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Dreams of Honda Ridgeline Hybrid top New York Auto Show speculation

American Honda Motors is pulling off the biggest anticipatory, suspense building announcement in recent memory. Top of the wish and want list for many Ridgeline loyal is a 2016 edition featuring greater fuel economy. How will Honda achieve it?

We’ve yet to meet a Ridgeline owner that doesn’t love his or her’s truck. They’ll speak on for hours as to the car-like ride, bullet-proof mechanical attributes and unique styling. This very diverse group of Honda aficionados have one bone of contention, a commonality if you will; They all wish for greater fuel economy.

Torque News-Honda has a 2008 Ridgeline in the family. We’ve featured a photo of the black on black Ridgeline wearing 20 inch rims and sporting Flowmaster exhaust. Other than that, the Ridgeline is dead-stock and damn thirsty.

Granted, Eric drives a bit aggressively, and rarely records an average 16+ mpg out of his Ridgeline. This seems to be the magic number around town for most Ridgeline owners interviewed. Nonetheless, they love their Honda anti-truck.

2016 Ridgeline estimated mpg must be in line with the competition to compete

Now that’s an interesting observation. We’ll take credit for starting the Ridgeline Hybrid rumor late in 2013. But the truth is, looking to 2016 Honda Pilot specifications, assuming that Ridgeline will be based on a Pilot platform, Ridgeline need not be hybridized to meet or beat current ½ ton pickup fuel economy averages.

Here’s the logic

While Torque News hasn’t spent any seat time in 2016 Honda Pilot, (that’s scheduled for late April) we do know that 2016 Pilot will feature a slightly detuned version of the engine found in the 2016 Acura MDX. We also know that the 9 speed automatic transmission as found in MDX and TLX will be featured in Pilot and sent to the pavement via a next generation (clutched)VTM-4. or FWD standard.

Following Pilot-construction logic, and looking to the anticipated weight and specifications of 2016 Ridgeline, we predict that fuel economy will fall in range with the current Acura MDX: 18/26/21 or greater, without utilizing a hybrid system. We also know that the next generation Ridgeline will feature a bit more interior space, cutting edge touch screen and voice activated connectivity, navigation and a suite of active safety features.

When released, Honda Ridgeline will be the most advanced slightly under ½ ton pickup truck in North America

There’s a method to our madness on the road to improved Ridgeline fuel economy. Through improved cage, construction rigidity, lessened dead-weight rolling load, improved aerodynamics and implementation of Honda’s EarthDream ™ direct fuel injected low friction i-VTEC V6 with cylinder management, Ridgeline would pick up no less than 10 to 15% in fuel efficiency. By employing the latest generation “clutched” VTM-4 4-wheel drive system, and differential locker’s Honda further reduces demand on the engine when Ridgeline is not engaged in off-road activity.

A few closing thoughts

O.K., let’s get crazy! Knowing Honda and their current propensity for throwing a bit of automotive industry, groundbreaking news at the national automotive press, Torque News would not be surprised with the introduction of a small displacement, aluminum block turbocharged option for Ridgeline. Furthermore,(what do we know,) combining a small displacement turbocharged gasoline engine with Honda’s 1 to 3 motor hybrid systems would place Ridgeline in a league of its own. It could happen! We look forward to Honda’s New York Auto Show Announcement.


RichK (not verified)    March 30, 2015 - 11:26PM

No problems here. I have a 2009 Ridgeline that gets 24mpg on the highway as long as I use cruise control.. Other than that it's the best light weight truck I've ever owned. Storage is phenomenal and you can't beat the ride. I'd buy another if this one ever wears out.

Tony (not verified)    April 2, 2015 - 9:14AM

In reply to by Parks McCants

I have the 2006 model. The only issue I had with it has been the VTM-4 light lighting up. The mechanic hasn't been able to fix it yet. I have to do research on it. I just HATE the poor mpg, though. I'm hoping the new one will be at least 20/26. I won't buy it otherwise.

Larry (not verified)    March 31, 2015 - 6:25PM

I have a 2007 Ridgeline with 142K on it. It has been rock, solid reliable and will be used in a few weeks to tow a boy scout trailer on a 8 day trip. I love my Ridge! But I average a little under 15 around town and 19-20 (70 mph) highway. I've gotten as much as 24 mpg highway but at a steady 60 mph which was painful to go that slow. BUt I do get better mpg when towing the scout trailer than others with their F-150's and Suburbans by a few mpg.

RichK (not verified)    March 31, 2015 - 9:02PM

Hi Parks,

Thanks for the kudos. Yes, I love this Ridgeline. It's perfect for a small family where a bit of utility is needed. I didn't need a Dodge Ram or a Ford 250 as I don't plan on pulling a monster behind me. 5000 lbs is perfect for a boat or small travel trailer..
I do hope that the new design won't eliminate the sloped bed rails as that seems to be the trade mark for this truck. I have had many people ask me about this truck. I wonder why Honda doesn't advertise more often. I think they are missing the market.
Have fun..
p,s. I currently have 62,000 miles on it and not one bit of trouble

Parks McCants    April 1, 2015 - 12:19AM

In reply to by RichK (not verified)

Initially, Ridgeline was selling 40,000+ units per year. The downturn in the economy impacted Ridgeline sales.with light pickup trucks being the #1 selling vehicle in the U.S., Ridgeline when returned to market will sell very well. Thanks RichK. Wishing you safe and trouble-free driving.

Larry (not verified)    April 1, 2015 - 3:28PM

My boy scout trailer, when loaded weighs between 3500 and 3800 lbs. And towing it I get about 11½ MPG. When driving in the summer with my kayak racks (2 Thule Hullavators) I average around 13 with the 2 kayaks on it. And over 14 with it empty. And towing my popup with bikes, kayaks, truck loaded, I regularly average over 13 mpg.It's a great truck and vehicle and the first one I have ever owned and wanted beyond 5 years of ownership.

I'm starting to think about replacing it and hope the new Ridgeline comes out in 2016 as reported.

Larry (not verified)    April 2, 2015 - 8:44AM

The tow mpg I'm very happy with. It's the driving around with nothing in tow and no racks and just passenger mpg that I wish was much better. It's a 700 mile round trip to my son in college and at 70 mph, where traffic barely is (usually faster) I get around 19 mpg. 65 mph nets me 22 mpg. I'd love to see those numbers around 28. And I'd love to see my around town numbers closer to 21-22-ish as 14.x I do not like.

BUT the truck is awesome and whenever I go somewhere with friends, they all want me to drive as it's so roomy and comfy for 4 large adult men. (my wife is comfy too).

It's a great truck period.

Rob (not verified)    April 2, 2015 - 9:08AM

Count me as a only a moderately satisfied 2011 Ridgeline Owner. The vehicle is more of a masculine mini-van than functional mid-sized pickup. I do love the additional storage bed but I'd trade it for a few tie-downs, rear power outlets, and an OEM hard tonneau. At 65k, there are about 5-6 nagging problem (e.g. Navi read error) that taint the driving experience. Shame there isn't more competition in this market (looking at you Ford!) so while waiting for the 2016 model, I'll be eyeing the new Tacoma and continue to lament the end of the Sport Trac.

Parks McCants    April 2, 2015 - 11:43AM

In reply to by Rob (not verified)

Welcome Rob. It will be interesting to see where Honda takes Ridgeline as to design and convenience features. Chevrolet has vowed to release a new "small" truck. Nothing from Ford as the F150 becomes more fuel efficient than the Ranger based Sport-Track. Good luck with the faulty Navigation.

Sean (not verified)    April 20, 2015 - 10:59AM

I love my 2006 Ridgeline. I have 487500 km on it today. I've been waiting patiently for the next generation for some time now and I sure hope it meets or exceeds my expectations.

Sean (not verified)    April 20, 2015 - 2:49PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

I have every service record from new. The engine, transmission, "entire exhaust system", starter and AC compressor are original. Mostly highway mileage getting 11.5litres/ 100km. in the milder temps of early spring to late fall. Drops too 14-14.5litres/ 100km in the winter and this one was a beast. I didn't follow the recommended timing belt change @ 100000km. I did so @ 1600000km with all 3 so far with no issues. I had to replace the front struts last fall for the first time and the rear suspension arms last spring. Some of the tire sets worked very well on this truck; others not so much. It is working on my second set of winter tires now and will change over to the 3rd set of summer tires in a week or so.

RichK (not verified)    April 20, 2015 - 1:50PM

Rob, I agree. Ridge need better tie downs and a power outlet for 120V. I installed a 12v outlet from my trailer plug and fitted into the side panel in the bed.which works very well for small stuff. As I has said in a previous post, the Ridge is perfect for small size hauling (family style).and not good for heavy pulling. Mileage has been acceptable considering the area I live in is pretty flat. I too am waiting for the new model to appear and hope there are improvements all around. I chose not to go hi tech on mine as I don't need the hassle of the navigation system and the reported failures associated with the system. Maybe I'm too old to care but I do have a great iphone with all the bells and whistles installed include GPS and all that stuff..
Have fun guy's,

James Obenchain (not verified)    May 14, 2015 - 2:41PM

I had a 2007 Ridge kept it 4 years 150,000 miles no trouble ' except closed trunk on upright 2 litre bottle and the neck of the bottle went into center of the child safety release and the trunk could not release the closed trunk . The only solution was to measure and drill a hole to manualy move the bottle away from the
inside trunk release . Traded truck for 2011 Odessey didn't like the veriable cam timing . L had trouble fouling spark plugs .Now have a 2014 Ridge Sport 35.000 miles no trouble.

Frogeyes_LA (not verified)    May 30, 2015 - 1:32AM

I own a 2006, RTL, purchased in 2005 after Katrina. Never had a better truck when towing. The AWD is the key. Put a set of Michelin on it and can't feel safer. It's going on 10 yrs now and only had a radiator problem from a rock in the road, my Digital Display ($2k to get fix'd) goes wacky when outdoor temps drop below 60 F', and headliner is coming down. Also have over 255K mi on it -90% highway. Just put $5k into it for new struts, brakes, tires, radiator, thermostat, plugs and other stuff. In all I love this truck. Honda, whatever you do, don't change the AWD and need a longer bed. I have a thousand stories about what I do in this truck. Most people are amazed when they see me rolling at 80 to 90 mph pulling a 21ft trailor.

Parks McCants    May 30, 2015 - 12:44PM

In reply to by Frogeyes_LA (not verified)

Welcome Frogeyes_LA. Reads like you've worked your Ridgline! The AWD system on the new Ridgeline will most likely be identical to the 2016 Honda Pilot system. Read our Pilot review when you find a moment. We'd like to see a photo of your Ridgeline. Take care.

AJ - Milw (not verified)    June 15, 2015 - 1:05AM

I own an '06 RTL 4dr w/ Moonroof, XM and Nav plus all the options from new. It's at 280,000 mi. I too changed the timing belt and water pump, spark-plugs, serpentine belt and idler pulley the first time at 160K & the second at 260K. The 1st time the mechanic couldn't wait to show me the parts he'd changed out. "Why are we changing these, they are as good as the new one's". The spark plug's gaped the same as the new, no cracks anywhere in the old timing belt, water-pump wouldn't spin a full revolution, it's as tight as a the new one. "Amazing"! I have always use Amsoil and I don't have mechanical problems, ever, with mechanical or electronic's. I drive it 2,000 mi at a time. Just returned from Texas 1,500 mi. I only have to replace tires, brakes and the normal wear items. The original battery lasted 6 yrs. I did have to fix an engine oil leak (gasket) @ 240K found during 2nd timing belt, etc change. My total repair costs are less than $0.50/mi drive. It has never failed to preform for me in all weather and altitude condition's as we drive through the Colorado Rockie's, along the beaches of Texas, Calif., N.C, to Fla., and the kettle & moraines of Wis as we travel the USA, it averages 14/20 mpg. I have driven it from the east coast to the west, from Canada to Mexico and through most of the 48 states, in temperature from -30 to 100+ deg temperature's. I love this reliable dependable freedom on wheels. My wish list is: better mpg, better Nav/gps and voice recognition systems, less wind noise, bluetooth, 120v inverter, upc chargers for our electronics, auto-start and heated steering wheel (it is shivering cold below zero). I constantly refer to the Nav map for guidance and couldn't get along without it. It (Nav) has guided me to a dead-end on a Texas ranch, had to go back. It was wrong, but I still love it; it just isn't accurate as I would like. If anyone want's the best all around 1/2 ton truck or rust free vehicle I have ever owned, get the Ridge. I am!

Wayne (not verified)    June 15, 2015 - 10:50AM

I have a 2006 Ridgeline RTL imported back into Canada in 2008. It has 121,000 miles on it. We have used it on two occasions to pull two different trailers to the southern USA during our winter. Each time we have put on 6000 miles or about 9000 km. This truck pulls our current 3800 lb [empty] trailer loaded with the usual travel stuff. We love the space in the truck and it handles well on the highway but gas mileage is 10-12 mpg while towing..similar to N.A. trucks. I have replaced the timing belt as per U.S. recommendations, current belt is #3. We have replaced the rack & pinion system, the sway bars and bushings and just the usual maintenance. We will definitely look at the new 2016 RL which we hope will have increased towing capacity perhaps up to 7000 or 7500 lbs so that 'ultralite' travel trailers can be towed easily. I agree with the comments on the Nav system and with most of the comments on the wish list from AJ.

Parks McCants    June 15, 2015 - 5:42PM

In reply to by Patrick Le Beau (not verified)

Welcome Wayne and Patrick. Thank you for your comments. Yes, we'll keep you informed as to developments as Honda releases that information. To date they're pretty quiet about Ridgeline development. I believe we have a pretty good idea of the engine and drive train looking to 2016 Honda Pilot. I'm personally hoping for more, but knowing that the two vehicles will share the same platform, there's no knowing in what direction Honda will eventually go with the engine. today Honda announced a focus on gasoline turbocharged technology in the Civic lineup. but that's not Ridgeline. Thanks for dropping by.