Automotive

Honda smashes together Ridgeline pickup and Pioneer UTV into radical off-road adventure concept

Honda smashes together Ridgeli...
Utility and fun come together in the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
Utility and fun come together in the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
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Honda has debuted the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept at SEMA 2018
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Honda has debuted the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept at SEMA 2018
Honda got creative, pulling together its powersports and automotive lineups to create the Rugged Open Air Vehicle
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Honda got creative, pulling together its powersports and automotive lineups to create the Rugged Open Air Vehicle
The ROAV concept is part UTV, part pickup truck
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The ROAV concept is part UTV, part pickup truck
Honda modified a Ridgeline body, interior and suspension, adding in Pioneer 1000 parts and looks
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Honda modified a Ridgeline body, interior and suspension, adding in Pioneer 1000 parts and looks
With that big bed, the ROAV is much better equipped for hauling cargo than the typical Pioneer 1000
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With that big bed, the ROAV is much better equipped for hauling cargo than the typical Pioneer 1000
Utility and fun come together in the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
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Utility and fun come together in the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
Serious skid plate proection
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Serious skid plate proection
Honda developed special Pioneer-look bed and tailgate panels for the new concept
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Honda developed special Pioneer-look bed and tailgate panels for the new concept
The Honda Ridgeline has never looked cooler
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The Honda Ridgeline has never looked cooler
Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
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Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
Extreme Country tires
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Extreme Country tires
Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
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Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
We can see the ROAV being perfect for everything from kicking up dust in all-out speed runs, to camping off the beaten path, to getting work done on the job site
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We can see the ROAV being perfect for everything from kicking up dust in all-out speed runs, to camping off the beaten path, to getting work done on the job site
Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
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Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept
Honda doesn't mention powertrain specs, but since the Ridgeline served as the basis, we assume the ROAV relies on its 3.5-liter V6
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Honda doesn't mention powertrain specs, but since the Ridgeline served as the basis, we assume the ROAV relies on its 3.5-liter V6
Honda doesn't shorten the Rugged Open Air Vehicle to "ROAV" in its press announcement, but it certainly seems like the perfect acronym for this off-roader (i.e. "rove")
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Honda doesn't shorten the Rugged Open Air Vehicle to "ROAV" in its press announcement, but it certainly seems like the perfect acronym for this off-roader (i.e. "rove")
Honda's added powersports-inspired looks and equipment
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Honda's added powersports-inspired looks and equipment
The ROAV doors come straight from the Pioneer 1000 side-by-side
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The ROAV doors come straight from the Pioneer 1000 side-by-side
Side-mounted exhaust
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Side-mounted exhaust
The ROAV includes a heavily modified Ridgeline interior with Pioneer 1000 steering wheel and Civic Type R seats trimmed in waterproof Pioneer material
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The ROAV includes a heavily modified Ridgeline interior with Pioneer 1000 steering wheel and Civic Type R seats trimmed in waterproof Pioneer material
RAM smartphone mounts add to the UTV look inside
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RAM smartphone mounts add to the UTV look inside
Inside the Honda ROAV concept
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Inside the Honda ROAV concept
View gallery - 22 images

When Honda teased the all-new Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept previously, we envisioned some type of crossover convertible, maybe with big off-road tires and fender flares. But Honda has gone in a much cooler direction, bringing together the separate worlds of its powersports and automotive lineups. Part Ridgeline pickup, part Pioneer 1000 side-by-side, the ROAV is 110 percent off-road fun and high-flying adventure.

While it provided details about its other concept builds ahead of the SEMA Show, Honda saved the Rugged Open Air Vehicle for this Tuesday's press conference. And it's not hard to see why – concepts like the Ridgeline Overland Project are cool, but the genre-splitting ROAV is on another level.

We can see the ROAV being perfect for everything from kicking up dust in all-out speed runs, to camping off the beaten path, to getting work done on the job site
We can see the ROAV being perfect for everything from kicking up dust in all-out speed runs, to camping off the beaten path, to getting work done on the job site

Honda R&D Americas took lead on the Rugged Open Air Vehicle project, aiming to combine the utility of the Ridgeline with the off-road readiness and extreme styling of the Pioneer 1000. It started off with existing components, using the modified Ridgeline body as the basis for what's essentially a stretched UTV with large cargo bed.

The Ridgeline's cabin area has been whittled right down to the skeletal rollcage of a side-by-side. Production Pioneer doors join the angry face in giving the ROAV a very defined UTV look, while the specially developed bed and tailgate maintain the cargo-hauling utility of the base Ridgeline while matching the Pioneer look perfectly. A modified suspension helps smoothen out the uneven ground below.

Honda doesn't shorten the Rugged Open Air Vehicle to "ROAV" in its press announcement, but it certainly seems like the perfect acronym for this off-roader (i.e. "rove")
Honda doesn't shorten the Rugged Open Air Vehicle to "ROAV" in its press announcement, but it certainly seems like the perfect acronym for this off-roader (i.e. "rove")

Honda's done a nice job creating a super-sporty but practical side-by-side pickup outside, and its work has continued inside. It has redesigned the Ridgeline interior to hold up to the dirt, dust and debris of open-air off-roading, adding durable paint-on surfaces and Civic Type R seats re-skinned in waterproof Pioneer 1000 fabric. It's also adapted the Pioneer 1000 steering wheel to the Ridgeline steering column and dropped in RAM Mounts smartphone holders.

Inside the Honda ROAV concept
Inside the Honda ROAV concept

All in all, the Rugged Open Air Vehicle looks like a super-versatile addition to anyone's vehicle stable, combining the pure fun and adrenaline of a powersports toy with some of the utility of an off-road truck. Whether you're simply speeding down trails and up over dunes, carrying tools and supplies to a distant job site, or heading out with a bed of camping gear for a multi-day off-roading adventure, the ROAV can get it done like few other vehicles out there.

Source: Honda

View gallery - 22 images
6 comments
guzmanchinky
VERY cool! But what I'd really like (and buy right away) is a street legal Side by Side. Like a Yamaha YXZ or a Maverick. Here in California those are SO restricted in where they can go, unfortunately. Doesn't need to be legal on freeways, but at least side roads. Would be so much fun.
VadimR
Guzmanchinky, I second your statement but add Illinois to your list of states. I'd also expand it to include ATVs. Funny that the Chicago PD uses ATVs on the streets (since they are above the law), but no one else is allowed to.
Easy
Tesla builds a car and thousands put down cash and line up to get one. Honda builds this thing and people just roll over, and go back to sleep. Ditto for most of the legacy auto makers.
guzmanchinky
VadimR, you see them all over in Europe. ATVs Side by Sides, all plated and driving everywhere. And Europe has much stricter safety laws than we do...
ljaques
Bbbut, what's under the hood? Does it sound like a weedeater or a car?
Mzungu_Mkubwa
guzman & Vadim: I'll see your point, and raise you: automakers are truly missing the boat on making a whole new class of inexpensive, durable and utility-oriented vehicles, as this exercise shows a step in that direction. Yes, legislation needs to be relaxed to allow a broader spectrum to be road worthy, but the NADA lobby will never allow that in this country. (Wouldn't it be awsome to be able to buy Mahindra's mini jeep, the Roxor, and use it as a back-roads commuter?) However, I am quite amazed that this market has not been jumped on and ridden hard in "developing" countries! I spent much of my youth in East Africa and these kinds of vehicles would simply be perfect there! Simple, durable, reliable and utility-focused transportation that can withstand the pot-hole riddled roads and washboarded back-tracks with aplomb day in and day out. You could sell 'em like hotcakes if priced reasonably. But, US-side, I could see all the millennial genners living in their parent's basement jump at a sub-$10k ride that gets the job done while sipping the gas and rarely visiting the auto shop. Lets do it, already!