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2017 Honda Ridgeline Review

Texans Love Their Trucks

Texas buys more pickup trucks than any other state in the country. It’s why you see the big truck makers produce Texas editions for the market. One in five trucks sold in the US are in Texas, according to Edmunds. All this means is that Texans know exactly what they want out of a truck and are very vocal about their preference.

Debates between Ford and Chevy guys are as heated as presidential debates but use less facts.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is a completely redesigned truck from its previous generation. It’s the new kid at school trying out for the football teamtoo make friends.

I’ve driven every kind of truck from an antique with a 3-speed column shift to a massive diesel with air brakes. Seeing where the Ridgeline fell on the spectrum excited me.

My first thought when it arrived was, “Looks like a CR-V with a bed… an El CR-V.” I wanted to be fair, so I wiped the slate clean before I got inside.

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Ridgeline Exterior

If you put the Honda Ridgeline next to the Honda Pilot and CR-V you can see the similarities between them. They share similar features all the way up to the front doors. Then each of them start to show their individuality. This is nothing new, look at the Chevy Silverado and Tahoe, or Toyota Tundra and Sequoia.

I do not think the 2017 Honda Ridgeline gives off the rugged masculinity that people associate with owning a truck. You look at truck commercials and always see them doing masculine things at a construction zone. Or they’re kicking up mud in the wildernesses as a stern voiced narrator tells you to go buy one. Looking at the Ridgeline I can’t imagine anyone wanting to install a 3 inch lift and taking it off-roading.

The Honda Ridgeline may not exhale testosterone from its exhaust pipe, but it is vestal. The Ridgeline comes equipped with a lockable in-bed trunk that can also double as a cooler. LED lights on both sides of the bed are a welcomed feature when you are trying to load up the truck in the middle of the night. The in-bed trunk is deep enough to store a vacuum cleaner, and it’s also where the spare tire lives. The tailgate is dual action so can open two different ways.

You can option the Ridgeline with truck bed speakers to make it the ultimate tailgater. The 400-watt AC power inverter allows you to plug in any electronics to keep the party going.

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Ridgeline Interior

I am not a tall man, so it’s common for me to hop in to most modern pickup trucks that don’t have side steps. I did not have this problem in the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It sits at a height that is accommodating to most people.

Once inside, Honda Ridgeline shows you its most attractive feature; space! The Honda Ridgeline shares about 1/3 of its DNA with the Honda Pilot, so the interior feels more like an SUV than a truck.

Every friend I gave a ride to told me the same thing, “It feels like I’m in a mini-van.” That’s thanks to the spacious interior and high sitting positions.

There is enough space in the backseat for everything from child-seats to golf clubs. The rear seats fold up leaving you plenty of floor space to store big items inside.

This truck competes against other mid-size trucks like the Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, and Toyota Tacoma. Yet it has the interior space of a full size truck.

This particular Ridgeline had the RTL-E trim level which meant it was well equipped. It has heeated leather seats and steering wheel. Tri-zone climate control, Car Play, and an 8 inch touchscreen display are nice luxuries. Keyless entry and a backup camera were also apprecaited. A power sliding cabin window, moon roof, and power seats were some of the other notable features.

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Ridgeline Specifications

A 3.5 liter direct injection V6 producing 280-hp and 262lb-ft powers the Ridgeline. It’s the same engine used in the Honda Pilot. The Ridgeline does have decent power considering it weighs 4,500 pounds.

It does respond well to a heavy foot as it reaches 0-60 in under 7 seconds. Thanks to independent rear suspension it can handle its own through the turns.

Gas mileage is also good at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on highway, and I averaged 21 mpg during my week of 600 miles.

The all-wheel drive system in the Ridgeline is adjustable between Sand, Snow, Mud, or Normal. Switching out of normal also means that the Ridgeline’s engine revss higher and feels a lot quicker.

The chassis features unibody construction. The AWD has a towing capacity up to 5,000lbs and has a payload of 1,500lbs.

I took the Honda Ridgeline on the dirt roads of the country to see if it could handle getting mud in its wheels. It surprised me how smooth it felt while driving at 75 mph over washboard dirt roads. All I felt was vibrations under my feet; a sign that the Ridgeline was working hard to keep me comfortable.

There was an instance where I felt the suspension travel as we drove over a crest in the road. It felt like it wanted to break loose. The well handling Ridgeline stayed in control without me having to turn into a rally driver.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline comes in several different trim levels ranging in price from $30k to $44K. Starting with the RT trim, RTS, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition. They all have available all-wheel drive.

The model shown here was the second to highest trim level with a sticker price of $42,270.00

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Exterior
Interior
Infotainment
Performance
Fuel Economy
Safety

$42,270

The Ridgeline is a good pickup truck, but it’s difficult to imagine it anywhere outside a concrete jungle.

Final Thoughts

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD is a truck that is very comfortable. It’s quick to drive and offers full-size space in a mid-size package.

The features it offers makes it one of the most capable mid-size trucks that can do the job of a truck and an SUV.

Drawbacks on the Ridgeline are you do not have the option of choosing bed sizes or cabin layouts like other trucks. Towing capacity drops to 3,500lbs if you stick with front-wheel drive.

The biggest drawback that could hurt the Ridgeline’s sales number is how it looks. Truck buyers won’t be comfortable switching from their F-Series and Duramax into the Ridgeline. Unless, of course, they want a smaller truck to get around town in.

I can see the Ridgeline becoming popular with parents because of its ability to drive like a mini-van while having the benefits of a truck. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD reminds me of an urban cowboy. It’s the type of person that owns cowboy boots but never gets them dirty because they never leave the city. The Ridgeline is a good pickup truck, but it’s difficult to imagine it anywhere outside a concrete jungle.

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for review, including delivery and a full tank of fuel. Opinions are our own.

About Jesus R. Garcia

Jesus R. Garcia is an automotive journalist and contributor to Future Motoring. He's a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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