King's_2009_Honda_Ridgeline
Parks McCants's picture

Mandel commentary sparks Rumors of Honda Ridgeline Hybrid

Bending the news: Honda’s executive v.p. John Mendel is one of the best in the industry at dropping bread-crumbs of information at the feat of a very hungry automotive press corp. After all, we all need a story. Torque News takes a closer look at what we we’ll laughingly call the “Ridgeline Hybrid conspiracy.”
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O.K., we’ll admit that we like the idea of a Honda hybrid pickup truck. And in fact, have been implemental in planting that seed in the automotive press. After-all, when looking to Ridgeline’s current MPG rating, there’s much room for improvement.

When Honda rolled the last Ridgeline off the production line in 2014, the lighter than ½ ton rated unit-body car-truck held one of if not the lowest fuel efficiency ratings in the segment.

While Ridgeline’s on and off-road performance and ride was superior to many mid-size trucks, In the last two years of production Honda dealers couldn't give Ridgeline away without factory and dealership incentives. Selling fewer than 1200 Ridgeline trucks per month in 2013, Honda opted to pull Ridgeline off market for 2 years, along with the promise of a major engineering and design overhaul.

What could “The year of Honda” bring to Ridgeline?

A better question yet is what must the next generation Ridgeline bring to the table to compete with the Detroit Big 3, Nissan and Toyota?

Honda’s not looking to catch up with Dodge Ram, F150 or Toyota Tacoma, they don’t have to. While Honda Ridgeline fans speculate as to the look, specifications and arrival date of Honda’s only North American built pickup-like truck, the 1-2-3 punch of Accord, Civic and CR-V carry the Honda Car Division with Acura MDX, RDX and TLX picking up the rear. Besides, Ridgeline runs in a class of its own. It’s not a conventional ½ ton pickup truck.

So why a 2016 Ridgeline Pickup?

For those of us that have a Ridgeline in the family(see the heading photo)don’t question Honda’s logic in taking the next step in Ridgeline development. We love our Honda truck. But in speaking with fellow Ridgeline owners, we discover a common request or two; better fuel economy and greater towing capacity; that’s it! Ridgeline has a very loyal following in North America.

Increased fuel economy and mid-range torque

We find a handful of line items in John Mandel’s "The year of Honda” speech. While the Detroit Auto Show crowed found little “news” in Honda’s display and presentation; we did. Here you go…

The most logical steps in finding greater fuel economy and towing capacity in Ridgeline are, upper and under-body aerodynamics, turbocharged VTEC engine technology, regenerative braking capabilities, a CVT or dual clutched automated 7 or 8 speed transmission, and a 2 or 3 motor torque vectoring hybrid system. Granted, that’s a long and expensive list.However, to take Ridgeline to the fuel economy precipice now dominated by Dodge Ram Eco-diesel(29 mpg) Honda has a formidable task at hand. Can it be done? sure, how much are consumers willing to pay to drive Honda’s Made in the U.S.A. pickup?

Final note: Ridgeline has a near cult status in the U.S.. We believe that Honda knows that and is rolling the dice on increasing its light truck market presence through a new and much improved state of the art, benchmark setting hybrid ½ ton crew cab pickup. By integrating Accord or RLX Sport Hybrid characteristics in an extended cab, car like interior offering the utility of a pickup truck, Honda takes the next logical step in North American market prominence if not dominance.


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Comments

Thanks for the Ridgeline review. Thinking of buying a 2016 Ridgeline.
Me too Stan. We'll see what 2016 brings. Best of luck to you.
I guess I belong to the Ridgeline Cult. I bought mine the day after Christmas 2005 and have loved it ever since. I am about ready to get a new one so I am very interested in any improvements. I hope it doesn't get too expensive though. I bought the low end RT model and got a good deal. I would rather get a new one over a used if I can afford it.
Welcome Ned. Tell us a bit about your 2005 Ridgeline. How has it held up over the years? gravel, snow, handling, mileage, fuel economy. I'm sure it will be priced to compete and available in 3 or 4 trim levels. We'll know later in 2015. Thanks.
Well if they let the folks who built the camaro near it. It will have a supercharged v8 and enough headroom for my 5'2" tall wife. Hop in the tundra and get my drift. Great big truck but not enough power to push more headroom down the highway than an accord. Oh forgot we want a grill the size of a 4x8 sheet of plywood but need more rake on the windshield than a 747. I personally loved the ridgeline but it had a funky steering wheel position with no telescopic. It was underpowered and had horrible mileage. Everything else was perfect. Looked fine. Right width to length and way overbuilt. Shut the door on an f150 and watch its outer panel go wangy wangy. None of that on a ridgeline. Keep the truck ditch the driveline aero everything but the roofline.
I own two 2008's. Not one problem with either one in the 5 Yeats and 160 k that they have been driven. My wish is for about 50 more horses to improve mountain passing performance. Don't screw up the ride. I tell people it rides like a '59 Cadillac. Nothing like it. If the '16 doesn't become a Tundra but stays true to the Ridgelines unique character I'll buy one.
I own a 2008 Ridgeline, and I love it. Seven years, and 130,000 miles, and running strong. Had to replace the catalytic converter at 80k (Honda picked up most of the cost). Also just had the AC worked on ($900), but other than that, just regular maintainace. At 14 mpg city, I sure hope that figure goes to at the very least 25 mpg city. If Honda can get the Mpg up substantially, I think a whole lot of people wil be rolling down the road in a Ridgeline.