MotorTrend recently released its list of the Best Pickup Trucks to Buy in 2021. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline made the list as the Best Midsize Pickup Truck. While domestic truck fans might be scratching their heads over this choice, casual truck owners might find the Honda Ridgeline meets their needs. It’s not a traditional truck. But with its car-like handling, refined cabin, and innovative features, it has a lot to offer. What makes the Ridgeline unique among trucks? How did it earn its place on the MotorTrend list?
The Honda Ridgeline is a different kind of truck
As MotorTrend points out, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a good choice for the casual truck enthusiast.
With a unibody construction as opposed to a separate frame, the Ridgeline’s handling is similar to that of a car. With its independent suspension, the ride it offers is comfortable and smooth. Its configuration also allows for a spacious interior.
Many will appreciate Ridgeline’s cabin because it’s one of the best in its class. Sure, there are hard plastics used beneath the dash as Car and Driver points out. The rest of the materials are nicer than what you typically find in a truck’s interior.
And there’s plenty of space in the Ridgeline. There’s a trunk space in the floor of the truck bed on the outside. On the inside, the armrests fold down on the front seats for more elbow room. There’s more space for passengers in the rear than in other trucks in the class.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a dual-action tailgate that can be pulled down or swing out for great convenience. It has a 3.5-liter V6 engine and all-wheel drive standard. That along with its great active safety features help justify the cost according to MotorTrend.
A more rugged look
Standard all-wheel drive isn’t the only big change for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. It also has a bold new look. Now, MotorTrend explains, it looks more like a truck and less like a minivan with a truck bed.
According to Forbes Wheels, the new Ridgeline got a mid-cycle cosmetic makeover to give it more street cred with fans of more rugged-looking trucks. Honda did away with the front-wheel-drive base model as a result and added new option packages.
The exterior redesign was extensive. According to MotorTrend, everything from the windshield forward is sheet metal and new. A more prominent, larger grille gives the Ridgeline a bolder look and a more upright front end.
Carl Pulley, a spokesperson for Honda, told Forbes Wheels that the previous Ridgeline may have been too soft and SUV-like in appearance. Pulley went on to explain that the softer contours were good for aerodynamics but didn’t have the rugged appeal most want in a truck.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline
Car and Driver sums up the 2021 Honda Ridgeline by saying it’s a one-size-fits-all alternative to more traditional trucks.
The only Honda with a cargo bed, the Ridgeline offers a standard crew cab with greater comfort and space than its peers. It features good fuel-efficiency, quick acceleration, and has a decent payload rating. For a midsize truck, its nimble handling and refined ride have no equal.
Car and Driver appreciates Ridgeline’s innovative features like the in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate. They also like its abundance of standard driver assists.
On the con side, Ridgeline doesn’t have a diesel option or an off-road model. Its powertrain only allows it to tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline gets new 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires and subtle updates in the cabin. Honda updated the infotainment system to make it more user-friendly with a sharper graphical display. Car and Driver also excitedly mentioned that there was a physical volume knob now.
The new 2021 Honda Ridgeline isn’t like any other midsize pickup truck. But if you want a solid day-to-day vehicle with a little bit of refinement, it’s worth taking a closer look.