“revolutionary” and proclaiming it will “redefine what
a truck can be,” Honda has introduced the long-awaited production
version of the Ridgeline pickup.
With an initial production goal of 50,000 units over 12 months—starting
in March when the truck hits the dealers—the Ridgeline isn’t
going to revolutionize the order of the sales charts, considering Ford
and GM each sell over 1 million pickups a year. But numerous features
on the Ridgeline are certainly going to shake up how the industry looks
at pickups that they want to sell to families.
combines work-truck capacities such as 5000-pound towing and 1549-pound
payload with upscale minivan features such 4-wheel independent suspension
and all-wheel-drive. It also offers a few luxury amenities such as automatic
dual-zone climate control, power sliding rear window, power moonroof,
navigation and premium audio. Throw in a pair of truly exclusive innovations
such as a dual-action tailgate and a large, lockable bed-mounted trunk,
and it’s easy to see why the total package will draw considerable
attention from active-minded consumers looking for more versatility in
a vehicle designed from the ground up to answer the challenges of this
evolving market and redefine what a truck can be,” said Dick Colliver,
Honda’s executive vice president who unveiled the truck at the North
American International Auto Show.
are adamant that the Ridgeline is not designed to compete against hardcore
work trucks from the Big 3, nor is it equipped to conquer severe Class
5 off-road trails. There are no stake pockets for utility racks or a proper
location for a winch. But Honda also stresses that the Ridgeline is not
based on a car chassis, and it isn’t a chopped-up Pilot with a bed.
The truck starts with a construction approach that integrates a fully
boxed, deep-channel ladder frame structure with a unitized cab-bed body.
chassis is 20 times stiffer in torsional rigidity and 2 ½ times
stiffer in bending than a typical body-on-frame truck,” said Gary
Flint, chief development engineer for the Ridgeline.
Honda adapted its Variable Torque Management (VTM) 4-wheel drive system
that automatically distributes torque to all four wheels. The system normally
sends power to the front wheels then engages all-wheel-drive when needed.
Up to 70 percent of available torque can be directed to the rear wheels.
Flint said the all-wheel-drive setup is similar to the Acura MDX but the
5-speed automatic transmission is exclusive to the Ridgeline. Standard
on the Ridgeline will be a locking rear differential and Vehicle Stability
Assist with Traction Control. The latter helps the driver maintain control
under severe cornering.