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  • Engine
    3.5L V6
  • Power
    280 HP / 262 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
    Front
  • Curb Weight
    4,431 LBS
  • Seating
    2+3
  • MPG
    18 City / 25 Highway
  • Warranty
    3 Year / 36,000 Mile Basic
  • Base Price
    $30,705
  • As Tested Price
    $42,695
When you think of trucks, you usually think of body-on-frame behemoths with grilles the size of Delaware, solid axles and roaring engines that devour fuel like beer on gameday. Sure, today's trucks are going on diets and using fuel with more moderation, but they're still formidable machines with far more capability and space than the average person usually needs. Our new 2018 Honda Ridgeline is here to offer an alternative.

The midsize truck segment is back in full force, with sales up more than 80 percent since the first-gen Ridgeline was killed off in 2014. The Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado will soon be joined by the new Ford Ranger. Still, these three offer the same basic formula as their full-size brethren, just in a more compact and less brash packaging.

The Ridgeline is a different take on the pickup truck. Honda seems to be aiming for the same audience that ditched traditional body-on-frame SUVs in favor of car-based crossovers. You give up off-road and towing prowess for gains in efficiency, comfort and packaging. Over the years, crossovers have relegated traditional SUVs to bit parts, but can truck shoppers be swayed in the same way with the Ridgeline?

What we got

The first-gen Ridgeline debuted back in the 2006 model year. Like today's model, it shared its unibody platform with the Honda Pilot, had four-wheel independent suspension, a transversely-mounted V6 and is available in front-wheel drive. The original model also didn't look like any other truck on the market. Though the new Ridgeline has a much more traditional appearance this time around, the modus operandi is still much the same.

We're spending the next year with a Deep Scarlet 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, the second-highest trim available. Only the Ridgeline Black Edition appearance package sits above it. An entry-level Ridgeline RT will set you back $30,705, though our fully-loaded truck pushes the price up to $42,695.

The Ridgeline's only available powertrain is a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard on the RTL-E. Our truck gets leather, heated and powered front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless ignition with remote start, navigation, a moonroof, LED headlights, parking sensors, the truck-bed audio system and a Class III trailer hitch. The Honda Sensing safety suite is also included on the RTL-E. The system comes with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision and lane departure warnings and road departure mitigation.

Why we got it

In life, there's often a great divide between what you want and what you need. Honda seems to have built a truck that's capable enough for most people. It can tow. It can haul. It has speakers in the bed for improved tailgating parties. Sure, the limits are lower than what you'll find on the Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, but the compromises to ride and handling are lower, too.

We'll spend our year towing, hauling and tailgating with the Ridgeline. We'll take it off-road and on road trips. We'll fill the backseat with kids and cargo. We'll do all the things that you would expect a truck owner to do with their vehicle, seeing where the Ridgeline shines and where it falls short. Follow along, and if there's something you want to see, leave a comment below.

Honda provided Autoblog with the vehicle for testing purposes.

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