The Ridgeline’s Triumphant Return
Honda is known for many things; manufacturing one of the most stolen cars in America, producing stylish, affordable, and gas efficient cars, and also for quality automobiles. What Honda is not known for, however, is their pickup truck production. For less than ten years, a drop in the pickup truck bucket in comparison, Honda produced a pickup that was equal parts awkward and awesome. While it was, by no means, what the majority of people are looking for in a traditional pickup, the novelty of it and the Honda name was enough for it to develop a loyal fan base.
Released to the market in the 2006 model year, the Honda Ridgeline wasn’t your classic truck, but it served the purpose for some Honda loyalists. It didn’t have great sales numbers from the beginning, but it was an adequate money maker for Honda. During the first three years, the number of units sold was impressive, but those sales quickly fell off by nearly 75%. While it was never traditionally discontinued, the Ridgeline hadn’t been updated with a new model since 2012, until now. For the past three years, Honda has been back at the drawing board, gearing up to release a bigger and better Ridgeline for the 2017 model year.
Due for a spring release in 2016, the newest Ridgeline details are being kept pretty quiet. Thus far, not even the engine details have been released, but speculation says that it will have some similarities in specs with the Pilot. Considered an SUV truck, the Ridgeline has less competition now than it did previously when it was directly in line with the two big name pickups. Now it is most closely compared to some of the more popular mid-sized models, but their traditional pickup structures will be a far cry from what the Ridgeline has to offer.
During its primary years of production, the Ridgeline started off solidly; not producing other automaker’s numbers, by any means, but selling admirably. The low-end sales numbers of the Ridgeline had many critics questioning whether or not Honda should have stuck to what they’re good at and stayed out of the truck game. Also, the majority of hard-core truck enthusiasts said the Ridgeline could never be what the others were; a real truck. With less space than a full size bed, and too much focus on aesthetics, the Ridgeline was the albatross around Honda’s neck.
In 2016, does the Ridgeline stand a better chance in the auto market? Can Honda correct what went wrong with the Ridgeline and perhaps steal some of the business that the other major brands are getting? Early reports say yes and no. From the hype surrounding the newest release of the Ridgeline, reports are saying that it is just as imperfect as the previous models, with a body built only for Honda fans versus enthusiasts of the everyday truck. From what the latest specs are saying, there are not enough changes to justify the excitement behind the release.
The Ridgeline, however, is not without its merits. It is jam-packed with cool features like an awesome infotainment system, all the latest and greatest optional safety features, and an all-new bed liner that doesn’t show scratches as easily as the old model. This formerly award-winning truck also contains one feature that many other trucks don’t possess; a trunk built into the bed to store items you don’t want exposed to the elements. For trips to the grocery store during inclement weather or instances where multiple trips are necessary, this feature is incredibly handy and useful. However, is it enough to support the purchase of the all-new Ridgeline?
If you’re looking for the standard massive tow-capacity pickup with a full sized bed and the capability to manage any type of terrain, this isn’t the truck for you. However, if your next purchase is for fun and some light to medium duty purposes, take a shot with the Ridgeline. Honda has a reputation they’ve got to uphold, and that reputation includes producing reliable, affordable, and impressive vehicles. Therefore, the stability and surety of the Ridgeline cannot be doubted. As more details emerge regarding the all-new Honda truck, minds may change. Who knows, the Ridgeline could surprise us all.