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Four Seasons: 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Introduction

Automobile logo Automobile 1/24/2017 Chris Nelson
2017-Honda-Ridgeline-RTL-E-front-view-02.jpg

Think way back to 2005, when the first Honda Ridgeline made its debutat the Detroit auto show. The name Obama didn't ring many bells, the Great Recession hadn't yet hit, and there stood Dick Colliver, then executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., preaching about the growing importance of the light truck and SUV market as he introduced Honda's funky new Ridgeline to the world.

Here was a vehicle that pushed against well-established truck norms not only with its unibody construction but also with rarely seen features such as a dual-hinged tailgate that could both fold down and swing open sideways; a lockable, in-bed trunk that could hold three golf bags or be turned into an easily drainable cooler; and rear seats with fold-up bottoms, which meant you could roll a mountain bike into the back of the cab. "That's a lot of capabilities and innovation packed into one truck," said Colliver.

Much of those same innovative features are still packed into the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, in addition to several new active safety systems, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an in-bed audio setup. We gave the first Ridgeline an All-Star award, and it hasn't changed all that dramatically since — the injured global economy forced Honda to divert focus away from niche products like the Ridgeline, which languished without a major update and disappeared for a short stint following the 2014 model year. So we figured we should order the latest version of Honda's truck for a Four Seasons test. Wanting to check out all of the Ridgeline's newest novel features, we ordered a fully optioned, top-tier RTL-E model, the only trim that comes with standard all-wheel drive. (Front-wheel drive is standard across other models, while optional all-wheel drive tacks on $1,800.)

2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL E cabin 03© Andrew Trahan 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL E cabin 03

Our $42,270 Ridgeline showed up looking very handsome in its gray-over-black guise. It looks more like a traditional truck than before, and it even has a split between its cab and bed, much like a classic body-on-frame design. Honda did this not only to attract more heartland truckers to the Ridgeline but also because the front and the rear of the Ridgeline are no longer connected by one huge, costly side stamping like the first-generation model. The new Ridgeline has the same basic powertrain as before — a 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 — but the engine has been reworked to produce 30 more hpand 15 more lb-ft of torque, and its automatic transmission now has six forward gears instead of five.

With almost every gadget we could ever want, a big 19.5-gallon fuel tank, and the ability to carry up to 1,500 pounds of payload, we foresee a lot of high-mileage forays happening with our Ridgeline over the next 12 months. The original Ridgeline won over all of us with its "great usefulness" and "long-distance comfort," and we couldn't praise it enough for its car-like refinement. Will the story be the same with the all-new Ridgeline? Let's find out.

Our 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

Overview

PRICE$42,270 (base, as tested)
ENGINE3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V-6/280 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION6-speed automatic
LAYOUT4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD truck

Chassis

CONSTRUCTIONUnibody
STEERINGElectronically assisted
LOCK-TO-LOCK3.04 turns
TURNING CIRCLE44.4 ft
SUSPESION, F/RStrut-type/Multilink
BRAKES, F/RVented discs
WHEELS18-inch aluminum
TIRESFirestone Destination LE2 245/R0R-18

Measurements

L X W X H210.0 x 78.6 x 70.8 in
WHEELBASE125.2 in
TRACK, F/R66.1/66.0 in
HEADROOM, F/R39.5/38.8 in
LEGROOM, F/R40.9/36.7 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R60.0/61.5 in
CARGO CAPACITY33.9 cu ft
WEIGHT4,515 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R57.6%/42.4%
EPA MILEAGE18/25/21 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
FUEL CAPACITY19.5 gal
EST. FUEL RANGE410 miles
FUEL GRADE87 octane
0-60 MPH6.5 sec (est)
TOP SPEEDN/A

Equipment

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Multi-view rearview cameraForward collision warning and assistance
Lane departure warning and assistanceLane-keeping assistance
Automatic high beamsAdaptive cruise control
Blind-spot monitoring systemFront and rear parking assist
Integrated trailer hitch w/7-pin connectorDual-action tailgate
In-bed trunkIn-bed audio system
400-watt in-bed power outletLED taillights
LED truck bed lightsLED headlights
Keyless entry and ignitionFog lights
Acoustic windshieldPower sunroof
Power sliding rear windowAutomatic tri-zone climate control
Auto-dimming rearview mirror60/40-split lift-up rear seats
Heated front seatsBluetooth audio and phone connectivity
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto8-inch touchscreen w/navigation
8-speaker audio system w/subwoofer

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT

None

2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL E front three quarter 05© Andrew Trahan 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL E front three quarter 05
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