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Prediction: 2016 Honda Ridgeline will be North America's #1 Hybrid truck

With the 2014 Ridgeline fuel economy and load capacity taking 3rd position to Chevrolet and Ford, Honda will pull Ridgeline off the market for a year or two. We believe the 2016 Ridgeline will return as the #1 Hybrid pickup truck in North America.

Chevrolet tried it with the 1500 Silverado Hybrid. Owners of the truck either loved it or hated it. All found the transition between gas and electric to be a bit jerky. In 2014 Chevrolet dropped the Hybrid and opted for the EcoTec 3 V8. A gasoline fired motor that produces greater mpg efficiency than the Hybrid truck; through variable timing; high compression and cylinder management.

Nonetheless, Chevrolet’s 10 year run proved the market limitations as well as the viability of a ½ ton Club or Crew-Cab Hybrid pickup truck.

Granted, the Ridgeline is not the size of a Chevy Silverado pickup nor does it offer the same interior cab space, payload or tow capacity. But what it does offer is superior off-road ride, car-like ergonomics and handling characteristics. In short, the Ridgeline is the perfect car-truck.

We believe that this is what Honda intended it to be . So, why is Honda pulling the Ridgeline off the market?

Late in 2013, American Honda Motor Co. leaked a shadow drawing implying a body redesign for the Ridgeline. The drawing hints at greater aerodynamic coefficient, but that’s about it. in short, the Ridgeline’s combined mpg rating of 17 is no longer competitive; as Chevrolet and Ford raises the bar of light truck fuel efficiency and power to weight ratios.

The 2014 Ford F150 claims an un heard of 25 mpg Highway in a full size pickup. The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 claims 23 mpg. These fuel ratings and subsequent power to weight ratios, superior load and tow ratings, render the niche market Ridgeline obsolete in one on one truck comparison albeit one category; price and standard features.

Where the Ridgeline remains a relative light truck bargain is at the “ bottom line.” With a suggested “beginning price” msrp of $29,575, a nicely equipped Ridgeline is priced $5,000 below a 2wd Silverado. Honda effectively includes the best 4 wheel drive system(VTM-4) in the business standard across the line. You can’t buy a 2 wheel drive Ridgeline. Locking Rear Differential, independent front and rear suspension, Drive by Wire and 5 speed automatic transmission; all standard.

When we compare the weight to power ratio of the Ridgeline to the Chevy and Ford, we find them to be comparable at the lower end of the available engine spectrum. Honda utilizes the Aluminum block 3.5 liter 24 valve sohc V6 to power the Ridgeline. In its stock form, the motor produces 250 hp and 245 ft-lb torque. Plenty of juice for a truck platform weighing in at under 4575 lbs; 2,000lb less than the Chevy Silverado.

For 2014 Honda holds the title for "most fuel efficient" midsize sedan(Accord Hybrid) and most fuel efficient minivan(Odyssey.) Not so for the Ridgeline. This small, tech laden truck is thirsty.

Logic dictates that Honda R&D is exploring the integration of iMMD Hybrid technology into the Ridgeline platform. With Ridgeline sales increasing by 29% in 2013, the public has spoken;they like the size,style and utility of the Ridgeline.

Prediction: Viability of a 30+ mpg pickup lies in Honda’s court and will most likely metamorphise in the form of the 2016 Ridgeline Hybrid Pickup. We expect a new and improved Ridgeline to provide greater interior space, a slightly greater payload and tow rating while providing great mileage and utility. Don’t be surprised if your 2016 Ridgeline comes with regenerative braking and E-CVT.


GP (not verified)    September 29, 2014 - 10:27AM

I talked to the Toyota/Honda at this year's Chicago Auto Show. I asked about the hybrid pickup idea, the Toyota people mentioned their concept truck, but when I asked when it will be ready, they just gave me vague answers. However, when I talked to the Honda people about what was coming for the Ridgeline they sounded like they wanted to say that the updates that were coming were much like one would expect, although the hybrid didn't sound that likely (disappointing). Lighter body panels (aluminum), better aerodynamics, and a more fuel efficient engine all sounded likely. However, what I would describe as the Hybrid salesperson from Honda, sounded really hopeful that the Ridgeline could potentially be coming.

Robert C (not verified)    December 11, 2014 - 11:04PM

Test drove the Ridgeline this summer, liked it except for too much hard plastics and fuel economy. Front seat needed to go back three more inches for me. I always considered it a chick truck but with the redesign that's a game changer.

Parks McCants    December 12, 2014 - 12:53PM

In reply to by Robert C (not verified)

Good day Robert. Yes, we have one in the family. My son's 08 is bumped up a bit on the performance side with performance chip. Magna-flow exhaust, air intake modifications and custom alloy rims. its fun to drive! However, Ridgeline in its modified glory is damn fuel thirsty. I agree with you as to driver's seating position. I do like Ridgelines handles on dirt roads , mud and snow conditions. Looking forward to driving the next generation.

Joe O (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 12:07AM

Dodge is offering eight speed auto, all other manufacturers six speed. Honda offers a five speed, reducing performance and mileage. Do the right thing Honda, and make this the game changing vehicle it could be with eight speed, extra low first gear ratio and cylinder deactivation. This platform has no excuse to not get 25 MPG highway, a top consideration in vehicle purchases.

Parks McCants    December 29, 2014 - 9:01PM

In reply to by Joe O (not verified)

Hey Joe O, good idea's. I believe we already have cylinder management standard across the line. I'm thinking a CVT transmission linked to a direct injected EarthDreams gasoline turbo charged engine would kick up the fuel economy a bit. We also have access to EarthDreams diesel technology and 3 motor hybrid technology as utilized in race proven SH-AWD.

Robert C (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 12:54PM

RAM has alien technology! RAM is using unfair alien transmission technology to gain an unfair advantage in the truck market, it's the only thing that makes sense. How is it possible RAM can squeeze 25 mpg out of a half ton gas pickup and the other guys are like 40% less? Maybe Asia can recruit some of these little Grays to work in their engineering departments.
I guess another possibility is that Asia has lost it's edge and became lazy and complacent like us fat Americans. Looks like RAM with alien technology is poised to take over the world. Do like the China does and copy copy copy-- if you can.
These multi-speed transmissions are needed to gain mileage numbers because I am not buying a new gas fuel hog ever again. We want quality, efficiency, and value.
There is a difference between being slow to market and terminally slow to market. Terminally slow to market means the competition is running over you and killing your sales and putting you out of business.

Robert C (not verified)    December 29, 2014 - 10:11PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

Never said anything about Martians-just aliens but here is the point, these manufacturers have to move faster or the competition will swallow them. I do own a 2008 Nissan Altima with a 2.5 four banger and the thing is fast and mileage is great and quality is there. It is rated at 175 hp and CV transmission, why cant Nissan beef that drive-train up and put it into a Frontier? I feel pretty sure the manufacturers know what we want and need, now it is up to them to produce if they want to sell trucks.
Oh you don't think we are alone in this infinite space? It is just sad that RAM made first contact and will not share their new work force.

Tony B (not verified)    October 7, 2015 - 2:32AM

I just sat on the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It felt like siting inside the 2016 Honda Pilot. In many way it very closely related with the new Pilot from chassis to engine, to tranny, and to tech packages.

I believe it will be a big hit among urban dwellers who needs a mid-sized truck that drives like a car with all the gadgetry that comes as options.

I nominated it as the 2017 midsize truck of the year! 4WD @ 18 to 25 mpg. Wow!

Robert C (not verified)    October 7, 2015 - 12:04PM

Apparently Honda got the message we need fuel economy and want a nice interior. I guess the alien transmission technology is catching on. I want to see some photos without the bullet proof vest on it. I would make a wager that Honda probably did a good job even with it being unveiled. Waiting on Honda to do the flop and show us something!

Tony B (not verified)    October 7, 2015 - 7:28PM

Honda did get the messages. In my opinion if they want to dominate this segment, towing capacity needs to be upgraded like turbo or supercharging option; and as gas price continue to stay low for the near decade, demands for RVing and recreational towing of equipment will be a consideration in buyers' minds.
So far with the 9 speed AT, stop and start feature, ECO mode, improved aerodynamic nose, and less weight, Honda Ridgeline has come along way comparing to others.
Pricewise? I speculate it as 25K and up!

Stephen (not verified)    May 6, 2016 - 6:18PM

For me to consider buying a ridgeline, it better have 30+ mpg (via hybrid technology) or be electric. I'm guessing it will be 20/25 mpg since they are only saying industry leading, which thus will only be modest fuel improvement numbers. Maybe I will have to wait until Tesla comes out with an electric truck before this sector of the industry really sees an improvement.

Parks McCants    May 7, 2016 - 2:48PM

In reply to by Stephen (not verified)

Good day Stephen. While not initially hybrid, Honda and Acura are moving in the direction as demonstrated by the 2017 hybrid MDX SUV. for Ridgeline, you may anticipate a + 5 mpg fuel efficiency gain with no less than 25 to 27 mpg highway. * The best in class for a V6 powered midsize pickup.