Honda’s unibody mid-size pickup gains a bluffer, more truck-like nose for 2021.
Honda has always done things a little differently. That was certainly the case when it introduced the Ridgeline pickup 15 years ago: here was a mid-size truck based on a (shock, horror) car platform, with front- or all-wheel drive, unibody construction, and a fully independent suspension. Now the Japanese manufacturer is treating its built-in-the-US pickup to a substantial facelift for 2021, bringing in a tougher, more traditional truck look.
While the headlights may look similar here, everything else around them, right back to the A-pillars, is new. Honda’s dropped a more upright grille between the Ridgeline’s peepers, with a thick bar of chrome sitting atop it. That’s on the RTL and RTL-E trims; a more subdued gloss black bar exists on the Sport trim and Black edition. The hood now starts higher too, with a broad power bulge lending more presence to the squared-off nose. Honda has also reprofiled the lower fascia, with functional side air vents to improve aerodynamics. Around back there’s a new bumper, now housing twin outboard exhaust tips.
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Those who want a little added visual aggression can opt for the Honda Performance Development (HPD) Package, pictured here. Available on all trims, it adds a unique grille, black fender flares, bedside graphics, and some sweet-looking bronze wheels.
Inside, the changes are more subtle in nature, but arguably more important. For starters, there’s a physical volume knob. Hallelujah! No more troublesome touch-sensitive slider here, thank you. The infotainment system gains what Honda is calling “crisp new graphics”, with “easier-to-use touchscreen icons”. All trims now feature contrast stitching on the seats, while Sport trim models have no cloth seat inserts.
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Honda hasn’t messed with the rest of the package. The Ridgeline still features a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission. A torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system remains optional on the Sport and RTL, and standard on the RTL-E and Black Edition. The system can send up to 70 percent of the V6’s 262 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, then split that between them depending on driving conditions and selectable drive mode. The Ridgeline is rated to up to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) towing capacity. It also still features the down- and side-opening Dual-Action Tailgate, plus the in-bed trunk, a lockable, 7.3-cubic-foot storage space under the bed.
All 2021 Ridgelines will come standard with the Honda Sensing safety suite.
As for when this new truck arrives at dealers, as well as updated pricing? We should know in a matter of weeks, ahead of its early 2021 on-sale date.
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