I have to admit this is one of the reveals I’ve been waiting for at the Detroit Auto Show because I’m just fascinated by it. And that’s because like before, it will be the only uni-body pickup truck on the market. And depending on how you measure up your trucks, that’s either good or bad.
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is much more traditionally styled than the last generation, clearly sharing its styling as well as its platform architecture with the all-new Honda Pilot crossover SUV, that just made its debut last year.
The front clip is identical with exception of a unique grille and lower fascia design. And as your eyes flow back into the doors and greenhouse the family resemblance continues. It’s where the cargo box begins that it gets all different.
The box itself is made of composite, or lets just say plastic like the Toyota Tacoma. So it’s not the only one in class. Interesting is how its constructed as this is a uni-body vehicle, the panels and box are separated from the cab.
Innovations with the cargo box are many, the most notable is the in-floor trunk that has a huge lockable deep well for storage. And as you can see the spare tire is tucked away in there too. The other big deal is the dual-action tailgate that can swing open to the side or lay down like most.
The box is 5′-4” long and has a full 4 foot wide space between the wheel houses. Payload capacity is 1,600 pounds, they say class leading. Towing capabilities haven’t yet been announced, which means they probably aren’t.
In addition to a 400-watt power inverter, an in-bed audio system uses six exciters located inside the bed walls, which effectively turn the cargo box into a huge speaker that can pump out 540 watts sound from the Ridgeline’s audio head unit.
And when inside, the interior will look familiar if you’re driven the new Honda Pilot. The dash and console are identical, which isn’t a bad thing. I mean Honda quality comes to a pickup truck. Be happy about it. And the rear seat can fold upward like the magic seats found in the compact Honda Fit, nice for storing tall items.
Powering the 2017 Ridgeline is Honda’s smooth and refined 3.5-liter, i-VTEC V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It will for the first time offer both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive. The latter being of the torque-vectoring variety.
Like before, another area where the Ridgeline will differ from its competitors is that it has a fully independent suspension. This Honda boasts will give it best-in-class handling and refinement both on and off the road. And because it’s lighter, they believe it will have best-in-class acceleration.
Horsepower wasn’t announced today, but given the engine and transmission are essentially right out of the Honda Pilot you should be able to expect at or near the same 280 horsepower. And, like the first Honda Ridgeline, it will be built in Lincoln, Alabama.