The refreshed midsize pickup gets bolder styling thanks to a squared-off front end.

When the Honda Ridgeline arrived for its second generation in 2017, its soft, crossover-like front end put off some would-be truck buyers, in spite of its comfortable interior and clever features like an in-bed trunk and available torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. Critics will have less to talk about when it comes to the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, thanks to a mid-cycle update that adds a square-jawed front end to the package.

Unusually for a facelift, the Ridgeline gets totally new sheet metal ahead of the A-pillar. Gone is the outgoing pickup’s sloping front end, replaced by a set of tougher-looking fenders and a higher hood that raises the front fascia quite a bit. An upright front grille and noticeable power bulge further help the new Ridgeline look more truck-like. Designers also reshaped the front bumper cover with more defined corners, adding slick air curtains in the front fascia to help the truck cheat the air a little better.

2021 Honda Ridgeline Exterior Rear Quarter

Aside from the taller front end, the side profile doesn’t change much. The 2021 Ridgeline is almost identical from the rear as well, although the bumper gets a couple notches and twin-outlet exhausts – Honda’s market research suggests that truck owners like having exposed tailpipes, so gone is the hidden down-exit exhaust. Interior changes are likewise subtle, with the latest Honda infotainment system that brings back the physical volume knob (yay!) and new contrast-color stitching on all trims.

Further updating the 2021 Ridgeline is a new Honda Performance Development styling package, included among four post-production options for the pickup. Included in the HPD kit is a new front grille with a wide-V texture, a unique set of decals and badging, and gorgeous Sonoran Bronze wheels. It also includes chunky wheel arch extensions with beveled edges, helping the round wheel openings look more angular and trucky. The other three post-production packages will be called Utility, Function, and Function+, and all four will be available on any Ridgeline trim.

The new Ridgeline maintains its predecessor’s in-bed trunk, rear seat that folds both up and down to differently shaped cargo, and class-leading passenger space with massive interior storage cubbies. The Ridgeline’s on-road comfort and off-road capability should be unchanged for the facelifted model, meaning we can probably expect it to ride smoothly on the highway and tackle mild fire roads with aplomb (particularly with optional all-wheel drive).

Pricing has yet to be revealed, and the 2021 Honda Ridgeline should arrive on the market early next year.

Gallery: 2021 Honda Ridgeline