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The latest Award for 2018 Honda Ridgeline will surprise you

Looking to the results of Car and Drivers “2018 Editors’ Choice Awards” finalist, there’s only one pickup truck listed in the midsize truck segment, Honda Ridgeline. That news is a bit surprising for conventional truck fans. How did Ridgeline nail C&D top honors?

Torque News takes a closer look at how 2018 Honda Ridgeline earns top honors in latest Car & Driver Editors’ Choice Awards: While a never ending debate ensues among die-hard, ladder-framed pickup truck owners as to what constitutes a true “Pickup Truck,” Honda’s unique Unibody platform 2018 Ridgeline Pickup continues to rack up consumer and auto-journalist accolades alike.

The latest Honda Ridgeline accolade comes from one if not the oldest auto publications in the game Car & Driver Magazine. But more of interest to this decades-long truck driver is what 2018 Ridgeline brings to the market that separates Honda’s only Pickup Truck, from light duty midsize offerings manufactured by Chevy, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota? What’s new with Honda Ridgeline for 2019?

We’ve driven them all, owned a dozen, but return to Honda Ridgeline for refinement of ride

Honda Ridgeline is the only Unibody constructed Pickup Truck remaining in any size segment. Back in the day, Chevy with the Camaro architecture El Camino, and Ford with the Falcon based Ranchero, brought market successful Unibody Pickup Trucks to the compact, midsize, and full size Pickup Truck segments in North America and beyond. The original Ridgeline Pickup came to market looking much like a ¾ scale Chevy Avalanche. That it wasn't.

Back in 2004, Ridgeline Pickup was but a unique looking Honda concept vehicle: Much to the delight of the first generation Ridgeline owners, Honda’s only Pickup Truck proved viable as a multiple-task work duty midsize Pickup Truck. Although extremely comfortable while traveling on the highway. Furthermore, the benefit of segment topping fuel economy was not lost on early Ridgeline owners who proudly reported driving 200,000 plus trouble free miles in their 3.5Liter V6 powered Ridgelines -- while towing loaded trailers, on and off road, in all weather conditions. We reported on our first Ridgeline encounter here.

The Honda Ridgeline difference

Let’s get the business side of this article out of the way. How did our friends at Car and Driver land on 2018 Honda Ridgeline as their single, one and only finalist for “Editors’ Choice for Best Midsize Pickup Truck?”

Truthfully, While Toyota Tacoma may be more conventional rear-wheel-drive truck like, Ridgeline features the largest, most comfortable 5-passenger cab found in the midsize truck segment today. A car-like drive dynamic; quiet road-noise isolated ride and drive environment; class leading (non-diesel) fuel efficiency, and a very powerful 3.5 Liter V6 horsepower and torque drive-experience.

The bonus for Ridgeline owners comes in the form of the most versatile tailgate-party ready truck bed, featuring a below deck lockable cooler-trunk, available 110 Volt inverter, a 2-way opening tailgate, and an available truck-bed integrated stereo-speaker system. We drop test Ridgeline’s poly-formed truck bed while visiting San Antonio.

There’s a true advantage to Honda Ridgeline Unibody rigidity on and off-road

For me, the hook that is Honda Ridgeline comes down to the smoothest, quietest truck ride available in a midsize truck segment. Yes, you can find a midsize truck offering greater towing capacity, higher ground clearance, and greater fuel efficiency via a diesel engine. Yet, none of the competition outshines Honda Ridgeline for total package value, variant-trim options, and car-like on and off road ride comfort.

Honda originally designed Ridgeline for those of us that require a light-duty pickup truck part time. Sure, I like Toyota. Read our Ridgeline, Tacoma comparison.

The true beauty of Ridgeline is its double-duty, multi-task capability. Ridgeline is Honda’s answer to the modern El Camino car-truck of last decade. The difference ? Ridgeline is truck-tough, mechanically trouble-free, and looks as good in-town as it does on the job site.

Read our “week in the seat” Honda Ridgeline drive review here. Like this article? Please share.


Bret Tidwell (not verified)    March 15, 2018 - 12:18AM

We just turned in our 2016 MDX. Very similar to the Ridgeline. We were very, very disappointed with the MDX AWD Technology... the Honda and Acura’s technology is terrible. Navigation is cumbersome and for the price the materials and fit and finish of Honda and Acura fall far behind their competitors. We now have a Jeep grande Cherokee Overland and it far better in adverse weather especially deep snow. The technology blows Acura’s and Honda’s away. So I’m very very much a skeptic when it comes to the Ridgeline. I drive an F-150 4x4 platinum for work and it’s far more capable than the Ridgeline and our kids first choice for vacation drives. We all prefer the visibility of sitting in a taller vehicle and the ride is excellent. I think many articles that complement the Honda are BMW drivers and luxury foreign car drivers. The Ridgeline will always be a marginal truck because it was not designed for pickup truck drivers who actually appreciate rear wheel drive and true four wheel drive. I have just a little over a million miles of driving under my belt. I won’t own too many more trucks but I will buy body on frame rear wheel 4x4s that sit higher for as long as I can drive. They made simply more comfortable and capable to me and I think sales numbers indicate that a heck of a lot of people agree.

Trinidad (not verified)    April 6, 2018 - 2:27PM

Bret - Just a few things on your comments that I think are important. Honda/Acura's have an all wheel drive system and it sounds like you're comparing an AWD to 4X4 system which is completely different. I will agree that navigation is cumbersome for the price, but it does get the job done at getting you where you need to go which is essentially the premise of a navigation... considering the price point, some manufactures do not even offer navigation at all. How deep is the snow you go through? Here in Minnesota I see AWD Honda's and Acura's all the time treading the same locals as the competition. In most cases people lift their trucks/suv's and put huge tires on them in which the same can be done on Pilots, Ridgelines and CRV's alike. I believe the reason you are a skeptic is because you're simply old school and like old school things. A tiger cannot change it's stripes after all. Oh and don't get me started on sales numbers... manufactures utilize fleet sales as part of their "Sales Numbers" tactics to make them look a lot better than what the case really is... just some things to think about.