Is the Honda Ridgeline Really Just a Pavement Princess?

Today it’s time to focus on how well the Honda Ridgeline can tackle off-road challenges. Some say that the Honda Ridgeline is just a pavement princess that should stick to the tarmac. Others believe in its capabilities, so let’s see how well it can perform. 

Is the Honda Ridgeline a good truck? 

Yes, the Honda Ridgeline is an excellent truck. It provides a smooth ride, has tons of advanced tech, and is pretty reliable. Plus, it holds its value with an average depreciation rating. However, some say it’s just a city truck. 

According to Hot Cars, the Ridgeline should never leave the tarmac. They say it’s a decent midsize truck, but it mostly rides on smooth surfaces. Then they continued to say it’s not a truck for rough terrain, especially when you can choose more capable rivals with genuine off-road credentials. 

How is the Ridgeline built? 

Wow, those are some harsh words that don’t exactly explain why the Ridgeline should stick to the road. But the Honda Ridgeline does have a unibody frame, meaning the suspension and body are one part. 

RELATED: Does the Honda Ridgeline’s Unibody Make it a Better Truck?

Traditional off-roaders have a body on frame build, meaning the body and frame are separate. This allows for more suspension travel. However, a unibody frame provides a smoother ride, so it has its benefits. 

Also, the Ridgeline is available with all-wheel-drive, not four-by-four capabilities. AWD used to be less capable than 4×4 vehicles, but modern AWD systems are much more advanced than they used to be. Plus, with the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, AWD comes standard. 

Can the Ridgeline go off-roading? 

Yes, the all-wheel-drive system allows it to tackle the trails. It has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. According to Kelley Blue Book, the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system can send 70 percent of its power to the rear wheels.

It has a 7.9-inch ground clearance, and the Jeep Gladiator has a 10.8-inch ground clearance. So, it’s not that far behind. The Ridgeline has a 20.1-degree approach angle, 19.6-degree break-over angle, and 22.1-degree departure angle. 

The Jeep Gladiator has a 40.8-degree approach angle, 18.4-degree break-over angle, and a 25-degree departure angle. It would leave the Ridgeline behind while climbing over rocks. We couldn’t find the water fording depth of the Ridgeline, but the Gladiator can ford water up to 30 inches deep. 

The 2021 Ridgeline has hill start assist, a MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, and a stabilizer bar in the front and rear.

2019 Honda Ridgeline off-roading through stream
2019 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

This isn’t as capable as trucks with FOX or Bilstein shocks, leading front link suspensions, trailing arm rear suspensions, and hill descent control with other off-roading modes.  

So, while the Honda Ridgeline may not be as capable as its rivals, it can still go off-roading. It can handle beginner trails, snow, and more. However, if you want to go through creeks and climb over rocks, then a more capable truck would be a better choice. 

We are going to say that the Ridgeline is more than just a pavement princess. It can leave the pavement. But keep in mind that it only tows 5,000 lb, so go with another option if you need to tow heavier loads.