Trucks & SUVs

Honda Ridgeline Beats New Gladiator and Ranger

Honda’s 2019 Ridgeline didn’t have any significant changes from 2018. In comparison, the new Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator seemed to be generating a lot of buzz in the midsize truck segment. Some questioned whether the Ridgeline was prepared to hold up against some of these new rivals. But in fact, it not only held its own, but the 2019 Honda Ridgeline also dominated.

What Car and Driver thinks of the midsize truck contenders

Overall, the experts took a closer look at the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, the 2019 Ford Ranger, and the 2019 Honda Ridgeline for a comparison review. As part of their process, they put these gems through a series of towing and driving tests. Each midsize truck offered unique pros and cons to working capacity, comfort, and efficiency. But, in the end, here’s the order in which each ranked, along with final verdict after compiling all best and worst of attributes.

  1. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado: Offering the best attributes of all the others combined
  2. 2019 Honda Ridgeline: What almost every midsize truck buyer is looking for in a truck
  3. 2020 Jeep Gladiator: You’ll enjoy it, even if you don’t want to
  4. 2019 Ford Ranger: If you’re going to show up to the party late, at least make sure you have it right

How the Honda Ridgeline beat out the Ford Ranger

Despite its much-anticipated launch, the 2019 Ford Ranger fell short in several key areas, especially when compared to the Ridgeline. The interior of the Ranger does not offer near the room and comforts that Ridgeline affords. The ride on and off-road were also less desirable, and the critics pointed out a terribly long, 193-foot stop from 70 mph. Braking, in general, produced a bit of head-bobbing.

The Ranger did have great tires, which in many cases, can make all the difference in rough driving conditions. Ten speeds seemed to be more than necessary, although this is the “little truck that can,” and proved to offer smooth shifting and capable general towing. Unfortunately, in this comparison review, these accolades weren’t enough to outpace any of the others.

How the Jeep Gladiator lost out to the Honda Ridgeline

Enthusiasts couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of Jeep’s version of the midsize truck. It’s one of those vehicles you love to drive, even if you don’t want to love it. However, upon review, there might not have been enough hype to outweigh the pitfalls for this one. Fans were disappointed in the Gladiator’s ground clearance. Even the Honda Ridgeline clearance, which wasn’t its strongest attribute, was better than the Gladiator’s.

The Jeep was also less comfortable of a ride, with its Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685 tires. At one point, one of the drivers in this review noted the Jeep actually engaged its stability control when tackling some marginally challenging terrain. We all know Ridgeline’s best feature is its comfortable and smooth drive. The Gladiator, with all of its Jeep personality and baked in fun, just wasn’t bringing enough to the competition this year.

There are plenty of positive things to mention about all four of the rivals in this comparative review. There were a couple of models, in fact, that didn’t even make it to the big game, including the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier. If you’re considering a midsize truck purchase, it might be best first to understand what you’ll need your truck to do, both in everyday lifestyle and working capacity. If the primary objective is finding a comfortable ride, with a roomy interior, and basic capability to do a little work, there’s no better choice than the Ridgeline.