2020 Honda Ridgeline review
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, Honda builds a truck. It’s a controversy. Honda transformed a SUV Pilot into a usable midsize pickup truck. Truck enthusiasts can get offended if a truck doesn’t have a frame, doesn’t look like other trucks, is rear wheel drive and looks like a El Camino. Times are changing, we’re looking at electric trucks, V-6 engines and not towing a space shuttle or a train. I like trucks too, I like body on frame, the sound of a V-8 and towing heavy trailers. But there is room for other kinds of trucks. Honda Ridgeline with a 3.5L V-6 putting our 280 horsepower and now a 9-speed automatic tranny has the largest crew cab in the mid-size trucks (Ranger, Colorado, Canyon, Tacoma, Frontier). Yes it’s 4 wheel independent suspension like cars, is front wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive like cars, is unibody construction like cars. But you sit in a taller seat, more like trucks with thigh support, easier to get in and out than cars. Great visibility, automatic 4×4 that can be set in modes for sand, mud and snow.
The new “big deal” for trucks now is the magic tailgate. From steps, transformer gate to barn doors, truck manufacturers are obsessed with what they can make a truck tailgate do. Honda Ridgeline has a tailgate that drops normally and then can swing to the side so you can walk right up to cargo in the bed. In the old days, 60s and 70s, we had mini-trucks, like Ford Courier, Chevy LUV, Dodge D50 that were small but you could reach over the side and touch the bed floor. Now trucks are so darn tall you have to use a ladder to reach the bed floor. Ridgeline bed is low, so I can touch the floor, grab my tools, shovel and actually use the bed. But wait there’s more, open the tailgate and 1/2 of the floor is a trunk, a big lockable trunk. It’s over 2 feet deep, is sealed and has a drain hole. So it can become a super cooler or storage for anything, including your teenager. No don’t do that, I’ve only got one teenage granddaughter to climb in.
Ridgeline can tow 5,000 pounds, bet your car can’t do that. There is more than 4 feet between the bed fender wells so you can haul plywood and drywall. And it’s fun to drive, the 4-wheel independent suspension makes it ride like a car. Roomy cab for us heavy duty reporters and it has a paddle shifter behind the steering wheel, just like your race car or side by side. This could be the future of smaller trucks, ride like a car, front-wheel drive, a bed you can use and convenient. Trucks do evolve too, no Virginia it’s not a big off-roader and it doesn’t tow a house. It is an ultimate tail gate party animal with a 120V plug in the bed, super cooler built in the bed and the front wall of the bed is a giant speaker. So crank up Willie Nelson and park by your mail box, maybe this is the week your virus check comes. Then you can show your mailman your new shiny Honda Ridgeline TRUCK. ❖
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