2020 Honda Ridgeline

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2020 Honda Ridgeline Review: Smooth Operator

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 they 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
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2020 Honda Ridgeline Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 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 The previous six-speed automatic has also been replaced by a nine-speed auto.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

What's the 2020 Honda Ridgeline’s Price?

The 2020 Honda 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 Honda Ridgeline 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.

Best Deals on 2020 Honda Ridgeline

2020 Honda Ridgeline Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Black Edition
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Honda Ridgeline Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

While some may scoff at the Ridgeline's low towing capacity and its comparatively ordinary 4x4 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.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Honda Ridgeline A Good Pickup Truck?

For the majority of buyers, the Honda Ridgeline truck is the best midsize truck for sale in America. 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 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

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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