Consumer Reports Names a Total Shoo-In as the Best Pickup Truck of 2021

In a freshly updated list of the 10 Top Picks of 2021, Consumer Reports named the best pickup truck of the year. And it’s the same unibody pickup truck that’s risen to the top in the eyes of critics across the board. From Edmunds to CarConnection and many more top-of-class rankings, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is staking its claim as the practical truck that people actually need.

A silver 2021 Honda Ridgeline parked on a grassy hill
2021 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

Larger full-size trucks like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 remain obvious place-holders for awards like Edmunds’ Top Rated 2021 and MotorTrend Truck of the Year. However, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline keeps winning too. It’s the best midsize or compact pickup truck on nearly every list. And now, Consumer Reports has named it the best pickup truck to buy in 2021. In fact, full-sizers are mysteriously absent on Consumer Reports’ 10 Top Picks of 2021 list.

“Many pickup trucks are proud, hulking brutes. But these commercial-grade monsters are overkill for many suburbanites and weekend warriors. That’s where the genius of the Ridgeline comes in.”

Consumer Reports

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline: redesigned and better than ever

For 2021, the Honda Ridgeline got a spiffy redesign. It remains a unibody pickup truck, but now sports more aggressive styling and all-wheel drive is standard across every trim level. It’s still part of the Ridgeline’s second generation, which Honda released for the 2017 model year.

The front end got fresh updates. In fact, Edmunds says Honda aimed to make the 2021 Honda Ridgeline “look more like a truck rather than a Honda Pilot SUV with a cargo bed out back.” The updated infotainment system also received a physical volume knob. This is a welcome addition, as the lack thereof is one of the more common complaints about the second-generation Ridgeline models thus far.

One of the fan-favorite redesign additions includes a new rear bumper that sports dual exhaust. Plus, there are new styling packages that come straight from Honda Performance Development. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline saw big changes for 2021 while keeping the same satisfying driving dynamics, comfortable cabin experience, and 3.5-liter V6 engine combined with a nine-speed automatic transmission (introduced in 2020) that creates 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque.

How much is the new Ridgeline pickup truck?

There are four 2021 Honda Ridgeline trims to choose from. The base-level Sport trim starts at $36,490. This model, like all redesigned Ridgeline trucks, includes standard all-wheel drive and Honda’s safety suite that includes safety tech/driver-assist features like forward collision warning, emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist.

The next level up gives you the RTL Ridgeline. This model starts at $39,470––which may seem a little steep. However, Consumer Reports recommends this trim as the best value.

Moving up the trims, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline offers the RTL-E and the Black Edition. These models start at $42,420 and $43,920 respectively. In addition, packages can be added to the trim levels.

For example, the Honda Performance Development (available on every trim) package costs an extra $2,800. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition comes standard with the HPD package. There are also cool features like a lockable in-bed trunk (that can also be a cooler)––and the RTL-E and Black Edition versions get a truck bed audio system.

Consumer Reports’ 10 Top Picks of 2021

Due to its ability to seamlessly balance the utility of a small truck with impressive road manners and a comfortable cabin, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the only pickup truck Consumer Reports added to its 10 Top Picks of 2021 list. In fact, it gives this midsize pickup truck accolades for a long list of achievements including best-in-class gas-powered fuel mileage, a “quiet and well-finished cabin,” and “car-like” comfort.

The bigger brutish full-size pickup trucks like the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500 certainly have their appeal. Obviously, certain truck buyers need real workhorse payload and towing strength. However, given Consumer Reports’ love for all things truly practical, this truck landing on the 10 Top Picks of 2021 list just makes sense. It’s no surprise. Consumer Reports named a total shoo-in as the best pickup truck of 2021.

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