If you’ve been holding off buying a Honda Ridgeline because its front end looked too much like the Pilot SUV, then 2021 might be your year.
Any knocks directed at the Honda Ridgeline have not historically been leveled at its capability or level of interior comfort. For the vast majority of truck buyers, who routinely haul air in their pickup beds, the Ridgeline is more than adequate. Its looks, though – that’s always been a different story.
For 2021, Honda stylists have taken these complaints to heart. All the sheet metal forward of the A-pillars is new, including a squared-off nose and a new hood sporting an aggressive power bulge. In between the two is a chrome crossbar that visually connect the LED headlights that – finally – look less like a minivan and more like something a person would want to drive to the hardware store. Those broad side vents that route air through the bumper and around the front tires don’t hurt, either.
Under that newly aggro hood is a familiar 3.5L V6 engine making 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic is a part of the deal on every trim line. Ridgeline’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system can automatically send up to 70 percent of power to the rear wheels so, technically, tail out hooning is a possibility. There are selectable modes for snow, mud, and sand in addition to the everyday normal driving mode.
Anyone who’s been in a Ridgeline will tell you the thing is pure Honda, meaning that even Ray Charles could find his way around the cabin assuming he spent any time in a Pilot SUV. There is an updated infotainment system that promises crisp new graphics, a godsend since the current system appears to have been rendered on the original NES.
Yes, it’s still a unibody construction, but it is worth noting the bed can flat carry items four feet wide and is good for towing up to 5000 lbs. That’s more than enough to haul a small hard-sided camper or a couple of bikes. That like-or-lump-it Dual-Action tailgate remains. Snazzy trims earn the fancy digital gauge cluster that’s popped up on other Honda and Acura products this year, and the company seems especially proud of the rig’s new steering wheel.
More information about the 2021 Ridgeline, including prices and detailed specs, will be available closer to its on-sale date early next year.