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Honda might be the car brand that most signals “reliability” to consumers. We aren’t saying that Honda is the most reliable, only that Honda has earned the reputation and sits in that seat. Honda made a tiny pickup back in the early ‘60s, but that doesn’t really count. The T360 isn’t really what we are here to talk about. So when Honda decided to (re)enter the pickup truck space in 2005, it shook things up. The Honda Ridgeline was born, and the pickup truck segment got weirder and maybe even better. 

A 2023 Honda Ridgeline drives through water.
2023 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

Does Honda make a pickup truck? 

In 2005, Honda introduced the Ridgeline. Honda knew good and well it didn’t want to compete with the big boys at Ford, GM, and Dodge. Instead, the Honda Ridgeline would be a unibody pickup truck with independent suspension and powered by a V6. These things were decidedly very un-pickup truck. While some smaller pickup trucks like the Chevy S10 and Ford Ranger were buzzing around, the Ridgeline was pretty big, but it didn’t behave like a regular truck.

The 2005 Honda Ridgeline was a properly strange offering; from the specs to the styling, many buyers weren’t sure what to do with the weird truck. The interior was more SUV-like than most pickup trucks, but it drove like a tall sedan. According to AutoEvolution, Honda only gave the first-gen Ridgeline one engine, a 256-hp 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. It also only came in AWD. What was quite strange at the time would sell like hotcakes today. 

The second-gen Ridgeline came down the pipe in 2009 and went until 2014. The second-gen trucks didn’t change all that much except for a facelift, and Honda ditched the third pedal for an automatic 5-speed. The truck clipped along like this in relative obscurity for quite a while. The third- and current-generation Ridgeline picks up in 2021. As AutoEvolution eloquently puts it, “Looking for mechanical updates? Well, don’t, because the 2021 Ridgeline doesn’t have any.” while it kept all the same moving parts, the Ridgeline did get another makeover. 

The new Ridgeline was mostly focused on style. It had a new hood, a new dual exhaust, new fenders, and a completely new face. The front bumper cover was redesigned with added functional slick air curtains. 

What’s new for the 2023 Honda Ridgeline? 

For years, the Honda Ridgeline consistently topped the charts for critics. Consumer Reports had at the top for three years in a row. The 2023 is the first model in a while that lost the top spot to the Ford Maverick. Ultimately, the car-based pickup truck has remained largely unchanged for decades. 

The Ridgeline still rocks the 3.5-liter V6 making 280 hp. One of the newer aspects of the Ridgeline is the HPD trim. This trim package comes with trim-specific wheels, decals, paint colors, and more. This trim first appeared in 2021, but the odd obscurity of the model has only more recently grabbed some people’s attention. 

A blue Honda Ridgeline parked in a snowy environment.
2023 Honda Ridgeline | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Truck buyers are not only loyal, but it seems like they are a bit particular as well. The Honda Ridgeline simply isn’t what most people want from a truck. Instead, Honda gave us what most people actually need from a truck. The Ridgeline will never give you the cowboy feeling. It has stripped all the bravado from the segment and given us a practical, reliable, comfortable, and modest pickup truck that works.