This review first appeared in the March 2017 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg
Honda went to the drawing board – probably a computer, actually – to create an all-new Ridgeline from the ground up, with the goal of taking command in the crucial midsize pickup niche. And Honda did a nice job of it from a practical standpoint.
But the Ridgeline Black Edition is another ballgame entirely. Black from bumper to bumper, including the 18-inch alloy wheels, the Black Edition comes off as a road warrior, bad in a decidedly posterior sort of way. Yes, you can drive it as a chore-eating pickup, but the Black Edition makes a statement with its appearance.
Performance also has something to say.
The tester’s sophisticated 3.5-liter, 280-horsepower V-6 is responsive and throaty. You hear it coming, and when surrounding motorists get a glance at the pickup’s all-black exterior, they tend to get out of the way.
As well they should. The tested Black Edition laid rubber off the line when asked, and it was rock-steady in slalom runs. A sweetly tuned suspension and unibody construction carried the load with ease.
And yes, despite appearances, the Ridgeline is a unibody truck. Don’t be fooled by the rubber-filled gap between the cab and truck bed. That little valley is there to make truck traditionalists feel good … or something like that. No matter what, it’s a visual misdirection play.
Alas, fuel mileage is pretty tepid at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, the expected trade-off for the V-6 engine’s enthusiasm.
On most pickups, the bed is merely open space. Not so with the Ridgeline.
The super-durable, composite bed can be had with an in-bed “trunk” space that offers more storage room under the bed floor. There’s a dual-action tailgate. You can open it old-school flat or like a swinging gate.
And the bed can even be equipped with an audio system, the better to hear your tunes when you’re loading or unloading the cargo-carrying space. Clever much? I’d say so.
My ride was loaded with a super-lengthy list of standard features, including plentiful, high-tech safety and driving-enhancement perks. This explains the straight-up, no-extras starting price of $42,870, a fairly hefty figure to ponder in a midsize truck.
Welcome to pickup of the 21st century, seriously evolved from the uncomplicated workhorses of generations past. I had no problems with it. Apparently, I’m not alone in that.
The redesigned and re-engineered 2017 Ridgeline was named the 2017 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in
. Oh, it also surpassed the competition with a
“Top Safety Pick” nod from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Detroit
Throw in the Black Edition with “Crystal Black Pearl” paint, black chrome accents and black exterior moldings, and I agree with Honda: It is a whole new way to Ridgeline.
Black magic all the way around.