A new design sketch teases the next-generation Ridgeline pickup, which Honda says will debut within two years’ time. The automaker also confirmed that production of the current Ridgeline pickup will end in mid-2014.
Honda has long defended the Ridgeline’s merits and was previously insistent that the truck would live on. With the recent announcement, the unorthodox pickup will make it to generation-two, though it appears it will adopt a more conventional truck outline with a clearly defined bed, as the sketch shows. Just like the outgoing model, the next-gen Ridgeline will be designed by Honda R&D Americas, at the company's Los Angeles and Ohio facilities.
Debuting in the fall of 2005, the uni-body 2006 Honda Ridgeline earned Motor Trend’s 2006 Truck of the Year award because it “offers an intriguing third idea as a people and cargo hauler that's as responsive as a car, but for once doesn't beat you up.“ While sales might suggest the world wasn’t ready for a uni-body pickup, the Ridgeline remained popular among the Honda faithful. With 16,106 units sold by the end of November, Honda claims Ridgeline sales are up 29 percent over last year.
Not much has changed since the Ridgeline first arrived, and while we had mostly good things to say about it in our 2012 Honda Ridgeline Sport First Test, we did take note of its age: “For those who like the Honda version of an SUT, this vehicle is still great. It does offer the same versatility that it's always had and a smaller package than something like the Tundra. But the Ridgeline hasn't changed all that much, and half-ton pickup trucks have passed it by. Trucks like the F-150 and Ram have both been significantly updated since the Ridgeline came out. Ride quality is not nearly as nice in the Honda as it is in the F-150, and the Honda's power, while certainly adequate, is less than that of even the F-150's base V-6 (302 horsepower, 278 lb-ft) and the 3.5-liter V-6 is backed by a five-speed automatic, not a six.”
While 2014 may be the last model year for the Ridgeline, the automaker has introduced a new range-topping model: the 2014 Honda Ridgeline Special Edition.
The new design sketch is above, while images of the current model are in the gallery below.