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2020 Honda Ridgeline: Pros and Cons

Chris Kaiser

The Honda Ridgeline is among the best mid-size trucks on the road. We discuss why this segment all-star may or may not be the best choice for you.

Weighing Your Options

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

2020 Honda Ridgeline – hondanews.com |  Shop 2020 Honda Ridgeline on Carsforsale.com

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline might not be the first truck you think of when considering a mid-size pickup. The domestic offerings form Detroit’s Big Three, the Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, and Chevrolet Colorado, easily overshadow the Honda. And yet, the Ridgeline consistently makes it at or near the top of most lists of the best mid-size trucks.

Pro – Smooth Ride & Carlike Driving

2020 Honda Ridgeline 3.5L V6 - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline 3.5L V6 - hondanews.com

Probably the biggest differentiator between the Honda Ridgeline and the competition is how well the Honda rides and handles compared to everything else. If the wallowy cornering and jouncing ride are what you least like about driving a pickup, the Ridgeline deserves a test drive. Handling is responsive and controlled for a truck. The ride, thanks in part to an independent rear suspension, is smooth with potholes and rough roads kept well-contained.

The simple powertrain, just a 3.5L V6 offering 280hp and 262lb.-ft. of torque, does a decent job of motivating the Ridgeline.

Pro – Comfortable Interior

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

Another strong suit for the Honda Ridgeline is its excellent cabin. The interior design is both modern and practical, evenly blending form and function. As with the driving experience, the Ridgeline’s interior alleviates or completely eliminates the common shortcomings of the typical pickup. The seats are another example. They are comfortable and forgiving up front and, refreshingly, in the rear.

Pro – Generous Safety Tech

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

The Ridgeline boasts a generous list of standard and available safety features. These include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control. The Honda Sensing suite adds blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, rear cross traffic alerts, and front and rear parking sensors.

Pro – Innovative Storage

While the Ridgeline’s single bed option only measures 5ft-4in in length there are some innovative features that make up for this fact. Our favorite is the 7.3cu.-ft. trunk recessed into the bed, providing additional, lockable, storage capacity. For tailgating fans, the waterproof trunk comes with a drain plug so you can fill the trunk with ice and your favorite canned beverage. There are also grab handles, tie down hooks, a power outlet, and an optional audio system. One final trick is the dual-action tailgate that can either open downward or swing outward from the driver’s side.

Con – Imperfect Storage, too

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

That doesn’t mean the cargo situation is perfect in the Honda Ridgeline, either. One glaring oversight is the location of the spare tire in the bed trunk. Fill the bed up with stuff and get a flat, you may have a tough time unloading on the side of the highway. (It should be noted this is the case with the vast majority of crossovers.)

Con – Dodgy Infotainment System

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

The spare tire ought to be, hopefully, only used a few times over the life of the vehicle. The infotainment system is something you’d be using on a daily basis. That fact alone makes the non-intuitive and cumbersome infotainment system a real headscratcher. Luckily, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, and you can spend much of your time for audio and navigation using their more sensible software. Oddly, Honda failed to include a proper volume knob for the Ridgeline.

Con – Not Enough “Truck”

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

The Honda Ridgeline is a bit like your brutally honest grandmother, who tells you to stop fooling yourself and ditch that cute but mortally dumb boyfriend. With the Ridgeline, Honda is telling truck buyers, “Hey, who are you fooling? You want a truck because you want to be seen driving a truck, not because you’re doing a ton of ‘truck things.’” To that end, the Ridgeline is a much more refined daily driving vehicle than any other mid-size truck. Which means it’s more livable but also sacrifices a bit of actual truck performance in the process.

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The lack of low-range gearing for hauling is vexing. The Ridgeline also has lower hauling and towing ratings than the segment average at 5,000lbs in towing and 1,580lbs. in hauling. The FWD equipped Ridgeline is even less capable with just 3,500lbs. of towing.

Con – Price

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

The Honda Ridgeline has a higher entry point than the rest of the segment, and it’s not close either. The base trim Ridgeline Sport starts at $33,900. Compare that with the base version of rivals the Toyota Tacoma at $26,150, Chevrolet Colorado at $25,200, or the Ford Ranger at $25,000. All three of those trucks start out fairly bare bones while the more expensive Ridgeline provides a lot more right out of the box. For those looking for a “cheaper” buy into the segment, the Ridgeline might be pricing itself out of some buyers’ consideration.

On Balance?

2020 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

2020 Honda Ridgeline – hondanews.com |  Shop 2020 Honda Ridgeline on Carsforsale.com

Despite the cons we list above, the pros far outweigh them. As we noted, things like a refined interior and comfortable ride just aren’t in the cards for much of the mid-size truck segment. A bouncing ride and stiff seats are just par for the course, but not in the Ridgeline. While utility might not quite meet that of rivals, the Ridgeline still does “truck stuff” quite ably. A final note in favor of the Honda Ridgeline is the build quality, second only (and debatably) to Toyota’s Tacoma. With the Honda Ridgeline you really do get more when you spend more, and if longevity is important to you, it’ll be money well spent.

2021 Upgrades

2021 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2021 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline, due out later this year, looks to shore up some of the deficiencies of the current model.

First and most obvious is the look of the Ridgeline. Whereas before the Ridgeline looked a lot like a jacked-up Odyssey with a truck bed, the new Ridgeline gets new wheels and revamped front facia and grille to give is a much more truck-like demeanor.

2021 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2021 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

Next, the infotainment system has gotten an overhaul and the inclusion of a volume knob (long live analogue controls!). Still, there isn’t a low-range transfer case and hauling and towing capacities remain unchanged from the 2020 model.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline looks to improve on an already outstanding mid-size pickup where the pros decisively outweigh the cons.

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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