The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Killed the 2021 Toyota Tacoma on Consumer Reports

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline may not be the prototypical pickup truck, but it beat the tires off the 2021 Toyota Tacoma on Consumer Reports. This feels impossible, but the Honda Ridgeline (minivan with a truck bed) has been proven over and over to be a great truck for the average pickup truck customer. For some, it truly might be the best pickup truck of 2021.

A red 2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package driving on a dirt road makes it easier to see why Consumer Reports ranked this as the best pickup truck.
2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package. | Honda

Before writing this off as absurd, Consumer Reports may not always be very agreeable, but it is consistent and objective. How the Honda Ridgeline outshines the 2021 Toyota Tacoma may not be dramatic enough for a truck commercial, but they are hard to deny. 

Which is the best pickup truck, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline or the 2021 Toyota Tacoma?

Like all truck comparisons and conversations, this all depends on what you need your truck to do. It’s tough to say what is the best pickup truck because people use them so differently. 

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline scored an impressive 80/100 on Consumer Reports, while the 2021 Toyota Tacoma landed a 51/100 overall score. 

2021 Toyota Tacoma climbing rocks in remote and mountainous terrain.
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota USA

If you need a hardcore work truck or adventure rig, the Honda Ridgeline will lose to the Toyota Tacoma eight days a week. However, If you need something reliable, comfortable, and tough enough for most people’s daily jobs, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a strong choice. 

The big three factors for trucks tend to be reliability, strength, and utility. Consumer Reports doesn’t always factor those things in order; they give equal weight to other factors. However, reliability is king across the board.

How reliable are the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma? 

Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Honda Ridgeline a 4 / 5 on predicted reliability. The 2021 Toyota Tacoma got a 3 / 5 on the same test. Predicted reliability essentially means, based on previous models, how well will the new one hold up. 

The 2017-2018 Honda Ridgeline had a few issues with the fuel system and transmission but has been in the green ever since. 

On the other hand, the Tacoma has struggled with body integrity, fuel system, transmission, and paint/trim issues for a while. Although, recent trends have shown better quality from Toyota on these issues. These reliability issues are the main thing holding the Toyota Tacoma back from being the best pickup truck in this bout. 

The Tacoma certainly outmuscled the Ridgeline

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a Toyota, after all. Its stronger engine option, the 3.5-liter V6, might be a bit old-fashioned and clunky, but it is strong. The Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 lbs in the right configuration and can haul a max payload of 1,685 lbs. 

A gray 2021 Honda Ridgeline with bronze HPD wheels and two red dirt bikes in the bed in a mountain forest
2021 Honda Ridgeline with HPD accessories | Honda

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline comes with only one engine option; a 3.5-liter V6. Unlike the old school Toyota engine, the Ridgeline’s engine is smooth and refined.

However, it can only tow 5,000 lbs and carry a 1,500-lb payload. It is simply not as hard of a worker. Still, day-to-day driving is said to be infinitely more comfortable and enjoyable than any other 2021 pickup truck, according to Consumer Reports. 

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma dies a slow death at the hands of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline

Although the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is better off-road and stronger, living with it, day-to-day is not as easy as with the Ridgeline, according to Consumer Reports. The Honda Ridgeline is not very trucky. It has independent front and rear suspension, full-time AWD, and a quiet and cozy cabin. It is more like driving a super useful SUV or minivan than a classic pickup truck. 

2021 Toyota Tacoma parked on the trails
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

2021 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which Pickup Is the Better Choice?

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a big gamble, but the results make sense. Honda bucked the trends of adding more truckattude to their line and instead doubled down on the comfortable and practical nature of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. This is why Consumer Reports has named it the best pickup truck of the 2021 batch thus far.