2018 Honda Ridgeline

Performance


$29,730 MSRP
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2018 Honda Ridgeline Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2018 Honda Ridgeline does things a little differently than most compact pickups. Its only available engine is a fuel-efficient V6 (most rivals have a four-cylinder base engine and V6 options), and it comes standard with front-wheel drive (others come with RWD). It also offers all-wheel drive instead of four-wheel drive.

Despite these differences, the Ridgeline has the best ride quality in the class, above-average fuel economy, and quick acceleration. And while it has a lower towing capacity than rivals, it still has enough power to pull small recreational vehicles. It can also hold its own during light off-road driving.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Acceleration and Power

Many rivals have a four-cylinder base engine, but the Ridgeline comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly. The Ridgeline’s engine is energetic and provides good acceleration around town and on the highway.

It also gets above-average fuel economy for a compact truck. Front-wheel-drive models get an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive models get about 1 mpg less.

  • "The V6 engine is smooth, which gives the Ridgeline an effortless feel around town. And it feels punchy when you floor it to make a pass or merge onto the highway. It took our test truck 7 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph at the track, which is tops in the midsize pickup category." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

Unlike every other truck, the Ridgeline comes standard with front-wheel drive. It’s also the only truck to offer all-wheel drive instead of a traditional four-wheel-drive system. As you might guess from these details, the Ridgeline rides more like a car or crossover SUV than a truck, but that means it also has the best ride quality in the class.

The Ridgeline handles winding roads well, and you may not even notice many road imperfections. 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's ride comfort is second to none as far as pickups go, with a much more settled feel that comes from its crossover SUV underpinnings." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Off-Roading

The Honda Ridgeline might not be the first name that pops into your head when you think of off-roading, but this truck can hold its own. Its all-wheel-drive system can handle muddy terrain, and the available Intelligent Traction Management system lets you select a driving mode that matches the ground you’re traversing. The Ridgeline’s ride also remains smooth while off-roading.

  • The Ridgeline's capabilities are like a crossover SUV's, but with an advanced traction management system that can handle snow, sand and dirt. It's fine for most people, but it lacks the underbody clearance, wheel articulation and low-range gearing that other 4WD pickups have for rockier territory." -- Edmunds
  • 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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Towing and Hauling

The Ridgeline has respectable towing and hauling capacities, though it isn’t as capable as other compact trucks. When properly equipped, the Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds and haul up to 1,580 pounds. The Ridgeline can tow things like an ATV or a boat without struggling, but unlike many other trucks, this Honda’s ride quality gets worse instead of better while towing something.

  • "The Ridgeline is a solid cargo hauler, inside and out. The crew cab's short bed is longer than competitors, has a higher payload rating, is the only one that holds 4-foot-wide plywood sheets, and has a lockable in-bed trunk and a two-way tailgate. Not a towing leader, but 5,000 pounds isn't shabby." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)

"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 (2017)

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