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Review: 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD

No matter how you feel about the second-generation Honda Ridgeline, you can’t deny the fundamental honesty of the thing. It’s predecessor was basically a Honda Pilot SUV with a minimum-viable-product bed in place of the third row, dressed up in a style best described as “steampunk bewildered.” The current Ridgeline dispenses with that pretense. From most angles, it could be mistaken for a Pilot—or even an Odyssey minivan. If you need a Pilot with some exposed cargo space, this is the vehicle for you. 

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/new-car-reviews/review-2020-honda-ridgeline-rtl-e-awd 

Replies (11)

Replies (11)

I remember reading somewhere that the Ridgeline was "the compromise that nobody needs". That harsh comment struck me as odd because on paper a Ridgeline is pretty much the perfect compromise for my family.

 

I test drove one and would have no problem buying one if it was in my budget. The review is fair though many of the issues (wind noise) plague most modern cars. Here's what I liked on my test drive:

 

-it's not a a giant on the road

-easy to park compared to other trucks

-roomy enough in passenger compartment, but you aren't sitting a canyon apart

-decent visibility, and yes very similar to a crossover or minivan in feel

-for the amount of real trucking most do, this would do fine.

-never owned a Honda... and the Hondaness was impressive

 

-I wish they were priced more aggressively to sell

-I would style them a bit less bland and offer more colours

-I would market them as a modern 4-door El Camino  ---if people understood what a Ridgeline actually does well I think they could sell 10x as many as they currently do.

Detailer

We have an 07 we bought used, it's primarily my wife's as automatic transmissions give me a rare and annoying twitching condition. We call it the TruckUV and I too consider it a four door El Camino. It tows enough to bring home a small sports car and the bed is enough to haul oily engines, transmissions, yard clippings and other assorted trappings of modern living. As for looks, I can't image why I'd care what it looks like, its a utility vehicle not a designer purse.

New Driver

Had a 2008 Ridgeline, bought new.  (Wow, has it been 12 years already?)  Anyway, I loved it.  Handled great, was quiet & smooth.  Pulled a lightweight trailer (TrailManor) with no problems at all.  Only sold it because we needed a larger RV.  Size-wise it was much nicer to live with day-to-day than my RAM 2500.  

 

Of course, the Ridge is built for a certain niche - but so are many vehicles.  I don't get all of the Honda hate in this piece.  We've had a number over many years, and my only gripe was the somewhat defective IMA system in our Civic Hybrid.  

New Driver

Interesting take. I just bought one of these because I kind of needed a "Swiss Army Car" since I don't have the luxury of space to have more than two vehicles for my wife and I. I live in a mountainous area and we get some nasty snow and ice, so all wheel drive is a nice feature to have, and the torque-vectoring AWD in the Ridge seems pretty advanced. I haven't had the chance to really put it to the test yet, but reviewers that have say it is pretty nice. I have a 4th gen Ram 1500 at work, and the Ridgeline is way more refined and nicer to drive. There is some wind noise from the mirrors, but I really don't think that the road noise is all that bad. Of course, compared to my last Honda, a '98 Accord coupe, this thing is tomb-like. The other big plus is that it will actually fit in my garage and is easy to park on my jaunts to the city. It is nice to be able to throw something unpleasant into the bed, and the trunk back there is nice. I have no need for a three row SUV, but I am 6'4" and want something a little bigger. Mileage isn't great, but it is a far sight better than a full size half-ton would be. If I had acres to park or a massive garage, and a need to tow, I'd probably get a full size. However, comparably equipped, I couldn't find anything close to what I paid for my 2020 RTL-E. At least not with LED headlights and the nicer tech features. I got about 4K Off of sticker. Blind spot monitoring is great. The infotainment is old, but once I got it dialed in it is fine. Has rewinding satellite radio. Car-Play works great. I don't find the adaptive cruise to be quite as horrible as you describe, but it isn't perfect. It works just fine for long highway jaunts. I haven't had any of the unpleasant surprises that you had with the auto-braking. If you want any tech on a half ton, you are looking at a ton of money. Right now you can buy a leftover 2019 RTL that has leather seats and a sunroof for 30-32K. A bargain. The dual function tail gate is great. If I had a need to haul people I could live without a truck, but I don't. Flipping the back seats up creates a lot of cargo room. It is funny to see all the hate online for this vehicle from the truck-nuts crowd. Like you said, nobody is buying these to impress anybody. There is no perfect vehicle for all tasks, but this does a lot of things pretty well.

Passenger

Perfectly functional, but such a bland looking thing. 

Hagerty Employee

Ahhh...the Ridgeline...John Baruth..DIDNT seem to like it...but I do...my 74 year old father is on his 3rd one..I have his first one(2010)...I’ve pulled a 5000 pound camper..hauled rocks..driven to Florida and back comfortably...and only had it in the shop for basic upkeep at well over 120,000 miles...it doesn’t miss a beat...NO..it’s not a “hardcore” truck..but very few people really need that...LOL...it’s more of a truck than any El Camino...and that argument has raged on for decades.....John..you would be hard pressed to find a automobile that does more than what a ridgline can do..yes a cola radio that’s fully loaded may haul more or pull more...but good luck getting into the rear seat..so for what you gain isn’t worth what you lose..I’ll take my ridgeline everytime....ESPECIALLY...when I go to resell it..10 years old..I’ll still get close to 11000 bucks for it...BTW...the locking trunk under the bed kicks ass too!

Passenger

I see a lot of comments on the Ridgeline that I will not re-live.

 

I will say this.   I have a new 2019 Ridgeline Sport AWD that was left over, for about 6 weeks now.  I turned in a 2018 VW Tiguan.   I also have a 1967 ElCamino in the garage.  I bought it not to even be used in the same way as the full fledged GMC, or Ford.  Lets face it, the appeal of this truck is much like the ElCamino was.  I get to drive an SUV, with the convenience of a short bed pickup.    The thing gets 25MPG, and it will last.   Most of the dealers offer a lifetime power-train warranty.   That power-train warranty need not be completed in their shop either.    I picked the Honda partly because I drive a vehicle till it is totally used up.   My dad buys a new car when the car needs tires.   Two things worth noticing about the Ridgelines 1) I have never seen one rust.  Can anyone say that about the Chevys?   2) You seldom see one on a lot for sale used.   My salesperson tried to find me a used on for about 6 months, with very little luck.   Turns out that when people buy a new truck that already own a Ridgeline they A) give it to child, B) sell it to a neighbor.  He did say that occasionally he sees a customer that sold their to a neighbor, and went and bought a Ram pick-up outright.   Lets face it, anyone that does that - these vehicles are not even in the same competition group.  

 

You can easily spend $50,000 (or even tens of thousands more) on a GMC/Chevy, or a Ford.  The Ridgeline is a great value, but it does have limitations.

 

I bought the Ridgeline for what it is.  The interior and amenities of the pilot, and the homeowner handiness of a short bed truck.  I needed 19 landscape timebers, and a rail-road tie, and it was very convenient to have the Ridgeline.

 

Who cares what the article, and the nay-sayers comments are.  For $29,167 I'd do it all over again.  in my house, it's the ElHonda.

 

 

Pit Crew

This Honda may be one of the ugliest utility vehicles ever offered for sale!

New Driver

Not much of a review!?!  I have a 2019 Ridgeline RTL-E and love the quiet ride.  Mine has active noice cancelation!  Works like Bose Head Phones.  The ANC System hears the noise and generates noise cancellation frequencies!!!  It is like riding in a Cadillac.  The ride quality is amazingly smooth, and it handles like an Accord with truck capabilities.

My previous truck was a 2016 GMC Denali with Magnetic Ride Control.  Noisy, poor handling, and unreliable electronics.  Transaction price was $49,800.00.  The Ridgeline has more features, with a Transaction price of $39,600.00.

I seriously question your Automotive Knowledge Base.  I never considered the Ridgeline a serious truck.  However, it is a dream to own and drive!!

 

 

Passenger

My previous truck was an loaded F150 crew cab 3.5L turbo V6.  I loved that truck but it wished it was about 10% smaller.  I then bought a Ridgeline.  For my usage, it's perfect.  It can haul 5,000 Lbs when needed.  Not the best tow vehicle but will do in a pinch.  It gets great real world gas mileage.  For example, my friend and I were pulling our boats several hours away.  He pulled into a gas station with his Silverado crew cab and filled up.  Since I was there, decided to fill up myself.  He took 24 gallons.  I took 12.

 

Best compliment I can think of is after driving it my wife said, "It's just like driving an Accord!" 

 

I have much difficulty with Hagerty's review.  About the only complaint I have is the cruise control is pretty much + or - 3 to 5 miles an hour.  If you want a truck for 75% transportation usage, I believe it's the best (by far) on the road.

 

Last comment, I wish to hell that Hagerty would stick to selling insurance and reduce it's insurance rates.  I have a classic that I have driven less than 5,000 miles in twenty years.  It's stored in a secure shop.  The $600/year insurance cost, considering the risk, is the worst insurance deal on the planet.

Passenger

We test drove one yesterday, along with a Jeep Gladiator, and Chevrolet Colorado.

 

I thought the handling was very nice, but the steering was pretty light and numb. It sure went where you pointed it, though, and I could probably get used to it. The ride was quite good, but I noticed a few groans over one of the "test sections" I'd laid out the night before.

 

I couldn't stand the brakes. Too mushy, too much pedal travel, and didn't bite very well until you really got on them. Borderline unacceptable to me.

 

To paraphrase Mr. Baruth, the infotainment system feels *at least* a full generation behind.

 

Other than my sightly different observations, I'd say Jack is spot-on.

 

My wife, the financial wizard, was uncomfortable with the fact that ALL the "packages" listed in the Honda "Build-and-Price" tool are really dealer installed accessories, with the installation cost dependent on the dealer's labor rate. The sales person wouldn't quote us a price until we agreed to sit down and "pencil things in", which never sits well with her.

 

I really wanted to like the Ridgeline, as I generally admire Honda products, but the brakes really disappointed me. It's definitely a niche product, but I just didn't care for it as much as I'd hoped I would.

 

- Jim

Intermediate Driver