Honda's quirky light-duty truck gets more funky features, but also a much more truck-like design.
The all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline makes its debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show.
The truck has a more...truck-like profile now. Gone are the buttresses that made the old model look sort of like a Pizza Hut logo in profile.
It's fairly obvious from the specs and the design that the Ridgeline shares its platform with the current Honda Pilot and Acura MDX.
The Honda is based on a front-wheel-drive platform, where most of its competition are built around rear-driven architecture.
All-wheel drive is, however, an optional feature.
The interior design (and the cabin technology) is predictably similar to Honda's Pilot crossover.
The Honda Sensing suite of driver aid technologies will be available, featuring lane-keeping assist and collision mitigation braking.
The V-6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Presumably, the Pilot's available nine-speed rig was deemed not rugged enough for the truck?
The Ridgeline continues to evolve Honda's tech with an update to the HondaLink infotainment rig. The Android-powered software is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Expect very car-like handling from the Ridgeline and a fairly comfortable ride.
All-wheel-drive models will utilize Honda's i-VTM4 torque vectoring technology and terrain management settings for normal, sandy, snow and muddy conditions.
The toggle for the terrain management systems can be found at the base of the shifter.
Upper trim level models will have the choice between Honda's LaneWatch camera or a blindspot monitoring system.
Honda describes the Ridgeline's performance, in its own words, as offering "robust medium-duty off-road and towing capability with superior on-road, all-weather handling, traction and performance."
Even the fascia design shares its cues, proportions and details with the family-friendly Pilot. Fortunately, the look seems to work for the truck.
Based on a crossover, the Ridgeline does benefit from an independent rear suspension.
It's the bed that makes the Ridgeline unique, both in Honda's lineup and in the trucking world.
Of course, the tailgate flops down like your average pickup truck.
However, a hidden pull on the bottom right edge of the gate activates a secondary hinge that allows it to swing out like a door. This was a popular feature on the first-generation Ridgeline.
A standard rear camera is integrated into the tailgate's main handle.
The side-swinging rear gate allows better access to another new feature in the Ridgeline's bed.
There's a hidden, lockable storage compartment in the bed. It's large and waterproof, but has a drain plug that allows it to be filled with ice like a cooler.
Honda says the Ridgeline is the only truck in its class that has a four-foot-wide bed, which means it should be able to accommodate 4x8 sheets of plywood, at least with the tailgate down.
The bed also features an optional 400-watt AC power inverter and the industry's first in-bed audio system.
The new 2017 Ridgeline will be produced by Honda Manufacturing in Lincoln, Alabama and hits the road later this year.
LED light-tube eyebrows lend the 2017 Ridgeline a more contemporary appearance.
As is convention these days, an oversized Honda emblem adorns the front grille.
The Ridgeline will only be available in one cab and bed configuration.
Driving lights are well integrated into the front bumper assembly.
This show vehicle was shod with Firestone Destination A/T rubber.
Mirrors feature available lane-departure warning lights.
Note that Honda calls out the Ridgeline's drivetrain as AWD -- All Wheel Drive, as opposed to a more truck-like four-wheel drive system that incorporates a dedicated low range.
The first-generation Ridgeline had to last on the market for nearly a decade. Will Honda expect the same sort of lifecycle out of this second-generation model?
Honda seems to have taken a much more conservative approach to the second-generation Ridgeline's visuals after its first generation's radical appearance polarized consumers.
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