2021 Honda Ridgeline Preview

Erin Riches-Wong | Oct 08, 2020
FAST FACTS
  • Restyled front end makes it look more like other trucks
  • New Honda Performance Development package offers further design upgrades
  • Revised infotainment interface gains a dedicated volume knob
  • Offered in Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition trim levels
  • Goes on sale in early 2021

Introduction

Honda's Ridgeline is the midsize truck for people who want open-bed utility in a vehicle with all the comforts and driving character of a crossover SUV. It's a compromise, for sure, but Honda has found a sweet spot in the pickup truck segment. In the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive, Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, consumers ranked the Ridgeline first among midsize trucks.

2021 Honda Ridgeline HPD Gray Rear View

One of the few things Ridgeline owners haven't loved about their trucks is the exterior styling. The updated 2021 Honda Ridgeline should remedy this issue: It has a new front-end design that makes it look less like a Pilot SUV and more like other midsize trucks.

Another sore point has been the infotainment system. For 2021, Honda updates the Ridgeline's touchscreen display, which now includes the Holy Grail: a stereo volume knob.

The refreshed Honda Ridgeline goes on sale in early 2021, and we don't expect significant changes in pricing or equipment from 2020.

Exterior Features

Most of the changes to the 2021 Honda Ridgeline are visible on the outside of the truck. The sheet metal is all-new from the windshield pillars forward. You can see the differences in the 2021 Ridgeline's rectangular nose and upright grille: This is the face of a traditional truck.

As on previous Ridgelines, a crossbar detail runs between the headlights. Formerly a soft, flowing wave, this design element now has angles and edges aplenty. It's finished in chrome on RTL and RTL-E models and gloss black on the Sport and Black Edition trims. The crossbar is surrounded at either end by the LED headlights, which reportedly provide better illumination for 2021.

Beneath the Ridgeline's grille, there's an air vent on each side, and Honda says these net a functional improvement in aerodynamics. There's also a prominent front skid plate. Around back, you can't miss the bright exhaust tips revealed by the revised bumper, and there are two of them to boot.

The truck in the photos wears an attractive set of bronze-finish wheels. These are part of a new Honda Performance Development (HPD) option package, which additionally includes black fender flares and a specific grille treatment. The HPD package is available on all trim levels and is one of four new option packages Honda will offer on the Ridgeline. The others are likely to bundle popular items like roof racks and running boards.

All 2021 Honda Ridgelines stick with 18-inch wheels and tires. Honda notes it has reduced backspacing, which has the visual effect of pushing the wheels and tires farther out of the wheel wells to impart a sportier stance. The 2021 truck also has a slightly wider track overall.

Interior Features

2021 Honda Ridgeline Black Interior Dashboard

Honda has changed a few of the furnishings in the 2021 Ridgeline. Sport models get new cloth seat inserts, and all trims have contrasting stitching for their seat upholstery. You'll also notice new satin-finish metallic accents on the console, dashboard, and steering wheel in Sport, RTL, and RTL-E models. Otherwise, this is the same Honda Ridgeline as before, and that means you'll probably find the seats comfortable and never run out of storage space.

Under The Hood

All 2021 Honda Ridgelines come with a refined 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Base versions of the Sport and RTL are front-wheel-drive. All-wheel drive is optional on these trims and standard on the RTL-E and Black Edition.

The AWD system can route up to 70% of the engine's 262 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. It also includes a torque-vectoring feature that can deliver all available torque to a single rear wheel if needed. A multi-terrain system with driver-selectable modes also helps to improve traction.

Safety

Every 2021 Ridgeline comes with a forward-collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control. The RTL-E and Black Edition also have automatic high-beam assistance and a blind-spot warning system.

Technology

Other than the exterior styling updates, the most significant change on the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is likely to be the revised Display Audio infotainment system. The addition of a volume knob is a major win for an interface that previously had no physical knobs or buttons. Honda says the touchscreen offers improved graphics and "easier-to-use" icons.

American Honda Motor Company is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of October 8, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.

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