2021 Honda Ridgeline gets rugged new good looks

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By James Raia
Renowned for its unibody design and unique appearance, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline will debut early next year with a pronounced redesign. It will showcase the pickup truck’s road and off-road versatility.

All 2021 Honda Ridgeline trims will include a 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on RTL-E and Black Editions. It’s optional on Sport and RTL trims.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a bold new exterior appearance.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a bold new exterior appearance.

The Ridgeline will continue to feature an extra-wide stance on an extra-wide standard bed. It’s the only truck that can flat-carry four-foot-wide items between its wheel wells.

With its unibody construction and independent rear suspension, the Ridgeline also comes standard with a washable, lockable in-bed trunk. It offers an additional 7.3 cu.-ft. of secure storage space under the bed floor.

2021 Honda Ridgeline: Bold new exterior

The 2021 Ridgeline also features a new sheet metal front with roof pillars forward. Design changes further include a hood sporting a pronounced power bulge and front fenders that emphasize the squared-off nose.

A more upright grille flanked by LED headlights updated for better illumination, and a new bumper are among front exterior improvements. A reshaped rear bumper and new twin exhausts add further changes.

New aggressive sidewall and shoulder designs will give the Ridgeline a broader, more planted stance.

The Honda Performance Development (HPD) package is also new. It includes an upgraded grille treatment, black fender flares, aggressive bronze-colored wheels, and special HPD graphics on the bed walls.

Interior upgrades include a Display Audio System and new upholstery with contrast stitching. The Sport, RTL and RTL-E trims have a new dash, steering wheel and center console accents.

The new Ridgeline has a 1,580-pound payload capacity and a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The tailgate can handle dynamic loads of up to 300 pounds, supporting long payloads such as motorcycles and ATVs.

Inside the bed are eight standard tie-down cleats, rated at 350 pounds each, for securing loads. The bed is constructed of glass fiber-reinforced SMC composite. It resists dents and scratches without the need for a separate bed liner.

The Ridgeline comes standard with the Honda Sensing featuring a collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist road departure mitigation, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Additional specifications and prices will be announced closer to the truck’s expected consumer debut in early 2021.

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James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Scott R. Ellis
5 days ago

The Ridgeline is “the only truck that can flat-carry four-foot-wide items between its wheel wells”? Really? That would be news to every Ford, GMC, Chevy, and Dodge built since sometime before 1949, the year of my first one. Perhaps they mean the “only unibody truck,” but that category is so thin that the Ridgeline is the “only” almost anything.

Scott R. Ellis
5 days ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

On reflection, one assumes they mean “mid-size” or “compact” or whatever they’re calling the Ridgeline. Still . . .

Wayne Caldwell
10 days ago

The article states “The Ridgeline will continue to feature an extra-wide stance on an extra-wide standard bed. It’s the only truck that can flat-carry four-foot-wide items between its wheel wells.” I read the Ridgeline article several times and never saw it say anything about it being a mid-size truck. I remember bringing home a couple of 4×8 sheets of plywood (short bed, tailgate down) in my 2015 Ram and they laid between my wheel wells. Maybe Honda (or the author) would like to clarify the size classification of the Ridgeline because it isn’t “…the only truck that can flat-carry four-foot-wide items between its wheel wells.” .

Roger
11 days ago

My 2006 Ridgeline, bought new in 2005, has been a wonderful vehicle for my family. 135K on it now. No major issues. Just normal maintenance. Have always loved the SUV like ride this vehicle offers. We’ve also had some great times driving the Cape Hatteras beaches in North Carolina. After seeing the facelift they did for 2021, I’m finally tempted to get a new one with all the up-to-date safety features and improved gas mileage.

Last edited 11 days ago by Roger
odomcb
11 days ago

Can it be flat towed behind a motorhome?

Roger
11 days ago
Reply to  odomcb

No, most Ridgelines have a complex all wheel drive system. The transmission would be damaged if towed four wheels down. There is a 2 wheel drive option that can be dolly towed. The AWD version must be transported on a flatbed if emergency towing is required.

odomcb
11 days ago
Reply to  Roger

Thanks!

Roger
6 days ago
Reply to  James Raia

That is incorrect. Neither can be flat towed. The 2WD requires the front wheels to be off the ground. Here’s the quote from page 562 of the 2020 Honda Ridgeline Owners manual.
“2WD Models: Wheel lift equipment
The tow truck uses two pivoting arms that go under the front tires and lift them off the ground. The rear tires remain on the ground. This is an acceptable way to tow your vehicle.