NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: This 2012 Honda Ridgeline Sport is a comfortable, nice-looking vehicle that drives more like a crossover with a bed, rather than a true truck. That’s to be expected, but the Ridgeline actually has a decent amount of grunt and can tow 5,000 pounds. It’s not fast by any means, but the 250 ponies are up to the task for merging onto expressways and launches from a stop if you aggressively use the throttle. The five-speed is fine, and four-wheel drive is a nice feature, though I had no reason to use it in my brief stint.
Generally, I’m not a fan of the looks, but in this blacked-out Darth Vader package, I think the Ridgeline is pretty sharp, actually. The right wheels and honeycomb grille go a long way to spruce up and bling out this rig. Inside, however, is rather plain. For nearly $31 large, I expected better. And there are few options. No sunroof, satellite radio, seat heaters or navigation. It seems like for this price, some of that should be standard. And it only gets 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway. Considering a lot of people will use this as a commuter truck—and the fact the horsepower is so modest—it seems like it should sip fuel a little better. Yes, it’s more than two tons and has four-wheel drive, but still.
The drive experience is nice, relaxed even. The slightly elevated view is excellent, and this pickup feels big but not cumbersome in the least. The chassis is well-sorted and compliant, and it feels like it could deal with a variety of situations, on road or off. It handles well through turns and the steering requires little effort, though there is some feedback.
This is a decent vehicle. There’s definitely a place for it, but it seems like the numbers don’t add up, and the interior is far too dated.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Dated is the correct term, Greg. This truck is now 7 years old and after driving the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, I’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to buy this truck. It’s true, in 2005 this was one of your only options for a V6 medium-sized pickup, but now there are plenty—though that EcoBoost does costs $7,000 more.
We were trying to come up with the person that would buy the Ridgeline and we concluded that it would be someone who owns a small boat or jet ski, probably a cottage and maybe camps a little bit. Full-time construction workers should keep on walking.
From the exterior, it’s the shape that turns me off. The short bed, high beltline and angled C-pillar make it look like a smaller, weaker Chevrolet Avalanche. And that thing is a mule.
The options that come with the Sport version go some of the way to alleviate the pain—I like the blacked-out grille and black accents on the wheels. Other than that, it’s still tough to look at.
The Ridgeline rides smooth over most roads and that’s what Ridgeline buyers are looking for—not a full-size truck, but something with some added capability, easy ride and high seating position.
All in all it’s a decent vehicle, with a proven powertrain, that I would never buy personally. If I needed a pickup I’d go bigger.
2012 Honda Ridgeline Sport
Base Price: $30,925
As-Tested Price: $30,925
Drivetrain: 3.5-liter V6; 4WD, five-speed automatic
Output: 250 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 247 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,504 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 17/18.1 mpg
Options: Sport package including black 18×7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels, black honeycomb grille with black surround, black headlight housings, black taillight housings (included in base price)
Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer
Bob Montgomery Honda