Automotive

Redesigned 2021 Honda Ridgeline becomes more of a lumberjack

Redesigned 2021 Honda Ridgelin...
With the 2021 Ridgeline, Honda really wants to emphasize the truck's ruggedness
With the 2021 Ridgeline, Honda really wants to emphasize the truck's ruggedness
View 14 Images
With the 2021 Ridgeline, Honda really wants to emphasize the truck's ruggedness
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With the 2021 Ridgeline, Honda really wants to emphasize the truck's ruggedness
"The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs," says Art St. Cyr, vice president of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co.
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"The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs," says Art St. Cyr, vice president of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co.
Design changes for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline include a new hood sporting a pronounced power bulge, and new front fenders that emphasize the squared-off nose and more upright grille
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Design changes for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline include a new hood sporting a pronounced power bulge, and new front fenders that emphasize the squared-off nose and more upright grille
The 2021 Ridgeline features all-new sheet metal from the front roof pillars forward
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The 2021 Ridgeline features all-new sheet metal from the front roof pillars forward
All 2021 Ridgeline trims feature tougher-looking 18-inch wheels with backspacing reduced by 10 mm, increasing track width a total of 20 mm and lending the Ridgeline a broader, more planted stance
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All 2021 Ridgeline trims feature tougher-looking 18-inch wheels with backspacing reduced by 10 mm, increasing track width a total of 20 mm and lending the Ridgeline a broader, more planted stance
For those looking to take the Ridgeline’s dynamic new styling to the next level, a new package created in collaboration with Honda Performance Development (HPD) answers the call
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For those looking to take the Ridgeline’s dynamic new styling to the next level, a new package created in collaboration with Honda Performance Development (HPD) answers the call
Standard on every 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC V6
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Standard on every 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC V6
The Ridgeline’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system automatically sends up to 70 percent of the engine’s 262 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels
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The Ridgeline’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system automatically sends up to 70 percent of the engine’s 262 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody (car-based) pickup truck in the US market
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The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody (car-based) pickup truck in the US market
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline sports best-in-AWD class standard 1,580-lb payload capacity and up to 5,000-lb towing capacity
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The 2021 Honda Ridgeline sports best-in-AWD class standard 1,580-lb payload capacity and up to 5,000-lb towing capacity
The Ridgeline’s extra-wide stance enables an extra-wide standard bed, making it the only truck in its class that can flat-carry 4-foot (1.2-m) wide items
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The Ridgeline’s extra-wide stance enables an extra-wide standard bed, making it the only truck in its class that can flat-carry 4-foot (1.2-m) wide items
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline boasts more capability off the pavement than it ever has before
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The 2021 Honda Ridgeline boasts more capability off the pavement than it ever has before
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline's interior sees some cosmetic upgrades as well as a newly-updated Display Audio infotainment screen
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The 2021 Honda Ridgeline's interior sees some cosmetic upgrades as well as a newly-updated Display Audio infotainment screen
The new Display Audio infotainment screen in the 2021 Honda Ridgeline doesn't change size from the 2020 model, but adds better graphics output and a physical volume knob
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The new Display Audio infotainment screen in the 2021 Honda Ridgeline doesn't change size from the 2020 model, but adds better graphics output and a physical volume knob
View gallery - 14 images

Honda has redesigned the Ridgeline utility truck for the 2021 model year. Changes include an improved all-wheel drive system, a new front-end design, and interior improvements. Overall, Honda is pushing the off-pavement capabilities of the vehicle.

Currently, the Ridgeline is the only car-based pickup truck available in the US. As a utility truck ("ute"), the Ridgeline mixes the comfort and maneuverability of a car with the versatility and usefulness of a pickup. It boasts the largest interior in its class (versus other midsized pickups), and more cargo bed room (including the under-bed storage and overall width) than its competitors – yet it's never been considered a serious off-road powerhouse. "It's not rugged," some might have said. Cue the Monty Python lumberjack song.

Honda hopes to change that perception by pushing the ruggedness and capability of the 2021 Ridgeline and its improved i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. This system can send up to 70 percent of the engine's power output to the rear wheels, and up to 100 percent of it to either wheel (left or right) on the rear axle. Driver-selectable modes for the AWD system include mud, sand, and snow.

Powering the Ridgeline is a 3.5-liter V6 that outputs 280 horsepower (208.8 kW) and 262 pound-feet (355 Nm) of torque. This goes to a nine-speed automatic transmission in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, depending on drivetrain choice. If that setup sounds familiar, that's because it's also in the Honda Pilot and Passport crossover-SUVs. The Ridgeline shares several components with those two utilities.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline with AWD equipped has a maximum hauling capacity of 1,580 lb (716.7 kg) and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg). These numbers are unchanged from the 2020 model year Ridgeline.

The Ridgeline’s extra-wide stance enables an extra-wide standard bed, making it the only truck in its class that can flat-carry 4-foot (1.2-m) wide items
The Ridgeline’s extra-wide stance enables an extra-wide standard bed, making it the only truck in its class that can flat-carry 4-foot (1.2-m) wide items

Exterior changes to the 2021 Ridgeline are all ahead of the front pillars. A new hood with a larger bulge at center, more aggressive front fenders, and a more square-shaped grille (as opposed to the more rounded Pilot-like grille previously) make up the most obvious changes. LED headlamps are also added as standard in 2021 and different packages for the Ridgeline, such as the Sport and Black, have blacked-out grille work while the RTL and RTL-E trims have chrome grilles.

A few finesse touches to the new Ridgeline's fascia also serve to improve aerodynamics, though this does not seem to have improved overall fuel economy. Expected numbers (pending testing) are 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg (12.4 and 9.8 l/100km) on the highway for the AWD model, unchanged from the 2020 model.

Interior changes are largely cosmetic, with the exception of an upgraded head unit for infotainment. The new screen doesn't change size, but it has better graphics output using Honda's newest Display Audio interface. Honda is also bringing back the volume knob in the new Ridgeline.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline's interior sees some cosmetic upgrades as well as a newly-updated Display Audio infotainment screen
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline's interior sees some cosmetic upgrades as well as a newly-updated Display Audio infotainment screen

Remaining standard equipment includes Honda Sensing, a suite of collision mitigation and driver assist technologies that include forward collision warning, lane keeping assistance, and road departure mitigation.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline was designed in the US and is manufactured in Alabama. It will begin production for an early 2021 release, with pricing and other details coming closer to launch.

Source: Honda

View gallery - 14 images
4 comments
Bruce H. Anderson
I will soldier on with my 98 Suburban for now, but should I happen upon into a sufficient stack of shekels I would head to Honda town. Getting 48" in the bed is a huge deal, which appears to have caught their competition flat-footed. And doing so without piloting any of the "my-frontal-area-is bigger-than-your-frontal area" full-size pickups is a bonus.
BlueOak
“Honda is also bringing back the volume knob in the new Ridgeline.”

That any industrial design human interface engineer would even ponder eliminating the analog-style volume control should be grounds for firing. Seriously. And even if commonsense did not dictate that, simply watching the reaction to those companies that have attempted it over the years should be plenty convincing.
sunfly
We own an older, sans square bed, Ridgeline outright. This is the first redesign that has made me consider taking on a car payment again. The biggest drawback of the older models is the lack of torque. The 9 speed transmission with new AWD system sounds like a well designed upgrade. The new 48" between the wheelwhels in the bed (not mentioned in the article, thanks Bruce) is also welcome.
bkwanab
Looks like Honda have put some lipstick on their pig while, hopefully, investing in better EV products.