I have a close friend named Mike. He is an avid fisherman, but doesn’t necessarily tow much. He is owned by humongous mastiff named Bella who accompanies him much of the time. In the eight years that I have known him, he has owned two Honda Ridgeline pickups — both purchased used. His truck before that was an F-150, but since that vehicle has grown so much in size, he made the decision to go smaller when he bought that first Ridgeline. I suspect that no one will ever get him out of a Ridgeline again.
That said, he may be checking out a new product. Recently, after sticking with the status quo for years, Honda introduced its newly-designed 2017 Ridgeline that will satisfy Mike and many other midsize truck enthusiasts who rarely off-road or tow big loads. There is still a lot of information that hasn’t been released, including fuel efficiency, tow capacity and payload, but suspect the objective will be to be close to the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon gasoline-powered versions. That will unquestionably satisfy Ridgline enthusiasts and, with the Honda name attached, should generate a lot of interest from others.
What we do know is that the new Ridgeline boasts the “largest interior space and most versatile bed in a mid-size 4-door,” according to Honda. Like its predecessors, the new pickup has unibody construction based upon the company’s global light truck platform.
Much attention has been paid to storage and convenience features such as an In-Bed Trunk, dual action tailgate and an available in-bed audio system (which was featured in the company’s Super Bowl ad.) Also available are some accessories including black roof rails and crossbars, die-cast running boards, black fender flares, skid plate, tow kit and 2″ trailer ball, and 18:black glint wheels and all-terrain tires.
There will be front wheel and all-wheel versions, with the all-wheel drive model featuring a terrain management system with settings for sand, snow and mud. The Ridgeline will be powered by a 3.5L direct injection V6 engine, but no additional specs have been released yet.
There are extensive safety and driver assist features including lane departure warning, a collision-mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation and lane keeping assist — probably as part of an optional package. A multi-angle rearview camera will be standard. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will will be on board.
Honda has wisely increased the size of the Ridgeline. The composite truck bed is now 5′ wide and can accomodate a 4′ wide plywood sheet lying flat. It is also 5.4″ longer than before. There will be 8-350-lb. tiedown cleats and a 400-watt power inverter.
At this point, Honda is still talking about targets rather than hard facts, but those should start trailing out closer to the actual launch dates. To my knowledge no automotive press have had the opportunity to drive the new Ridgeline, but I expect to see a great deal more and provided drive impressions when we get behind the wheel later this year.
The mid-size truck segment is growing at an impressive rate and it will be nice to see this vehicle for those who are not hard-core offroaders.