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January 13, 2016

Introducing a More Modern, Comfortable, Connected Ridgeline

This week saw the much anticipated launch of the Honda Ridgeline replacement at the Detroit Auto Show, due on sale in the spring. It follows closely the unique car-like package of the previous model, while introducing a more modern, comfortable and connected pickup targeted at the customer who needs an occasional-use truck without spending the escalated megabucks that pickups lately command.

It is based on a unibody design yet has all the practicality of a midsized conventional body-on-frame truck like the Colorado/Canyon pair from GM or the Tacoma or Frontier. In truth, it is closer to my El Camino that I drive on a daily basis, except it has four/five seating and four doors. And it’s a 2017 model instead of a 1987.

It’s in the truck bed that the Ridgeline excels, with a two-way opening tailgate, a secure cavernous trunk in the floor of the bed that also gives access to the spare wheel and, on the new model, six speakers in the bed for those tailgating parties.

In fact, it is ideal for the purpose as there’s an optional 400-watt AC power inverter and the trunk can be filled with ice for those cold ones! It even has a drain plug to let out the water when the party’s over!

But it is really about the practicality of the full four doors and a very usable pickup bed. At the auto show launch, John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor said "We think we've got a better idea, a truck that uses its unibody construction and Honda packaging magic to deliver more of the things that many of today's truck customers want and need with none of the things they don't."

The Ridgeline is reported to have more interior room than other mid-sized competitors and certainly more innovation in the truck bed.

Bullet points from the announcement:

        Superior on-road performance – with the segment's best handling, ride quality, cabin quietness and all-weather traction capabilities – courtesy of its unibody construction, sophisticated chassis, and available i-VTM4 torque-vectoring AWD system
        Class-leading space – with the largest and most versatile cabin and the only 4-foot-wide flat bed space in the midsize pickup segment, along with payload capacity rivaling top competitors
        Targeted top-in-class acceleration, EPA fuel economy ratings and third-party collision safety ratings, and featuring Honda's next-generation ACE body structure and available Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist technologies
        Leading edge connectivity with 8-inch Display Audio featuring Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility.

The Ridgeline will also offer payload capacity rivaling top competitors, approaching 1,600 pounds, with final specifications to be released closer to launch.

The Ridgeline will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, providing claimed top-in-class powertrain refinement and targeting best-in-class acceleration performance and segment-leading EPA fuel economy ratings.

Honda Sensing technologies available on the 2017 Ridgeline include lane departure warning, collision mitigation braking, collision warning, steering intervention for lane keeping assistance.  All Ridgeline models will feature a multi-angle rear-view camera as standard equipment and upper trims will be available with either Honda LaneWatch or Blind Spot Information system.


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