2020 Honda Ridgeline

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Updated: March 23, 2020

2020 Honda Ridgeline

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck takes a different approach. It’s built on a lighter platform than other trucks—it admits it’s all the truck most buyers will ever really use. What it lacks in brute strength it makes up for in comfort, efficiency, and practicality.

For 2020, Honda adds some standard equipment. All Ridgelines now come with a 9-speed automatic transmission, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But more significantly, the 2020 Ridgeline gets Honda’s Sensing suite of safety equipment, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. 

From the front, the Ridgeline looks just like the Honda Pilot crossover SUV. The bed is stamped into the body; it’s not a separate piece as in some pickup trucks. The car-like cabin is sleek and high-quality, with enough buttons and knobs to be useful but not feel like it’s trying too hard. 

A smooth 3.5-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower is paired to the 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard (more of the different approach) with all-wheel drive 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. They provide a smooth and confident ride that feels very much like the Pilot.

Thoughtful design features made possible by this truck’s structure allow more storage beyond the bed. There is a lift-up rear seat with extra storage, a tailgate that either folds down or swings out, and a lockable trunk in the bed. 

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, on regular fuel. 

The NHTSA gives the Ridgeline five stars overall for crash safety. The IIHS has made the latest Ridgeline a Top Safety Pick. 

Model Lineup

For 2020, two models have been dropped, leaving four: the Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition.

The front-wheel-drive Sport starts at $34,995 including destination, which is a $510 increase over last year’s base model. It includes keyless ignition, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth, and Honda’s suite of active safety tech including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. All-wheel drive is available for $2,240.

The RTL 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. The all-wheel-drive version costs $39,915.

Ridgeline RTL-E models get all-wheel drive standard and start at $43,115. For that you get LED headlights, daytime running lights, 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, black paint, and red interior ambient lighting.

Exterior

From the front, you can’t tell the Ridgeline from the Honda Pilot crossover SUV. In fact, the Ridgeline looks like a Pilot all the way back to the bed. It’s attractive, even ruggedly handsome. 

Interior

The cabin is quiet and comfortable, and features impressive materials. It clearly does not feel like a truck inside. It feels like what it is, a family vehicle with a bed in back. Material quality is good all around, with soft-touch plastics and available leather upholstery.

The interior is one of the most spacious, accommodating and useful we’ve ever experienced in a pickup. With a tall roofline and lower floor, there’s plenty of room for five adults, along with lots of cabin  storage thanks to its unibody construction. 

The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the rear seat bottom folds up to add more storage under the seat. 

Though the bed is relatively short and narrow, 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; it can even be filled with ice and used as a cooler. Bed speakers and a power inverter are available on some models, making the Ridgeline a flash machine for a tailgate party. 

Driving Impressions

The Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s less robust and torquey than some other trucks, but it’s very smooth and has plenty of power for highway passing. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard. 

The Ridgeline’s unibody architecture has a disadvantage or two when compared to other trucks’ body-on-frame design. Lacking a solid rear axle and leaf-spring suspension, the Ridgeline can only tow up to 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive. That’s about 2,000 pounds less than most of its competitors. 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 rivals.

But in addition to interior comfort, the Ridgeline’s construction offers a ride and handling like a crossover SUV, namely the Pilot. The lack of a solid rear axle means there’s space for the big, in-bed trunk, a feature that makes the Ridgeline unique. 

Final Word

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline trades some rugged capability for comfort and good road manners, a trade that many truck-buyers think is a winner. The 3.5-liter V-6 is smooth, and the 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive make for an excellent light-duty vehicle. The car-like cabin and sweet ride make you forget you’re in a truck—and the Ridgeline’s trick bed has some of the most clever pickup features we’ve used. 

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection