I want to introduce you to a car-like pickup built on Honda’s Global Light Truck platform. Yes, it’s the Ridgeline, a clever and versatile rig based on a lightweight unibody structure with a four-wheel independent suspension.
For novelty, it’s equipped with a lockable trunk in the nicely lined bed. At the rear is a dual-action tailgate and it’s very useful.
For comfort, well, this Honda has better road manners than all of its rivals –the GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and the Ford Ranger.
The Ridgeline has a lot to offer, but it’s most definitely not inexpensive. The cheapest version for sale in Canada lists at $42,910, Yikes! Do your research and you’ll find that a Ridgeline Black Edition ($51,910) like my tester is $10,000 more than a full-size Ford Ranger Lariat.
(For the record, Honda says you can lease its luxuriously priced Ridgeline for $161.66 a week.)
I mean, the Ranger starts at $10,000 less than the base Ridgeline, and the Tacoma is $9,000 less. You can get a Colorado for $27,000 and a Canyon for just under $28,00, too. True, the brutish Jeep Gladiator has a base price of $46,995. But it’s a serious off-roader, while the Ridgeline is a city truck.
What we’re left with at the end of all this is a question: Is the Ridgeline luxurious enough to justify a hefty premium versus all but the Gladiator?
I’m not convinced.
This is not to say the Ridgeline is a dog. Not at all. The ride quality is superb. I’ve spent hours and hours on the road in a Ridgeline, painless hours of cruising in quiet (thanks to triple-sealed doors) and refined comfort. Sure, the Honda infotainment interface – like all of them in the most recent Hondas – is a bit goofy and has a history of being not entirely reliable. But I became accustomed to its eccentricities.
There’s nothing odd or confusing about how Honda packages the Ridgeline. You can buy it only as a four-door model, with one bed size and one powertrain – a 3.5-litre V-6 (280 horsepower/262 lb-ft torque) teamed with a smooth but unremarkable six-speed automatic gearbox.
You would expect the Ridgeline Black Edition to be loaded and it is. You can save fuel by hitting the ECON mode button, the all-wheel-drive system moves torque to where it’s needed and the truck bed audio system is standard, as is the mind-blowing 540-watt outfit with eight speakers and subwoofer. The bed also has a power outlet.
The very long list of standard stuff is pretty stunning, from twin 12-volt power outlets to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The Black Ridgeline is dressed up with red ambient lighting in the footwell, door pockets and cupholders, as well as Black Edition stitching and floor mats. This truck also has its own 18-inch aluminum wheels, door handles, bumper skid garnish, chrome front grille garnish and grille emblem.
As for looks, well, if the current Honda Accord were a pickup, it would look like this – with these very nice curves and gentle creases, wedge-shaped LED headlights and an interesting hood design. All good.
Inside, the infotainment screen is big and legible, the seats are thick with padding and the 60/40 split rear seats lift and have under-seat storage. In the bed, you can carry sheets of drywall, while the trunk will hold a 77-litre cooler or golf bags, or travel bags. You’ll find a drain plug in the bed for those times when you need to hose out a mess.
All told, the Ridgeline is a very refined, quiet and comfortable pickup. And you will pay for it.
2019 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition
Base price: $51,910.
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 (280 horsepower/262 lb-ft of torque).
Transmission: six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.8 city/11.5 hwy.