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Is the Honda Ridgeline the Best Midsize Pickup?

Published on October 31, 2022 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

When it comes to the best vehicle or best buy in a given category, the answers can vary widely, and the debate can become very heated. After all, the many models out there don’t all target the same customers (we all have our own needs and preferences), and the price also weighs in.

On the midsize pickup side, the possible uses are multiple: carrying equipment and material, work, off-road driving, leisure, camping, family trips, etc. A Jeep Gladiator could be your best option if you want to venture deep into the woods, but not so much if you need to pick up lumber from the hardware store.  

Since its overhaul for model year 2017, the Honda Ridgeline received many accolades. Interestingly, The Car Guide’s team even awarded it the Best buy in its category title from 2017 to 2023 inclusively, the only exception being 2020, when the  chosen one was … the Gladiator.

The Ridgeline isn’t a midsize pickup with impressive load or towing capacity (respectively 1,580 and 5,000 pounds), nor does it have outstanding off-road capabilities, mainly because it’s not built on a traditional ladder chassis and doesn’t offer a more robust trim.  

Photo: Honda

However, its unibody construction, its heavy-duty suspension and its adequate steering give it a handling that’s very close to an SUV, and that can’t be matched by any of its competitors. The compromise Honda found is a wonderful fit for buyers who like the versatility of a pickup truck without the choppy ride.

Its 3.5-litre V6 (280 horsepower, 262 ft-lb of torque) still delivers good performance with reasonable fuel consumption, while its all-wheel drive system proves to be effective in all situations.

Then, there are convenient little things like its dual-action tailgate, the waterproof and power-locking storage compartment under the bed floor (making up for the bed’s short 5.3-foot length), its lift-up rear seat that optimises cabin space, etc. No wonder why some rivals decided to copy it.

Photo: Honda Canada Inc.

We’ll add that the Ridgeline is convenient for the rear passengers too, and that its safety equipment is pretty exhaustive. Of course, its higher price can be discouraging for some, but this is compensated by modest maintenance costs.

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