At the Chicago Auto Show, Honda presented a very telling rendering of their upcoming Ridgeline mid-size truck which is due within the next year or two.

Saying the new Honda Ridgeline will “take the original’s award-winning performance, comfort and utility to new levels,” the company stated it will take on a decidedly more traditional pickup truck style.

It clearly looks more squared off, more buff, and yes more traditional. The rendering however has a few
tell-tale signs this Honda Ridgeline may well be more different than meets the eye.

The rear tail-gate shows a line that alludes to side hinged opening capability. And more important, a line while subtle, separates the bed from the cab like that of a traditional pickup truck.

If this is so, it means at the least the new Ridgeline would have a hybrid of a uni-body and ladder frame structure which would allow the cargo box to move and flex separate of the passenger cell. On the extreme end, it could mean Honda is moving toward a full body-on-frame truck design.

The latter is an alluring concept, but unlikely unless Honda is investing huge in an all-new platform architecture we haven’t heard about. Either way, a separated cargo box could give the Ridgeline better cargo and payload capacities by design.

With Chevrolet and GMC re-entering the fold, Toyota upping its ante, and a new Nissan mid-sizer on the way, the mid-size pickup market is heating up.

So regardless of whats underneath its skin, the rendering here shows Honda plans to really compete this time. And this one looks like something a man might actually be seen in for a change.