Sneak Peek: 2017 Honda Ridgeline

We think the new Ridgeline looks stunning—and much more like a traditional pickup truck.
Honda outfitted their new pickup with everything today’s consumer demands.

We admit it: The Honda Ridgeline is a polarizing truck. Some dismiss it completely, proclaiming that its unibody structure banishes it from the world of “real” pickups. Meanwhile, Ridgeline owner loyalty is through the roof. For many it’s the right tool for the job: big enough for real-world loads yet easy to drive, park and maintain on a daily basis.

We’re Ridgeline owners ourselves, and throughout more than a decade and 200,000-plus miles of ownership, a question has lurked in our minds: Would Honda stick with this market and release Ridgeline Version 2.0, or was this just a one-time experiment?

We recently got our answer. Last week, Honda took the wraps off an all-new 2017 Ridgeline and invited us to sample it in and around San Antonio, Texas. Here are our findings.

First Impressions: It looks stunning—and much like a traditional pickup truck. No more awkward styling here. The high buttresses have been deleted, so loading the bed from the side should no longer be such a challenge.

Under the Skin: The Ridgeline still relies upon a unibody design. However, the body and cab are now separate structures that are then welded together. Honda explains that when it lowered the buttresses, the cab and bed could no longer employ a single stamping.

Sized Right: The new truck is roughly the same size as the previous model, yet its wheelbase has grown 3 inches. Weight is down nearly 50 pounds. The bed is longer than before, and at its narrowest point it’s 50 inches across—finally wide enough to hold a sheet of plywood. Plus, the it now has more tie-down hooks.

Push Me, Pull You: The unique two-way tailgate remains. It can swing down like a traditional tailgate or to the side—yes, like the one on your parents’ old Ford wagon.

Junk in the Trunk: The underbed trunk, another feature unique to the Ridgeline, returns. This time, though, it’s slightly larger.

More Power: Displacement remains 3.5 liters, but thanks to direct injection and other advances, horsepower is up from 250 to 280.

Less Fuel: Fuel economy is up, too. Our own Ridgeline regularly delivers mpg figures in the high teens, but the new one we drove during the press launch traveled 30 miles for every gallon at speeds of about 60 mph.

Interior Impressions: Wow, it’s really nice in there. The materials feel first-rate, and Honda outfitted it with everything today’s consumer demands. Need a bunch of cup holders? Bluetooth connectivity? The Ridgeline has them.

Folding Rear Seat: We love our Ridgeline’s fold-up rear seat and its ability to suddenly create a lockable, climate-controlled storage space. That feature returns.

Hauling and Towing: Honda says that payload capacity is up from 1500 pounds to 1587. The tow rating remains 5000 pounds, but we’re told that the new Ridgeline can handle that load more easily than before.

Driving It: We are in love. The new transmission shifts smoothly. The extra power is noticeable. Torquesteer is been dramatically reduced. What was already a quiet truck is now even quieter. At the same press launch, Honda offered us time behind the wheel of a Chevy Colorado and a Toyota Tacoma. Not only does the new Ridgeline trump the earlier version of itself, but it blows away the competition, too. Once we decide on a color, we’ll be placing our order.

For a full report, keep tabs on the upcoming August 2016 issue of Grassroots Motorsports magazine. If you’re not a subscriber, you can always subscribe right here.

Specs

Engine - 3.5-liter V6
Driveline - 6-speed automatic, available in FWD and AWD
Suspension - macpherson strut front, multi-link rear
Curb weight - 4242 lbs.
MSRP - starting at $26,475

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Comments
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Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
5/9/16 12:15 a.m.

I am proud to be the first person not to E36 M3 on this Ridgeline thread!

Cousin_Eddie
Cousin_Eddie New Reader
5/9/16 4:57 a.m.

Depending on the price, this is possibly the replacement for my 2007 Element.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper UltimaDork
5/9/16 6:40 a.m.

30 mpg, especially at 60 mph, that's terrific.

Furious_E
Furious_E HalfDork
5/9/16 7:23 a.m.

Get a real truck

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte UltraDork
5/9/16 7:24 a.m.

Yup, hair dressers

edizzle89
edizzle89 Dork
5/9/16 7:34 a.m.

the old ones were FWD or AWD right? what will this one be?

noddaz
noddaz Dork
5/9/16 7:58 a.m.

And how much is it?

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 SuperDork
5/9/16 8:10 a.m.
noddaz wrote: And how much is it?

This for sure.

Edit: Car and Driver estimates baseline MSRP at $32,500

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
5/9/16 8:13 a.m.

That actually looks like a sweet truck(ish). I would totally rock that. I don't need a traditional truck for hauling mulch, motorcycles, and a small trailer. This is solid.

rslifkin
rslifkin HalfDork
5/9/16 8:14 a.m.

Well, it sounds like they did fix a few of the complaints with the old version. The tow rating is still pretty sad relative to its size and rated payload though.

edizzle89 wrote: the old ones were FWD or AWD right? what will this one be?

I think they were all AWD (with a FWD until slip system).

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
5/9/16 8:17 a.m.
edizzle89 wrote: the old ones were FWD or AWD right? what will this one be?

It'll be available in FWD and AWD.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
5/9/16 8:25 a.m.
paranoid_android74 wrote:
noddaz wrote: And how much is it?

This for sure.

Edit: Car and Driver estimates baseline MSRP at $32,500

The numbers Honda gave it actually have it starting at a little over $26,000. That's for a base model with 2WD. I just added some specs to the original post.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
5/9/16 8:40 a.m.
The Ridgeline still relies upon a unibody design. However, the body and cab are now separate structures that are then welded together. Honda explains that when it lowered the buttresses, the cab and bed could no longer employ a single stamping.

I kind of liked the "Baby Avalanche" styling on the original. I wonder if there's a difference in strength with the new separate parts?

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
5/9/16 8:44 a.m.

Will the FWD still be rated at 5k lbs?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
5/9/16 8:51 a.m.
MadScientistMatt wrote:
The Ridgeline still relies upon a unibody design. However, the body and cab are now separate structures that are then welded together. Honda explains that when it lowered the buttresses, the cab and bed could no longer employ a single stamping.
I kind of liked the "Baby Avalanche" styling on the original. I wonder if there's a difference in strength with the new separate parts?

Yes, there is. It's much, much stiffer with the new design.

Fletch1
Fletch1 Dork
5/9/16 9:14 a.m.

Look's like 3500lbs towing (FWD) and 5000lbs(AWD). The 0-60 dropped 1.8 sec to approx. 6.5 seconds. Looks sharp in blue: http://www.motortrend.com/news/2017-honda-ridgeline-first-drive-review/

Robbie
Robbie SuperDork
5/9/16 9:28 a.m.
Fletch1 wrote: Look's like 3500lbs towing (FWD) and 5000lbs(AWD). The 0-60 dropped 1.8 sec to approx. 6.5 seconds. Looks sharp in blue: http://www.motortrend.com/news/2017-honda-ridgeline-first-drive-review/

If that is true it is really unfortunate. I want 5000lb towing capacity in the FWD ridgeline, because I figure it will then soon trickle down to 5000lb towing capacity odysseys - which is what I really want.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
5/9/16 9:36 a.m.

In reply to Robbie:

I'll double-check those numbers once I get back to my office. Have the numbers from Honda on my desk.

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
5/9/16 9:47 a.m.

Did you test the FWD or the AWD? What difference is there in economy and performance?

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
5/9/16 9:55 a.m.

Where I live, folks love their Hondas. Hopefully they'll be available somewhere close to MSRP.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 SuperDork
5/9/16 11:29 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote:
paranoid_android74 wrote:
noddaz wrote: And how much is it?

This for sure.

Edit: Car and Driver estimates baseline MSRP at $32,500

The numbers Honda gave it actually have it starting at a little over $26,000. That's for a base model with 2WD. I just added some specs to the original post.

I was hoping it wasn't that high- thanks Ed!

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
5/9/16 11:49 a.m.

This could conceivably be the vehicle that could replace the MPV AND the big old truck. Even more likely if that lofty 30 mpg number isn't total bullpoop. Call me extremely interested!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
5/9/16 12:43 p.m.
paranoid_android74 wrote:
Ed Higginbotham wrote:
paranoid_android74 wrote:
noddaz wrote: And how much is it?

This for sure.

Edit: Car and Driver estimates baseline MSRP at $32,500

The numbers Honda gave it actually have it starting at a little over $26,000. That's for a base model with 2WD. I just added some specs to the original post.

I was hoping it wasn't that high- thanks Ed!

Update: We just got an email from Honda. There was an error in the price sheet they gave us. The base price is $29,475, not $26,475.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
5/9/16 1:47 p.m.
The 0-60 dropped 1.8 sec to approx. 6.5 seconds.

And i'll reiterate for those who have complained about the 1st gen being underpowered and all of them lacking manuals: This is just as fast as a 20 year old Mustang GT with a 4.6 V8 and manual. You may prefer manual for durability or control reasons but unless you seriously want your Ridgeline to 0-60 in the 5s, you can't complain about it from a performance standpoint.

Motor Trend said: Ridgeline uses an honest-to-goodness, not-by-braking torque-vectoring rear differential that promises fantastic real-world drive force without having to resort to low range or manual diff locking. In moments of need, up to 70 percent of available power is circulated to the rear.

Oh yeah let's complain about this too!

rslifkin
rslifkin HalfDork
5/9/16 1:48 p.m.
Vigo wrote:
The 0-60 dropped 1.8 sec to approx. 6.5 seconds.
And i'll reiterate for those who have complained about the 1st gen being underpowered and all of them lacking manuals: This is just as fast as a 20 year old Mustang GT with a 4.6 V8 and manual. You may prefer manual for durability or control reasons but unless you seriously want your Ridgeline to 0-60 in the 5s, you can't complain about it from a performance standpoint.

That much off the 0-60 should be enough to fix the power issue, especially when you're not putting more than 5k lbs behind it.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
5/9/16 1:50 p.m.

So... what exactly was the secret that could not be told last week?

STM317
STM317 Reader
5/9/16 1:55 p.m.
Huckleberry wrote: So... what exactly was the secret that could not be told last week?

I think it was just Honda placing an embargo on publicity to keep general details and driving perceptions under wraps until a certain time (12:01AM today). Tons of new Honda Ridgeline articles hit the web today after being prepared days or weeks ago.

einy
einy Reader
5/9/16 6:21 p.m.

Personally, I really like this new rig. Now the big decision ... Dump over 2k into the GTI to prevent a timing chain disaster and decarbon the valves, or get one of these??

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