MSRP
$33,900
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Honda Ridgeline Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.8

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline gets plenty of power from its V6 engine, and it handles well while providing arguably the smoothest ride in the compact pickup truck class. One of the only weaknesses the Ridgeline has is that it can't tow as much as rivals.

  • "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

The Ridgeline features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Ridgeline never feels underpowered, and the engine is energetic when accelerating or pulling a trailer.

According to EPA estimates, the Ridgeline gets 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 19/24 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive. Those are good ratings for the class, and they're made more impressive by the fact that the Ridgeline has a V6, whereas most rivals earn similar ratings with four-cylinder engines.

  • "The lone powertrain is a 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 262 lb-ft of torque. The engine feels smooth, and throttle response is especially receptive when you call for hard acceleration." -- Car and Driver
  • "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 (2018)
  • "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)

Handling and Braking

When it comes to ride quality, few compact trucks can match the Ridgeline. This Honda soaks up road imperfections with ease, leading to a delightfully cushioned ride. It handles well, too. There's not much body lean when taking turns, and it feels more like you are driving a car than a traditional truck.

The Ridgeline is the only truck to come standard with front-wheel drive. And while most rivals offer part-time four-wheel drive, this Honda offers all-wheel drive.

  • "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 (2018)
  • "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

When equipped with all-wheel drive, the Ridgeline is more than capable of heading off the pavement and handling adverse terrain such as mud, snow, and more without issue. That said, don't expect to tackle rocky trails the way you might in a Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Gladiator.

The Ridgeline's available Intelligent Traction Management system lets you select a drive mode that matches the ground you’re traversing, and the ride 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 (2018)
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Towing and Hauling

The Ridgeline provides useful towing and hauling capacities, but it still trails almost every competitor in both respects. When properly equipped, the Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Its maximum payload is 1,580 pounds.

While its ratings may not measure up to the rest of the compact pickup truck class, the Ridgeline is powerful enough to not feel weighed down by a trailer or a full bed, even when approaching its maximum capacity. Unlike some compact trucks, the Ridgeline's ride quality doesn't improve (it actually gets worse, according to some critics) while towing or hauling.

  • "The Ridgeline is a solid cargo hauler. Compared to rivals, it has a higher payload rating and is the only one that holds 4-foot-wide plywood sheets, and its crew cab short bed is longer. It also has a lockable in-bed trunk and a two-way tailgate. Not a towing leader, but 5,000 pounds isn't shabby." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "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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2020 Honda Ridgeline

MSRP: $33,900 - $43,520

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