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Honda has announced a number accessories for the Ridgeline at the Chicago Auto Show: black roof rails, cross bars, running boards, and fender flares; a skid plate; a hard tonneau cover; special 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires; and a towing kit. Most of these items are to be expected, while a few others raise an eyebrow.

It appears that Honda is testing the waters to see if there is an audience for a "butched up" Ridgeline. The skid plate, fender flares, and all-terrain tires all move it a step in that direction visually. I'm not absolutely certain, but I don't think these accessories, which have a slight nod towards off-roading, have been offered by Honda in the past. Perhaps an informed reader can clarify that? There's been no word yet as to whether the tire size is larger, but looking at the image, it appears the tire may have a slightly taller sidewall. I believe the factory 18-inch tire offered is a 265/60, so this may be a 265/65 tire. Again, someone at the Chicago show could clarify this.

As tepid as this may seem, it's a start. That's the good news. If these items prove successful, they may just push Honda enough to offer a beefed up trim level. Fingers crossed.

This concludes my series of Ridgeline reports. I'm hoping to be at the New York Auto Show in March, and the Ridgeline is on my list of vehicles to crawl all over. If I learn of anything new, you can be assured I will report it here.

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