2021 Honda Ridgeline Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
When shopping for a new midsize pickup truck, be sure to experience the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. Although the Ridgeline may not be the most capable model in the class, it’s arguably the most comfortable. Families love this truck’s outstanding interior space. Meanwhile, drivers especially enjoy its quick and nimble performance. Let’s find out if you should buy a new Ridgeline.
What’s New for 2021?
This year, the Honda Ridgeline returns with a more rugged look. A cool Honda Performance Development appearance package is also now available. Another big change is the truck’s much-improved infotainment system.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Honda Ridgeline – The Pros
1. Strong V6 Powertrain
Every new 2021 Honda Ridgeline delivers the same strong punch. Its standard V6 engine is a stout performer. However, Honda rates it to generate a rewarding 280 horsepower and more than 260 lb-ft of torque. All trims now receive a previously optional nine-speed automatic transmission, which further optimizes overall performance. Whether accelerating from a stop or passing another vehicle, this truck never feels overwhelmed. There’s also enough muscle on tap for drivers to tow up to 5,000 pounds of cargo.
2. Standard AWD System With Terrain Management
Last year, lower trims levels offered an AWD system as an option. It’s now a standard feature throughout the lineup. When the road conditions become slippery, the AWD system will automatically engage to improve traction. A terrain management system is included as well. You can choose between normal, snow, sand, and mud driving mods. Fortunately, the newly standard AWD system does not seem to hinder fuel economy. Owners can trust the truck to deliver up to 26 mpg.
3. Possibly the Best-Handling Truck In the Class
When behind the wheel of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, it does not feel like you’re driving a truck. This can be contributed to the Ridgeline’s fully independent rear suspension. Drivers will immediately notice the truck’s agility when taking curves. Pickup trucks equipped with a solid rear axle typically don’t handle nearly as well. Soccer moms and dads will greatly appreciate the Ridgeline’s excellent driving dynamics. A car-like ride quality makes this pickup even more satisfying.
4. Very Practical Truck
While there are some excellent trucks on today’s market, few are as practical as the new Ridgeline. It’s the only model that features a lockable, in-bed trunk. There’s enough room in the trunk for groceries, toolboxes, and other stuff. Of course, many people choose the Ridgeline for its spacious design. Class-leading rear legroom enables families to enjoy maximum comfort. Furthermore, even tall folks will be able to obtain a relaxing driving position. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel comes standard.
5. Looks More Macho Than Before
In terms of styling, last year’s model wasn’t quite tough enough for some people. Honda has made big changes to the 2021 model’s exterior. It looks noticeably more macho than before. On the front, a redesigned grille and bulging hood help give the truck a stronger road presence. Even the base model receives updated LED headlights as standard equipment. Drivers seeking an especially rugged look will be interested in the all-new HPD package, which adds blacked-out trim and special bronze wheels.
6. New Infotainment System Quiets the Critics
Honda’s previous infotainment system was widely criticized by automotive reviewers. Many people hated the fact that there was not a physical volume knob. Luckily, this problem has been rectified. The new infotainment system also boasts better graphics and more user-friendly icons. Drivers will find the new interface to be easier to operate while on the move. Its 8.0-inch touch display provides advanced smartphone integration. Navigation is available for drivers who regularly travel.
7. Great Truck for Tailgating At Events
Families who love to tailgate at outdoor events can take advantage on the Ridgeline’s truck-bed audio system. It will enable you to really get the party started. This class-exclusive audio system features six speakers, which are built into the walls of the truck’s bed. They are weather-proof, which means you won’t have to worry about a sudden rainstorm. Keep in mind that the pickup’s in-bed trunk doubles as an ice chest. You’ll be able to keep all your beverages cold.
8. Nice Amenities Are Available
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline isn’t a work truck. It’s designed to cater to families. Several nice amenities are available. Standard tri-zone automatic climate control allows front and rear passengers to set their preferred temperature. Upper trims feature an acoustic windshield, which helps further quiet the cabin. Cold-weather creature comforts, like heated seats and remote start, ensure a more relaxing ride during the winter. To set apart the range-topping Black Edition model, Honda equips it with black leather upholstery and red ambient interior lighting.
9. One of the Safest Trucks In America
When it comes to impact protection, the new Ridgeline proves to be a class leader. When last crash tested by the NHTSA, it scored a perfect rating in almost every category. Honda Sensing, which is a collection of active safety features, is also standard across the board. Forward collision notification with automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control, and lane assistance are all included. There’s also a class-exclusive feature that helps prevent you from unintentionally drifting off the road.
10. Great Alternative to a Honda SUV
Honda has some great SUVs in its lineup. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the perfect alternative to these SUVs. Because of the Ridgeline’s bed, you’ll have an easier time hauling cargo. From ATVs to grills, you’ll be able to move a lot of stuff.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Honda Ridgeline – The Cons
1. Not As Rugged As the Competition
The new Ridgeline’s standard AWD system is a major asset. It ensures you’ll have good traction when the road conditions turn bad. While the Ridgeline is tough enough to go off the beaten path, most competitors are even more capable. This pickup's unibody chassis is more similar to a sedan than a traditional truck. Honda also does not offer the Ridgeline with an off-road package. Rugged goodies, like trail-rated shocks and heavy-duty skid plates, are absent.
2. Can’t Tow As Much Weight
Most drivers will have no complaints about this truck’s 5,000-pound maximum tow rating. They shouldn’t have any trouble pulling a small fishing boat. On the other hand, some items will be a bit too heavy for the Ridgeline. Rivals have a higher towing capacity. For instance, the 2021 Ford Ranger can pull up to 7,500 pounds.
3. Has a Higher MSRP Than Before
When comparing the 2021 Honda Ridgeline to the competition, you’ll notice that it now has a higher starting MSRP. Prices start at an estimated $37,665. This increase in cost is mostly due to the truck’s newly standard AWD system. Among the pickup trucks that have a lower MSRP include the Toyota Tacoma, the Chevrolet Colorado, and the Nissan Frontier.
4. No Optional Diesel Engine
In regard to fuel economy, the Ridgeline is relatively efficient for a pickup truck. However, today’s diesel-powered compact trucks are still more frugal. When equipped with a Duramax diesel engine, the Chevrolet Colorado tops out at 30 mpg.
5. Cooled Seats Not Available
Honda does not offer the Ridgeline with cooled front seats. On hot days, drivers would appreciate the extra comfort.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
2021 Honda Ridgeline vs 2021 Ford Ranger
There are some key upsides to the 2021 Ford Ranger. Some drivers will appreciate the Ranger’s higher tow rating. An available off-road package also makes the Ranger more suitable for tackling rough terrain. However, don’t expect the Ranger to match the Honda Ridgeline’s practicality. There’s far more space in the Ridgeline’s rear seat. Smoother road handling gives the Ridgeline yet another advantage. To get the Ranger with a modern touchscreen interface, buyers must pay extra.
2021 Honda Ridgeline vs 2021 Toyota Tacoma
Superior off-road capabilities set apart the 2021 Toyota Tacoma. Another highlight is the Tacoma's available six-speed manual transmission. Strong resale value also makes the new Tacoma a great pick. However, the Ridgeline outclasses the Tacoma in passenger comfort. Families will find the Racoma’s rear seat to be much tighter. Drivers can also expect the Ridgeline to handle better on the street.
2021 Honda Ridgeline vs 2021 Chevrolet Colorado
Some automotive journalists rank the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado as the top pickup truck in the class. Drivers applaud the Colorado for its well-rounded design. While the Colorado is comfy, it’s still not as relaxing as the Ridgeline. Safety technologies, like automatic collision braking, are also not offered on the Colorado.
If you need a family-friendly pickup truck, don’t hesitate to choose the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. It can comfortably accommodate everyone, including the family dog. Plenty of active safety features come standard. A standard in-bed trunk further separates the Ridgeline from the pack.
While the Ridgeline is a pleasure to drive on the street, it’s not a top-rated truck for serious off-roading. Truck shoppers should also consider the new Ridgeline’s increased MSRP.
• Why buy a 2020 Honda Ridgeline? w/ pros vs cons