When the Honda Ridgeline first showed up in 2006, it seemed like a spaceship. It was a truck, in that it had a bed, but it was also an SUV, in that it was based on a Honda Pilot. At the time it was an oddity. But it’s aged well and today it’s one of the few trucks to stand up, as far as Consume Reports is concerned.
At the time, the Honda Ridgeline was the only unibody truck on the market, and the first in the US since the Subaru Brat left the U.S. in 1987. Today, the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz use a similar formula. But the Honda was the originator.
The Honda Ridgeline holds up well in rankings
Consumer Reports liked the original Ridgeline. True to Honda’s reputation, it has a five-out-of-five rating for reliability. It also has a five-out-of-five rating for owner satisfaction. It’s ride, noise and comfort, too, earned high marks for a truck. The truck also got high marks for its transmission and handling.
Where it doesn’t rank is in technology. Most new cars and trucks today offer collision warnings, or lane keep assist, or other safety features. In 2012 these were not common especially on trucks. The RTL trim did offer some goodies like navigation, but most had simply a radio and an air conditioner.
The only area where the original Honda Ridgeline doesn’t shine is in fuel economy. But it does have a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 250-horsepower.
Ridgelines are full of clever tricks
The 2006-2014 Ridgeline did a lot of things differently. It has a plastic bed that won’t rust. The tailgate folds down, but it can also open sideways like a regular door. That swinging tailgate give you easy access to the under-bed storage, which is lockable and waterproof.
While the Ridgeline is an all-wheel-drive truck that do some light duty off-roading, it has a front-wheel-drive bias. Honda says that you only need to press the all-wheel-drive button if you’re seriously stuck. The computer could figure out most of the traction duties.
Today on the used market a used Ridgeline looks like a deal compared to other trucks. Ten-year-old Ridgeline Sports are less than $20,000, while the RTL commands a premium.
The new Honda Ridgeline stayed close to the original forumla
Honda Ridgeline buyers gravitated to the truck because it was different. Honda kept that uniqueness when it launched the second-generation Ridgeline in 2017. Again, it’s very much a Honda Pilot with a bed, and that’s not a bad thing.
The new Ridgeline keeps the unique tailgate, the lockable storage in the bed, the simple controls, and the transverse V6. The new truck, Honda says, is much stronger and more rigid than the old one.
The new Honda Ridgeline, strangely, scores lower on some of Consumer Reports’ rankings. It scored lower on handling, owner satisfaction. However, it does rate high on comfort, styling, and a driving experience.