Always Room For Improvement: Honda Unveils 2021 Ridgeline
The 2021 version of Honda's midsize pickup truck now has a more trucklike face and revised interior materials.
The Honda Ridgeline has long been criticized as being an "SUV with a truck bed", and essentially that's just what it is, as it shares its basic platform (and some of its styling cues) with the Honda Pilot midsize crossover SUV (CUV), and a unibody structure. When the second-generation 2017 Honda Ridgeline made its debut for the 2017 model year following a three-year hiatus, it gained a more car-like exterior appearance and interior design, which were taken from the all-new-for-2016 Pilot. For 2021, Honda looks to find more homes for the Ridgeline, as it has introduced a revised model with more trucklike exterior styling, and revised interior materials. Read on to find out more about what's new with the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. NOTE: Any and all pricing discussed in this article includes a mandatory destination fee, but does NOT include any applicable taxes or other fees.]
The easiest way to tell a 2021 Honda Ridgeline from its 2020 predecessor is simply by looking at the front end, where you'll find a more trucklike front grille, and a revised front bumper design, which features integrated air curtains similar to that of the 2019 Chevrolet (Chevy) Silverado 1500. Buyers of the entry-level Sport and stealth-like Black Edition trims will receive a Gloss Black-painted front grille, while mid-level RTL and luxurious RTL-E buyers will get a chrome-finished front grille. In the rear, there's a larger rear diffuser that integrates a dual-tipped exhaust system like the RAM 1500, and the rear tail lamps appear to have a darkened finish. If the new exterior appearance of a stock 2021 Honda Ridgeline isn't enough for buyers, Honda is opening its Honda Factory Performance (or "HFP") parts catalogue to Ridgeline buyers this year, which will contain everything from several different aluminum-alloy wheel designs, exterior badging, and aggressive-looking front and rear wheel flares. This will allow Ridgeline buyers to make their truck stand out from others on the road.
Inside, it doesn't appear that Honda has made many changes to the 2021 Ridgeline's interior, although there is one notable difference from the 2020 model it replaces: the eight-inch (8.0") HondaLink touchscreen infotainment system (finally) gets a proper volume dial (knob) in place of the touch-sensitive controls of the previous model. Honda also says that they've improved the interior materials for a more premium feel inside the cabin of the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline continues to be powered by Honda's tried-and-true "J35" 3.5L naturally-aspirated V6 gasoline engine, which produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb. ft. of torque. These numbers are right on par with other midsize pickup trucks in the Ridgeline's class. Last year (for 2020), Honda began to equip all Ridgelines with a push button-controlled ZF "9HP" automatic transmission, which freed up the center console area for improved storage space (the nine-speed unit was previously only available on the higher Ridgeline trim levels). Sport and RTL trims offer the buyer's choice of either Front Wheel Drive (FWD) or Honda's "Real Time" Four Wheel Drive (4WD) system, although RTL-E and Black Edition buyers are only offered the Honda "Real Time" Four Wheel Drive (4WD) system. This same powertrain combination is also available on the related Honda Passport and Pilot midsize crossover SUV's (CUV's). Honda also simplified the Ridgeline trim lineup for the 2020 model year, reducing available trim levels to base Sport, mid-level RTL, luxurious RTL-E, and stealth-like Black Edition. The previously-base LX and range-topping RTL-T trims were both discontinued last year.
Honda hasn't yet announced feature availability or pricing for the 2021 Ridgeline, although 2020 Honda Ridgeline pricing ranges from $33,900 for a base Sport Front Wheel Drive (FWD) model, to $43,520 for a range-topping Black Edition Four Wheel Drive (4WD) model. We expect 2021 Honda Ridgeline pricing to remain similar to the 2020 model it replaces (we expect an identical trim lineup of Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition as well). The Honda Ridgeline, which competes in the midsize pickup truck market, faces steep competition from an ever-increasing amount of entries, including the Chevrolet (Chevy) Colorado and GMC Canyon (both refreshed for 2021), Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator (all-new for 2020), Nissan Frontier (about to be redesigned), and Toyota Tacoma (refreshed for 2020). The refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline should reach Honda dealerships nationwide by early 2021, at which time we'll also know feature availability and pricing information. What do you think of the revised 2021 Honda Ridgeline? Let us know in the comments down below, and stay tuned right here for more information as it becomes available!