2017 Honda Ridgeline Review: The kale of trucks

– Cleveland, Ohio

The Honda Ridgeline is the black sheep among midsize pickup trucks – in this case literally thanks to the Black Edition trim of my tester. It doesn’t look like other trucks, it’s not made like other trucks, and it has features you won’t find in other trucks. As peculiar as it is, the Ridgeline is still a superlative pickup with capability, functionality, and efficiency that’s perfect for most people. Much of the decision to buy a vehicle, though, comes down to an emotional attachment between man and machine, and while the Ridgeline might be the truck most people need, its major fault lies in not being the truck most people desire.

 

 

Pros

A true truck. It’s tempting to discount the Ridgeline as a real pickup because of its unibody construction that shares parts with the Pilot crossover. It’s true, most trucks employ a body-on-frame design that’s better suited to a beast-of-burden lifestyle. The Ridgeline, however, isn’t weak; it’s not just a Pilot with a bed. Its frame and suspension have both been significantly beefed up, and you can feel it in the firm ride and solid structure. The numbers bear it out, too; the Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which falls midway in the range of its competition’s towing capabilities, and has a maximum payload of 1,499 pounds, which is best in class.

Crossover-like ride and handling. The benefit of unibody construction is that the Ridgeline rides and handles more like a car, or at least a large crossover, than a truck....