Despite rumors of its demise after the 2011 model year, the Honda Ridgeline will be with us for at least another year, and for 2012, receives a few exterior tweaks, better fuel economy and a new trim level.

In addition to a new Honda Ridgeline Sport model, upgrades to Honda’s sport utility truck “for 2012 include a refreshed grille design, aerodynamic improvements, friction reduction measures in the engine and a new EPA fuel rating of 15/21/17 city/highway/combined mpg, up 1 mpg in the highway rating,” Honda says in a press release.

The Honda Ridgeline Sport trim “is mostly distinguished by visual changes rather than performance upgrades,” says Motor Trend.  It will differ from other trims by featuring 18-inch black alloy wheels, a unique honeycomb grille, black head and tail lamp housings and some interior trim upgrades, like a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The modest bump in fuel economy brings the 250-horsepower Ridgeline up to par with other sport utility trucks like the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche 4x4, which achieves 15/21 mpg city/highway with a 315-horsepower 5.3 liter V8.

The Honda Ridgeline, which has lagged behind full size pickups and sport utility trucks in fuel economy, has also hit a sales slump. According to The Detroit News, Honda only sold approximately 6,500 Ridgeline units through the first nine months of 2012. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline starts at $29,250 and is on sale now.

Shopping for a new truck? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.