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2021 Honda Ridgeline Review

The Honda Ridgeline blends a refined ride and a robust engine with a premium interior, versatile cargo management, and adult-friendly rear seats. However, it’s not as capable as rival compact pickup trucks.

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome cabin materials
  • Spacious seats
  • Muscular engine
  • Refined ride
  • Finnicky infotainment controls
  • High base price
  • Subpar towing capacity

New for 2021

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Revamped infotainment system
  • Refreshed exterior styling

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Pickup Trucks category. Currently the Honda Ridgeline has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 44 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


out of 10

Overall Rating

Critics' Rating: 8.8/10
Performance: 7.6/10
Interior: 7.9/10
Safety: 9.6/10
Quality & Reliability: 81/100 J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Honda Ridgeline a Good Truck?

The Honda Ridgeline is a great compact pickup truck with a long list of positive traits that include a muscular engine, a silky ride, tremendous passenger space, and a handsome cabin. It also has one of the highest safety scores in the class. This vehicle has plenty of storage options, including flip-up rear seats and an in-bed trunk, though it lacks the longer beds you can find in other pickups. It does a good job of adding the best elements of an SUV in the form of a truck, but its off-roading and towing capabilities fall short compared to classmates.

2021 Honda Ridgeline Dimensions and Weight

  • Length: 17 feet, 6 inches
  • Height: 5 feet, 10 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,436 to 4,510 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 6,019 pounds
Why You Can Trust Us: 44 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this Honda in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with XX professional reviews.

This 2021 Ridgeline review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Honda Ridgeline?

The Honda Ridgeline is a great vehicle, but it’s more of a truck for people who don’t really like trucks. In fact, many critics compare the Ridgeline to an SUV. It has a unibody construction rather than a traditional body-on-frame build. It also has all-wheel drive rather than four-wheel drive. These help boost the Ridgeline’s on-road ride comfort and deliver composed, car-like handling. If you want an off-road warrior or something with greater towing and hauling capabilities, consider the Jeep Gladiator or Chevrolet Colorado.

Find a 2021 Honda Ridgeline for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: What's the Difference?

Honda makes a few notable updates to the Ridgeline for 2021. Not only does this truck get revamped exterior styling, but it also gains an upgraded infotainment system with a physical tuning knob. Also, all-wheel drive is now standard, with front-wheel drive being discontinued.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Ridgeline »

Here are some of this pickup’s key changes over the last few years:

  • 2017: fully redesigned after two-year hiatus
  • 2018: trim lineup simplified
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: RT and RT-L trim levels discontinued, nine-speed automatic transmission replaced six-speed, and more standard tech and safety features
  • 2021: exterior styling refresh, infotainment system upgrades, and standard AWD

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Ridgeline, 2019 Ridgeline, and 2020 Ridgeline reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Honda Ridgeline Cost?

The base Honda Ridgeline Sport has a starting MSRP of $36,490, which makes it more expensive than most trucks in its class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda Ridgeline Versus the Competition

Honda Ridgeline vs. Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is a very good compact pickup truck. It lacks a V6 engine, but its four-cylinder is muscular and makes nearly as much horsepower as the Honda’s V6. It can tow up to 7,500 pounds, which is 2,500 more than the Ridgeline. The Ford has more available off-road gear too, such as a locking rear differential, crawl control, and skid plates. If those are important to you, pick the Ranger. Otherwise, a nicer cabin and gentler ride make the Ridgeline a better choice.

Compare the Ridgeline and Ranger »

Honda Ridgeline vs. Toyota Tacoma

For a genuine off-road champion, the Toyota Tacoma is hard to beat. Its TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims are especially adept, with specially tuned suspensions, shock absorbers, skid plates, and four-wheel drive. The Toyota can tow up to 6,800 pounds, which is nearly a ton more than the Ridgeline, and its base trim costs around $10,200 less. That said, for a more well-rounded truck, stick with the Honda. It has a comfortable ride, a handsome cabin, and adult-friendly seating.

Compare the Ridgeline and Tacoma »

Compare the Ridgeline, Ranger, and Tacoma »

Ridgeline Interior: A Cab for the Whole Crew

Ridgeline Cargo Space

Every Honda Ridgeline has a 5-foot, 4-inch bed. Although that’s about a foot shorter than rival trucks, this Honda’s bed is highly versatile. It doesn’t have a liner because it’s constructed from a reinforced composite material.

The bed is wide enough to fit items like sheets of plywood, and it can be had with nifty features such as a household-style power outlet, an in-bed audio system, and a 7.3-cubic-foot trunk beneath the floor. The dual-action tailgate can lower like that of a regular truck, or it can swing to one side like a car door. There’s also 2.9 cubic feet of storage space beneath the rear seats. Alternatively, those seats can lift up, letting you haul bulky objects such as a bicycle in the cab.

How Many People Does the Ridgeline Seat?

Unlike other trucks, which have a variety of cab and body styles, the Ridgeline only comes in a five-seat Crew Cab. Both rows have ample head- and legroom for adults, and the seats are comfortable. Cloth upholstery is standard in the base trim, but every other trim has leather seats. Other available features include power-adjustable and heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Ridgeline and Child Car Seats

There are three complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Ridgeline’s rear seats. While the overall setup is easy to use, the tethers can be hard to find, and the lower anchors are set deeply in the seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use.

Ridgeline Interior Quality

Like many compact pickups, this Honda features some hard plastics in the cabin. Otherwise, this truck has a high-end interior. Silver accents and high-quality materials help give it a classy aura.

Ridgeline Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Honda updated the Ridgeline’s infotainment system for 2021, giving it welcome additions like a volume knob. However, it still has some stumbling blocks. The menu layout can be hard to navigate, and the touch screen can be slow to recognize user input.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: wireless device charging, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker stereo, two more USB ports, and an in-bed audio system
  • Additional standard features: push-button start, remote start, proximity keyless entry, and tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a moonroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Ridgeline Performance: A Very SUV-Like Truck

Ridgeline Engine

A 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine is standard in this Honda. It’s well-suited for daily driving, with plenty of muscle for cruising around town, accelerating on the freeway, or venturing down a dirt trail. Paired with the V6 is a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Ridgeline Gas Mileage

The Ridgeline earns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Those are subpar figures for a small pickup, but most classmates come with four-cylinder engines. These fuel economy estimates are typical among V6-powered rivals with all-wheel or four-wheel drive.

Ridgeline Ride and Handling

Many trucks have body-on-frame construction, but the Honda Ridgeline opts for unibody. This helps it drive more like an SUV than a pickup, and it has one of the gentlest rides in the class, both on- and off-road. Also, its composed handling helps it remain planted around turns. All-wheel drive is standard.

Ridgeline Off-Road Performance

This truck is capable of some light off-roading thanks to 7.6 inches of ground clearance, a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, and a terrain management system that lets you shift between Sand, Mud, and Snow drive modes. Still, for a more serious off-roader, look to the Jeep Gladiator or Toyota Tacoma.

Ridgeline Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this vehicle can tow up to 5,000 pounds. It also has a max payload capacity of 1,583 pounds. Both figures are eclipsed by just about every other compact pickup.

Read more about performance »

Ridgeline Reliability

Is the Honda Ridgeline Reliable?

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a predicted reliability score of 81 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

Honda Ridgeline Warranty

Honda backs the Ridgeline with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Ridgeline Safety

Ridgeline Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Honda Ridgeline the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The Ridgeline’s headlights received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The Ridgeline received the highest rating of Superior for its available front crash prevention system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Honda Ridgeline an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

Ridgeline Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road departure mitigation

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

Where Is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Built?

Honda builds the 2021 Ridgeline in Alabama.

Which Honda Ridgeline Model Is Right for Me?

Honda makes the 2021 Ridgeline in four trim levels: Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition. The Sport trim is well-equipped, though you’ll have to move up to the RTL to get goodies like leather seats or blind spot monitoring. The RTL-E adds several tech features, both in the cabin and in the bed, and the Black Edition has some unique styling.

Honda Ridgeline Powertrain

  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6 with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque; starts at $36,490
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Honda Ridgeline Appearance Packages:

  • HPD package (prices start at $2,800; available in all trims): Honda Performance Development styling and badging, including unique front grille, fender flares, and bronze-colored alloy wheels
  • Adventure package (prices start at $4,211; available in all trims): black roof rails, black running boards, sport grille, crossbars, fender flares, and 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels
  • Outdoor Essentials package I (prices start at $1,647; available in all trims): a hood protector, black running boards, black roof rails, and crossbars
  • Outdoor Essentials package II (prices start at $2,112; available in all trims): fender flares, black running boards, black roof rails, and crossbars
  • Utility package (prices start at $1,465; available in Sport, RTL, and RTL-E): a black running board, black roof rails, and crossbars
Honda Ridgeline Sport

The entry-level Sport has a starting MSRP of $36,490. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a seven-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, two USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, an in-bed trunk, eight heavy-duty tie-down cleats, a dual-action tailgate, alloy wheels, and a rearview camera. Also included is the Honda Sensing suite of safety technology, which comes with forward collision warning, a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

Options include a heated steering wheel ($523), rear parking sensors ($523), and wireless device charging ($236).

Honda Ridgeline RTL

Retailing for $39,470, the RTL adds leather-trimmed front seats with heating and power adjustments, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, satellite radio, a power-sliding rear window, and a moonroof. The Sport’s options remain available.

Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

With a base price of $42,420, RTL-E models gain a satellite-linked navigation system, HD Radio, an eight-speaker stereo, wireless device charging, a truck-bed audio system, two rear-seat USB ports, automatic high-beam headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, and an in-bed power outlet.

Honda Ridgeline Black Edition

The Black Edition starts at $43,920. Outside of styling enhancements such as special edition black leather seats and red ambient lighting, it has the same features as the RTL-E.

Which Ridgeline Cab Style Is Right for Me?

Your choice here is easy. Honda makes the Ridgeline in one body style: a Crew Cab that seats five. Regardless of cab style, few trucks can match the Ridgeline for passenger space.

Which Ridgeline Bed Length Is Right for Me?

The Ridgeline’s bed measures 5 feet, 4 inches long. Unlike most trucks, which offer a bed longer than 6 feet, longer options are not available. Still, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in utility. Because it’s made from a reinforced composite material, a bed liner isn’t necessary, and there’s a 7.3-cubic-foot trunk located beneath the floor, which is unique for the class. The trunk also has a drain plug so it can be used as a cooler. The bed is 4 feet, 2 inches wide at the wheel wells and 5 feet wide at the bed wells, making it wide enough to fit 4 x 8 sheets of plywood.

Which Ridgeline Model Is Best for Towing and Hauling?

Every Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is enough to pull a trailer, but it’s the lowest figure in the class. Hauling capability varies by trim level. RTL-E and Black Edition models have a payload capacity of 1,509 pounds. That rises to 1,544 pounds with the RTL and 1,583 pounds with the Sport.

Which Ridgeline Model Is Best for Off-Roading?

This Honda is something of an outlier among compact pickup trucks because it lacks a dedicated off-road trim. Instead, every trim has roughly the same adventuring capabilities, with torque-variable all-wheel drive and Intelligent Traction Management that let you shift between Snow, Sand, and Mud drive modes.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2021 Honda Ridgeline specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Honda Ridgeline stands out among compact pickup trucks. It’s more upscale than most of its classmates, with higher-quality cabin materials, a gentler ride, and roomier rear seats. This Honda also impresses with its good safety score and energetic engine. And while it’s not an off-road warrior, it is good for a little weekend adventuring. Sure, it has a high retail price, low towing capacity, and some frustrating infotainment controls, but the Ridgeline merits a look from any small truck shopper.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Ridgeline proves to be a resilient daily driver, an outdoor opportunist, and a sturdy workhorse outright. Above all, it’s evident that whatever life tests you with, the redesigned Honda Ridgeline stands ready to rise to any challenge." -- Car and Driver
  • "Point is, if you're buying a midsize truck to pull heavy trailers or do some rock crawling, the Ridgeline isn't for you. If you're doing literally anything else, though, it's a seriously compelling truck." -- Motor Trend
  • "The design update for the 2021 Ridgeline gives the truck the tougher, more aggressive look it deserves. But under that skin, the Honda is still a sweetheart to drive daily." -- Autotrader
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2021 Honda Ridgeline

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