2023 Honda Ridgeline Black – Amazing Mid-Size Truck
The 2023 Honda Ridgeline is a captivating pickup truck that defies conventional categorization. Essentially, it’s a mid-sized, two-row SUV with a unique twist—the rear cargo area has been replaced by a pickup truck bed/trunk combo. Honda has ingeniously combined the best features of SUVs and small trucks into one vehicle.
While some might label it as a crossover, that term has already been claimed to describe SUVs that lack off-road capabilities. For over a decade, the Ridgeline has dominated the “near truck” market without any direct competition. However, Hyundai and Ford have now entered the scene with their own unibody trucks—the Santa Cruz and the Maverick respectively. Unlike traditional body-on-frame pickups, these models, like the Ridgeline, offer a unibody construction.
The Ridgeline boasts several impressive features, making it an appealing choice for those who don’t require a “real” truck. Honda has incorporated convenient elements, such as a lockable trunk integrated into the bed, allowing you to store valuables securely while running errands. Of course, the trunk’s capacity may limit what you can store in it.
Additionally, the trunk can be filled with ice and beverages, making it perfect for tailgating, picnics, or road trips. It’s a nifty feature to have. The truck also features a “dual-action” tailgate, reminiscent of the large domestic station wagons from the 1960s. This tailgate can be lowered conventionally or swung sideways, providing flexibility for loading items into the bed without straining or reaching over the tailgate—a welcome convenience for those who may have limited mobility.
The Ridgeline offers a well-thought-out and comfortable package, delivering a smooth ride. The cabin is designed with ample storage compartments, providing practical solutions for keeping your belongings organized. The rear seats can be folded upward and out of the way, revealing a generously spacious rear floor area that can accommodate bicycles, larger boxes, and more. While it may not fit an adult-sized coffin, the bed could certainly be used for such purposes, if needed.
Powering all Ridgeline models is Honda’s excellent 3.5-liter V6 engine, a departure from the increasingly common turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the powertrain performs admirably. While the nine-speed transmission could benefit from a more conservative gear selection, avoiding premature upshifts, it still delivers strong performance overall.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 280 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 4700 rpm. While it may not be the ideal choice for heavy towing, it should handle most lighter-duty tasks with ease—exactly what the Ridgeline is designed for.
According to Honda, the Ridgeline has a towing capacity of up to 2,267 kg (5,000 lbs), although I did not personally test this feature. Power is transmitted to the ground through Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management (iVTM-4) all-wheel drive system.
The Ridgeline’s suspension leans more towards a car/SUV-like setup rather than a traditional truck suspension. This is one of the reasons why I appreciate the Ridgeline—it doesn’t drive like a typical truck. With its MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link independent rear suspension, it offers a comfortable ride with good road feel. The driving experience is far more pleasant, in my opinion, compared to “real” trucks that tend to bounce excessively and exhibit sideways instability over uneven road surfaces.
The 2023 Honda Ridgeline is a captivating vehicle that combines the best aspects of SUVs and trucks.
Why don’t car manufacturers offer a customizable package that caters to different preferences? For those who prefer a more hands-on driving experience, they could opt out of certain features and save some money. On the other hand, those who appreciate added assistance could choose a package that suits their needs. Starting at approximately $49,561.25 for the base Sport trim level, including freight, PDI, and additional fees, the Ridgeline offers a range of options.
Speaking as someone who typically isn’t a fan of pickup trucks, I must admit that if I were in the market for one, the Ridgeline would be my top choice. However, I haven’t had the opportunity to test the Santa Cruz, so I can’t provide any insights on Hyundai’s take on the concept.