Next Honda Ridgeline Will Get Traditional Truck Style
Ever since its introduction in 2005, the Honda Ridgeline has been a polarizing truck, to say the least. Folks either love or hate its styling and unibody construction. Traditional truck guys laugh at its transversly mounted engine and plastic-lined cargo box while non-typcial truck owners celebrate the Honda’s ability to haul cargo and tow moderate loads while using fuel like a minivan.
Well AutoGuide is reporting that Honda is working to make the upcoming 2016 Honda Ridgeline less controversial. “No one wants to have to explain why they bought what they bought,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda in an interview with AG. Mendel continues saying the next-generation Ridgeline will have more truck-like proportions and won’t have “as sharp an edge” when it comes to generating love/hate opinions.
Details have been very scarce on the new Ridgeline and what its design and construction will entail. It is likely the truck will retain its unibody design and transversely mounted VTEC V-6, though improvements are expected to make the truck more capable (and respectable) than the current version.
Like before, the 2016 Ridgeline will likely offer both front- and all-wheel-drive options, with the latter offering traction for more foul weather and slippery conditions rather than rugged off-roading and high-torque load pulling.
Expect much of the upcoming Ridgeline’s underpinnings to be borrowed from the Pilot SUV. The current 3.5-liter V-6 offers up 250 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 253 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Honda’s new six-speed automatic transmission is expected to the standard across the board, though there are rumors Honda will offer its nine-speed automatic.
The Ridgeline’s design has already been previewed in sketches, like the one above, and has been spotted by several spy photographers. Its looks are undoubtedly more traditional looking, with a more square, three-box design. Expect Honda’s current design language to be incorporated, meaning it will share similarities with the Pilot SUV and CR-V.
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Why it matters
Honda has a lot of ground to make up in its quest to break into the truck market. The Ridgeline has never competed with the likes of the Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado in terms of sales, but Honda did manage to move 50,000 units at the Ridgeline’s height in 2006. Still, Honda has the opportunity to reinvent the Ridgeline and take on the reignited mid-size truck segment. With the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon already out, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma hitting dealers soon, and a potential rival getting rehashed at Nissan, the Ridgeline’s re-do is happening at the perfect time. It will be interesting to see how truck buyers respond to Honda’s newest entry.
You can get more info on the new Ridgeline here.