Continuing our new feature on First Drives
2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition
By Ron Amadon
KENT ISLAND, MD. – Returning after two years of development, the Pilot based Honda truck is back on the market to the surprise of some.
Completely redesigned the Ridgeline returns with all the features that set it apart from other midsize trucks, with a heaping helping of refinement.
On the highway, with its independent suspension and sound deadening, the truck delivers a car like ride and very quiet interior.
There is a whole new look outside and the flying buttresses between the truck bed and cab are gone. Right in line with current fashion, Honda offers a top-of-the-line Black Edition. Just about everything is black.
Returning is the, “why didn’t someone else think about this,” secret and lockable storage bin under the rear truck bed. If you want to keep the beer cold, there is a drain plug, so pile in the ice.
On top-of-the-line models, you can listen to your favorite songs, or a replay of the Cubs World Series victory on the truck bed based sound system. And the tailgate again opens to the side or the more traditional up and down.
Power is more than adequate from the 3.5-liter V6 rated at 280 @ 6,000 rpm with 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm. A six speed automatic seemed responsive during my first drive. MPG is 18/25/21 mpg
Inside the truck mimics the Pilot, and that is not a bad thing. Accoutrements included a 60/40 split lift up rear seat with under seat storage, a driver’s seat that is heated with a 10-Way Power Adjustment, and Power Lumbar Support with two-position memory. The front passenger’s seat has a 4-Way Power Adjustment.
Center dash was an 8-Inch high-resolution touch-screen housing an ear wax melting 540-Watt Premium Audio System with 8 speakers that interfaces with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Look up for the power moonroof with tilt.
The audio system needs a traditional knob for volume control, something that Honda is installing in other new models.
One other potential downside is a 5,000 pound towing rating that is those of other midsize trucks. But upping that rating would affect the smooth ride that the Ridgeline gives owners. If you commute in the truck, that would make a difference as towns and cities cut back on road maintenance.
Honda maintains that an overwhelming majority of owners seldom tow anything with their trucks anyway.
Two wheel and all-wheel drive is available and there is 7.87 inches of ground clearance for mild off road excursions.
In the end it comes down to what you want to use your truck for. If you are not going to uproot stumps or do some fast dune jumping on barren trails in the west, this is a most attractive midsize truck that will more than fulfill the desires of those in suburbia.
Turning diameter 44.4 ft.
Tires 245 / 60 R18 105H
Runs on regular unleaded
Wheelbase 125.2 inches
Length 210 inches long
Width 78.6 inches
Truck bed length Tailgate up 64 inches – down 83 inches.
Curb weight 4515 lbs
Total payload capacity… 1499 lbs.
Truck produced in Lincoln, Alabama.
Seven trim levels