Not everyone needs a true 4x4.
When the first generation Honda Ridgeline was launched back in 2005, not everyone knew what to make of it. Was it a real truck? Not according to truck people. That's because it was built on a unibody platform, as opposed to a body-on-frame chassis. Oh, and it was the same platform that underpinned the Honda Pilot crossover. That alone is a turnoff for some truck enthusiasts. But the Ridgeline still found a lot of fans, especially those who didn't need a pure pickup, preferring something more refined while still having that mighty useful bed.
The second generation Ridgeline, launched for 2017, is a marked improvement over its predecessor. Although it's still a unibody design, once again sharing a platform with the Pilot and Odyssey minivan, its cargo bed has been lengthened by four inches, now at 64 inches, making it the longest bed for standard length mid-size pickups.
And what you see is what you get with the new Ridgeline: one body style, one wheelbase, one bed length, and one engine and transmission combo. Speaking of which, power comes from a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, with power going to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. Yes, FWD is standard, while AWD costs about an extra $1,900. Honda definitely took a chance by giving its new Ridgeline standard FWD, the only pickup truck in the US to offer it. While that won't satisfy some truck buyers, it will, however, make it quite appealing to those who've never owned a truck before. That's good news for Honda.