Only 1 Truck Made Consumer Reports ‘Best Cars of the Year’ List

The Honda Ridgeline often gets overshadowed by its more popular midsize rivals. However, having the highest towing capacity doesn’t automatically make any truck superior to another. Those trucks are often the least reliable vehicles you can buy and aren’t always comfortable for daily driving.

That’s why it’s so impressive that Consumer Reports named the Honda Ridgeline the Best Car for 2021 in its segment. The Ridgeline got the best scores on CR’s performance test, as well as the highest praise according to owner surveys. Here’s what Consumer Reports loved the most about the Honda Ridgeline.

Is the Honda Ridgeline a good truck?

The Honda Ridgeline draws power from a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. AWD was made standard for 2021, equipped with multi-terrain traction. FWD is no longer an option, but the Ridgeline is still very efficient: Car and Driver report that it gets 29 mpg on highway treks.

The Ridgeline is also one of the fastest trucks, pushing from 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Unlike the cumbersome handling of many trucks, CR testers reported that the Ridgeline is pleasantly more akin to a car.

Testers were also impressed with the Ridgeline’s smooth ride quality, which can be attributed to its unique unibody construction.

Functional cargo box

The Honda Ridgeline only has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, but an above-average payload of 1,584 pounds. It has almost 34 cubic feet of available storage space, plus an additional locked compartment underneath the box, which is big enough to hold a large cooler. In-bed lighting and an in-bed speaker system are also optional niceties. 

While the cargo bed isn’t as deep as others, it still has some useful stand-out features. Consumer Reports praised its dual-action tailgate, which can swing outwards as well as fold down. The bed itself is made from composite, meaning it won’t be vulnerable to scrapes and rust.

The Honda Ridgeline has great interior features

Abundant storage compartments are also found in the Ridgeline’s interior, which also makes it stand out among some other trucks. You could probably mistake it for an SUV thanks to all the soft-padded surfaces. Testers also appreciated that it doesn’t have a steep step-in height.

The standard seats are roomy and comfortable, though CR recommends getting the leather upholstery upgrade. Drivers have plenty of head and shoulder space in the cockpit, and the second row is also quite spacious. For 2020, Honda made the rear doors wider so that passengers have easier access to the backseat.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline also has a completely revised infotainment system, newly equipped with easy-to-use digital menu icons. After years of critical complaints, a physical audio control knob also makes an appearance for this year. The system itself is still equipped with useful staples like smartphone integration and optional navigation.

Consumer Reports was also impressed with all the Ridgeline’s standard safety features. It has adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and forward-collision warning. Except for the Toyota Tacoma, other compact pickups usually don’t offer any standard safety features.

More than just muscle

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What Consumer Reports appreciated most about the Honda Ridgeline is that it’s not just capable: it also has daily-driving appeal. The Honda Ridgeline tows a decent amount, but its functional truck bed also makes it an ideal tailgate party hoster. The Ridgeline’s agile handling and comfortable ride are rarities for its class.

The Honda Ridgeline can’t tackle big tow jobs or serious off-roading like some of its rivals. Still, it looks more like a true truck after its 2021 redesign, so it may win skeptics over regardless. It also has a near-perfect reliability score, which helps justify its above-average price tag.