2020 Honda Ridgeline

2020 Honda Ridgeline Review: Smooth Operator

by Karl Furlong

Pickup trucks need to be tough, have insane towing capabilities, and be able to tackle off-road duties, right? Honda doesn't entirely agree that this narrow-minded approach is what every American needs, and so it built the Ridgeline. With its unibody construction, available front-wheel drivetrain, and a greater emphasis on on-road comfort and refinement, it's the more cultured offering in this segment. With just one engine option (a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6) and one body style (Crew Cab), rivals offer more comprehensive lineups. They can also tow more than the Ridgeline, which can only haul 3,500 pounds in 2WD guise. Still, this will suffice for most uses and the Honda's refinement and road manners are a revelation in this class. With a new nine-speed automatic transmission, enhanced safety specification, and the same spacious and comfy cabin, it's the best pickup to live with; however, rivals like the Chevrolet Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma are ultimately more suited to hard work.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.5
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2020 Honda Ridgeline Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Ridgeline?

For 2020, Honda has simplified the trims to just four: Sport, RTL, RTL-E and Black Edition. The previous six-speed automatic has also been replaced by a nine-speed auto. The Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistive aids was previously only available on the top trims, but is now standard across the range and includes technologies like collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Further improvements amount to a tailgate which now features remote locking, rear doors which open wider for easier ingress and egress, and the standard fitment of the Honda Display Audio system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Pros and Cons

  • Welcome specification upgrades for 2020
  • Car-like road manners are as impressive as ever
  • Advanced all-wheel-drive system
  • Comfortable, spacious, and smartly trimmed cabin
  • Refined and capable V6 engine
  • Improved automatic gearbox
  • Versatile two-way tailgate and lockable in-bed trunk
  • Reduced towing capacities compared to rivals
  • Off-road exploits are limited by the absence of low-range gearing
  • Some infotainment controls are annoying and there's no volume knob
  • Only one available bed length

2020 Honda Ridgeline Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Sport
3.5-liter V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,900
RTL
3.5-liter V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,670
RTL-E
3.5-liter V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$42,020
Black Edition
3.5-liter V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$43,520

Ridgeline Exterior

Where many other pickups have more muscular designs, the first sign that the Ridgeline is something different is in its restrained, rather conservative stance. It's not unattractive, but it also doesn't look like it wants to get itself covered in mud at the first opportunity. All models feature a dual-action tailgate, rear privacy glass, LED taillights, fog lights, truck bed lights, power side mirrors and an integrated class III trailer hitch. Higher up in the range, you'll get access to features like LED truck bed lights, heated and powered side mirrors with memory, a power-sliding rear window, LED headlights and parking sensors. All models have 18-inch alloy wheels, although their finish differs between the trims. Just a single body configuration, a Crew Cab, is offered.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Front View Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Rear View Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Front Angle View Honda
See All 2020 Honda Ridgeline Exterior Photos

Dimensions

All Ridgelines have a wheelbase of 125.2 inches and a length of 210 inches. Height varies between 70.2 inches for the 2WD variants to 70.8 inches for 4WD models. The width works out to 78.6 inches. Ground clearance varies between 7.28 inches (2WD) and 7.87 inches (4WD), while approach/breakover/departure angles are 19.2/18.5/21.4 degrees, respectively, in 2WD guise, increasing to 20.1/19.6/22.1 for 4WD versions. In-bed dimensions benefit from the Ridgeline's unique construction, with a truck bed width of 50 inches at the wheel wells and 60 inches at the bed walls. Curb weight varies between 4,242 pounds for the 2WD Sport trim to 4,515 for the AWD models in the top two trims.

  • Length 210.0 in
  • Wheelbase 125.2 in
  • Height 70.2 in
  • Max Width 78.6 in

Exterior Colors

The base Ridgeline Sport is only available in a choice of four colors: Modern Steel Metallic, Platinum White, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Crystal Black. Going up a trim level to the RTL avails added shades like Obsidian Blue, Deep Scarlet, and Pacific Pewter Metallic. As its name dictates, the Ridgeline Black Edition is only available in one color: Crystal Black. Some shades that were available last year have fallen away, such as Forest Mist Metallic. On the plus side, Honda doesn't charge extra for any of the available colors.

  • Black
  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Obsidian Blue Pearl
  • Deep Scarlet Pearl

Ridgeline Performance

Honda's 3.5-liter V6 has been used extensively in several other models and it's just as refined in this application, served well by outputs of 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. In the Sport and RTL, power goes to the front wheels although all-wheel-drive is available, while the top two trims (RTL-E and the Black Edition) are exclusively AWD. According to independent tests, the Ridgeline will accelerate to 60 mph in just over seven seconds, which is punchy enough, if not the fastest in the segment. Throttle response is excellent, however, and in general use, the combination of the V6 and the unfussed nine-speed automatic transmission make for easy progress.

Where the Ridgeline does fall short is in its towing capacity. In FWD guise, it can only haul up to 3,500 pounds, some way below its RWD competitors. The available AWD versions up the total towing capacity to 5,000 lbs. These versions also get an intelligent traction management system with Snow/Sand/Mud modes for improved off-road capability, although the Ridgeline isn't the truck to get if you'll be tackling some seriously rough terrain.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Front View Driving Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Rear View Driving Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline 3.5L V6 Engine Honda

Engine and Transmission

The 3.5-liter V6 fitted to the Honda Ridgeline offers good power and is refined as well. Peak outputs are 280 hp and 262 lb-ft, and with an improved nine-speed automatic transmission, the Ridgeline gets off the mark with ease. The i-VTEC engine features variable cylinder management and always remains smooth, even when extended. Passing power is also more than adequate, although some rivals with turbocharged engines provide more mid-range grunt than the Honda. Still, a heavier foot is rewarded with enthusiastic responses and you'll have to be hauling quite a heavy load before the Honda starts to feel a bit sluggish. The new transmission shifts gears unobtrusively and contributes to the Ridgeline's generally car-like driving experience. Overall, it's one of the smoothest powertrains in the segment.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While some may scoff at the Ridgeline's low towing capacity and its comparatively ordinary off-road abilities, it's clear from the first time you get behind the wheel that the Honda's on-road experience is second to none. The four-wheel independent suspension sets the pickup apart in the class and, as a result, the Ridgeline's ride is on par with a modern crossover. It's smooth, composed, and shrugs off road scars and even larger potholes with little effort. The steering is electrically assisted and makes it easy to maneuver the Ridgeline around town, while still proving responsive at higher speeds. Body lean is also much less apparent than in the average truck.

While front-wheel-drive is standard, the Ridgeline is available with all-wheel-drive and it can handle snow and mud with little fuss. An available intelligent traction management system features normal, snow, sand, and mud modes on AWD models, but only offers a snow mode for the 2WD. It works very well and the AWD Ridgeline will easily plow through sandy or snowy stretches when needed. It's when encountering larger obstacles or steeper inclines that the average ground clearance and absence of low-range gearing become an issue, with rivals like the Toyota Tacoma able to go much further than the Honda. But for most needs, the Honda Ridgeline won't disappoint and its refined on-road performance makes it a superb daily driver.

Ridgeline Gas Mileage

Along with the responsive acceleration from the V6, it also returns good economy figures that are similar to many rivals' four-cylinder engines. The FWD model is slightly more efficient with EPA estimates of 19/26/22 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The AWD isn't far behind, with estimates of 19/24/21 mpg. On a 19.5-gallon tankful of regular unleaded gas, the FWD model should be able to manage a combined cruising range of 429 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 19/26 mpg
* 2020 Honda Ridgeline Sport 2WD

Ridgeline Interior

As with its refined road manners, the Ridgeline's cabin is a step above most trucks. Solely available as a Crew Cab, there's plenty of space for all passengers and its relatively low step-in height improves access. Once inside, you'll find a pleasing design and the generous use of soft-touch materials that, once again, evoke a distinctly car-like impression. While there is a modern infotainment system, it's not the most intuitive unit around. Equipment levels are good, too, with features like tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and a convenient dual-action tailgate standard across the range. Higher up in the range, you get access to leather upholstery and power seats.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Driver Seat Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Front Seats Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Rear Passenger Seats Honda
See All 2020 Honda Ridgeline Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Seating five, the Ridgeline has one of the more accommodating interiors in the segment. Adults will be comfortable in either the front or back seats as there's plenty of headroom and legroom for all. The cabin's width is also a strong point, with more hip and shoulder room than in many other trucks. The seats themselves have enough support and prove comfortable even over extended trips. Finding a good driving position is easy and higher-spec models have power-adjustable seats. Drivers will also appreciate the excellent forward visibility. Ingress and egress are aided by a low step-in height, making it easy to slide into the seats.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.8 in

Interior Colors and Materials

While the cabin is certainly classy, Honda doesn't let you choose your interior color. The base Sport trim gets standard cloth seats and only in black, with no other color options available. From the RTL trim and up, leather upholstery is standard - the RTL's interior color is beige, the RTL-E's is gray, and the Black Edition gets a black/red leather cabin. Only the base model misses out on a leather-wrapped steering wheel, but all models have appealing soft-touch plastics on the upper half of the dashboard. Overall, it's a smart cabin that leaves most competitors feeling utilitarian by comparison.

Ridgeline Trunk and Cargo Space

The Ridgeline has a truck bed cargo volume of 33.9 cubic feet and a lockable in-bed trunk volume of 7.3 cubes - this in-bed trunk also includes a drain plug so it can be used to store wet items. Improving access are low bed sides, while excellent width means that you can accommodate items up to four feet wide between the wheel wells. The highly versatile dual-action tailgate can open downwards or to the side - yet another thoughtful touch. There is also an available truck-bed power outlet, heavy-duty truck bed tie-down cleats, and a remote locking tailgate.

In-cabin versatility is just as impressive. The 60/40-split rear seats can flip up and there is enough space beneath them to store a set of golf clubs. Other storage solutions comprise a sunglasses holder, a multi-function center console, a lockable glovebox, beverage holders front and rear, and seatback pockets on both front seats.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Trunk Space Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Trunk Floor Storage Honda
2020 Honda Ridgeline Trunk Space 1 Honda

Ridgeline Infotainment and Features

Features

The base Sport trim ships standard with push-button start, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering column, tri-zone automatic climate control, and the Honda Sensing suite of safety features - the latter comprises driver aids like road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and collision mitigation braking. Moving up to the RTL trim adds power-adjustable front seats (ten-way power for the driver's seat and four-way for the front-seat passenger), along with heated front seats. The top two trims also have a two-position memory system for the driver's seat, ambient lighting, front/rear parking sensors, and a heated steering wheel. A one-touch power moonroof is standard on all but the base trim.

Infotainment

The Ridgeline gets Honda's Display Audio system with an eight-inch high-resolution touchscreen. It's standard on every trim, but the system isn't a model of user-friendliness and the screen isn't as responsive as it should be. Standard features include Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and streaming audio, an MP3/auxiliary input jack, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HondaLink, SMS text messaging functionality, a USB smartphone/audio interface and a center console USB charging port. The top two trims add SiriusXM radio, HD radio, and the Honda satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition. The Sport and RTL get a seven-speaker audio system with a subwoofer, while the RTL-E and Black Edition trims feature an eight-speaker premium audio system, along with a truck-bed audio system for outdoor parties.

Ridgeline Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power's rating for the Ridgeline is a solid, but not exceptional, 79 out of 100. While the 2020 model hadn't been affected by any issues at the time of writing, the 2019 model was subject to four recalls by the NHTSA. The first of these is for airbags and seatbelt pretensioners that may not function as intended in the event of an accident. A separate recall also highlighted an issue with the right center pillar trim panel which may interfere with the deployment of the curtain airbag. The final two reported issues were for a fuel pump feed port which could crack and leak, and timing belt teeth which could separate, resulting in an engine stall.

The Ridgeline's warranty runs for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. You also get a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and rust perforation cover for five years, regardless of the miles covered.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Ridgeline Safety

The Honda has scored well when evaluated for crashworthiness. The IIHS named the Ridgeline a Top Safety Pick for 2019 and it received Good ratings for all crash parameters besides the small overlap front on the passenger-side, for which it was rated as Acceptable. The NHTSA rated the Ridgeline a full five stars for overall safety.

Key Safety Features

The big news for 2020 is that the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistive technologies is now standard across the Ridgeline range. Every model gets collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. The RTL-E and Black Edition are fitted with auto high-beam headlights, along with a blind-spot information system and cross-traffic monitoring. These trims also get front and rear parking sensors.

Also standard is a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, vehicle stability assist with traction control, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lights. Occupants are protected by front, front-side, and side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Honda Ridgeline a good Truck?

For the majority of buyers, the Honda Ridgeline is the best midsize truck there is. If you can forget about the preconceived notion that a 'real' truck can't power the front wheels or have unibody construction, you'll find that the Ridgeline is the clear segment leader for refinement and ride comfort. It rides with a smoothness and composure that will challenge many crossovers, yet it offers many of the benefits of other trucks like a versatile load bed, along with the ability to tackle snowy and sandy terrain. The towing numbers are lower than most, but again, most buyers are unlikely to be hauling in excess of the Ridgeline's 5,000-pound maximum. If you will be going off-road, then you'll be better served by a Toyota Tacoma. But the Honda's classy cabin, spacious seating, and smooth powertrain lifts it above its fellow Japanese rival. We would have liked to see a better infotainment system being used, but other than that, the Ridgeline is a brilliant effort by Honda.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Honda Ridgeline?

The Ridgeline range starts with the Sport at an MSRP of $33,900, excluding tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $1,120. Next are the two mid-range trims: the RTL at $36,670 and the RTL-E at $42,020. The range is topped by the Black Edition at $43,520. Adding AWD to the Sport trim costs $2,240, and the same goes for $2,150 on the RTL.

The Toyota Tacoma starts at a much cheaper $26,050, but that's for a more basic Access Cab, whereas the Ridgeline does without a basic workhorse in its range.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Models

The simplified Ridgeline range now consists of just four trims: Sport, RTL, RTL-E and Black Edition. All models are fitted with the same 3.5-liter V6 engine with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, along with a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The two cheaper trims send power to the front wheels by default, but the intelligent variable torque management (i-VTM4) AWD system is an option. All models get hill start assist, a dual-action tailgate, an in-bed trunk, and an integrated Class III trailer hitch.

The base Sport model features cloth seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, and a seven-speaker audio system. The RTL adds leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with heating, a one-touch power moonroof, and a power-sliding rear window. The RTL-E is AWD by default, and it gets feature upgrades over the RTL like front and rear parking sensors, LED low-beam headlights, a driver's two-position seat memory system, and illuminated beverage holders in front. The audio system gets an upgrade to eight speakers, and this model also has a truck-bed audio system. The Black Edition has its own black/red leather upholstery, red ambient lighting, and black-painted alloy wheels.

See All 2020 Honda Ridgeline Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

As is typical for a truck, the Honda's optional extras are focused on tough exterior styling enhancements and a range of accessories for those with active lifestyles. The Adventure Package beefs up the styling with additions like a sport grille, 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, fender flares, and black running boards. It goes for $3,372. The Interior Cargo Package costs $1,194 and introduces features like in-bed storage dividers and a rear underseat storage system. An Outdoor Essentials Package comprises red door sill trim, crossbars, black roof rails and more for $2,399. Two Utility packages are available with more accessories such as crossbars and a low profile hood air deflector - the pricier of these costs $2,074. Worthwhile standalone options on the Sport include a rear underseat storage system for $135, back-up parking sensors at $500, and a wide range of typical truck accessories like a bed extender and bike attachments.

🚗What Honda Ridgeline Model Should I Buy?

We'd go for the RTL in AWD form. Not only does the AWD system increase the Ridgeline's abilities in challenging conditions, but it raises the towing capacity to 5,000 pounds. The RTL also gets a healthy jump in standard features over the base Sport, including power-adjustable and heated front seats, a leather-trimmed interior, a power moonroof and a power-sliding rear window. We'd also add the handy interior cargo package at $1,194 - combined with the Ridgeline's already versatile load bed, this addition adds even more practicality. Including destination, the total works out to $41,134. If you're adding any more options than this, we'd go for the RTL-E instead as it includes AWD by default, along with several feature upgrades.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Comparisons

Toyota Tacoma CarBuzz
Ford Ranger Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda Ridgeline280 hp19/26 mpg$33,900
Toyota Tacoma 159 hp20/23 mpg$26,050
Ford Ranger 270 hp19/18 mpg$24,110

2020 Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma is more of a traditional truck than the Ridgeline and its wider range spans from a basic work truck to a more luxurious Double Cab. Even from the outside, it's apparent that the bolder Tacoma is built for tougher conditions as it sits noticeably higher off the ground. With low-range gearing and a special TRD off-road trim, the Toyota is far more adept than the Ridgeline when the going gets rough. It's a different story on-road, however, where the Ridgeline wins with its quieter cabin and much smoother ride quality. The Tacoma's larger range of trims and the availability of different bed sizes also provides more buyer choice. Unless you require the Toyota's off-road ability and superior towing capacity, though, it's the Honda Ridgeline that we'd rather live with every day.

See Toyota Tacoma Review

2020 Honda Ridgeline vs Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger returned to the local market after an extended absence. Although it rides reasonably well, the Ranger can't match the Ridgeline's smooth ride and refined powertrain. However, the Ford's turbocharged EcoBoost engine does have a strong 310 lb-ft of torque, contributing to the Ranger's superior maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, whereas the Ridgeline can only manage 5,000 lbs. The Honda has a smarter and more comfortable cabin, however, and there's more space for rear-seat passengers, along with a safety specification that the Ranger can't compete with. Although the Ranger offers two box sizes, Honda must be commended for its creative storage solutions, such as the in-bed storage compartment. As with the Toyota Tacoma, choose the Ford if you require more of a workhorse. If you don't, and you want a comfortable truck with enough ability for most needs, the Honda Ridgeline is simply better.

See Ford Ranger Review

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2020 Honda Ridgeline Video Reviews

$33,900 - $43,520
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