Honda has revealed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show its latest offering, the 2017 Ridgeline truck. With this offering, Honda again hopes to defy traditional thinking when it comes to pickup trucks. In addition to having features exclusive to Honda, it carries the technology, as well as the design, that ensures this newest line will establish new standards for midsize pickups in terms of capability, comfort, and even versatility.
According to John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.’s executive vice president, “original thinking” paired with exclusive technology is what the company will be bringing to the market with the new Honda pickup. Mendel says that the company this time has a better idea and that this is a truck that comes equipped with Honda packaging with a unibody structure.
This combination enables the company to provide the needs and preferences of truck customers and to exclude the features that don’t appeal to them. All aspects of the 2017 Ridgeline had been done in America, from the design, to the development, and even the manufacturing.
The new model is expected to be launched during the first six months of 2016. The 2017 Ridgeline has a number of capabilities and features that have never been seen on the market. One of these is its on-road performance. It is considered to be superior to all other models in its segment in terms of the quality of the ride, the quietness that it offers to the occupants, handling, and even all-weather traction ability.
This is due to the unibody structure, the state-of-the-art chassis, and the torque-vectoring i-VTM4 AWD system. It also offers a versatile cabin, not to mention the largest. Unlike other midsize pickups in its class, it has a flat bed space of 4 feet. Even its payload capacity exceeds that of many competitors.
The 2017 Ridgeline also includes exclusive features like the dual-action tailgate and the In-Bed Trunk. It even has an in-bed audio system which is considered to be the first in the industry. All these mean that the 2017 Ridgeline is indeed the best tailgating vehicle in the market today.
Performance-wise, it offers the best acceleration and EPA-rated fuel economy figures among the other models in its class. It also scores high in terms of safety features, particularly when it comes to third-party collision safety considering that it has the next-generation Honda ACE body structure. It also has Honda’s own Sensing suite of various technologies focusing on safety, including driver-assist.
On a technological standpoint, it has an 8-inch Display Audio that comes with Apple Car Play but it is also compatible with Android Auto. Founded on the company’s very own Global Light Truck platform, the 2017 Ridgeline has a unibody structure that while rigid, ensures that it is lightweight.
Along with the ACE body structure and the hi-tech independent suspension, the 2017 Ridgeline is able to provide a better ride that is on a different level compared to standard trucks that carry the body-on-frame designs. This also allows it to deliver more refined handling.
Powering Honda’s newest offering is the direct-injected and 3.5-liter V-6 i-VTEC engine. This is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a powertrain that’s at the top of refinement when compared to others within the segment.
It also offers the best acceleration for its class and even leads the segment in terms of EPA-rated fuel economy. Unlike the previous Ridgeline models, the 2017 version offers not just a front-wheel but also an all-wheel drive configuration.
All of the all-wheel drive Ridgeline’s will have Honda’s own i-VTM4 system. This system has the Intelligent Terrain Management with the choice of four modes: Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow. Thus it gives an outstanding off-road and towing capacity in addition to the excellent on-road performance and traction with the all-weather handling.
The interior of the 2017 Ridgeline also has unique features. For a 4-door midsize pickup, it has the most sophisticated and even versatile cabin. All parts use high-grade materials and have finishes in the same quality in addition to the leather trim. The cabin also has a number of new technologies from Honda.
These include the push button start, a tri-zone climate control, and even a TFT center meter in full-color. There is also the 8-inch Display Audio with touchscreen capability and while it already has the Apple Car Play, it is also compatible with Android Auto. The second row seats have enough space to ensure passenger comfort.
With the folding feature and 60/40 split, there’s more than enough space to haul cargo. In fact, when folded down, the seats not only allow it to accommodate five people as it also gives room under the rear seat for long items, like a set of golf clubs for example. When either the seat is folded up on side or on both sides, the bottom allows the storage of bulky and even tall items. The bed of the 2017 Ridgeline is also unmatched in terms of versatility.
Its width measures 5 feet while the length is 5 feet and 4 inches. Compared to the previous Ridgeline, the 2017 model is wider by 5.4 inches and longer by 4 inches. The bed also measures 48 inches between the two arches of its rear wheel. In the midsize pickup class, the 2017 Ridgeline is the only model whose flat bed space is 4 feet wide.
What this means is that it can flat haul different items like drywall or even plywood sheeting. The payload is even at the top of the class with a capacity of almost 1,600 pounds. The actual specifications however will be released just prior to the launch. More space is not the only thing the bed of the 2017 Ridgeline has to offer. It is both resistant to scratch and is UV-stabilized. There are also a number of exclusive features that it offers.
There is of course the dual-action tailgate, the In-Bed Trunk, and an inverter with 400-watt of AC power. It even has an in-bed audio system, a first in the industry. The standard In-Bed Trunk is lockable and thus secures the storage space without the need to compromise any of its utility. The floor of the bed is not only fully flat but it now has a drain plug ensuring that it can be cleaned easily while at the same time making it faster to empty the trunk of water.
The tailgate has hinges on the bottom and the left side, meaning it can be opened down or to its side. This makes it easier to load large and heavy items, or even unload them, without the need to reach over the open tailgate.
It also has eight cleats capable of tying down up to 350 pounds. On the right side, the bed wall has an access panel, behind which is the 400-watt power inverter. This power inverter can not only recharge any power tools but can also charge the tailgate blender and eve a flat screen TV. Combined, the power inverter, the In-Bed Trunk, and the in-bed audio system, result in the Ridgeline deserving the title as the best tailgate vehicle.
What makes the audio system unique is that instead of the usual speakers, it uses six exciters that have been placed inside the walls of the bed. It has a maximum power of 540 watts and the sound is sourced from the audio head unit. As with any Honda model, safety is an important feature of the 2017 Ridgeline as well. Aside from the ACE body structure, it has the Honda Sensing technologies and the advanced airbag systems.
The company aims to get the highest possible collision safety ratings. These include the NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score given by the NHTSA as well as the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ score. There are around 5 different Honda Sensing technologies offered on the new Ridgeline.
These are the Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System. It also comes equipped with a rearview camera as standard. The company will also be offering upper trims for the Honda LaneWatch and its Blind Spot Information system.
Similar to the first generation Ridgeline, the new 2017 model was both designed and developed by none other than Honda R&D Americas. In addition, it will be manufactured by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, located in Lincoln, Alabama.