Honda, known for economy cars, was a surprise entrant to the pickup truck market when it launched the Ridgeline in 2005. With a unibody design and a V-6 engine, the Ridgeline introduced car-style construction to the pickup truck, defying traditional American trucks. This new Sport trim, with its painted grille and custom wheels, is new for 2012.

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The Ridgeline is a mix of styles, tough but modern. The middle of the hood is lifted and the fenders are flared, making for a stronger look. But the buttresses leading down to the cargo bed lend a modern design to the Ridgeline.

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Honda equips the Ridgeline with its 3.5-liter V-6, which uses VTEC variable valve timing and lift to improve efficiency. This engine produces 250 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, and is transversely mounted in a configuration that primarily drives the front wheels, although the Ridgeline is a four-wheel-drive truck.

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Honda only makes the Ridgeline as a crewcab, with seating for five. The bed is short, at only 5 feet long.

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The Ridgeline is only sold in four-wheel-drive format, although the drive is biased toward the front wheels to help fuel economy. There is a lock button to maintain power at the rear wheels, but only at low speeds.

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The tailgate opens down, in the traditional manner, but can also swing out sideways. There is also storage under the cargo bed.

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The front seats are buckets, so only two people can sit up front.

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The rear bench will accomodate three people.

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In Sport trim, Honda offers virtually no cabin electronics for the Ridgeline. Only the top level, RTL trim, gets navigation and Bluetooth.

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The Ridgeline uses a hydraulic power-steering system.

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The Ridgeline has big, simple analog gauges, reflecting the utilitarian theme of the interior.

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The only cabin electronics are this stereo system, with a single CD slot. Its most advanced feature is the ability to play MP3 CDs. There is also an auxiliary input jack.

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