Motoring: Despite quality, Ridgeline too pricey
Take this Ridgeline for instance. It is the first pick-up truck from Honda to be sold in Canada, and when it first came out in 2005, it got great reviews from all the motoring press. However those accolades didn't really translate into sales. The Ridgeline sells in decent numbers, but hasn't set the sales floor on fire.
With the 2009 version, Honda hopes to attract more buyers. It has changed the styling minutely (yes I know, it is hard to spot the differences) and given the interior a few changes too, but nothing major. It is essentially the same truck as it ever was, which is no bad thing.
You still get that wonderful 3.5-litre, V6 motor, which produces 250 hp and 247 lb/ft of torque. You still get that ancient five-speed automatic gearbox, which Honda seems to throw in everything they build, and while it works fine, they need to get working on a six-speed or seven-speed gearbox very soon.
The main disadvantage of only having five-speeds is the fuel economy, although I managed a respectable 13.2-litres/100km, a number that can surely improve with a newer gearbox.
The Ridgeline still retains its uni-body construction, which makes this pick-up truck unique compared to every other pick-up truck on the market, all of which use the body-on-frame set-up.
The advantage this gives the Ridgeline is stiffness, which not only helps with it's ride and handling, but also comfort, this is the most car-like pick-up truck in the market, which is great. I have driven plenty of pick-up trucks over the years, and most of them I could not wait to get out of. The Ridgeline I can drive all day.
Or at least I would if I liked the driver's seat more. I might be in a minority with this, but I could never quite get fully comfortable in this vehicle, no matter how hard I tried to set the seat. However your passengers, front or back, won't complain about space, there is plenty of that in here.
But yes, the main reason anyone would buy a pick-up truck is for its cargo space, and the Ridgeline offers plenty of that too. The cargo bed is 1524mm long and 1257mm wide, which might not be the biggest bed in the business, but thanks to its clever under-floor cargo areas, you can get a few more things in too.
You can also tow an impressive 5,000 lbs. So it is very practical.
It is very well equipped too, my EX-L trim packaged vehicle even came with a reversing camera and a very good navigation system, plus all the usual amenities of power windows, door locks and standard air-conditioning.
Also, while lots of companies are still offering the option of two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive for their trucks, Honda has made its VTM-4 all-wheel drive system standard on the Ridgeline.
Pricing could have been stronger though, as even the base Ridgeline will cost you $34,490. My EX-L test vehicle was $42,990, and that is before you add freight and all the other fees levied on vehicles, plus taxes. So while it is good, it is a bit pricey, hence the reason its sales numbers have been lacking since it hit the market.