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2020 Honda Ridgeline Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Sport vs RTL, RTL-E & Black Edition
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 Honda Ridgeline Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Calling it a midsize adventure truck, Honda invites drivers to check out its only pickup. While providing hauling capacity that many owners want, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline focuses on modern aspects of pickup truck ownership.

A spacious interior invites comparisons to the Honda Pilot. New this year, the eight-inch touch screen with advanced connectivity is on every model. Also standard across the line-up, advanced technology reduces the chances of an accident. Active noise cancellation reduces the road noise in the cabin and adds to the overall positive ride quality.

The Ridgeline bed makes this truck unique from the start. An exclusive lockable in-bed trunk, exclusive dual-action tailgate, trunk bedlights, and eight heavy-duty tie-down cleats are ready to assist the busy hauler. An available truck-bed audio system is ready to entertain.

Carrying capacity is 33.9 cubic feet for this 5.3-inch bed. Measuring 7.3-cubic feet, the in-bed truck has plenty of space for tools, luggage, or gear. Owners find many uses for this, especially if they work out of their truck or travel widely. This weather-sealed compartment can store an 82-quart ice chest or be turned into one, thanks to its convenient drain.

The dual-action tailgate can lie down as expected. This provides extra length when hauling. However, the tailgate can also swing to the side like a door. This can make quick loading and unloading simpler. It’s especially helpful when you want to reach the in-bed truck.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline benefits from excellent safety ratings. It has earned five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unlike many trucks, it has managed to earn Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a private crash-testing agency.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Front-Wheel vs All-Wheel Drive

Making sure the Ridgeline can get where it needs to go, the V6 engine cranks out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. With the redline at 6800 rpm, this is one truck that loves the highway as much as the mud. Drivers will feel confident in busy highway traffic. They will also have the capability they need if they are hauling a big load.

The Direct Fuel Injection system is aided by variable cylinder management to reduce highway fuel consumption. An Eco Assist allows the driver to reduce engine output when it isn’t needed. The active control engine mount system can adjust to bumps, protecting the engine from wear and tear

Honda’s nine-speed automatic transmission has been added to the Sport. With more gears, there's extra torque on the low end and the high end. Hill Start Assist helps protect the brakes and gears when the truck moves forward from a standstill to climb an incline on or off the road.

This transmission is also mated to the all-wheel drive system. Honda adds a heavy-duty transmission cooler, anticipating a bigger towing weight. On both drivetrains, the engine has a high-capacity radiator with two high-power fans.

Front-wheel drive makes it easier to drive this truck. It certainly feels more like you are controlling an SUV than a pickup. Furthermore, the Intelligent Traction Management system has a snow setting on the two-wheel drive models. This may be enough for many drivers.

However, for the all-wheel drive models, traction management includes settings for snow, sand and mud. AWD adds more ground clearance, too. This turns the Ridgeline into a better off-road vehicle. It’s a must-have for muddy campsites and rutted dirt roads.

AWD includes Intelligent Variable Torque Management. This moves torque to the wheels where it will do the most good and away from wheels experiencing too much spin. With this extra push, the Ridgeline AWD is less likely to get stuck. It can crawl more slowly due to extra torque at low speeds.

Fog lights are standard on both front-wheel and all-wheel drive Ridgelines. AWD models also have heated side mirrors whereas 2WD models don’t. This feature allows the driver to defrost the mirrors with the push of a button. It improves rearview visibility.

As for fuel economy, the front-wheel drive Ridgeline does slightly better. It earns 26 miles per gallon highway while the all-wheel drive edition earns 24 miles per gallon. They earn the same rate in the city. According to the Department of Energy fuel calculator, annual fuel costs differ by only $100.

The drivetrain makes a difference in towing, changing the rating from 3500 pounds to 5,000 pounds. In front-wheel editions, the Integrated Class III Trailer Hitch is pre-wired for a 7-pin connector. If you add all-wheel drive, it has the 7-pin connector already built in.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the Sport and RTL. Available on these models, all-wheel drive is standard on RLT-E and the Black Edition.

Compare the 2020 Honda Ridgeline Sport vs RTL Trims. What is the difference?

In 2019, Honda deleted the entry-level edition. Perhaps that explains why the 2020 Sport cabin definitely goes beyond what you’d expect in an entry-level truck. Above-average materials line the cabin. Tri-zone climate controls allow the backseat to enjoy better heating and cooling levels. Beverage holders and rear vents are in the backseat. Drivers will appreciate illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls and push button start.

The 2020 design includes rear doors that open wider, helping load people and cargo. The rear seat can be split and lifted to create storage space. For everyday use, there’s also rear under-the-seat storage and a multi-functional front center console storage unit.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are combined with HondaLink to provide plenty of apps and SMS text messaging. There are two USB ports for smartphones. A multi-view rearview camera has three angles for a better understanding of what’s behind the truck.

Available in two-wheel and all-wheel drive, Honda has packed this base edition with safety standards. Ridgeline drivers will appreciate a forward collision warning, especially since it is backed up by an emergency automatic braking response. Better than regular cruise, adaptive cruise control handles speeding and slowing while the driver steers.

The lane departure system warns the driver and assists with straightening up. In a similar way, the exclusive road departure system recognizes that the truck is leaving the safety of the road. It applies brake pressure and helps with steering to get the truck back into its lane.

Like the Sport, the RTL is available with either drivetrain. RTL models add a leather-wrapped steering wheel and available leather upholstery. The 10-way power-adjustable driver’s chair and 4-way power-adjustable passenger chair have power-heating capability.

Drivers will appreciate the fun of some open air driving. The one-touch power-slide moonroof can be used three ways: closed, open, tilt-open. A power-slide rear window adds more natural air. To reduce noise, Honda upgrades with an acoustic windshield.


Compare the 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL vs RTL-E Trims. What is the difference?

While the RTL comes with a choice of drivetrains, the RTL-E can only be purchased with all-wheel drive. Like the RTL, the RTL-E has power-adjustable, power-heated front seats, but it adds two-position memory to the driver’s side.

Leather covers both rows. Ambient lighting glows blue, adding a colorful accent. Additional courtesy door lights and illuminated beverage holders make the cabin more hospitable at night.

For light and air, it shares the RTL moonroof, and power-slide rear window. There's more warmth with the power-heat function on the steering wheel. Other extras include a conversation mirror, sunglasses holder, and automatic-dimming rearview mirror.

HD entertainment radio, Honda HD Digital Traffic, and satellite-linked navigation are added to the RTL-E touch screen system. A rear-facing USB port is added to the front console.

The exciting 540-watt premium audio system comes with a truck-bed audio system that you can control with your dash system or smartphone. It’s as if the entire bed is a speaker. This will surely make you the center of any tailgate party.

Also, Honda upgrades the truck lights to LEDs. These shine brighter, last longer, and are greener overall. A 150-watt power outlet and a 400-watt power outlet are RTL-E standards. You can get a lot of work done and have a lot of fun when you have that kind of connectivity.

RTL-E has front and rear parking sensors to help you maneuver the truck in tight spaces. This is always a welcome feature on a large vehicle. Honda upgrades the headlights to LED low-beams. Automatic on and off helps drivers and protects the battery.

Another RTL-E standard, the rear cross traffic monitor reduces the chances that the truck will back into a moving vehicle. A blind spot monitor helps the driver decide when it is safe to change lanes.

Compare the 2020 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E vs Black Edition Trim. What is the difference?

Packed with all of the RTL-E extras, the Black Edition manages to make its reputation with a dressed-up exterior and interior. Adding mystery to the sporty look, the exterior adds black wheels and blacked-out moldings.

Both models have leather interiors. However, the Black Edition has an upgraded black leather to trim the seats in comfort and style. A red stitch adds color to the steering wheel and seats.

While the RTL-E has blue ambient lighting, the Black Edition ambient lighting is a more appropriate racy red. It glows on the cupholders, front footwells and door handles. The touch screen has a red glow, too. All of that red really brings the Black Edition to life.

2020 Honda Ridgeline: Which Trim to Choose?

Ridgeline Sports will be enough for many buyers. With all of that safety equipment and dash entertainment, the price is definitely right. On the other hand, many buyers will be drawn to the RTL since it adds important extras, such as power chairs, but it is still affordable.

For those who want every one of today’s technologies, the ultimate Ridgeline is the RTL-E trim. Navigation tells you how to find your way to the next adventure. The unique bed audio system provides entertainment for your tailgate parties and camping trips. The bed power outlets will come in handy for jobsites. With the parking sensors and rear cross traffic alert, it’s definitely the easiest to park.

The Ridgeline Black Edition will tempt those who are most interested in appearances. Handsome, it exudes style with the many ways it accents the cabin with red lights and trim elements. The exterior elevates the look with its blacked-out elements.

Definitely the all-wheel drive Ridgeline will be the favorite for those who tow and for those who may go off road. Fortunately, you can opt for it with the Sport and RTL editions, or it is standard on the RTL-E or Black Edition.

The small fuel economy penalty is worth the extra 1500 pounds of hauling capacity. Plus, you can stray further off road with all-wheel drive. You also enjoy greater ground clearance, a benefit on the trail or in snow. Without all-wheel drive, you still have a solid truck, but the 3500-pound tow limit will limit your towing capability.

Used 2020 Honda Ridgeline:
Previous Honda Ridgeline Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Honda Ridgeline Trim Levels