2009 Honda Ridgeline EX-L Navi Review (video)
Ridgeline's bed has a generous trunk beneath it that will readily swallow 3 or 4 pack-sacks or some luggage. It's lockable, drainable and weather-proof, too.
The tailgate is even hinged at both the bottom and side, allowing it to open flat or to the left, depending on the task at hand. The word 'clever' comes up often here.
A relatively short wheelbase means Ridgeline isn't the smoothest-riding truck on the market, though it rolls without the heavy, jiggly sensation bigger pickups exhibit on rough roads. There's an easygoing and very car-like ride at work here, albeit a sometimes-stiff one.
Wind and road noise levels at speed are within limits, and real-world highway mileage averaged 11 to 12L / 100km, which is respectable. City mileage can jump to over 14L / 100km, partially at the hands of an aggressively-tuned five-speed automatic that's often reluctant to shift up.
|Ridgeline's bed has a generous trunk beneath it that will readily swallow 3 or 4 pack-sacks or some luggage.|
Power and traction
Ridgeline's 3.5 liter V6 delivers a strong intake note when pushed, operates with a great deal of smoothness, and has a surprisingly pleasant sound when opened up for passing. You can even hear the VTEC system engaging at about 4,200 RPM if you keep your foot down.
The V6 is the only engine option available-- so if 250 ponies aren't enough for your driveway, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Honda's Variable Torque Management (VTM) 4x4 system splits engine power between the axles automatically, running as a front-wheel drive until wheelspin kicks the rear axle into play. Traction is plentiful, automatic and seamless in any normal situation, though a 'lock' function can preemptively engage all four wheels when the going gets extra tough.
Getting sucked into some slop? Just feed in more throttle to get the tires spinning themselves clear. With the snappy engine, intelligent traction and a good set of tires, Ridgeline is happy to play ball off of the beaten path as required.
Of course, it's built off of a unibody platform-- like a car. This enables the appreciable comfort factor, but at the expense of a genuinely rugged and beefy 'truck' feel off the beaten path. The Ridgeline is plenty capable, but it can feel a bit too much like a car when the terrain beneath deteriorates.
A truck for the 90 percent?
It's all a matter of priorities, and most Ridgeline owners probably aren't looking at much serious off-road duty anyhow.
Ultimately, this isn't a Dodge Ram Hemi when it comes to horsepower or a Ford F150 where towing is concerned. However, if you value efficiency and versatility and you've got a pickup in your sights, the Ridgeline's got you in its sights, too.
Photo Credit : Justin Pritchard