The Honda Ridgeline is classified as a mid-size sport utility truck and is produced by the Japanese carmaker Honda. This vehicle was initially released in March of 2005 as the 2006 model and is the first pickup truck from this automaker. The Ridgeline was manufactured in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, until 2009, as well as the Acura MDX, Acura CSX, and the Honda Civic Si. It was the recipient of the Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award in 2006. The current Ridgeline model will no longer be produced by the middle of 2014.
The Ridgeline is most well-known as Honda’s first ever pickup truck and the was designed and engineered in Honda R&D Americas facilities, which is located in Richmond, Ohio. The design for this vehicle was first unveiled to the public as the Honda SUT concept car in 2004. This vehicle was built using the Honda Odyssey minivan platform and unibody hybrid chassis which features a 4-wheel independent suspension and its rear suspension allows for watertight storage in the area located below the bed and can be locked to secure its contents.
Some of the standard equipment that comes with the Honda Ridgeline includes anti-lock brakes, 4-wheel drive locking mode, and heated windshield wiper parking zones. There are also side-curtain airbags as an additional safety measure as well as VSA or Vehicle Stability Assist with an off-switch for off-road use. The 2007 and 2008 RTX trim version of the Ridgeline are also available with gray-painted allow wheels along with an alternate grille and body-colored door handles. The RTS also offers a 6-way power driver’s seat as well as a subwoofer, 6-CD changer, dual zone climate control, and leather trimmed upholstery. The 2007 model of this vehicle comes with XM radio as well as a moonroof as standard features.
In 2009, the Ridgeline received a significant facelift and a Sport model was released with the 2012 model, featuring blacked out bezel surrounding the headlights as well as 18” machine finished black painted alloy wheels and a black sport grille. The 2014 model of this vehicle will most likely be the last one, though Honda has announced a “Special Edition” trim that includes a number of features, including a navigation system as well as aluminum alloy wheels and a hands-free operated XM satellite radio.
This vehicle uses a transversely mounted J35A9 on the 2006-2008 models, a JS5Z5 on the 2009 model, and a 3.5 liter V6 engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 4-wheel drive system operates in front-wheel drive mode under regular conditions, automatically transferring power to the rear wheel through an electromagnetically driven clutch-operated differential. The clutch in the VTM-4 system can be activated in first, second, or reverse at under 18 mph, gradually transitioning its power to the front and releasing the VTM-4 lock at 18mph. The VTM-4 lock that this vehicle uses works in full rear power mode up to 6 mph and transitions over to the front and releases the VTM-4 lock at 18mph or 29 km/h.
The Honda Ridgeline has won a number of awards since it was first introduced to various markets around the world, including the Truck of the Year in 2006 from Maxim magazine, as well as the #1 Pickup in Car and Driver. Even though Honda slowly entered the minivan and SUV market, they still had great success with the Ridgeline. And while it took a while for this vehicle to pick up traction in its respective markets, it was ultimately a success and remains a very popular choice among consumers even today. With innovative features and a unique design, the Ridgeline is definitely a great overall vehicle.