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2017 Honda Ridgeline has a cool dual-action tailgate (pictures)

Honda's quirky light-duty truck gets more funky features, but also a much more truck-like design.

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Antuan Goodwin

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Chris Paukert

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2017 Honda Ridgeline
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The all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline makes its debut at the 2016 Detroit auto show.

2017 Honda Ridgeline
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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.

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It's fairly obvious from the specs and the design that the Ridgeline shares its platform with the current Honda Pilot and Acura MDX.

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The Honda is based on a front-wheel-drive platform, where most of its competition are built around rear-driven architecture.

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All-wheel drive is, however, an optional feature.

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The interior design (and the cabin technology) is predictably similar to Honda's Pilot crossover.

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The Honda Sensing suite of driver aid technologies will be available, featuring lane-keeping assist and collision mitigation braking.

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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?

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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.

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Expect very car-like handling from the Ridgeline and a fairly comfortable ride.

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All-wheel-drive models will utilize Honda's i-VTM4 torque vectoring technology and terrain management settings for normal, sandy, snow and muddy conditions.

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The toggle for the terrain management systems can be found at the base of the shifter.

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Upper trim level models will have the choice between Honda's LaneWatch camera or a blindspot monitoring system.

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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."

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Even the fascia design shares its cues, proportions and details with the family-friendly Pilot. Fortunately, the look seems to work for the truck.

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Based on a crossover, the Ridgeline does benefit from an independent rear suspension.

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It's the bed that makes the Ridgeline unique, both in Honda's lineup and in the trucking world.

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Of course, the tailgate flops down like your average pickup truck.

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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.

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A standard rear camera is integrated into the tailgate's main handle.

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The side-swinging rear gate allows better access to another new feature in the Ridgeline's bed.

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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.

2017 Honda Ridgeline
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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.

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The bed also features an optional 400-watt AC power inverter and the industry's first in-bed audio system.

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The new 2017 Ridgeline will be produced by Honda Manufacturing in Lincoln, Alabama and hits the road later this year.

2017 Honda Ridgeline
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LED light-tube eyebrows lend the 2017 Ridgeline a more contemporary appearance.

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As is convention these days, an oversized Honda emblem adorns the front grille.

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The Ridgeline will only be available in one cab and bed configuration.

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Driving lights are well integrated into the front bumper assembly.

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This show vehicle was shod with Firestone Destination A/T rubber.

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Mirrors feature available lane-departure warning lights.

2017 Honda Ridgeline
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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.

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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?

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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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