Print This Article