The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is set to launch early next year with a bold redesign that makes it look more like a truck and less of a crossover.
The biggest changes are in the front where a more upright grille, more pronounced hood and new front fenders give the midsize truck more of a squared-off look—a welcomed departure from past designs that recalled the more car-like Honda Pilot, a popular crossover.
“Truck enthusiasts have long recognized Ridgeline as an incredibly versatile and capable pickup, and now it’s got the rugged looks to match,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs, one that more effectively communicates all the hard work that goes into making Honda pickups and SUVs such proficient on- and off-road performers.”
Atop the grille is a crossbar that bisects the headlight lenses – gloss black on Sport trims and Black edition, chrome on RTL and RTL-E. Below, a new front bumper intended to highlight Ridgeline’s more assertive design, adds broad side vents that route air through the bumper and around the front tires and wheels, creating air curtains to improve aerodynamic performance.
The body color is also extended farther down the front bumper, and a prominent skid plate emphasizes Ridgeline’s tough new look. In back, a reshaped bumper exposes new twin exhaust tips.
All trims feature tougher looking 18-inch wheels with backspacing reduced 10 mm, increasing track width a total of 20 mm and lending the Ridgeline a broader, more planted stance, bolstered by all-season tires with a new, more aggressive sidewall and shoulder design.
More styling options are available through Ridgeline’s new package created in collaboration with Honda Performance Development (HPD). The new HPD Package adds a unique grille treatment, black fender flares, aggressive bronze-colored wheels, and special HPD graphics on the bed walls. Part of a new group of post-production options (PPO), the package will be available on all Ridgeline trims and is one of four new PPO packages that include Utility, Function and Function+ packages.
The 2021 Ridgeline’s cabin, which Honda says offers more space than any other midsize truck in its class, receives an updated Display Audio system with new graphics, easier-to-use touchscreen icons, and a volume knob for those preferring a more old school touch.
In addition, Ridgelines in Sport trim add new cloth seat inserts, all trims get new contrast stitching on the seats, and Sport, RTL and RTL-E trims have new dash, steering wheel and center console accents. Like models before, the 2021 Ridgeline will get flat floor and foldaway 60/40-split rear seat bottoms to offer additional space for long and tall items in the cabin.
Fully Automatic Torque-Vectoring AWD
Standard on every 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC V6 backed by a 9-speed automatic transmission. Available on Sport and RTL, and standard on RTL-E and Black Edition, is Ridgeline’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, which automatically sends up to 70 percent of the engine’s 262 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels and continuously apportions 100 percent of that torque between the left and right rear wheels based on driving conditions at each wheel.
The Intelligent Traction Dynamics System, standard on all Ridgelines, is designed to optimize power delivery and distribution for various conditions including snow and pavement for 2WD models, while Ridgelines equipped with i-VTM4 get additional selectable modes for mud and sand.
Work and play appeal in a midsize package
Ridgeline credits its unibody construction for enabling 1,580-lb. max payload and 5,000-lb. max towing.
Ridgeline’s extra-wide stance enables an extra-wide standard bed, making it the only truck in its class that can flat-carry 4-foot wide items, such as plywood and drywall, between the wheel wells.
The truck’s unibody construction and independent rear suspension also paves the way for a washable, lockable In-Bed Trunk, offering an additional 7.3 cu.-ft. of secure storage space under the bed floor.
Ridgeline’s Dual-Action Tailgate opens downward or to the side, providing more access to the bed. The tailgate can support up to 300 pounds, supporting long payloads such as motorcycles and ATVs. Inside the bed are eight standard tie-down cleats rated at 350-pounds each, for securing loads, and the bed is constructed of glass fiber-reinforced SMC composite that resists dents and scratches without the need for a separate bed liner.
An available In-Bed Audio system utilizes four “exciters” to turn Ridgeline’s entire bed into an outdoor speaker (RTL-E and up trims). Combined with its Dual Action Tailgate and In-Bed Trunk, which can do double duty as an ice-filled cooler, Honda reports that “Ridgeline is a great tailgating companion.”
Ridgeline comes standard with the Honda Sensing, featuring collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist system, road departure mitigation with lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
The 2021 Ridgeline targets top-class collision safety ratings from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score, a GOOD rating in all IIHS collision tests, and a SUPERIOR IIHS rating for front crash prevention.