2011 Honda Ridgeline Review
Shoppers looking for a true truck like the Ford F-150 should look elsewhere. But if you’re in need of a comfortable commuter, lots of storage and enough oomph to haul the occasional load, the Honda Ridgeline is a great choice.
The Sport Utility Truck is a dying breed, and the Honda Ridgeline maybe going down with the class. Since 2010, there have been persistent rumors that Honda will be discontinuing its only truck on the market for 2012, but the automaker’s public relations representatives haven’t confirmed these claims. In a class of only three trucks (the Cadillac Escalade EXT and the Chevrolet Avalanche are the other two), the Ridgeline has the lowest towing capacity, the cheapest interior and the least-powerful engine, according to reviewers. On the other hand, it does have the lowest price by about $7,000. While there are other trucks and SUVs that outperform the Honda Ridgeline in almost every way, reviewers say that the Ridgeline provides the best compromise between a truck, sport-utility vehicle and city cruiser.
Reviewers say that even though the Ridgeline has the lowest towing capacity in its class, 5,000 pounds is enough for most any weekend excursion. Plus, its all-wheel drive system works well in snow or mud, although it’s not the best contender for mountain-climbing or boulder-bashing. And while reviewers say its interior looks and feels cheap, its base model comes with more standard features than most other traditional pickup trucks, like cruise control, a power-sliding rear window, and MP3/WMA disc playback capability. Reviewers also love its cargo storage innovations, from clever cubbies throughout the cab, to its lockable in-bed truck and its horizontal-swinging tailgate. Finally, the Ridgeline’s relatively comfortable ride and above-average fuel economy make it an acceptable vehicle for daily commuting, as well as kid-hauling, trailer-towing and mild off-roading. The Ridgeline’s decent performance in most every category leads Cars.com to call it "the perfect utility vehicle for a soccer dad. It's smart, active-minded, cultured and extremely safety-conscious."
Other SUTs to Consider
In a small and shrinking market, there are only a few other SUTs to consider. The Chevrolet Avalanche provides 3,100 pounds more towing capacity, but starts out about $7,000 more than the Ridgeline. If you’re looking for a nicer interior and smoother ride than the Ridgeline has, but don’t place a big value on towing or off-roading, you’ll do well to check out the Cadillac Escalade EXT. The Escalade EXT starts at nearly $62,000, almost $33,000 more than the Ridgeline. But, it does come with the Escalade cachet and long list of standard features. For shoppers looking for true truck utility plus seating for five, a better choice is a crew cab pickup like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Crew Cab, which can tow up to 10,400 pounds. However, this truck starts at $31,465, about $4,000 more than the Ridgeline.
Details: Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline continues into 2011 unchanged from the previous model year. The base RT model starts at $28,900 and is fairly well-equipped, with an AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA disc playback capability, a power-sliding rear window, and six cup holders. Opting for a $31,605 RTS will get you power folding side mirrors, tinted windows, a ten-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The $34,480 RTL comes standard with heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a power moonroof. The only way to get factory-installed navigation is to opt for the top-of-the-line RTL with Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System trim for $36,830. Optional features of note include $451 backup sensors, a DVD rear seat entertainment system for $2,147, and a $1,382 hard tonneau cover.
- "If you're looking for an open bed to occasionally haul stuff, but don't require significant towing capability (or the perceived baggage that comes with driving a pickup), the Ridgeline is - at this point - the only game in town. Its accommodation, comfort and on-road composure are first-rate, and its all-season capability works in both Yakima (WA) and Yuma (AZ).” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Ridgeline blends pickup-truck utility with car-like civility in a solid, sensible package. The light-duty design won't suit hardcore truckers but should meet the needs of families and recreational users, as Honda intends. Innovative pickup features and Honda's solid reputation for reliability make it a good competitor in its class. The RT and RTS models are our Recommended picks in this line, as the top-line RTL is rather pricey.” -- Consumer Guide
- “All the pickup most buyers need without the crappy ride-and-handling trade-off.” -- Car and Driver