What Changed for 2009:
- Revised front and rear styling
- Interior gets new meters, steering wheel and buttons
- 115-volt power outlet standard on RTL model
- Active front head restraints now standard
- Engine gains more power (to 250 hp) and broader torque curve
- Transmission gets lower gear ratios
- Tow hitch now standard on all models
- RTL model gets 18-inch wheels and fog lights
- RTL model with navigation system gains rearview camera
- Bluetooth hands-free cell phone link now available
- RTX model no longer offered
The introduction of Honda's Ridgeline in 2006 marked a new milestone in half-ton pickup truck innovation. While traditional pickup trucks use a body and bed bolted to a ladder frame, the Ridgeline employs a combination of frame and unit body with a composite bed. As a result, the Ridgeline offers typical half-ton pickup truck capabilities for towing and hauling combined with features such as a locking trunk built into the cargo bed (large enough for a 72-quart cooler or three golf bags) and a tailgate that can be opened down or sideways. The Ridgeline has a 1500-pound payload capacity and can tow up to 5000 pounds. For 2009, the Ridgeline receives styling and equipment enhancements, as well as a slight bump in engine power. The RTX model has been dropped.
The 2009 Honda Ridgeline is offered in RT, RTX, RTS and RTL models. The Ridgeline RT includes cloth upholstery; air conditioning; power windows, locks, side windows and sliding rear window; cruise control; keyless entry; trip computer; tilt steering wheel; automatic heated wiper zone; 6-speaker, 100-watt audio system with CD player; 60/40-split lift-up rear seat with underseat storage; trailer hitch with pre-wiring for 7-pin connector; and 17-inch steel wheels. The Ridgeline RTS adds a 7-speaker, 160-watt audio system with subwoofer, 6-disc CD player and steering-wheel-mounted controls; auxiliary input jack; dual-zone automatic climate control; 8-way power driver's seat; all-weather floor mats; and alloy wheels. The RTL adds a leather-trimmed interior with heated front seats; moonroof; XM satellite radio; 110-volt power outlet; HomeLink remote system; compass integrated into the rearview mirror; and 18-inch alloy wheels. The RTL is also offered with GPS navigation with voice recognition, rearview camera, and a Bluetooth hands-free cell phone link.
The 2009 Honda Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that gains 3 hp and 2 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the 2008 model. Honda also says the torque curve is broader and the transmission has lower gear ratios for improved low-end power. Output is now 250 hp at 5700 rpm and 247 lb.-ft. of torque at 4300 rpm. A 5-speed automatic transmission delivers power to all four wheels through Honda's VTM-4 Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive system. VTM-4 sends most of the power to the front wheels under normal circumstances, but can send the power to the rear wheels during acceleration and in low traction situations, Honda says. A \"VTM-4 Lock\" button allows the driver to lock in a 50/50 front/rear power split for first and second gears up to 18 mph. The Ridgeline's EPA fuel-economy estimates are 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway.
Standard safety equipment on the 2009 Honda Ridgeline includes dual front air bags; front-seat-mounted side air bags; two-row side curtain air bags with rollover deployment; active front head restraints; tire-pressure-monitoring system; anti-lock brakes with brake assist; and electronic stability control.
According to Honda, the Ridgeline is the first 4-door pickup to receive the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) top 5-star safety rating for both the driver and front passenger in front-impact crashes and 5 stars for the driver and rear passenger in side impacts. The Ridgeline has also earned 4 stars in the NHTSA's rollover test.
The 2009 Honda Ridgeline combines ladder-frame and unit-body (or unibody) construction. Unibody construction yields more interior space with superior crash protection, according to the manufacturer. The Ridgeline's body shell is designed as a unibody, which is bolted to a boxed-steel frame for added rigidity. The Ridgeline uses a transverse-mounted engine similar to that found in a unibody crossover utility vehicle. The bed is made of a composite material strengthened by steel cross members, a method of construction that, Honda says, resists dents and rust and provides a non-slip coating without the need for a bed liner.