With a starting MSRP of $29,450 the Honda Ridgeline is one pickup truck that is available to the majority of potential new car buyers. While it doesn’t have the brutish durability of a Ford or the raw power of a Ram, the 2013 Ridgeline still has much to offer consumers who know what they’re looking for in a truck. Let’s face it; the Ridgeline wasn’t designed for the traditional die-hard pickup truck enthusiast. This truck was designed to compete with the Chevy Avalanche; and compete it does. Just about the only thing the Avalanche is consistently better at is performance, power and rugged off-road durability. When it comes to design, bells-and-whistles, price, comfort, handling and safety, the Ridgeline has the Avalanche beat, especially in handling.
The engineers at Honda have certainly showed some ingenuity in the design. There is an in-bed trunk compartment that is hidden beneath the bed of the Ridgeline. This compartment has 8.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough to fit a cooler and a bag. This compartment is weatherproof and was designed to make up for lack of bed space. The dual-action tailgate swings to the side as well as folding down, like a normal tailgate. This allows for easier access to the in-bed trunk, especially when loading objects such as a cooler in. Don’t think this is a soccer-mom pickup either. All models come with a Class III trailer hitch and a reinforced cargo bed. The bed is also lined with non-slip, scratch and corrosion-resistant material. Another great thing about this truck is the closed-box frame design with unit-body construction. In layman’s terms that translates to a much quieter ride on the road, improves the handling and adds to the overall durability of the Ridgeline.
Occupants inside the cabin will have up to 57.1″ of legroom in the front and 40.8″ in the rear. In reality though, consumers have continually stated that legroom in the rear seating is somewhat cramped. The satellite-linked navigation system uses voice recognition and can provide turn by turn directions. This screen is also used as a rearview parking-assist camera. There are steering-wheel mounted controls for Bluetooth, audio settings and cruise control. The leather-appointed front seats are heated and dual-zone climate control will allow the driver and front passenger to each choose their own temperature settings. The rear seats fold 60/40 to accommodate more cargo capacity, if necessary, folding flush beneath the rear window. There’s even a moonroof, to allow in the cool air on a warm summer night.
The 2013 Ridgeline comes with a 3.5-liter Single Overhead Camshaft VTEC V-6 engine, that is capable of producing up to 250 horses. It’s no V-8 but it has incredibly low emissions and some of the better fuel economy in its class, at 21 MPG highway and 15 around town. The 5-speed automatic transmission has been designed to provide optimum functionality by shifting at precisely the right moment, whenever towing objects, such as a boat, trailer, et cetera. The Ridgeline has a 5,000-pound towing capacity, while other trucks in its class have up to a 9,000-pound capacity. This truck comes with a unique four-wheel-drive system, known as Variable Torque Management. VTM allows the driver to lock the rear-shift differential manually to get out of snow, slush, ice, mud or sand. Earlier we mentioned to superb handling of this truck. This is due to a 4-wheel independent suspension, where each wheel is moving independently of the other 3. This greatly improves off-road, as well as on-road handling and capabilities.
It was also a 2013 IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick, something that neither Ford nor Dodge can claim. As with most modern vehicles it comes with an anti-lock braking system, where each wheel is controlled individually. Electronic Brake Distribution evenly distributes pressure when towing/hauling loads that put uneven weight on the wheels. There are two front airbags, which adjust the rate at which they come out, based on the severity of the crash. This helps to greatly reduce occupant injury from airbags, as is all-too common in collisions. The side airbags also deploy using an occupant detections system. This intricately advanced system will deploy the airbags differently, based on the height and seating position of the rider. Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control gives the driver greater control when traveling in hazardous road conditions.
When it comes down to it, the 2013 Honda Ridgeline is simply one of the best trucks in its class, especially for the price. If consumers are looking for a rugged off-road truck, it would be best to look elsewhere. However for an average truck that is very versatile, the 2013 Ridgeline is a great choice.