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Avg. Price Paid:$13,616 - $17,950
Original MSRP: $28,000 - $35,090
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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2008 Honda Ridgeline Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Honda Ridgeline was new.

Although the 2008 Honda Ridgeline does not have the performance capabilities and capacities of traditional trucks, writers say it's sufficient. USA TODAY states, "Honda has melded sporty-car driving with weekend-warrior toting, creating what's likely to be the perfect blend for many people."

One of the Ridgeline's strongest selling points is its ride quality and versatility. Edmunds calls the truck "comfortable, quiet and easy to drive," and AutoWeek recalls that "we didn't encounter a truck-worthy job the Honda couldn't handle … It tackled fishing boats, large appliances, furniture and Home Depot runs with equal ease, not to mention numerous trips to the grocery store and off-road trails where the in-bed trunk proved particularly useful in keeping food-or mud-laden dirt biking clothes-safely contained."

Acceleration and Power

Unlike most trucks, the Honda Ridgeline only provides one engine option -- a V6 with 247 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. Forbes describes the engine as "gusty" and "reliable," while Consumer Guide finds it "refined" and appreciates that it "rises only to muted, classy growl at full throttle."

But writers from AutoWeek are among those to state that "a few more ponies underhood would be good" for the Ridgeline. Edmunds agrees, writing that "the engine's need for more bottom-end power is undeniable when pulling away from a stoplight with four passengers packed in the cab." The Detroit News also notes the same, and adds that not providing a V8 option "will turn off some traditional truck buyers."

Several reviewers also express disappointment with the SUT's paltry gas mileage, but Kelley Blue Book calls it "surprisingly good," considering the Ridgeline's size. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 Ridgeline at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on highways.

The Honda Ridgeline's transmission is a five-speed automatic with a heavy-duty transmission cooler for towing. The majority feel the five-speed is mated well to the V6 engine, providing "smooth-shifting" for Forbes and "responsive" performance for MSN.

Handling and Braking

Car and Driver explains best how reviewers feel about the Ridgeline's handling: "Just about everyone who drove the Ridgeline was pleasantly surprised by its agility, and all occupants had good things to say about its ride quality. Sometimes they even forgot to add the 'for a truck' disclaimer, and one logbook scribbler thought it behaved 'like a tall Accord.'" AutoWeek agrees, noting that "it's a truck we can live with -- one that handles our chores without being a chore to handle."

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline has a Macpherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear with trailing arms, a unique setup for a pickup truck that helps supply an agile ride. Also contributing to good ride quality is the Ridgeline's integrated closed-box frame with a unit-body construction -- similar to a sedan -- with fully-boxed high-strength steel frame rails and cross members with internal stiffeners. As a result, the Ridgeline "doesn't buck its driver out of the saddle on broken concrete," Motor Trend reports. The Sacramento Bee adds that the ride is "cloud-like … the smoothest I've ever experienced in a pickup. Yes, it's possible to feel like you're gliding down the freeway in a pickup."

The 2008 Ridgeline's steering is variable power-assisted, providing a sporty feel "with just the right amount of resistance and feedback" for Edmunds, while helping the Chicago Tribune slip the Ridgeline "into and out of parking spots like a sedan." The Ridgeline's ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes are also power-assisted. Consumer Guide describes them as "strong, sure," and Motor Trend managed to stop the Ridgeline from 60 miles per hour in 139 feet. "Not sport truck territory, but not bad in the universe of trucks," its writers explain. Meanwhile, Kelley Blue Book appreciates how the anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist helps in "more effective 'panic' stops."

Off-Roading

Automotive reviews note that the Ridgeline is an adequate vehicle for trails, but "might elicit snickers from off-road enthusiasts," as Automobile Magazine describes. The Ridgeline "easily navigated steep, wet hills and small water obstacles" for the Detroit News, and is ideal for "traversing deep snow" or "moderate off-road treks," in Kelley Blue Book's opinion.

However, Edmunds notes that the Ridgeline "bottomed out repeatedly" on its off-road test of "flat and muddy trails, a mild twisting uphill climb and a steep, rocky downhill descent." Its editors continue to describe the off-road experience, saying that "the Ridgeline's 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires are not conducive to off-road driving. When we tried climbing the hill, the undercarriage started groaning, so we abandoned the run and returned to dry pavement."

Others judge the Ridgeline objectively. Motor Trend writes that the Ridgeline's tires and automatic four-wheel drive system were "never meant to make it a burly off-roader," but "it'll get you up a snow-covered driveway or out of a snotty mud patch just fine."

Hauling

The Honda Ridgeline has a payload capacity between 1,549 and 1,558 pounds, depending on trim. Several note these numbers as respectable, but still feel disappointed that the length and width of the bed won't meet traditional pickup needs. The New York Times writes that "there is no room for 4-by-8 foot sheets of plywood, the ubiquitous if archaic standard by which manly man pickups have been measured." The Los Angeles Times explains that the Ridgeline is "a blue-state pickup," good for carting "motorcycles and ATVs and climbing gear, the bric-a-brac of affluent leisure. It can't pull a road-grader up a hill but it can haul a 22-foot boat up a ramp at Lake Shasta."

Towing

The Ridgeline's RTX trim can tow up to 5,000 pounds and includes the necessary equipment standard. These features include a high capacity radiator and a heavy-duty power-steering cooler, as well as trailer connection wiring for four- and seven-pin connectors and the trailer brake controller.

Despite the array of equipment, reviewers caution against using the Ridgeline for towing. Kelley Blue Book says that for serious towing duties "the Ridgeline will not be your first choice"; Consumer Guide suggests the "V6 also may be taxed" and MSN says the pound capacity "makes it fall short of competitors."

Review Last Updated: 3/11/09

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