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  • Engine
    3.5L V6
  • Power
    280 HP / 262 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD
  • Engine Placement
    Front
  • Curb Weight
    4,431 LBS
  • Seating
    2+3
  • MPG
    18 CIty / 25 HWY
  • Warranty
    3-year / 36,000 miles
  • Base Price
    $27,880
  • As Tested Price
    $42,695
  • Best Deal Price
    $27,414
BIRMINGHAM, MICH. — The 2018 Honda Ridgeline is up for anything. It's well-rounded and offers just enough capability for most pickup buyers. That's stating the obvious, but after a few weeks behind the wheel of the Ridgeline, I'm impressed with Honda's balanced approach to the ultra-competitive midsize truck segment. I call it the pocketknife pickup. It's smaller than full-sized monsters like the Ford F-150 and its rivals, but the Honda punches above its weight. Here are three observations after ruminating on the Ridgeline, which joined the Autoblog long-term fleet, this winter.

It has plenty of capability:

For everyone who simply wants but doesn't absolutely need a pickup, this will get the job done. It's a sentiment we've expressed since our First Drive review back in 2016. I tossed an oversized recliner from the late '90s into the back of the Ridgeline, no problem. Picture one of those overstuffed things on which you probably watched Home Improvement or zoned out to Pearl Jam back in the day. I tied it down snugly and there was plenty of room left over, should I have needed to haul something else.


This is why many consumers buy a pickup – to occasionally haul or tow something. The 280-horsepower V6 is solid. And with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds and a payload rating of 1,499 pounds, the Ridgeline offers all the grunt you need, most of the time. Sure, there's a segment of buyers who regularly need more capability – for the folks that actually need a work truck, the full-size segment has plenty of options. But for errands, the Ridgeline is ace: I also took it to Costco, trekked across town in a blizzard and put the dog in back to run errands. The pickup fulfilled its utilitarian duties to the fullest.


It's a strategic consumer choice:


In a segment with a lot of strong personalities, the Ridgeline makes its case by being a bit vanilla. The inside feels like almost any Honda, and the outside is nebulous enough that this could pass as a Volkswagen or Hyundai.

  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski
  • Image Credit: Jeremy Korzeniewski


To put it another way, the Ridgeline is simple and smart looking, which is all it needs to be (but not all it could be – more on that in a second). This approach could lure in a wide range of potential buyers, since other midsizers like the rough-and-ready Toyota Tacoma might turn off some. It's a savvy play for Honda, as this is one of the best times in recent memory to buy a midsize pickup. The Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma are all relatively new, and the Ford Ranger is on the way for 2019. The Jeep Wrangler pickup is also expected to launch next year. The rumored name is "Scrambler," and based on my love of the old Comanche trucks, this would be my choice if I were actually in market, but I digress.

Compare midsize pickups using with Autoblog's car research tool

To briefly handicap the field: I feel that the Taco is gutsy and looks the part, which I love. The GM midsizers are actually quite large – it feels like you're getting almost as much truck as the Silverado and Sierra. The Ranger and Jeep remain question marks as far as driving character, though not totally for us. Where does Honda fit in? It's the approachable and balanced option. If you're undecided between a pickup and crossover, you will still feel comfortable in the Ridgeline.

The design is little boring:

OK, the elephant in the room is the Ridgeline isn't the most exciting pickup. It's not an off-road beast. There's no long enthusiast backstory. The design is attractive, but forgettable. The Accord and Civic are arguably the best-looking cars in their segments – they certainly turn heads with their creased styling and snazzy headlights. I'd like to see Honda move the Ridgeline in that direction. Make it more of a design statement, like its car brethren. Maybe position it as the premium player in this segment, sort of like the Mercedes X-Class would be (if Benz decided to bring it here).

Still, vanilla can be good, and the Ridgeline wins by being very solid in many areas. Even though I was hogging this truck for a good chunk of the winter, Autoblog editors have been liking our Honda pickup during its initial weeks in our garage. It's a long-termer that's always in demand, and this spring it will undoubtedly be used for camping, kayaking, baseball tailgates and more. Like I said: The Ridgeline is up for anything.

Related Video:

Honda Ridgeline Information

Honda Ridgeline

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