The truck market doesn’t change very often compared to cars or SUVs. That makes the release of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline extremely exciting. Can Honda’s truck match up to other mid-size truck competitors? Today, we’re determined to answer that question by comparing the Ridgeline against the insanely popular and proven Toyota Tacoma. We’ll look at specs, pricing, design, performance, safety, features, fuel economy, and more of the Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma to help you pick the best truck for your needs.
We’re comparing the 2017 Ridgeline against the 2016 Tacoma, as those are the latest models available for both trucks. With both trucks being recently redesigned, this should be a fair comparison, despite being in different model years.
Honda Ridgeline (base)
Engine: 3.5L V6
Fuel Economy: 19 City / 26 Hwy
MSRP: From $29,475
2017 Honda Ridgeline Review
The all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline looks more like a traditional, conservative truck than its predecessor. It much resembles its Honda siblings, like the new Honda Pilot. The Ridgeline is only available with 4 doors, and the truck is about 3 inches longer than before. Compared to other trucks on the market, the 2017 Ridgeline doesn’t look overly masculine or aggressive, but it may appeal to the masses more than the last Honda truck.
Inside, the Ridgeline feels more like a comfortable city vehicle than a rugged truck. The cabin is almost identical to that of the Pilot. Buttons and gauges aren’t big and bulky like many trucks, rather than are arranged with a clean, sleek layout. Luxury qualities such as ride, seat comfort, and road noise are all top of class.
The pickup bed in the Ridgeline is impressive, with unique features like a huge in-bed trunk (that doubles as a cooler) and a dual-action tailgate. The back seats can also fold up to create extra storage space, along with a bed that is 5 inches longer than it was with the previous generation. Four adults will have no problem getting comfortable in this truck, along with a ton of cargo.
It’s the question almost everyone is asking: Is the Ridgeline a REAL truck? The base engine is a 3.5L V6 engine mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission that produced 280 hp. The base Ridgeline comes with FWD, the only vehicle in its segment to do so. AWD is available. The Ridgeline can tow as much as 5,000 pounds, which is respectable for the mid-size class, but doesn’t match up to half-ton options like F-150 or RAM 1500.
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline achieves 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with FWD. With AWD, those numbers decrease by 1 each.
While this truck hasn’t been crash-tested yet, we expect excellent results, as the previous generation was very sturdy in crash-testing. Every Ridgeline comes with a few perk safety features like multi-view backup camera and hill-start assist. Optional safety features include blind spot monitors, lane-keep assist, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, side-view camera, and more.
Every Ridgeline comes with the dual-action tailgate, in-bed trunk, power accessories, Bluetooth, USB, and more. Optional features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, additional USB ports, moon roof, power sliding rear window, heated steering wheel, acoustic class, truck-bed audio, and more.
Toyota Tacoma (base)
Engine: 2.7L 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 19 City / 23 Hwy
2016 Toyota Tacoma Review
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma underwent a “full redesign” for the 2016 model year. It’s still very much a Tacoma, but the small styling updates are a welcome change after 10 years of the same generation. As usual, the 2016 Tacoma can be had with 2 or 4 doors. The biggest exterior design changes are found in the grille, which is now more imposing and aggressive than before with a lifted hood line.
The inside saw significant improvement in 2016, with more attention to surfaces, textures, and details than ever before. While interior quality is improved, the Tacoma maintains that rugged truck-feel that most truck buyers are probably expecting. Ride quality is improved in the Tacoma, with less road noise and vibration than ever before.
An Achilles heel for the Tacoma has always been seating, and unfortunately that still remains true. Rear seats are quite cramped, and headroom is minimal overall. Cargo space, on the other hand, is excellent, with either a 5 or 6-foot bed. These beds are very deep, with standard speed rails and tie-down points.
The base engine is a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine that produces 159 hp. This can be purchased with either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic. The V6 option is new this year, a potent direct-injected 3.5L V6 that produces 278 hp, paired with either a 6-speed auto or manual. This truck can haul up to 6,800 lbs when properly equipped. Toyota offers a myriad of off-road features and options, and can be purchased with RWD or 4WD
The 4-cylinder achieves around 19 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, while the new V6 achieves and impressive 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. These numbers decrease slightly with 4×4 added.
For 2016, the Tacoma only received 4 stars overall from the NHTSA, falling slightly short in the “frontal crash” and “rollover” categories. The IIHS only tested this Tacoma in two categories so far, but it receiving “Good” ratings in both “moderate overlap front” tests and “side” tests. Standard safety features include 8 airbags, active headrests, anti-lock brakes, backup camera, tire pressure monitor, and more. Optional safety features include rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitors, rear parking assist, trailer sway control, and more.
The base Tacoma comes with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, USB, Siri, backup camera, and more. Optional features include wireless cell phone charger, 7-inch touchscreen, HD traffic and weather, navigation, AC power outlet, keyless entry, moonroof, heated from seats, Toyota Entune, and more.
Pros and Cons:
2017 Honda Ridgeline
- Very useful truck bed
- Luxurious interior
- Incredible road manners
- High base price
- Difficult to use touch-screen audio
2016 Toyota Tacoma
- Holds value extremely well
- King of off-roading
- Inexpensive configurations available
- Tight interior
- Subpar fuel economy
Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma Conclusion
When comparing the Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma, it’s as if each truck is trying to accomplish a different goal. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is targeted at the practical truck driver that wants a smooth-driving, high-quality vehicle that can assist in home projects, and typical non-commercial truck purposes. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is geared (pun intended) toward the weekend warrior with a work hard, play hard mentality. While the Tacoma has a history of incredibly high sales numbers, expect the Ridgeline to be a competent competitor this year.