2017 Honda Ridgeline Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, January 12, 2016
- Light-duty, crew cab pickup truck
- Designed and built for lifestyle truck owners
- Shares platform with Pilot crossover SUV
- 3.5-liter V-6 engine, front-wheel or all-wheel drive
- Payload capacity closes in on 1,600 lbs.
- Practical cargo bed with locking trunk, dual-action tailgate
- Engineered to earn top safety ratings; equipped with full slate of modern safety technologies
- On sale by summer of 2016
The Honda Ridgeline pickup truck has never been about maximum towing and hauling capability, and that remains true of the redesigned 2017 Ridgeline, which debuted at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
Designed, developed, and built in the United States, the new 2017 Ridgeline is based on Honda’s global light-truck platform, which also underpins the popular Honda Pilot crossover SUV. That means it has unibody construction rather than the rugged body-on-frame construction of its primary competition, and that it has a 4-wheel independent suspension rather than a solid rear axle. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with an optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that can supply a modicum of off-road capability.
While the new Ridgeline cannot tow or haul as much weight as its primary competition, it is designed to excel where Honda claims most truck owners spend the majority of their time: on the pavement, driving under light-load conditions. Honda says the new Ridgeline goes on sale during the first half of 2016. The automaker also confirmed in Detroit that the two top trim levels will be called RTL-E and Black Edition.
Aside from its improved performance as a daily driver, the main reason to consider a 2017 Honda Ridgeline is for its composite, scratch-resistant cargo box, which is wider and longer than the previous-generation Ridgeline’s bed. Measuring 60 inches wide and 64 inches long, the Ridgeline supplies 48 inches of flat floor between the wheel arches, making the truck perfect for hauling plywood and drywall.
A dual-action tailgate helps make that easy. It folds down to carry long items, and it also opens from right to left to help make certain types of loading easier. The bed supplies eight 350-lb. tie-down cleats, and beneath the floor is a locking, 8.5 cu.-ft. trunk with a drain plug, making it perfect for beverages during tailgate parties.
New options for the 2017 Ridgeline include an in-bed audio system as well as a 400-watt AC power inverter that Honda suggests can be used to power tools, a flat-screen TV, or even a blender.
Honda says the new Ridgeline will have the largest interior of any midsize truck, and promises a segment-leading level of quiet along with high-quality cabin materials. Five people can fit inside of the Ridgeline, and the truck supplies storage space beneath the rear seat, which is a 60/40 split-folding design equipped with bottom cushions that can be folded up in order to maximize in-cab cargo space.
Outside of safety and infotainment technologies, Honda has confirmed that the 2017 Ridgeline will be available with keyless passive entry with push-button engine starting, triple-zone automatic climate control system, and leather upholstery.
Under the Hood
At the Detroit show, Honda made claims that the Ridgeline will supply the best acceleration, ride, handling, and fuel economy of any of its competitors, plus offering payload capacity approaching 1,600 lbs.
A 3.5-liter V-6 engine is the only one available for the new Ridgeline, rated to make 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission powers the truck’s front wheels, and a Variable Torque Management (VTM) AWD system with torque-vectoring capability is an option. Intelligent Terrain Management is standard with the VTM AWD, supplying a choice between Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud driving modes.
Riding on a 4-wheel independent suspension, the Ridgeline delivers what Honda characterizes as medium-duty towing and off-roading capability plus superior on-road, all-weather performance.
With the new Ridgeline and its next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, Honda is targeting top crash-test ratings from the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Additionally, a reversing camera is standard equipment and most versions of the 2017 Ridgeline will offer Honda LaneWatch or a traditional blind-spot warning system, depending on the trim level.
Most versions of the new Ridgeline will feature Honda’s latest infotainment system, complete with an 8-in. touch-screen display and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection technology.