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

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Courtenay skateboarder selected to first-ever national team

A young man from Courtenay is among 12 athletes who have been… Continue reading

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

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

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Most Read