The 2022 Honda Ridgeline is proof that a strong core concept bolstered by some attractive styling is exactly what people want. The midsize pickup truck has always had some diehard fans that could look past its SUV-based unibody construction and plain styling to see the great truck underneath. But last year's updates have seen sales soar, making it a true contender to the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. With its 280-horsepower V6 engine and smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic, the Ridgeline rides well and still manages to do a fair amount of hard work. The standard intelligent all-wheel-drive system is great for handling difficult road conditions, and it can even handle some off-roading, although it hardly excels at it. The automaker seems pretty happy with the state of things, as there are no real updates for the new model year. But, will the competition allow the Honda pickup to rest on its laurels?
After an extensive list of updates in 2021, the new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck remains largely unchanged for the new year. Sonic Gray Pearl is added to the exterior paint palette, though it may only be available later in the year.
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Though it may have had a stylish makeover to make it look more like an aggressive pickup, the Honda Ridgeline still handles and feels like a crossover, albeit a heavy one. Ride comfort is the real high point here, but the pickup's steering is light and responsive. The well-balanced chassis takes these inputs with ease and never loses its composure. Despite this refinement, the Ridgeline feels just at home off the road, ensuring comfort over bumpy terrain. The independent suspension does a particularly good job of keeping those in the back comfortable.
All that said, it's around town that the Honda really shines. It doesn't feel nearly as big as it is, dispatches spirited cornering just as easily as it does high-speed highway passing. On more sedate roads, it keeps its manners and the steering lightens up to make maneuvering easier. Multiple ride modes mean that the truck can handle difficult roads caked in sand or dirt, too.
Americans love pickup trucks, that's hardly news, and many automakers have made a play at trying to dominate this lucrative market. However, while Ford still stands at the top of the podium, Honda is biting at its heels with the Ridgeline. Since its 2021 updates, the Japanese pickup has seen an enormous increase in sales as buyers start to realize just how good the vehicle is. We have been touting its virtues for years, but now the numbers actually support our opinion. Few trucks manage to so perfectly balance the diametrically opposed worlds of adventure and urban professionalism.
The Ridgeline is a highly capable pickup, even though it may fall behind the likes of the Jeep Gladiator or Chevrolet Colorado in terms of sheer capability. It's also a good-looking vehicle, thanks to its recent exterior overhaul. To top things off, it handles like a much lighter and smaller car and manages to remain composed and comfortable both at speed and when venturing off-road. There really is very little it gets wrong, with the few offending factors being a one-size-only cargo bed and a less than stellar towing rating. Still, these shortcomings do not do much to mar the image of an exemplary lifestyle pickup truck. It's a top pick in our books.
The Toyota has always bested the Ridgeline when it comes to off-roading and the 2022 updates to the Tacoma only cement its lead. Both the front and rear suspension have been lifted to add additional ground clearance, making it a true off-roading champion. On top of that, the Toyota pickup has almost 2,000 lbs more towing capacity than the Honda Ridgeline. This is with the optional V6 engine, though, since the starter four-cylinder is a huge disappointment. However, even with the extra power, the Tacoma is not as quick as the Ridgeline, and it can't dream to match the latter's ride comfort. If you intend to spend more time off the road than on it, then the Toyota Tacoma is the way to go, but if you just want an occasional adventure-ready pickup, the Honda Ridgeline is easier to live with.
Ford really seems to know what American buyers want in their trucks and the Ranger slots in nicely between the hardcore Tacoma off-roader and the more urbane Ridgeline. The turbocharged engine matches the V6 in the Honda, producing 270 horsepower while delivering better fuel economy figures. The Ranger is also well-mannered on the road while still never backing down from an off-road challenge. However, the Ridgeline has a more spacious and featureful cabin, with tech that Ford would charge you a lot more for. Still, the Ford Ranger is more versatile with better towing capacities and customization options. If you intend on capitalizing on these, it's the better pick, but if you just want a cool-looking pickup to draw eyes and envy around town, the Ridgeline is the smarter buy.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Honda Ridgeline: