2020 Honda Ridgeline
Denis Flierl's picture

2020 Honda Ridgeline Offers You A More Refined Truck Option

If you are looking for more of a car-like experience, but still need a pickup to haul an occasional cargo load, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline could be a perfect fit for you.
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Not everyone is looking to take their truck off-road and deep into the backcountry, and there is a mid-size pickup best fitted for city commuters who still need to haul an occasional load. The 2020 Honda Ridgeline could be the answer. It comes with more noise isolation, ride comfort and interior room than its traditional truck-based rivals from Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and new Jeep Gladiator. 

The Ridgeline also comes with storage options that are unique to this mid-size truck. This week we drive the top-of-the-lineup 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD trim. What’s new for 2020? The Honda Ridgeline gets a new nine-speed transmission replacing the outgoing six-speed automatic gearbox. Honda Sensing safety features and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across all trims.

2020 Honda Ridgeline
2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD comes nicely equipped

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD ($42,020) now comes standard for 2020 with Honda Sensing, which bundles driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and automatic emergency braking. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, and tri-zone climate control.

The RTL-E adds extra creature comforts such as leather-trimmed seats, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a sunroof and a power-sliding rear window. The top-trim RTL-E brings more with an upgraded premium audio system, navigation, and a truck-bed power outlet as well as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Total MSRP including Destination: $43,140.

2020 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline interior is handsomely finished

The interior of the Ridgeline crew cab is comfortable, handsomely finished, and is more car-like than a truck. If you didn’t know you were sitting in a truck, you would think it was a mid-size SUV and looks much like its stablemate Honda Pilot. The step-up into the cab is not that high either and can be perfect for those who don’t need extra trail-riding ground clearance.

The cabin of the upper-trim RTL-E features extra comfort with heated leather front seats with 10-way driver’s side power adjustment, heated steering wheel, and power-sliding rear cabin window. It also gets a premium 8-speaker sound system for the commute.

The only complaint we have with the Ridgeline, as with all Honda models, is the programmable seats re-adjust to it’s original setting every time we got in and started the vehicle. We didn’t have time to sit and figure out how to program the seat so it was continually annoying.

2020 Honda Ridgeline
The rear seats fold up for carrying additional cargo

The interior is bigger than the competition making it ideal for a growing family and the split-fold back seat fold up with the flip of a handle on either side. This allows for more cargo room if you need to haul extra gear or carry larger purchases from the store you don’t want to be left in an open cargo bed.

There are also two charge ports for rear-seat passengers. Overall, the cabin is a comfortable place to spend time commuting or taking long road trips.

2020 Honda Ridgeline
Ridgeline features lockable in-bed storage

The cargo bed is wider than the competition and offers a lockable in-bed trunk (with 7.3 cubic feet of cargo) that is unique to the segment. Ridgeline also features a handy tailgate that hinges at the bottom and sides, making cargo more easily accessible.

Engine, Fuel Mileage Specs and Towing capacity

All Ridgeline mid-size trucks are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The V6 comes mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Sport and RTL trim levels, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option. The RTL-E comes standard with AWD.

Towing capacity for all-wheel-drive models is 5,000 lbs, with the front-wheel-drive Ridgeline capable of towing 3,500 pounds. Those towing numbers are near the bottom of the midsize class, but the payload is competitive.

EPA fuel mileage estimates come in at 19/24 city/highway mpg and 21 combined mpg with all-wheel-drive.

2020 Honda Ridgeline
Ridgeline is well-mannered on the road

We tested the Ridgeline at altitude in the mountains west of Denver where some vehicles struggle to climb a hill. We thought the 3.5-liter V6 engine had enough power for hauling people and cargo even up a high mountain pass. For shoppers looking for a comfortable family hauler and occasional utility truck, the Ridgeline will have plenty of power, especially at sea level.

The ride is also more car-like than truck and on the road, it's well-mannered and feels extremely competent. The cabin is quiet and we didn’t hear a lot of noise as we traveled in heavy stop-and-go traffic this week. The Honda Sensing adds an extra layer of security and helped this week as the driver-assist system alerted us to hit the brakes as a car in front came to a quick stop.

The ride is smooth over uneven pavement and the coil-sprung independent rear suspension makes bumps on dirt roads barely noticeable. We had a big two-foot snowfall this week and it gave us the perfect environment to test the AWD system.

The Ridgeline’s all-wheel-drive offers plenty of traction, and the electronic drive modes helped the mid-size truck perform well in the deep snow. The settings change the transmission shift pattern to hold lower gears, move power to rear wheels, and soften throttle response. The Ridgeline has eight inches of ground clearance but still plowed through deep snowdrifts without issue.

Conclusion

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline mid-size truck may not have a rugged off-road ability like it’s rivals, but not everyone is going to take their truck off-road deep into the wilderness. And it comes with a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system providing multi-surface traction for all-weather capability. If you need a more civilized pickup, the Ridgeline offers a refined ride, comfortable interior and is the roomiest truck in this segment.

You Might Also Like: What The Next-Generation Honda Ridgeline Mid-Size Pickup Desperately Needs

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our TN Honda page and be sure to follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagram. Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.

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Photo credit: Honda USA


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Comments

Your comment on not knowing how to program or take time to program the driver's seat calls into question your status as a car reviewer/writer. The seat memory buttons are right at the door handle. It is set button first and driver 1 or 2 after. I can understand not getting the manual out for things that you are not going to use, but this is simple.
The Ridgeline has a roomiest cab but only left to right since the legroom is the shortest not only in the middle class but among all trucks! The swinging tailgate is a nice to have for the easy access to a cargo, unfortunately you can not secure the gate so it's always possible the gate would be opened and a cargo for example a lawn mover rolled out when too heavy to lift over the wall. In Canada, when buying the highest trims you are getting ventilated seats, blessing with leather seats on sunny days but not in the U.S.A.? The infontainment system has only value knob but not channel and is prone for fingerprints and very shinny and slow. In general a good urban pick-up for short to mid height people.
comments to the Ridgeline that it doesn't have trucklike carateristics would play into that it isn't a truck, but a separate category. I know I would be interested in the travel trailer capability.
Excellent features and would meet the need of my family and my others if we could only get over driving a vehicle that looks like my wife's minivan with the back end cut out. I love Honda's. I drive one. Not a mini van; sorry, I meant truck.
I just recently traded in my 2016 Toyota Tacoma SR5, Pre Runner for our 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Burgundy exterior with creme colored leather interior. We love it!