2019 Ridgeline New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is the most car-like of trucks. It's built off the bones of the Honda Pilot; it has a crossover's car-like unibody chassis, not a body-on-frame like other trucks. It's lower than other half-ton pickups and less rugged. It can't compete in the areas of towing and off-road capability, but it doesn't try to. The payoff is level of comfort and refinement that traditional pickups can't match. It has a more controlled ride, and corners with more agility.
Rivals such as the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are less civilized, and with their truck platforms they're heavier and stiffer. In terms of ride quality, quiet operation, and general comfort, the 2019 Ridgeline is tops. It comes as crew cab only, no regular or extended cabs available.
There are only a few small updates for 2019, the third year of its second generation. Unlike other 2019 Honda models, advanced safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking has not become standard; on the Ridgeline, only the top models have it.
The Ridgeline is front-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive, and is powered by Honda's solid 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 280 horsepower, mated to a smooth 6-speed automatic. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about seven seconds, which is quicker than some trucks even with big V-8s.
Even though the Ridgeline's maximum towing capacity is just 5,000 pounds-2,000 pounds less than the Chevy Colorado-its payload of 1,569 pounds is competitive for the class.
The Ridgeline is 210 inches long, on a wheelbase of 125.3 inches. The bed is shorter but not narrower than other trucks, at 64 inches long and 50 inches wide between the wheel wells. However there is an optional bed extender that can equalize things, and Honda compensates for the limited length in clever ways. There's an available swinging tailgate hinged at the side, to allow various loading options, eight tie-downs, and a dry storage pocket. Accessory options include six-speaker audio to 400-watt power inverters that can power a big-screen TV. Under the bed there's a trunk that can act as a cooler, and it's big enough to hold a golf bag. With a tonneau cover and locking tailgate, the entire enclosed bed can be locked.
Gas mileage is good for a truck but not great, at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, and 22 combined with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive steals 1 mpg across the board.
Honda has not announced plans to bring a hybrid powertrain to the Ridgeline, although it would seem doable, as it shares much of its underpinnings with Acura's MDX that offers a hybrid. Others in the class, like Chevy's Colorado, offer higher-mileage alternative powertrains such as a turbodiesel.
The Ridgeline gets a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA this year, with five stars in all but the rollover test, where it earns four stars.
From the IIHS, the 2018 model grabbed the Top Safety Pick award, thanks to top 'Good'? ratings in all crash tests, a 'Superior'? rating for its front crash prevention system, and a 'Good'? rating for its headlights. .
The 2019 Ridgeline comes in RT, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition, ranging in price from less than $30,000 to more than $43,000.
Standard equipment in the RT includes keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5.0-inch display for audio, USB audio, and a fold-up rear seat. No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is offered on this trim level.
Range-topping Black Edition Ridgelines come equipped with blacked-out exterior and interior trim, special leather seating, 18-inch black alloy wheels, red LED ambient lighting, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, truck bed audio, automatic emergency braking, a power moonroof, and a premium 540-watt audio system.
All-wheel drive is not available in base RT trim. It's an option on other models, and becomes standard with the RTL-E.
The RTL probably offers the most value, even without active safety features. It has leather upholstery, a quieter cabin, power-adjustable heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel for $35,865, including destination..