Honda Ridgeline Taking Two-Year Break
Honda's Oddball Pickup Scheduling Sabbatical for 2016 Comeback
When it was first introduced for the 2006 model year, the Honda Ridgeline was a revolutionary concept. A fully unibody pickup with a transverse powertrain, it nearly matched its more conventional body-on-frame, longitudinal peers in capacity and size. It even had a nifty in-bed trunk with a drain plug, perfect for tailgating. Although Honda's midsize pickup effort got a few dedicated fans, its sales volume never approached that of the Toyota Tacoma or the Nissan Frontier. Some critics even questioned the reason for existence, and thought it should be discontinued. Well, the scoffers will get their wish, for a time.
WardsAuto is reporting the current Ridgeline will wind down production in September 2014, and take a nearly two-year break. The new model is expected to go on sale in spring 2016 as a 2017 model. The next-generation model will be based on Honda's next-generation truck chassis, which recently debuted with the 2014 Acura MDX. The next Honda Pilot SUV and Odyssey minivan are expected to be built off this platform. One thing is for certain, the next Ridgeline, whenever it ultimately appears, will likely be much more fuel efficient.
The 2014 Acura MDX showed a huge 6-mpg improvement in highway fuel economy over a comparable 2013 AWD model, and a likewise noteworthy 2-mpg increase in city fuel economy. The 2013 Ridgeline's fuel economy rating is 15 city, 21 highway, the same as a Ford F-150 EcoBoost 4x4, a truck which has more than a 110-hp advantage over the Ridgeline, and approximately double the towing capacity. Other domestic full-size models also match or surpass the Ridgeline for fuel economy while offering substantially higher towing and hauling capacities and more powerful engines.