Pre-Owned – 2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline

The Most Unique Midsize

Colin Ryan
Nov 28, 2015
Photographers: Courtesy of Honda
The Ridgeline is Honda’s first—and so far, only—pickup truck. And although it was developed especially for the North American market, it doesn’t rigidly follow the formula set down by Ford and Chevy all those years ago.
It debuted for the ’06 model year, with Honda hoping it would establish itself as a new breed of vehicle, a sport utility truck. The body and frame are a single unit, similar to the Honda Pilot SUV, making it a unibody construction but with steel reinforcement (seven structural cross-members). An independent rear suspension meant no leaf springs, a first for a pickup, and that made room for a trunk concealed beneath the bed.
Photo 2/4   |   002 2014 Honda Ridgeline Sport
The trunk is lockable and its volume is 8.5 cubic feet. In real terms, that’s up to three golf bags. It also has a drain plug so it can be filled with ice and act as a giant cooler.
Honda did away with cab/bed permutations and offered the Ridgeline solely as a four-door crew cab with seating for five. The tailgate can swing down or to one side to access a steel-reinforced, dent-resistant and rustproof composite bed that’s five feet long and four feet wide. Maximum payload is 1,550 pounds. Gary Flint, one of the main engineers behind the Ridgeline, claims that a unibody can be lighter, yet stronger, than a traditional body-on-frame construction.
There’s only one engine in the bay: a 3.5L V-6. Initially, it made 255 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque—not a great deal of low-end thrust. In ’07, that changed to 245 hp and 247 lb-ft (even less low-end punch and one of the main gripes about the Ridgeline). A five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are both standard.
The EPA classifies the Ridgeline as a midsize truck and estimates fuel consumption at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined. Rare for a truck, the Ridgeline is classified as an ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV), thanks to its clean-running engine.
Trim levels started out as RT, RTS and RTL. RT still has power windows, locks, and mirrors, plus cruise control and 17-inch steel wheels. Six steel tie-down hooks in the bed and four flush-mounted cargo lights are standard throughout the range. Beginning with the ’07s, a new RTX trim slotted between the RT and RTS, bringing a chrome grille, alloy wheels, and a trailer hitch.
Photo 3/4   |   003 Honda Ridge Sport
Some mild styling tweaks inside and out were part of a mid-generation revamp in ’09. The trailer hitch became standard for every trim level, along with two more tie-downs in the bed and active front seat head restraints to mitigate whiplash. That’s also when engine output rose (ever so slightly) to 250 hp and 247 lb-ft, and the RTL trim received a 115V outlet to join its three 12V outlets, plus 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Ridgeline remained fairly constant until ’12 when a new grille design arrived, accompanied by a new trim level replacing the RTX: the Sport (18-inch alloys, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls). Highway mileage also improved by one mpg.
In ’13, a rearview camera became standard across the range and ’14 saw a new range-topping Special Edition (SE) trim.
There have been nine recalls, including the now infamous Takata airbag issue that has affected millions of vehicles from various manufacturers. A faulty fuel pump in the ’06 model is probably the other recall most worthy of attention.
The Ridgeline is almost universally well loved by owners. And although Honda says it plans to build a second generation, new-vehicle sales never really took off, which could make it an excellent used buy. A ’09 RTS in good condition and with 50,000 miles on the odometer is valued at $17,192. The closest rivals would be a Chevrolet Avalanche, where a similar ’09 LT Sport is worth $22,118, or a Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT at $19,590.
2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline
Body type: 4-door pickup
Drivetrain: Front engine, 4WD
Airbags: Driver, front passenger, side curtain
Engine: 3.5L/255hp SOHC V-6 (’06); 3.5L/245hp SOHC V-6 (’07-’08); 3.5L/250hp SOHC V-6 (2009-on)
Brakes, f/r: Disc, disc, ABS
Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB): $7,573/$8,624 (’06 AWD RT 3.5L V-6), $30,569/$33,318 (’14 AWD SE 3.5L V-6)
Recalls: Too many to list; see motortrend.com
NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/fr pass: Five stars/five stars (not rated after 2011, except for four stars in rollover test)
Photo 4/4   |   001 2014 Ridgeline Se

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