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2017 Honda Ridgeline Test Drive Review

When it comes to mid-size family vehicles, Honda has a unique grasp on this segment. First, there’s the Accord sedan, but if you need more seats, the Odyssey minivan and Pilot SUV both offer three rows of spacious seating. Finally, Honda’s ace in the hole is the 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck that combines the looks and interior of the Pilot with an innovative cargo bed.

Like the previous version of this truck, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline only offers one body and powertrain configuration, but even with this disadvantage in the truck market—truck buyers love variety—the second-generation Ridgeline has been a solid performer since its debut. Our first look at the new Ridgeline came from the monochromatic Black Edition, but our more recent seat time in this mid-size truck was in the luxurious 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E trim.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Exterior 

The first-generation Ridgeline was around during the days of pseudo-pickups like the Chevy Avalanche, HUMMER H2T, Subaru Baja and Ford Explorer Sport Trac, but these unconventional trucks have all gone to the wayside. Compared to rivals like the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, the crossover-esque front end of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline isn’t as beefy, but the rest of this new Ridgeline features a far more truck-like appearance than its predecessor. The boxier cab and separate cargo bed are huge styling improvements over the original Ridgeline.

The Ridgeline might not have the body lines of a Mack truck, but any question as to whether this is a true pickup truck is answered with a definitive yes when you check out the cargo bed. The all-composite bed is tough and rugged, and access to the cargo is made easy with the dual-action tailgate that either folds down or swings out. There’s also an in-bed trunk hidden beneath the load floor that provides 7.3 cubic feet of waterproof, lockable cargo space. This trim level also comes standard with a 115-volt power outlet and the nifty Truck Bed Audio System that allows the radio to play in the bed. This is great for tailgating or taking your family to a drive-in movie.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Interior

From the B-pillar forward, the interior of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is identical to the Pilot, which results in a clean, spacious and roomy cabin. Traditional truck lovers might scoff at such a cabin, but this trait gives the Ridgeline more a mainstream interior that buyers looking for an alternative to minivans or crossovers will appreciate. The Ridgeline definitely feels more like a truck than the Pilot, though, ditching the lightly colored perforated leather for a darker, more durable-feeling leather, and like the cargo bed, there is plenty of innovative storage space inside, including useful compartments built into the door panels, a massive center console and 2.9 cubic feet of usable space under the rear seats.

The luxurious RTL-E trim level is equipped with all of the high-end features offered on the stylish Black Edition, but at a considerably lower price (about $2,000 less). Packed into this trim are features like navigation, heated steering wheel and an eight-inch touchscreen for the audio and infotainment system, which include an eight-speaker 540-watt audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, Pandora and three USB charging ports. The Ridgeline offers five-passenger seating, and while the second row isn’t quite as roomy as the Pilot’s middle row, three adults will have no problem getting comfortable.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Powertrain

Like the Pilot, the only engine offered in the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is Honda’s new 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6. This engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and unlike the Pilot, can only be mated to the six-speed automatic transmission. Lower trims offer front-wheel drive, but the RTL-E comes standard with all-wheel drive resulting in EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway**, which is class leading among four-wheel-drive mid-size crew cab trucks.

The unique construction of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline allows this pickup truck to ride like a crossover without sacrificing the utility aspect of truck ownership. The unibody design and independent suspension do result in a lower towing capacity (5,000 pounds on the AWD models) than the competition, but get this truck out on the road and you’ll appreciate the smooth, quiet ride. Likewise, the 7.9 inches of ground clearance is 1.5 inches less than the Tacoma, but I still managed to do some decent off-roading without getting stuck or ripping the front bumper off.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Safety

The biggest advantage that Honda has with the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is safety. Based on the Pilot, the Ridgeline was the first truck ever to earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it has received a five star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The high-tech Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance safety features is also standard on this trim, which brings active lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation braking system; also standard are blind spot information and a rear cross-traffic monitor.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Overall

Not long after its introduction, the new Ridgeline was named the 2017 North American Truck of the Year, and it doesn’t take long to see why. The all-new Ridgeline definitely has better curb appeal than its predecessor, and the unique cargo bed makes this truck a true standout. Regardless of whether you need to tow a trailer, haul cargo in the bed or just enjoy a weekend of tailgating, the Ridgeline is an all-around winner.

Although the Ridgeline is only offered in one body configuration, there are six trim levels available starting with the affordable and well-equipped RT priced at $29,475. This entry-level price is comparable to other crew cab, V-6 rivals, but if you want more content (and the coolest in-bed features), the RTL-E is the way to go. This fully loaded Ridgeline had an as-tested $42,410, which is considerably less than you’re going to pay for top trim versions of the Colorado, Canyon and Tacoma.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Honda dealership and test drive the 2017 Honda Ridgeline today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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