2017 Honda Ridgeline: Monthly Update for September 2017
by Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
The month kicked off with yours truly driving our long-term 2017 Honda Ridgeline to Las Vegas for the first look at the new Nissan Leaf. My road trip impressions are below, but in a nutshell, I found myself loving this pickup-lite the more I drove it. I spent a week and a half in the driver's seat and I could've continued forever. It's that comfortable.
But first I had to take it to the dealer, also detailed below. Can't take a 500-mile round trip with the driver information display screaming for an oil change. The Ridgeline's sheet metal barely had time to dry from the post-trip car wash before Dan Edmunds took it out to the Mojave for an overnight camping excursion.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The Ridgeline traveled just more than 1,800 miles in September. Even though you'd think the multitude of highway-heavy trips would bolster the Ridgeline's overall fuel economy, there was only an uptick of 0.1 mpg in overall fuel economy. More importantly, we set a new best-fill tank. That is to say, I set a new best-fill tank. My straight shot down I-15 netted an average of 26.8 mpg. This beat our previous best by 1 mpg, and the highway estimate by 1.8 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 20.2 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.8 mpg
Best range: 406.6 miles
Current odometer: 17,355 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I began the month with a request to Mike Schmidt, the Keeper of the Keys 'round these parts. I'd need a car to take me through the Labor Day weekend, then on a three-day work trip in Las Vegas starting the following Tuesday and through the next weekend. Of the cars available for a straight week and a half, we agreed that the Ridgeline was the best bet. Optimism turned to apprehension when I climbed into the truck, hit the ignition button and was greeted with a 'Maintenance Due Soon' message in the instrument panel. I pressed on, thinking I might be able to make it to Vegas and back before the truck needed to be taken in for service. My hopes were unfounded — the message turned to 'Maintenance Due Now' as I drove home that Thursday.
"Friday was the only day I could realistically take care of the Ridgeline's maintenance needs (B1 and B6 services, for the record). I called up my local dealer, Ocean Honda of Whittier, and my adviser informed me that these services are performed on a first-come, first-served basis. I arrived bright and early the next morning and was given as estimated completion time of two hours. I opted to wait in the customer lounge.
"The service was complete a few minutes before the two-hour mark. The total was $202.80, split between the oil change (B, $56.90), tire rotation (1, $29.95) and differential fluid service (6, $109), plus $6.95 in tax. The truck was in tip-top shape for a Vegas run." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"The Honda Ridgeline was absolutely the correct truck for this trip. The ride is cushy and compliant on the open road, the seats remained comfortable for hours, and the powertrain was adept at tackling the uphill Cajon Pass with no jarring downshifts or excessive engine revving. All of these aspects combined to create an overall experience that was a complete 180 from my Vegas trip last December in our long-term Tacoma. Although the Ridgeline manifested a trim piece rattle every now and again, it was nothing compared to the Tacoma's pervasive high-pitched whistle that once threatened my sanity." — Cameron Rogers
"I drove out to the Mojave Desert for a quick overnight stargazing trip. When it came time to turn in for the night, I was too lazy to set up the Honda's in-bed tent, which is a nightmare to unpack compared to any normal backpacking tent.
"So I slept in the cab on the back seat. I added a couple of cushions and laid out a bedroll to level it out. But this wide cab slept comfortably, especially with the sunroof tilted up and the sliding rear window open a crack. Not something I'd do on a regular basis, but then again it was far more comfortable than sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground — even with a backpacking cushion." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"My daughter moved into an apartment and we gave her an old dining room table to use. The Ridgeline bed's extra width (compared to a Tacoma or Colorado) turned out to be a real boon, and the unique side-opening tailgate made it easier to load and unload this bulky item because we could place it in the bed really close to its final location without having to slide it way in past the 'canyon' that exists between the edge of a regular truck's tailgate and the bed itself." — Dan Edmunds
"I arrived in Vegas around lunchtime. At the recommendation of Matt and Ron, I decided to stop at Florida Cafe for a quick bite. I'd never been, but those guys wouldn't stop regaling me with stories of the delicious Cuban food. I had to stop by. It's in a sketchy part of town, on Las Vegas Boulevard between the Strip and downtown. I was traveling with a suitcase, dress shirts and a jacket, and I didn't feel extraordinarily comfortable leaving them in the cab. Luckily, the Ridgeline has a trunk in the bed. Everything fit perfectly, out of sight and out of mind.
"As for the restaurant? The service could have been better, but the ropa vieja was excellent." — Cameron Rogers
"Dan Edmunds and Travis always seem to claim fuel economy records on our long-term cars, but the Ridgeline belongs to me! The pickup earned a respectable 24.5 mpg on its way north to Vegas, with a bit of city driving thrown in for good measure. However, it returned 26.8 mpg on the way back, shattering the previous record of 25.8 mpg by a healthy margin. I achieved both numbers with full-blast air conditioning and traveling at a healthy clip. Average fuel economy over 500 miles was 25.5 mpg." — Cameron Rogers
"When you're heading north on the desolate I-15, it's tempting to just stay on the highway until you hit Las Vegas. But take the exit in Jean (you can't miss the Gold Strike Hotel and casino sticking out in the middle of nowhere), make a right off the freeway and hang a left onto South Las Vegas Boulevard. Eventually, you'll find several towers of rocks painted in bright neon colors. This is the 'Seven Magic Mountains' installation, by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. I don't pretend to understand its meaning (my interpretation of the surrounding informational plaques seem to suggest the artist was inspired by the contradictions of the desert's natural beauty and Vegas' brash artifice), but I know it makes for a hell of a selfie. Shame this was as close as I could get the Ridgeline to the formation." — Cameron Rogers