$22,487 - $32,239

2017 Honda Ridgeline Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Honda Ridgeline was new.


Performance: 8.7

Whereas most class rivals come standard with a four-cylinder engine, the Ridgeline's base engine is a V6. It has good power and acceleration, letting you feel right at home whether you're pulling a small trailer or just cruising down the highway. The cushioned ride may be the Ridgeline's true calling card, however. No matter the road conditions – and even away from the pavement – the Ridgeline absorbs potholes and bumps with ease.

The Ridgeline handles well for a truck, and torque and traction management systems improve its capability. While it may not be everyone's first choice for off-roading or towing, the Ridgeline is still decently capable in these areas.

  • "Because of its four-wheel independent suspension, carlike interior, soft yet supportive seats, and torque-vectoring rear wheels on all-wheel-drive models, the Ridgeline drives more like a well-balanced, comfort-minded sedan. On the highway, its quietness, comfort, and visibility make it a great road-trip or long commute vehicle." --Automobile Magazine
  • "In fact, the whole driving experience will feel extremely familiar if you're coming from a modern crossover. The Ridgeline may look more like a truck now, but it doesn't drive like one." -- AutoWeek
  • "The new Ridgeline is as rough and ready as just about anything in the segment, yet offers an on-road driving experience that is lightyears ahead of any other compact truck." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower, and it has a six-speed automatic transmission. The acceleration is strong whether you're jetting away from a stoplight or trying to pass on the highway.

The Ridgeline climbs hills effectively even while towing. It gets slightly better fuel economy ratings than other V6-powered trucks in the class, earning an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. However, it still cannot match the fuel efficiency of the turbodiesel engines offered in the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado.

See full 2017 Honda Ridgeline specs »

  • "There's more than enough horsepower to get up small hills and hit highway speeds while pulling, and the brakes, at least in our short stint with a relatively small trailer, felt up to the task." -- Autoblog
  • Flattening the gas pedal doesn't produce the typical rear-wheel-spinning drama you'd expect from a truck, but it feels strong once you're going." -- Motor Trend
  • "Acceleration is more than adequate with good punch throughout the range. The six-speed auto keeps things humming with smooth shifts between the gears." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

The Ridgeline stands out for its ride quality. The cabin remains fairly quiet at speed, and even large bumps are absorbed with ease, making the Ridgeline's ride feel as smooth as some luxury crossovers.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the Ridgeline, and it's the only truck on the market with front-wheel drive; most trucks have rear-wheel drive with the option for four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available. AWD models also feature Honda's Intelligent Variable Torque Management system, which improves handling and traction by redistributing torque between the axles and wheels as needed.

The Ridgeline handles better than class rivals like the Toyota Tacoma, but the steering isn't all that sharp. On curvy roads, you may find yourself having to constantly make small corrections to keep the truck in line.

  • "That solid base combined with a four-wheel independent suspension means the Ridgeline rides as nicely as a luxury crossover. Rough roads and even big potholes are no match for the Ridgeline." -- Left Lane News
  • "True to its unibody underpinnings, the Ridgeline rides and handles better than the Tacoma or Colorado. New for 2017 are Amplitude Reactive Dampers as seen on the Honda Pilot, with which the Ridgeline shares a basic platform. Driven back to back, the body-on-frame trucks seem to create bumps on roads where none existed in the Ridgeline. They're harsher and noisier in the cabin, too." -- AutoWeek
  • "The Honda's steering isn't communicative on twisty roads, and we found ourselves making constant corrections in highway-speed sweeping curves. When pulling a load or driving off road, though, it feels just right." -- Autoblog


The Toyota Tacoma is often billed as the best off-road machine in the class, but the 2017 Ridgeline can hold its own when you venture off the pavement. It remains comfortable over uneven terrain, and it slogs through mud and muck without issue thanks to the all-wheel drive.

Whether you want to head off road or you just live somewhere prone to extreme weather, you'll also appreciate the Ridgeline's Intelligent Traction Management system. It allows you to select a driving mode that best matches the road or terrain conditions simply by pushing a button on the center console.

  • "We also took the Ridgeline through some tight, muddy trails, with roots, ruts, and steep hills. It conquered the varied terrain admirably, with much more comfort from its fully independent suspension than solid-rear-axle trucks could hope for." -- Autoblog
  • Just because the Ridgeline has excellent on-road manners doesn't mean it can't handle the muddy stuff. We sampled the Ridgeline against both the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado on a moderately difficult off-road course and found it to be every bit the equal of its peers. If anything, the Ridgeline felt more rigid than the competition. … In the Ridgeline, everything was as quiet as a Sunday drive. It should be noted, however, that the Ridgeline doesn't have a hill decent (sic) function as found in other vehicles in this class." -- Left Lane News
  • "We also drove it off-road, where it performed better than expected. Those who want more off-road capability can turn to the Toyota Tacoma, but for trips to the cabin or through snow and mud, the AWD-equipped Ridgeline does the trick. We drove it in sand, and putting the new Intelligent Traction Management in Sand mode, felt the truck grip and regain traction to emerge from boggy sand. There are also selectable modes for Normal, Snow and Mud." -- Kelley Blue Book

Towing and Hauling

According to Honda, the 2017 Ridgeline has a maximum payload capacity of 1,584 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. That lags behind the maximum towing ratings of most class rivals.

Still, the Ridgeline aims to provide ample towing capability for any smaller loads you might want to pull, such as an ATV or a small boat. Test drivers report that it does just that, towing weights of around 2 tons without breaking a sweat. However, the Ridgeline's ride quality deteriorates under the strain of towing, unlike many other trucks, which tend to ride more smoothly while loaded up.

  • "I was able to test the Ridgeline while launching a small, 3,500-pound motorboat and, later, while trailering a Honda Pioneer side-by-side ATV and a TRX ATV with a combined weight of about 4,000 pounds. In both situations, I found the pickup to be capable of handling the loads with relative ease." -- CNET
  • "Honda even provided us with a 4,000 pound trailer to tow during [our] evaluation; although it wasn't over a long test loop, the Ridgeline never felt out of breath." -- Left Lane News
  • Even if the figures aren't as favorable as Honda's research indicates, my experience using the Ridgeline to tow a 3,600-pound trailer loaded with a four-seater side-by-side and a Honda quad showed it to be fully up to the task in acceleration and deceleration as well as stability. The one caveat to the Ridgeline's towing ability is that where the conventional midsize trucks ride better once loaded, the Ridgeline rides worse. Bumps are felt more acutely at the rear end, and the nose floats a bit more, both symptoms of being closer to max capacity than its stick-axled alternatives." -- Automobile Magazine

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