2020 Honda Ridgeline Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline fills a definite niche in the midsize pickup class. This truck isn't focused on work. Instead it is designed for those who need both an SUV and a truck. The cabin's high quality attests to its near premium status at the entry level. The truck bed's unique qualities and high payload capacity make the case for its utility.
What's New for 2020?
Adding capability, every model now has a nine-speed automatic transmission. For the first time, the Ridgeline owner can lock the tailgate remotely. The second-row doors open wider. While this makes it easier for people to enter, the emphasis is on creating a wide gap for loading and unloading cargo.
Dropping the RT, the Sport is now the entry level model. The base edition, therefore, has many more features than last year's. Honda's Display Audio, for instance, is a new entry level standard. The RTL, RTL-E and Black Edition round out the offerings.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 Honda Ridgeline – The Pros
1. Utility and Versatility
While the Ridgeline's utility is limited by a single bed size, the overall versatility makes a compelling case for ownership. The truck has 33 cubic feet of cargo space on the second row. A 60/40 split seat can be folded. This bench also has 2.9-cubic feet of underseat storage. Furthermore, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline has the only in-bed trunk in its class.
Demonstrating the strength of its build and the seriousness of its V6 engine, payload capacity leads the class. It can handle up to 1,584 pounds. The bed size is 64 inches long by 60 inches wide. These dimensions are slightly larger than many direct competitors.
2. Special Bed Features
Among the Ridgeline's exclusive features, the dual-action tailgate can swing to one side like a door or it can be lowered like a traditional tailgate. This gives you more ways to reach your cargo. If it's down, the tailgate can withstand up to 300 pounds of weight.
Honda clearly knows that its buyers want the complete package. As such, eight heavy-duty tie-down cleats help you keep your cargo in place. The anti-scratch surface of the bed will keep it looking good longer. Truck bed lights help you with early morning loading and late night unloading. Ready to tow, the integrated class III trailer hitch comes with pre-wiring for a 7-pin connector.
An electronic tailgate lock lets you unlock or lock from a distance. Walk Away Auto Lock, another Honda exclusive, can lock the cabin doors for you. RTL-E editions add 150-watt and 400-watt truck-bed power plug-ins. These outlets can come in handy for working or camping.
3. In-Bed Trunk
Taking an intelligent approach to storage, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline has an in-bed trunk. This class-exclusive feature is a weather-sealed compartment that doesn't take up any bed space. It can be used for security, convenience or both. Owners will find it useful for packing for long trips or stowing gear for tailgating.
The area measures 7.3 cubic feet. Users can put an 82-quart ice chest into the space. They can also use the entire thing as an ice chest since it has a drain plug. Grocery bag hooks and available dividers make it even more useful. Since the Dual-Action Tailgate swings to the side, it won't be in your way when you load this compartment.
4. Exclusive Truck Bed Audio System
Honda really puts the emphasis on tailgating. It is the first truckmaker with an available truck bed audio system. This system places six exciters in the bed walls. These devices generate 540 watts of sound. It is controlled through the Display Audio home screen. This means that the user can utilize Bluetooth and a smartphone to operate remotely.
5. Better Rearview Camera
The Ridgeline is the only truck with a standard multi-angle rearview camera. It shows three views for a better overall look at what's behind the truck. If you add a rear cross traffic monitor, an active system watches for traffic that may intersect with the driver's trajectory.
6. Crash Avoidance and Active Braking
Ridgeline standards include a forward collision watch, a road departure watch, and a lane departure watch. These features will warn the driver when dangers are recognized. To get these on rival trucks, other than Toyota trucks, you definitely will pay extra.
If the Ridgeline driver cannot respond in time, the lane keeper or road departure system may try to turn the wheel. This can get the wheels back into the lane lines more quickly. The road departure system and the forward collision system may slow the car to try and prevent an accident. Emergency automatic braking has been shown to reduce the severity of impact even if it can't prevent it altogether. GMC Canyons, Chevy Colorados and Nissan Frontiers aren't offering these active features.
7. Adaptive Cruise Control and Related Driver Assistance
Adaptive cruise control is standard on the 2020 Honda Ridgeline. This system takes cruise control to a new level. It allows drivers to relax while the truck speeds or slows to match traffic conditions. The various warning systems help the driver stay alert to dangers while steering. GMC, Chevrolet, and Nissan trucks aren't offering a comparable system.
8. Fuel Economy
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline reduces the well-known fuel expense that comes with owning a truck. It earns 26 miles per gallon on the highway. That's equal to or greater than its V6 classmates. Variable Cylinder Management reduces fuel waste when the truck is coasting or cruising. An Eco-Assist system helps the driver get the most out of every gallon.
9. Higher Quality Cabin Comforts and Conveniences
Emphasizing spaciousness, every Ridgeline has 109.7 cubic feet of passenger space for five people. You can compare that to rivals such as the Toyota Tacoma, which measures just over 100 cubic feet. Class-exclusive standards include tri zone automatic climate controls with rear climate controls.
10. Complete Dash Entertainment Included
While rivals hold back on providing complete dash entertainment on the entry level model, Honda puts it all out there. An eight-inch electrostatic touch screen brings you high resolution views. Connectivity comes from HondaLink apps, SMS text messaging, and Bluetooth audio streaming. Further apps can be access with Android Auto integration or Apple CarPlay integration.
The 200-watt audio system places seven speakers around the cabin. Drivers can make use of a 1.5-amp USB port or 2.5-amp USB charging port. If you want more, there's an 8-speaker 540-watt system on the RTL-E. This model also has navigation with Honda HD Digital Traffic. Other aspects include HD radio and SiriusXM Radio.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 Honda Ridgeline – The Cons
1. Four-wheel Drive Not Included
This is the only truck where all-wheel drive is substituted for four-wheel drive. If you encounter regular snow, you are covered. If you expect to hit the trail, the intelligent traction management system has settings for snow, mud and sand. Still, that's not the same as having four-wheel drive.
2. Lower Ground Clearance
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline has 7.9 inches of ground clearance. Rivals have 8.9 inches (Chevy Colorado), 9.4 inches (Toyota Tacoma) or 10.1 inches (Nissan Frontier). This may make a difference on worksites and campsites.
3. Serious Off-Roaders Need Not Apply
If serious off-road adventure is on your to-do list, the 2020 Jeep Ridgeline obviously isn't the best choice. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator, the newest midsize competitor, comes with standard four-wheel drive. With a build like the Wrangler, it is raised high enough to escape damage from debris. With 11.1 inches of ground clearance, Jeep Gladiator Rubicons can ford up to 30 inches of water.
Every rival tries to get in on this action. Rangers, Frontiers, and other midsize trucks offer special models for off-roading fun. Only the Honda Ridgeline ignores this market completely.
4. Low Tow Ratings for Its Class
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline doesn't fare as well in tow ratings when measured against its class. Front-wheel drive editions can pull up to 3,500 pounds. All-wheel drive Ridgelines can pull up to 5,000 pounds. The V6 competition can handle 6,500 and even 7,500 pounds. This may be a deal breaker for those who want to pull boat trailers or campers.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
If you are comparing prices, you will find cheaper midsize trucks. However, that pricing is for four-cylinder engine models. Always powered by a V6, Ridgelines earn their pricetag by maximizing quality interior appointments, safety features, and dash technologies on the entry level model.
The Ridgeline's 280-horsepower engine has more heft than the Nissan Frontier V6 or Toyota Tacoma V6. Drivers will know the 2020 Honda Ridgeline can compete when it counts. Ridgeline quality cabins also will make them more appealing when compared to the Tacoma or Frontier.
However, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline has less horsepower than the Jeep Gladiator, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon. Other disputes will be between the Gladiator's off-road chops and the Ridgeline's lack of adventure equipment. GM shoppers will point out the standard Cornersteps that simply aren't offered on the Ridgeline.
While the 2020 Ford Ranger is rated for 270 horsepower, it cranks out 310 pound feet of torque, eclipsing the Ridgeline's 262 pound-feet. Newer than other rivals, the Ranger puts more emphasis on its truck qualities than its SUV-like qualities.
If you are looking at the package as a whole, the Ridgeline's unique storage features and class-leading payload capacity may tip the balance back in the Honda's favor. Ridgeline versatility and driving performance certainly make it a must-test drive.
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline makes the case for buying a midsize truck rather than an SUV. It has ample power for the driver, space for family or friends, and the convenience of an open bed. Owners won't pay a big penalty at the gas pump for the extra utility, and they will be comfortable when commuting or taking a long trip.
• Why buy a 2019 Honda Ridgeline? w/ pros vs cons