With so-called segment- busting vehicles sprouting up everywhere and niches created daily, Honda is betting that the Ridgeline--an urban truck with sport/utility tendencies--is exactly what you need, no more and no less. It's the result of a concept researched and designed by Honda, with people, toys, and flat-box furniture buyers in mind who'd never consider buying a truck. Do such urban-truck buyers exist? Are they this rational?
So much for philosophy, let's look at the hardware.
On paper, the Ridgeline meets or exceeds many of its closest, medium-size four-door pickup competitors' capabilities--it even outdoes some full-size trucks. It'll carry just over 1500 pounds of cargo in the steel-reinforced composite bed. Its 255-horse V-6 and all-wheel drive can tow up to 5000 pounds. There's no V-8 available, nor is there a low-range 4WD transfer case. The bed width (wheel well-to-well) is greater than the magic 48-inch plywood number by an inch and a half, but is only 60.0 inches long with the two-way tailgate closed (79.0 inches lowered). But that's only where the Ridgeline begins to address cargo.
Unlike Chevy's Avalanche or Subaru's Baja, the Ridgeline doesn't have a fold-down bulkhead to make use of indoor/outdoor cargo space. Instead, Honda has introduced an innovative, watertight (though drainable), locking In-Bed Trunk beneath the pickup bed, with a volume of 8.5 cubic feet--not counting the space where the spare wheel resides. It's a nifty and unexpected trick, but could be a problem if a cooler is secreted away under a mound of camping gear--or if a tire needs changing when you've got a bed full of gardening or building material.