No one loves their trucks more than Americans. And truck-building automakers know how special this vehicle segment is. With powerful favorites from Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet, it’s hard to imagine any truck-loving consumer considering any other pickup. But they do. In fact, another contender, the Honda Ridgeline, has earned its own reputation as a comparable truck among many. It hasn’t necessarily climbed the ranks as one of the top three in years past. However, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline appears to be taking the competition seriously and appears to have maybe fixed this pickup’s worst problem.
The Honda Ridgeline’s one real problem
The Honda Ridgeline has always been a decent truck. Sure, it’s had its share of mechanical and design flaws over the years, but nothing serious enough to warrant its lackluster performance overall in the truck market. Most critics say the first look at a Honda Ridgeline is that it’s more SUV than truck. The designs and styles are smooth. The amenities have always seemed to be geared toward comfort and convenience, and not like the aggressive or beefy ruggedness of other pickups.
Those who need a capable truck for work or off-road adventures might not consider the Honda Ridgeline as a “real truck” and prefer the likes of Ford, Chevy, or Dodge instead.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is all truck
Honda seems to have heard the critics loud and clear. According to Honda, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline will be outfitted with an i-VTM4 torque-vectoring AWD option, a scratch and dent-resistant bedliner, a Dual-Action tailgate, and best-in-class ride quality with the fully boxed, truss-style floor frame. All this with a bold new redesign that addresses the Ridgeline’s historical problem. It now will look like a rugged, off-road capable beast that it’s always been capable of being.
As part of its new look, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is using new sheet metal, and the truck will feature a larger face. The grille is prominent and a square hood, allowing the pickup to embrace its more aggressive look. There is better illumination with LED headlights, large side vents for improved airflow, and a new skid plate install for serious off-road readiness. Say goodbye to the truck that used to look like an SUV with a truck bed. Say hello to the bold and capable Honda Ridgeline.
What else is new for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline?
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline will be updated with a new infotainment system. There will also be new packages available from the Honda Performance Development teams, allowing for more configurable options. Everything else will remain the same, and that’s ok. The 3.5-liter V6 will continue to produce 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.
All versions will be married to the nine-speed automatic transmission. Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive will also be available. The smooth-riding Honda Ridgeline performs well with its payload capacity of 1,580 pounds, towing up to 5,000 pounds.
Will American truck buyers be convinced?
The critics have always praised the Honda Ridgeline for its capability. But no one, consumers included, took it seriously with its softer look and SUV style. With this bold, new redesign, Honda is looking to change the public perception of this capable pickup. It now looks like the performing, workhorse contender it’s always been. It’s hard to say for sure if truck buyers will embrace this new look. But driving a truck that looks like a monster performing truck is what most prefer.
If you haven’t given the Honda Ridgeline much of a thought but need a new pickup next year, the 2021 Ridgeline is definitely worth a look. It’s a truck that’s always been worth a test drive. Only now, it has the looks and feels of a rugged pickup too.