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Making Sense of the 2018 Honda Ridgeline's Trim Levels

The 2018 Honda Ridgeline is available in six trim levels covering a range of prices, features, and AWD availability. Which one should you buy?


This is the base trim level that allows Honda to advertise their lowest starting price. Color choices are limited to Modern Steel Metallic and Lunar Silver Metallic with a black and gray cloth interior. The RT trim is only available in 2WD, so if you need the additional traction and handling or higher tow ratings that come with AWD, you’ll need to look to the next-higher trim level - the Sport.


The Sport is available in 2WD or AWD in three different exterior colors: White Diamond Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Crystal Black Pearl - each with a black cloth interior. The Sport adds features such as remote start, fog lights, automatic climate control, and HomeLink®. This trim level is best for those who want to stay on the lower end of the price range, but want to avoid a stripped-down model.


This is the least expensive model that comes with either a black, gray, or beige leather interior and all additional color choices including Obsidian Blue Pearl, Deep Scarlet Pearl, and Forest Mist Metallic. The leather seats in the RTL are also heated and include power adjustments for both the driver and passenger. Buyers looking for a mid-range model with an easy-to-clean leather interior might choose the RTL. Like the Sport, the RTL is available in both 2WD and AWD versions.


The RTL-T trim adds an upgraded infotainment system, modern LED daytime running lights, Honda’s LaneWatch™ camera, Android Audio™ and Apple CarPlay™, SiriusXM® satellite radio, navigation, and two additional USB ports for rear passengers. The 8” touch screen also adds the ability to customize vehicle settings such as lighting delays and how the door locks operate. Buyers looking for higher levels of technology without spending top dollar might find the RTL-T appealing.


Here is where you’ll find everything the Ridgeline has to offer including: Honda Sensing®, blind spot and cross traffic monitoring, moonroof, power rear window, LED headlights, automatic high beams, AC power outlet, front and rear parking sensors, heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, two-position memory for various settings, and the most powerful audio system including Honda’s truck-bed audio system. Buyers looking for the most well-equipped Ridgeline with standard AWD (but don’t want black - see Black Edition) will want the RTL-E.

Black Edition

This is the most sinister-looking Ridgeline with its Crystal Black Pearl exterior, black wheels, and black leather interior with red stitching. The headliner is black as well bringing a monotone appearance to the interior compared to the lighter headliners in the other trims. The Black Edition offers the same equipment as the RTL-E.

I chose the RTL-E because I wanted the most features in an exterior color other than black. For most buyers, I’d recommend the RTL or above. The base RT trim is too plain while the Sport carries a significant price premium for the appearance. If you’re willing to spend the money for the RTL-T, you might as well go one step up to the RTL-E which adds a ton of features for the incremental price increase. If the all-black look is your thing, the Black Edition may be worth considering, but for me, the RTL-E hits the sweet spot.