2012 Honda Ridgeline Review
The 2012 Honda Ridgeline provides a good value for weekend warriors and weekday commuters, but those looking for true pickup-truck utility should look elsewhere.
The Honda Ridgeline represents a compromise. It drives better than most pickup trucks, but doesn’t provide quite as much capability as most of its rivals. There aren’t many sport-utility trucks left on the market, so the Ridgeline fits into a smaller and smaller niche between compact pickup trucks and full-size trucks in price, performance and comfort.
Test drivers love the Ridgeline’s smooth, comfortable ride and SUV-like handling. They praise its interior storage and say its engine is fine for daily driving. Plus, the Ridgeline comes with more standard features than most other pickup trucks. It even comes standard with four-wheel drive, while nearly every other pickup offers it as an option.
However, the Ridgeline’s well-equipped interior comes with a trade-off in truck-like performance. Other full-size pickups and V6-equipped compact pickups can tow and haul more than the Ridgeline, and are also much more capable off-road. Reviewers also lament Honda’s liberal use of hard plastics in the interior, and its back seat isn’t as roomy as those found in full-size crew cab pickups.
If you’re looking for a vehicle that can tow and haul your smaller weekend toys and be comfortable for the drive to work on Monday, the Honda Ridgeline is for you. However, if you need a truck with more capability than comfort, you should shop full-size trucks.
Other Pickup Trucks to Consider
The Honda Ridgeline is one of only two affordable sport-utility trucks left, so buyers only have to check out the Chevrolet Avalanche to see the whole class. The Avalanche is bigger and more expensive than the Ridgeline, but its horsepower and towing capacity give it more truck-like capabilities.
A good alternative to the Honda Ridgeline would be a crew cab compact pickup or full-size pickup, depending on your priorities. Although any crew cab Ram 1500 with four-wheel drive will be more expensive than the Honda Ridgeline and will include fewer features, test drivers say that the Ram 1500 has the smoothest ride in its class. Plus, depending on how you configure it, the Ram can be much more capable than the Ridgeline, since it has higher towing and hauling limits and better off-road performance than the Ridgeline.
You might also want to consider a crew cab Nissan Frontier. A Frontier with a crew cab, four-wheel drive and a V6 engine costs less than the Honda Ridgeline, so you can spend the extra cash adding options and upgrading the interior. The V6 Nissan Frontier can also tow more than the Ridgeline.
Details: Honda Ridgeline
The 2012 Honda Ridgeline comes in four trims: RT, Sport, RTS and RTL. The Sport trim is new for 2012, and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, auxiliary audio jack, rear privacy glass, fog lights and some appearance tweaks to the base RT trim. All models include a new grille design along with slightly improved fuel economy over the 2011 model.
See the full list of 2012 Honda Ridgeline specifications.
- "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.” -- Consumer Guide
- "All the pickup most buyers need without the crappy ride-and-handling trade-off.” -- Car and Driver
- "The Honda Ridgeline is the perfect utility vehicle for a soccer dad. It's smart, active-minded and extremely safety-conscious. The pickup truck offers ingenious storage options, a high-tech drivetrain and unique chassis construction. The Ridgeline's styling is unique and hotly debatable. What's not in question are the Ridgeline's comfortable ride, precise handling, and limited, but always spirited, performance.” -- Cars.com
- "Its unit body, all-independent suspension, transversely mounted V6 engine and in-bed trunk all run counter to typical U.S. truck spec, yet its load and towing capabilities are perfect for weekend warriors and - more relevantly - those that own Honda's own motorcycles and ATVs.” -- Kelley Blue Book
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