• Honda Just Gave the Ridgeline Pickup a Fighting Chance, But Is It Enough to Make It Relevant?

The refreshed truck is tweaked on the inside and outside, and comes with new optional packages

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Honda Ridgeline is often left out when talking about trucks, but this stalwart has been around for over 15 years now. It isn’t built on a body-on-frame chassis as its rivals. However, if you’re looking for a truck that works as a good family hauler and doesn’t have a traditional truck appeal, the Ridgeline will fit your bill.

The company has now refreshed the truck for the 2021 model year, and it comes with a few changes on the outside, a refreshed interior, and a few appearance packages offered as optional gear. Things under the hood, however, remain the same. Will these cosmetic changes interest the potential compact truck customers?

What’s New This Time Around?

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On the outside, the 2021 Ridgeline comes with a new snout that features a power bulge, thus giving the face a muscular appearance.

Honda says that the truck features all-new sheet metal from the front roof pillars forward.

The new grille flanked with new LED headlights also gives a fresh twist to the truck. The automaker has revised the bumper as well for some added flavor. It features vents on the sides that enhance aerodynamic efficiency.

All the trims now ride on 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires as standard. The track width is also increased by 20mm, thus giving the Ridgeline a broader stance that complements the new muscular demeanor well. The Honda truck also receives a prominent skid plate and new twin-exhaust outlet pipes that aren’t hidden anymore.

Honda has developed a new appearance package with Honda Performance Development.

The package includes a unique grille treatment, black fender flares, aggressive bronze-colored wheels, and special HPD graphics on the bed walls. Along with this, three more packages will be offered - Utility, Function, and Function+ - and all of them will be available on every Ridgeline trim.

Honda Just Gave the Ridgeline Pickup a Fighting Chance, But Is It Enough to Make It Relevant? Interior
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On the inside, the changes are subtle. The infotainment system is updated and now features a physical volume knob. All the trims are offered with new contrast stitching on the seats, and some even receive updated upholstery, new dashboard, center console, and steering wheel accents. Apart from this, things are pretty much the same as the preceding model.

Anything Different Under The Hood?

Honda Just Gave the Ridgeline Pickup a Fighting Chance, But Is It Enough to Make It Relevant? Exterior
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Under the hood, things are the same. All the trims are still powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that churns out 280 horses and 262 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to all the wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. What’s new, however, is the fully automatic torque vectoring. It is standard on RTL-E and Black Edition and optional on Sport and RTL trims.

It, obviously, is available only on four-wheel-drive models and automatically sends up to 70-percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. It continuously apportions 100-percent of that torque between the left and right rear wheel based on grip at each wheel and comes with four drive modes in total – Snow, Pavement, Mud, and Sand. For the two-wheel-drive models, Honda offers an Intelligent Traction Dynamics System that comes with two drive modes – Snow and Pavement.

Purists don’t even consider the Honda Ridgeline as a pure truck because of its unibody construction as opposed to a body on frame build. But, that is what makes it supremely comfortable for the passengers. The Ridgeline continues to feature independent rear suspension. As for the towing and payload capacities, the truck can tow up to 5,000 pounds and haul up to 1,580 pounds (we’re talking all-wheel-drive models). The Ridgeline also features a tailgate that can open downwards and sideways like barn doors. An in-bed audio system can also be had as an optional accessory.

2021 Honda Ridgeline Specs
Engine  3.5-liter, V-6 
Horsepower 280 Horses
Torque 262 pound-feet 
Transmission Nine-speed Automatic
Towing Capacity  5,000 pounds
Payload Capacity  1,580 pounds

Final Thoughts

Honda Just Gave the Ridgeline Pickup a Fighting Chance, But Is It Enough to Make It Relevant? Exterior
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Honda is yet to announce the exact pricing for each trim, but it is expected to start at just over $35,000. It will arrive at the dealerships in the U.S. starting early next year. What do you have to say about the 2021 Ridgeline? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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