2017 Honda Ridgeline

2017 Honda Ridgeline Review

Honda's Ridgeline is the smoothest-riding and roomiest pickup in its class.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Edmunds
Edmunds Editor

In the context of pickup trucks, the redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline offers unheard-of levels of ride smoothness, handling sophistication and overall comfort. In fact, it gives away very little to top-rated family SUVs. Much of this is due to largely invisible design choices such as unibody construction and a four-wheel independent suspension. More obvious is the handsome interior, which borrows most of its parts, features and technology from the highly rated Honda Pilot SUV.

With its two-way tailgate and lockable in-bed trunk, the Honda Ridgeline boasts the segment's most innovative cargo bed; it also happens to be longer, wider and rated to carry the most payload among midsize crew-cab trucks. But the Ridgeline's crossover roots do impose a couple of restrictions that might rankle those who push a truck's limits. Towing capacity tops out at a modest 5,000 pounds. And while the all-wheel-drive system is expert at managing traction, it lacks the low-range gearing and clearance to follow a Toyota Tacoma into the rocks.



what's new

Forget most everything you know about the old Honda Ridgeline, which was last sold for 2014. This second-generation iteration is all new and significantly improved in many critical areas. But longtime fans needn't worry. The 2017 Ridgeline retains all of the fundamental design advantages and innovative cargo-carrying ideas of the original. To that end, the new Ridgeline still employs unibody construction and a four-wheel independent suspension to deliver levels of ride and handling refinement not otherwise seen in pickups. It still uses all-wheel drive instead of part-time four-wheel drive. But now there's a new front-wheel-drive version as well. You'll still find the innovative two-way tailgate and lockable in-bed trunk, but that trunk has been enlarged and the truck bed itself has been lengthened. Other major changes include a more powerful V6 engine, a more upscale interior and new safety features.

we recommend

The Honda Ridgeline RTL-T is generously equipped and moderately priced, and unlike pricier models, it's available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It has the heated, power-adjustable leather seats many will want, and its 8-inch touchscreen audio and navigation system plays well with smartphones. But we fully admit the 8-inch touchscreen can be frustrating to use, so those who are willing to rely on their smartphone for navigation could save money and choose the RTL instead.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is a five-passenger, four-door crew-cab midsize pickup that is offered in no fewer than seven trim levels: RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E and the Black Edition. The first five are available in your choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but the top two are strictly AWD only.

All of them come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (280 horsepower, 262 pound-feet of torque) and a six-speed automatic transmission. In typical Honda fashion, there are no options that bridge between the trim levels.

The RT starts off strong with 18-inch alloy wheels, a tow hitch, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, push-button start and a power lock system that includes the tailgate. There's a 4.2-inch information screen between the gauges, Bluetooth connectivity, and a seven-speaker sound system that includes a USB port and a 5-inch screen interface that also displays the rearview camera.

Step up to the RTS and you'll get foglights, body-color door and tailgate handles, keyless entry, remote engine start, tri-zone automatic climate control and the HomeLink remote system.

The Sport is essentially the same as the RTS except that it has gray-painted alloy wheels, black exterior trim and red interior footwell lighting.

Next up is the RTL, which has leather seating. The front seats are heated, with an armrest and eight-way power adjustments for the driver and four-way power adjustments for the passenger. All-wheel-drive versions have heated outside mirrors and an acoustic windshield.

Our pick is the RTL-T, which is much the same except for LED daytime running lights and Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera system. The big difference is the 8-inch touchscreen audio system that brings along navigation, HD radio, satellite radio, three more USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Audio smartphone integration.

Move up to the RTL-E if you want advanced safety gear such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automated emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Functional differences include a sunroof, LED headlights, driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, front passenger armrest, power-sliding rear windows, parking sensors, and a two-prong power outlet and LED cargo lights in the bed. It also has an upgraded sound system (with a unique truck-bed speaker system).

Finally there's the Black Edition, which is essentially an RTL-E with black paint, black-painted wheels, black trim, a black headliner and red-accented black leather seats.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. All Ridgelines use the same engine, transmission, suspension and tires, so the differences boil down to interior features and trim. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Crew Cab Pickup (3.5-liter V6; AWD; 6-speed automatic).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking4.5 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

5.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort5.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort5.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0
Climate control5.0 / 5.0

Interior

5.0 / 5.0

Ease of use5.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out5.0 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess5.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

Utility

5.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage5.0 / 5.0
Cargo space5.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0
Driver aids5.0 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Among pickups, the Honda Ridgeline stands apart because of its unibody chassis, fully independent suspension and torque-vectoring AWD system that improves stability on all surfaces. We like how the 3.5-liter V6 and the six-speed automatic work together. The catch: Off-road potential is limited.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The V6 engine is smooth, and that 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 7.0 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph at the track, which is tops in the midsize pickup category.

braking

edmunds rating
Brakes are easy to regulate, and the brake pedal maintains a reassuring firmness in routine daily use. There's plenty of stopping power; our test truck traveled 125 feet in our 60 mph panic-stop test, which is about what we'd expect from a pickup.

steering

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Accurate steering gives a clear sense of straight-ahead, with effort that ramps up smoothly to provide a reassuring sense of where the truck is headed as you guide it into corners. Steering response feels alert without being too sharp, which makes for easy, carlike driving.

handling

edmunds rating
A four-wheel independent suspension and unibody construction give the Ridgeline a settled demeanor that is far more polished than that of any traditional body-on-frame pickup. It feels utterly stable and composed, there isn't much body lean, and it is rock-steady when tackling bumpy corners.

drivability

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The six-speed automatic transmission is simultaneously smooth and decisive and has well-spaced gear ratios. And it works well with the smooth and predictable gas pedal, which delivers response that is neither too touchy nor too lethargic.

comfort

edmunds rating
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. These roots help with noise suppression, too. The seats and the climate control layout are comfortable and family-friendly.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats have a nice shape and thin-yet-supportive padding that provides long-distance comfort. They're broad enough to accommodate larger folks, and effective bolsters prevent those with narrower frames from sliding around. The comfy rear seats are set at a pleasing angle.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Ridgeline is much smoother and composed on a variety of surfaces than the competition because it's the only pickup in its segment with a four-wheel independent suspension. It shrugs off bumps easily, the ride is not harsh, and there's very little head toss or jostling. Carlike, indeed.

noise & vibration

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There are admirably low levels of wind noise and engine noise. Triple-sealed doors prevent road noise from entering via that route, but some does resonate up through the floor because it uses a unibody, not a separate body and frame. Overall, the Ridgeline is generally quieter than competitors.

climate control

edmunds rating
All versions except the base-model RT come with tri-zone automatic climate control. Airflow is easy to direct through good-sized front vents, and there are backseat air-conditioning vents, too. The controls make good sense and are easy to use. RTL-level trims and above get heated leather seats.

interior

edmunds rating
The Ridgeline is very friendly to the driver and passengers alike. It's easy to climb in and out of, the cab is roomier than that of any other midsize competitor, and it's easy to see out. The attractive interior is well built from quality materials, and the controls are well thought out.

ease of use

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A new console shifter replaces the old model's column shifter, which allows for much simpler stalks for wipers and turn signals. You'll also find useful steering-wheel buttons, clear gauges and an informative 4.2-inch data screen. Most other controls are easy to find and use.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Step-up height is much lower than in the Toyota Tacoma and even the Colorado, which makes the Ridgeline very manageable for shorter folks and those with limited range of motion. Large front doors open wide, but the rear-seat foot entry clearance is a little tight.

driving position

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All Ridgelines come with a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel that covers a wide range, and the driver's seat is highly adjustable, especially for height. It's easy for just about anyone to find the sweet spot behind the wheel.

roominess

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The Ridgeline easily offers the driver and passengers more space than any other midsize crew-cab truck. The differences are most noticeable in terms of the cabin's interior width at the hip and shoulder and and in head- and legroom in the rear seats.

visibility

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Large windows give a good view out the front and sides, and the blind spot isn't overly large. Mirrors are decent-sized and give good coverage, but we're glad the backup camera is standard.

quality

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This is a very nicely trimmed truck interior. The material choices and overall design have a family-friendly sophistication that trucks usually don't even bother to attempt, especially in the midsize arena. It's a cut above the rest.

utility

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The 2017 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 sheets, and has a lockable in-bed trunk and a two-way tailgate. Not a towing leader, but 5,000 pounds isn't shabby.

small-item storage

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Multilevel front door pockets are large and offer plenty of options. The rear ones are simpler but are still useful. The center console is deep, has a nice rolltop cover and a sliding phone tray inside. The glove compartment is a good size, and there are plenty of cupholders.

cargo space

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No midsize truck comes close. The Ridgeline's rear seat bottoms flip up to reveal a broad, flat load floor, but the underseat area can still accommodate a medium golf bag with the seats in use. The crowning jewel is the lockable in-bed trunk, which can hold multiple suitcases or a large ice chest.

child safety seat accomodation

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LATCH anchors and top tether fittings are provided in all three rear seat positions. Access is fairly straightforward.

technology

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The Ridgeline plays well with smartphones, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto available on higher trims. However, we're not fans of the 8-inch touchscreen audio system because of the poor user-interface experience. A full selection of active driving safety features are available on top-grade models.

audio & navigation

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Its attractive 8-inch touchscreen is paired with an irritating interface. The wonky touch-sensitive volume slider and small touch zones for basic functions are hard to use, especially when moving. The base audio system without nav has knobs and is refreshingly easy.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, a USB jack that supports iPod and an auxiliary jack are standard across the board. RTL-T trims and above support Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, add a second USB input up front and come with two charge-only USB sockets for the backseat.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The Ridgeline offers driver aids not offered by the competition, but only on the high-end RTL-E and Black Edition. These include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keeping assistance, cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

voice control

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The voice interface can control phone, navigation and audio functions. Commands need to follow certain guidelines, but some plain-language commands do work. Press and hold the voice button to bypass these and get to Siri's much more sophisticated voice commands via your paired iPhone.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.