Barring a surprise later this week, Monday’s unveiling of Honda’s revamped Ridgeline will arguably be the keynote pickup announcement to come out of the North American International Auto Show this year.
The launch of the unibody pickup itself, and the fact that it shares many qualities with the Honda Pilot SUV, were not a surprise.
“We think we’ve got a better idea, a truck that uses its unibody construction and Honda packaging magic to deliver more of the things that many of today’s truck customers want and need with none of the things they don’t,” says John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
The Ridgeline will get Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine with six-speed automatic transmission, which should put out about 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque based on Pilot’s figures. Payload capacity ratings are expected to approach 1,600 pounds.
The standard version Ridgeline is front-wheel, but an optional all-wheel drive is available with Honda’s torque-vectoring i-VTM4 system with Terrain Management system if you plan to do some off-roading.
When Honda offered a peek of Ridgeline at SEMA late last year via its Baja 1000 entry, Art St. Cyr, president of Honda’s Performance Development, said the company paid close attention to the pickup bed for the coming generation production pickup.
Back there you’ll find a bed that is 5.4 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the generation prior. The bed width, Honda says, can accomodate sheets of drywall or plywood, allowing them to lie flat.
A standard, lockable in-bed trunk features a fully flat floor while still including a drain plug.
The dual action tailgate is hinged both at the bottom and along its left side. The bed also features eight 350-pound tie down cleats and an available 400-watt power inverter, located behind an access panel in the right bed wall, with the capacity to recharge power tools or energize a tailgate blender or flat screen TV.
Honda says Ridgeline boasts the largest cabin in a midsize 4-door pickup and features tri-zone climate control, push button start, a full-color TFT center meter and available 8-inch display audio touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility.
A 60/40-split and folding second-row seat provides versatility for passengers or cargo. With the seats folded down, the Ridgeline will comfortably carry up to five people while still accommodating long items, like a set of golf clubs, under the rear seat. Folding up one or both sides of the 60/40-split seat bottom opens up the back to carry tall and bulky items.