Is the 2017 Honda Ridgeline a Real Truck?

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The buzz around Honda (other than the lack of the Honda Civic SI or any new NSX news) was the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. Honda finally put an update on their pickup truck, though it does look a bit dated.

However, that’s not what this article will be about. I want to talk about it being a pickup and the view I’m about to take is, oh boy, going to be a controversial one. Where did I put my flame retardant suit?

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Let’s talk about what the Ridgeline is, first. It is essentially a Honda Pilot with a stiffer and rigid chassis that is available in front- or all-wheel-drive. The nose gives most of that away as you can see it in that design, which is all Honda. I personally was expecting a true body-on-frame pickup when they teased it at the L.A. Auto Show in 2014 with its silhouette.

It looked like they were sharing a body and frame of the Nissan Titan. However, as we saw at the North American International Auto Show that wouldn’t be the case. Instead, it stayed with its original roots and used a stronger mini-van chassis with four doors instead of sliding rears.

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That means that it’s not only a uni-body but also features a four-wheel independent suspension. This will give it a very comfortable ride even as a four-wheel-drive. Being a uni-body also allows them to decrease many of the panel gaps we’re familiar with as a body-on-frame pickup.

Especially the bed to chassis as there is hardly any fuel economy destroying space between them. It also gives them a leg up on storage spaces as there is a trunk in the bed that is big enough to put a small human inside and a plug to drain away the excess blood from that body. Or you could fill it with ice to store drinks if you’re not part of the mob.

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So, it looks like a truck, has a bed like a truck, and can mostly haul like a truck but does that make it a truck? I should probably put my shield down, but that will make it hard to type, but yes, I feel it is a proper pickup… for most normal people. The average person who buys a truck isn’t a construction worker, plumber, or uses it for work at all anymore. We decry this but it’s the reality of our world right now.

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Trucks are outfitted with gadgets and gizmos that wouldn’t be normally used in a work truck because that’s not what owners are, hell even this Ridgeline features in bed speakers so you can listen to music outside. Manufacturers are targeting and making trucks for people who want a larger vehicle with some capability, even if it’s just to say it has it and for no other reason.

You know; the measure for people who don’t want to own a car but wants to show off how much money they have. That’s what a truck has become and is why the Ridgeline will probably be successful, it has was average buyers are looking for in a daily driven vehicle that has a bed without the harsh ride of a body-on-frame, solid-axle truck.

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So, if you’re looking for a work truck, the Ridgeline isn’t going to be for you. It’s not designed for you; it’s designed for that yuppie neighbor of yours that likes to show off his new stuff because he has more money than you. Or, rather, it’s for that other neighbor of yours that needs a truck bed but doesn’t have room or income for another vehicle but doesn’t want to own something that is rough to drive on their daily commute.

It’s for the average person who wants capability without the harsh side effects of owning the typical pickup. The F-150 isn’t going this route anytime soon, so the Ridgeline isn’t any threat to it in that regard or even at all. However, if this does become successful, don’t be surprised to find Ford looking at making something like it. Maybe even calling it a Ranger. Yeah, no, that’s not going to happen, either.

Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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