First Drive and Review: 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD RTL-E

By Paul Riegler on 6 September 2016
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Introduced in 2005 as a 2006 model, the Honda Ridgeline, which just returned after a brief hiatus, was not only the Japanese automaker’s entry into the highly competitive pickup truck market, but a way to offer pickup-truck buying Honda owners a way of maintaining a “Honda only” garage.

Built in Alabama on the same platform as the Honda Pilot, the Ridgeline’s combination of a cavernous cabin, gobs of storage, technological innovation, and an unparalleled smooth ride make other such vehicles look as also-rans in comparison.

I’m not really a pick-up truck enthusiast, so at first I didn’t realize how innovative some of the storage features were. However, I was nonetheless in awe of the in-bed trunk, which locks like a passenger car’s trunk to keep items safe. It also doubles as a cooler. Its utility is obvious but there’s ample storage for several golf bags under the rear seat and the seat can fold to allow for far larger items in the cabin (think bicycle or flat-screen television).

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If you aren’t storing items in the cabin, it can comfortably seat five passengers in the manner of a Checker Cab.

The new Ridgeline, which has a far more conventional appearance than its predecessor, is three inches longer and close to the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma in overall size. The cargo bed grew by 4” from the last model to 64”, making it the longest in the group. Another key dimension is the 50” between the wheel wells, which makes it the only mid-size pickup truck that can carry four-by-eight foot panels fully flat.

Like the previous Ridgeline but unlike other pickups, it has a two-way tailgate which we found quite useful for loading and unloading (think 1960s station wagon, i.e. the tailgate can open as a door in addition to folding down).

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2017 Honda Ridgeline

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