But don't worry, the price increase is worth it.
After the Ridgeline was widely criticized for not looking "tough" next to its body-on-frame rivals from Detroit and Japan, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline arrived with a significant facelift. The new model no longer looks like a Pilot that happens to have a bed in the back. After making its debut in October, the 2021 Ridgeline is ready to hit dealerships on February 2, boasting some serious improvements over the outgoing model.
The base Ridgeline Sport arrives with a $36,490 starting price, not including a $1,175 destination charge. This is a huge increase compared to the 2020 Ridgeline Sport, which started at $33,900. There is an important reason why the new model is more expensive, though; it now includes torque-vectoring i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive as standard. Last year's Ridgeline Sport AWD model was priced at $36,140, so the new model has only gone up by $350.
As for the higher trim levels, those haven't increased too drastically in price either. The RTL trim now costs $39,470 (compared to $38,820), the RTL-E costs $42,420 (compared to $42,020), and the top Black Edition model costs $43,920 (compared to $43,520). Strangely, all of these trim levels are rated at 18/24/21 mpg city/highway/combined. This is a one mpg drop in the city compared to last year's AWD models. Compared to the now-discontinued front-wheel-drive models, it loses two mpg on the highway and one mpg combined.
All Ridgeline trims continue to be powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power goes out through a nine-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. The i-VTM4 AWD system sends 70 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels and can then split that torque up to 100% between the left and right to improve traction.
Honda Performance Development, Honda's US-based racing company, will now offer an HPD Package for the Ridgeline. This package costs $2,800 and adds a unique grille, HPD emblem, black fender flares, bronze wheels, and HPD bed graphics. Buyers can also opt for one of four smaller post-production option packages, including Utility ($1,465), Function ($270), and Function+ ($1,315).
The Ridgeline sold 32,168 units in 2020, which was only a 4.1% decrease compared to 2019 in a year plagued by a global pandemic. This latest refresh should reinvigorate Honda's small share of the midsize SUV market, and if buyers like the redesign, this new face could make its way to the Pilot and Passport.