The Honda Ridgeline has always been a unique truck with its unibody construction and exterior appearance. The 2020 Ridgeline continues to deliver, offering fewer trim levels and more standard features in the new model year. If you’re in the market for a new midsize truck, here’s what’s available on the new Ridgeline.
A look at the Ridgeline’s past
First appearing for the 2006 model year, the Ridgeline was Honda’s first truck for North America. It was discontinued in 2014, but production resumed for the 2017 model year. The first-generation Ridgeline had an unusual design with flying buttresses connecting the cab to the bed. Also unusual for a truck was its unibody frame construction, which gave it some car-like aspects. This construction gives the Ridgeline improved comfort and better handling, so it feels more like an SUV than a truck.
When it returned in 2017 after its two-year break, the Ridgeline had lost its flying buttresses but used more ultra-high-strength steel to provide strength. It has kept its unibody construction and is built on Honda’s “global light truck platform.” The Honda Ridgeline doesn’t haul or tow the most, but the 2019 Ridgeline does have excellent comfort and interior features. U.S. News & World Report calls the 2019 Ridgeline “one of the most upscale and spacious cabins in the class.”
What’s new for the 2020 Ridgeline
Trims and prices
The number of trims has been cut down from six to four, with the elimination of the standard RT trim and the mid-level RTL-T. The trim levels for 2020 are the Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition. This does increase the starting price from $31,085 for the 2019 model to $34,995 for the 2020 Ridgeline.
The lower trims that remain also see price increases for 2020. The Sport trim starts at $510 more than last year and the RTL is $1,800 more. The top two configurations – RTL-E and Black Edition – are only $100 more than 2019.
The 2020 Ridgeline has a nine-speed automatic transmission, replacing the six-speed automatic transmission included in the 2019. The new transmission has very little effect on the Ridgeline’s fuel economy ratings. All-wheel-drive models get an EPA-estimated 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. Front-wheel-drive models are expected to get 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.
All-wheel drive comes standard with the top two trims and is an option on the lower two. There is still one standard engine – the 280-hp 3.5-liter V6 that gets 262 lb-ft of torque.
The Honda Ridgeline had already earned high safety marks. It was awarded the IIHS’s “Top Safety Pick” designation in 2018 and 2019. Now all of its trims come with the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features, which includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.
All 2020 Ridgeline trims get the eight-inch infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which was previously available with the RTL-T trim level and higher. The lower trim levels for 2019 had a five-inch touchscreen without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Exterior and interior
New for the exterior are a remote-locking tailgate and rear doors that open wider. There are also new options that you can choose to add to your new Ridgeline. You can consider LED headlight low beams, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support, and ambient interior lighting.
How the Ridgeline compares to competitors
Reviewers already compared the 2019 Ridgeline favorably against other midsize pickups. Cars.com measured it against the 2019 Ford Ranger, 2019 GMC Canyon, and the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and declared it their winner. They liked the flat-bed surface, lockable in-bed storage, comfortable driving, and good value. They didn’t like the 2019’s multimedia system though. Motor1.com points out that although the Ridgeline has a higher starting price point than its competitors, it doesn’t offer the barebones work truck trim that others do.
It appears that Honda has worked to rectify some of the criticisms to the 2019 Ridgeline’s infotainment system and safety options, rolling out a number of new standard features along with a new transmission for the 2020 model.