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Here it is, our very first reader commentary. Don't worry you didn't miss an announcement anywhere. We saw a comment from Stew Stryker and e-mailed him to see if he'd be interested in talking about his recently purchased Honda Ridgeline. You see, Honda hasn't gotten one into the press fleet yet, so we feel negligent not bringing you some first hand reporting.

Now remember, Stew is a Honda loyalist so his comments are a tad influenced by his love of the brand. But we think this type of post is still very informative.

Honda Ridgeline by Stew Stryker:Ridgeline Reader Write-in

My wife, our two golden retrievers and I are pretty active. We need to haul big dogs, a pair of kayaks, pair of bikes, camping gear, skis, snowboard, friends and get to work through deep snow (and mud) from our home in rural Vermont. Our Toyota RAV4 did a pretty fair job of those for 6 years, though it was a stretch sometimes. But then last year we got a pop-up camper, which was over the weight limit for the RAV4, and it often struggled up long hills on the highway. Then there are the times you just need a pickup to haul stuff that won?t fit in any SUV well.

We?ve also owned 6 Hondas and loved them. So when we got a brochure on the Ridgeline from our local Honda dealer, my wife and both studied it carefully and liked everything we saw. Without telling her, I dropped in the very next morning on the way to work, took a test-drive in a blue metallic RTS. Turns out she?d planned to do that same that afternoon and was surprised to find my name on it when she got to the dealer! We brought it home a week later and we love it.

The Ridgeline doesn?t ride like any truck I?ve ever been in, more like a high-end SUV ? smooth, nimble, responsive and comfortable. That?s because this truck is all Honda - well-engineered, ergonomic, thoughtfully laid out, lots of storage areas in just the right spots, with little extras that make you say ?why aren?t all trucks designed this way??. Extras like a cavernous console that you can find anything in, big rubber mud mats for catching dog hair, dirt and water, being able to lay a sheet of plywood flat in the bed, because the wheel wells don?t stick up, dual climate controls, back seats that fold up with one hand, and a big, waterproof trunk under the bed (which is composite, so it won?t rust), and on and on. I?m even okay with the odd-looking big grab handles on the doors and the over-sized radio and climate controls, because they turn out to be pretty useful after all.

Yesterday we loaded up our generator and my wife took it down for service. The repair shop owner, his dad and brother, all mechanical guys, drooled over it, which made my wife pretty proud. The tailgate was perfect, strong and supportive, for getting the generator in and out, yet you can easily swing it sideways for getting into the trunk - smart. Today we pulled our camper out of winter storage and it was a snap getting it home. Big side mirrors, strong engine, automatic transmission, backup sensors, oh and that electric back window that I could open from the driver?s seat so my wife could call our parking directions. Now if only she could tell me where she wanted the camper instead of how to get there life would be perfect!

This isn?t a cheap vehicle, but we know Honda?s engineering is going to make this last a LONG time, so we?ll definitely get our money?s worth, and we?ll enjoy the ride the whole time!

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