And is the new Honda Ridgeline further proof?
Ford now knows it screwed up a few years ago when it decided to kill the Ranger pickup truck for the US. Perhaps that’s why the automaker is now having second thoughts about not only smaller pickups, but also compact SUVs. You see, Ford figured that when it came time for Ranger owners to replace their trucks, they’d opt for the bigger F-150 without much hassle. It didn’t exactly go like that, and many owners either held on to their Rangers for as long as possible, or they defected to a rival brand.
GM was more than happy to have them, as evidenced by the very successful Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. Heck, Toyota probably lured a few over with its Tacoma (it too was heavily revised in the wake of the GM twins). There’s also the Nissan Frontier, but it’s seriously outdated. And, most recently, Honda has released its all-new redesigned Ridgeline. It may just be the ideal blend of size, utility, build quality, and comfort. It’s not exactly a work truck or even a true off-roader, but the Ridgeline is, once again, a solid all-around package that’ll satisfy most owners’ needs (heck, it’ll tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs.). GM, Toyota, and now Honda now all offer competitive mid-size trucks. Hyundai is rumored to be working on one, too.
As for Ford? It shot itself in the foot. GM is laughing at it. Toyota is doing the same (and thanking itself for not killing the Tacoma in favor of the larger Tundra), and now Honda has the ability to potentially lure away disenfranchised Ranger owners. Perhaps the new Ridgeline’s only serious downside is its base price, which hovers at around $30,000. A bare bones Colorado starts at $21k and the F-150 XL goes for nearly $27k. However, as we previously wrote, the average price Americans are paying for new vehicles today is around $33,000, so what Honda is asking isn’t all that unreasonable. And chances are the new Ridgeline is going to be a huge sales success just like the Colorado/Canyon twins.
The simple reason why is that not everyone wants or needs a large, full-size pickup truck. Like many of you, I know people who've owned Rangers and their biggest complaint about the F-150 is that it’s too damn big for their garages. Parking is also an issue for them, despite the F-150’s backup camera and parking sensors. In light of everything, Ford is finally doing something about its current absence in this segment. Last summer we learned that Ford was possibly in the early planning stages of a Ranger (and maybe a Bronco) re-launch. Nothing has been made official just yet but Ford has gotten the message. Let’s hope it’ll make the right decision this time around.