BIRMINGHAM, MICH. — The 2018 Honda Ridgeline is up for anything. It's well-rounded and offers just enough capability for most pickup buyers. That's stating the obvious, but after a few weeks behind the wheel of the Ridgeline, I'm impressed with Honda's balanced approach to the ultra-competitive midsize truck segment. I call it the pocketknife pickup. It's smaller than full-sized monsters like the Ford F-150 and its rivals, but the Honda punches above its weight. Here are three observations after ruminating on the Ridgeline, which joined the Autoblog long-term fleet, this winter.
It has plenty of capability:For everyone who simply wants but doesn't absolutely need a pickup, this will get the job done. It's a sentiment we've expressed since our First Drive review back in 2016. I tossed an oversized recliner from the late '90s into the back of the Ridgeline, no problem. Picture one of those overstuffed things on which you probably watched Home Improvement or zoned out to Pearl Jam back in the day. I tied it down snugly and there was plenty of room left over, should I have needed to haul something else.
The new @therealautoblog long-term test vehicle, the @Honda Ridgeline, moved a recliner across town today. No problem. Liking this pickup a lot already. pic.twitter.com/C5pvJp7QC1 — Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) January 1, 2018
This is why many consumers buy a pickup – to occasionally haul or tow something. The 280-horsepower V6 is solid. And with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds and a payload rating of 1,499 pounds, the Ridgeline offers all the grunt you need, most of the time. Sure, there's a segment of buyers who regularly need more capability – for the folks that actually need a work truck, the full-size segment has plenty of options. But for errands, the Ridgeline is ace: I also took it to Costco, trekked across town in a blizzard and put the dog in back to run errands. The pickup fulfilled its utilitarian duties to the fullest.
It's a strategic consumer choice:
In a segment with a lot of strong personalities, the Ridgeline makes its case by being a bit vanilla. The inside feels like almost any Honda, and the outside is nebulous enough that this could pass as a Volkswagen or Hyundai.