The Ridgeline is available with an off-road appearance package that includes these neat bronze wheels. There is no extra off-road capability, however. PHOTO: HONDA

The Ridgeline is available with an off-road appearance package that includes these neat bronze wheels. There is no extra off-road capability, however. PHOTO: HONDA

Meet the 2021 Honda Ridgeline

A pickup this versatile just might be all the truck that’s needed

The Honda Ridgeline defines the term “urban pickup,” but it’s no pushover when it comes to tackling rough roads and weighty loads.

It also provides a comfortable cabin for five people, clever convenience touches and a rock-solid reputation, which are traits that are no less important to truck buyers.

The second-generation Ridgeline that arrived for 2017 (the original dates back to model-year 2006) competes with midsizers from Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota. Similar entries from Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram truck division are reportedly on the horizon.

Strictly speaking, the Ridgeline is more utility vehicle than pickup. It shares a unitized (frameless) platform with the Honda Pilot and Passport, only with an open box instead of an enclosed cargo area.

The Ridgeline’s tailgate swings out from the right, or it can be dropped down (it can hold 135 kilograms). PHOTO: HONDA

The Ridgeline’s tailgate swings out from the right, or it can be dropped down (it can hold 135 kilograms). PHOTO: HONDA

For 2021, the Alabama-built Ridgeline gets a much bolder grille and a bulging hood. A sizeable trim piece (available in chrome or gloss black) directly below it appears to extend into the headlight lenses. The front bumper juts out, which should provide additional protection from minor skirmishes (the rear bumper has also been redesigned).

As before, the cargo box has some ingenious features that are in keeping with the Ridgeline’s multipurpose character.The floor is wide enough to accommodate 4×8 sheets of building materials between the wheel wells. There’s also no need for a protective liner due to the bed’s composite-plastic construction.

A lockable storage area beneath the floor contains the spare tire, provides added space for stowing bulky valuables such as tools and groceries, and can also function as an ice chest. It’s accessible by swinging open the standard “Dual Action” tailgate from the right-hand side, or by dropping it down in the traditional manner. When lowered, the tailgate can support 135 kilograms.

The Ridgeline can be outfitted with an available Truck Bed Audio System with six weatherproof transducers built into the side walls. They act like speakers by transmitting audio vibrations from inside the cab to those seated or standing outside (ideal for year-’round tailgate gatherings).

For the 2021 model year, the Ridgeline is mostly carryover with some updates to the infotainment system. Leather seating is optional. PHOTO: HONDA

For the 2021 model year, the Ridgeline is mostly carryover with some updates to the infotainment system. Leather seating is optional. PHOTO: HONDA

Interior changes focus on the 8.0-inch touch-screen that receives new icons and a physical volume-control knob, which might seem like a small thing but is important for keeping your eyes on the road instead of the screen.

The Ridgeline’s fold-up rear-seat cushion allows you to load everything from potted plants to bicycles to giant-screen TVs. Speaking of loads, the Ridgeline is capable of 680 kilograms of cargo and it can tow up to 2,270 kilograms.

The 280-horsepower 3.5-litre V-6 carries over, linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 12.6 l/100 km in the city, 10.0 on the highway and 11.1 combined.

All-wheel-drive is standard with all Ridgeline trims. The system sends 70 per cent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels and can direct 100 per cent of that amount to either one, depending on driving conditions. There are also selectable Mud, Sand, Snow and Pavement traction-mode settings.

The base Ridgeline Sport is priced at an estimated $44,500 in Canada, including destination charges. It comes with the usual comfort gear plus an assortment of dynamic-safety tech including forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

The remaining three models — EX-L, Black Edition and Touring — offer a wealth of extras. The latter two are further maxed out with a seven-speaker, 540-watt audio system, leather-trimmed interior, front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

A new Honda Performance Development appearance package adds a more aggressive-looking blacked out grille, fender flares, bronze wheels, and HPD graphics. The package is available on all trims. There is no added off-road functionality, however.

Considering its do-just-about-anything mission, calling the Honda Ridgeline the automotive equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife is certainly fitting. Styling updates gives the 2021 version a much-needed shot of character, especially in a world where the tough-truck look is currently in vogue.

Honda Ridgeline provides a comfortable cabin for five people, clever convenience touches and a rock-solid reputation.

Honda Ridgeline provides a comfortable cabin for five people, clever convenience touches and a rock-solid reputation.

What you should know: 2021 Honda Ridgeline

Type: All-wheel-drive midsize four-door pickup

Engine (h.p.): 3.5-litre SOHC V-6 (280)

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Market position:The Ridgeline continues its fun and flexible ways, but deft character-changing alterations could allow it to snag some traditional pickup buyers who don’t need the capability, the bulk and power of a full-size truck.

Points: Reshaping the front end shifts it to bold from bland. • Standard V-6 delivers reasonable fuel economy. • Plenty of active-safety tech covers most contingencies. • It might be a good time to introduce a hybrid and/ or two-door extended-cab versions. • Recent expansion in the midsize pickup class means greater competition ahead.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (n.a.); lane-departure warning (std.); road-departure mitigation (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 12.6/10.0

Base price (incl. destination): $44,500 (est.)

BY COMPARISON:

Ford Ranger SuperCrew

  • Base price: $40,400
  • Midsize AWD pickup uses a turbo 2.3-litre I-4 with 270 h.p. Off-road package opt.

Toyota Tacoma Double Cab

  • Base price: $28,100
  • AWD version comes with a 278-hp V-6 mated to six-speed automatic trans.

GMC Canyon Crew Cab

  • Base price: $42,500
  • Base AWD pickup uses a 3.6-litre V6. A turbo-diesel, I-4 engine is optional.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVsTrucks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Castlegar sees spike in crime over winter

Local RCMP report increase in calls

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Jesse Teindl (left) is grateful for support in his fundraiser for research of a genetic disease that prematurely claimed the lives of his father Tim (right) and uncle Craig Teindl. Photo: Submitted.
Kootenay community steps up for Skinny Genes fundraiser

Fundraiser auction for rare genetic disease raises more than $10,000 for Skinny Genes Foundation

Kirk Duff is running for mayor in the upcoming Castlegar byelection Photo: Submitted
Third candidate enters Castlegar mayor’s race

Kirk Duff previously served 18 years as a city councillor

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read