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2020 Honda Ridgeline Review

LIKES
  • Useful, storage-laden bed
  • Comfortable and quiet cabin
  • Refined driving experience
  • High build quality
  • Additional standard features this year
DISLIKES
  • Average fuel economy
  • More expensive than competitors
  • Limited off-road ability
  • Reduced towing capacity
  • Looks like a crossover with a bed
BUYING TIP
  • Now that a better transmission, active safety features, and smartphone tech are all standard for 2020, we suggest selecting a Ridgeline sport with all-wheel drive for the best value.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline pick-ups differently; it’s a truck that’s more comfortable and practical than tougher-duty rivals.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is all the pickup truck most buyers will ever really use, and that’s what makes it an outlier in its class. With impressive comfort, efficiency, and practicality but lacking some of the ultimate off-road chops and capability of its rivals, we give it a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10.

For the 2020 Ridgeline, Honda makes more equipment standard. All Ridgelines now come with a 9-speed automatic transmission, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. The RT and RTL-T trims are gone, leaving just the Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition trims.

The Ridgeline looks just like the Honda Pilot upon which it’s based, at least from the front. The bed on the back makes for a less cohesive overall design than other purpose-built pickups in the class, but if you’re a fan of Honda’s recent styling, you’ll like this truck too. The interior is sleek and high-quality, with just the right number of buttons and knobs to be useful but not overwhelming.

A smooth 3.5-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower does the heavy lifting, now paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission meant to improve fuel efficiency. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. As this is a unibody truck that shares a platform with a crossover SUV, no true four-wheel-drive system is available. The Pilot’s integrated frame sacrifices some towing capacity and off-road capability, but its on-road driving manners are unmatched by any other pickup, providing a smooth and confident ride that feels very much like the Pilot.

The 2020 Ridgeline’s interior is as comfortable and high-quality as you’d expect from a Honda, and thoughtful design features made possible by this truck’s unique structure set it above the pack in terms of storage beyond the bed. A lift-up rear seat with lots of storage, a dual-action tailgate that either folds down or swings out, and in-bed lockable trunk are all included and highly useful.

Strong safety scores from the IIHS and NHTSA make up for gas mileage. Fuel economy is only average at 22 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 21 mpg for all-wheel-drive equipped trucks.

Styling
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline looks more like a crossover with a bed, and that works just fine for us… mostly.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline has four doors and an open bed, but that’s about all it shares with most other trucks in terms of design. For its crossover-like exterior and impressive interior, we give it 7 out of 10 here. 

From the front, the Ridgeline is nearly indistinguishable from both the Honda Pilot upon which it’s based and the new Passport, but those are both handsome crossover SUVs so we’re not complaining. In fact, the Ridgeline resembles a Pilot right up to the end of the rear door, where the square bed begins. While the first generation had a kink in the D-pillar to transition more seamlessly to the bed, the latest Ridgeline adopts the modular look of other pickups. It’s handsome, but not nearly as tough or capable looking as other trucks in this class.

The interior is similar to the Pilot, but again, we’re not disappointed. A sleek and logical cabin is fitted with just the right number of buttons and knobs and uses impressive materials for a comfortable and quiet atmosphere that’s very un-truck-like. Those looking for a “hose-down” utilitarian interior are advised to turn elsewhere, as this is a family vehicle with a bed.

Performance
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline hauls and handles more like a crossover than a pickup, sacrificing capability for comfort.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline sacrifices some outright capability in the name of on-road comfort, and that’s what many buyers can and should be looking for in a mid-size truck. We give it 7 out of 10 here. 

A 3.5-liter V-6 does all of the heavy lifting for the Ridgeline, putting out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s not as robust as some competitors, but gets the job done smoothly and with plenty of available power for highway passing. A new 9-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models this year, and base versions come equipped with front-wheel drive while all-wheel drive is standard on the top-tier RTL-E and Black Edition trims and available on the Sport and RTL.

The Ridgeline uses a unibody architecture like most crossover SUVs, while all other pickup trucks use a more traditional body-on-frame design. This comes with both benefits and drawbacks, but we’ll start with the bad so we can end on a high note.
Lacking a solid rear axle and robust leaf-spring suspension, the Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive. That’s about 2,000 pounds less than most of its competitors, so if you intend to tow a bit more, look elsewhere. Payload limit is impressive at 1,584 pounds, however.

A unibody design also sacrifices some off-road capability, and while the Ridgeline does come with a selectable traction management system, its lower ride height and lack of a low-range gearbox make it less confident off the beaten path than its contemporaries.

The major benefits of the Ridgeline’s unique construction include comfort and additional practicality, both of which set it apart among the competitive set. The Ridgeline rides and handles like a Pilot, which is to say smoothly and comfortably. The lack of a solid rear axle also means there’s space for the big, in-bed trunk that has become a standout feature of the Ridgeline, and one of our favorite things on any pickup truck.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is spacious and comfortable inside, and endlessly practical for everyday use, just not larger items.

Besides its comfortable road manners, the Pilot sports one of the most spacious and accommodating interiors of any truck, mid- or full-size. We give it 9 out of 10 here.

With plenty of room for five adults, a tall roofline and lower floor, and lots of interior storage thanks to its unibody construction, the Ridgeline is one of the most useful everyday vehicles we’ve driven. The seats are comfortable and supportive all around, and the rear folds up against the back for lots of under-seat storage. Material quality is good all around, with soft-touch plastics and available leather upholstery.

Though the bed is shorter and narrower than others at just 60 inches long and 50 inches wide between the wheel wells, it features a dual-action tailgate that both folds down and swings out for easier access to one of our favorite features of any truck: the in-bed trunk.

A massive, washable and drainable tub accommodates bigger items that you don’t want to store in the bed or interior and can even be filled up with ice and used as a cooler. Bed speakers and a power inverter are available on some models, making the Ridgeline a top-tier tailgating machine.

Safety
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline gets great crash test scores and includes active safety tech as standard this year.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is one of the few pickups that has comprehensive crash test scores, and with active safety features now standard, it’s safer than ever. We give it 9 out of 10 here. 

For 2020, Honda has equipped all Ridgeline models with its Sensing suite of safety tech, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. That makes it a much better deal than in years past, and improves our score over last year. Outward vision is fine, too.

The federal government gives the Ridgeline five stars overall, docking only one star in the rollover category, and the independent IIHS, awarded a Top Safety Pick award to the Ridgeline last year, a merit we expect it to receive this year as well with the expanded safety feature availability. It should be noted that the base headlights on the Ridgeline received a “Poor” rating from the IIHS, however, so considering spending more for a model with the LED units.

Features
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline gets more standard equipment this year but is still more expensive than the competition.

Though down a couple of trim options and a few hundred dollars more expensive this year, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline is better equipped than ever, but still pricey at the top end.

For 2020, the Ridgeline drops the base RT and mid-tier RTL-T trims, leaving just four: Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition.

The now-base Sport model starts at $34,995 including a $1,095 destination charge, representing a $510 increase over last year’s cheapest truck. For that sum, you get front-wheel drive, keyless ignition, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth, as well as Honda’s suite of active safety tech including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. All-wheel drive is available for an additional $2,240; so equipped, it’s our pick of the lineup.
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The RTL trim starts at $37,765 and adds an acoustic glass windshield, power moonroof, power-sliding rear window, leather upholstery, 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, and 4-way power passenger seat, both heated. Front-wheel drive is standard on this model too, and the all-wheel-drive version costs $39,915.

Ridgeline RTL-E models get all-wheel drive standard and start at $43,115, but for the extra cheddar you get LED headlights, daytime running, and bed lights, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, a 150/400-watt power outlet in the bed, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, two second-row USB ports, satellite navigation improved audio, and a truck bed audio system that’s perfect for tailgating.

The Ridgeline Black Edition costs $44,615 and features the same equipment as the RTL-E, but wears unique black wheels, paint, and features red interior ambient lighting.

While the Ridgeline is much more expensive than many competitors at the low end – a base Chevrolet Colorado costs five figures less – it does include features that most other trucks can’t claim as standard, including active safety tech and the useful in-bed trunk.

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is only moderately efficient at 21-22 mpg combined.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline only manages average fuel economy for a mid-size pickup despite its new transmission. We give it 4 out of 10 here.

The front-wheel-drive Ridgeline makes 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined while the all-wheel-drive version is rated at 19/24/21 mpg. With that slight of a drop in efficiency between the two, we suggest opting for all-wheel drive if you’ve got the extra cash.

Average annual fuel cost is $1,850 at the most, and regular fuel is required.

Other trucks fare similarly or better with turbodiesel engines, but we expected a bit better from the Ridgeline for its crossover-based construction and new 9-speed automatic transmission.


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About Udara Madusanka

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