Flash Drive: 2009 Honda Ridgeline
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2006 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Honda’s Ridgeline might look a little funky, but it hits the mark in terms of function with a smart combination of SUV-like passenger room and versatile cargo capability. Rear-seat access is on par with any midsize SUV, and Honda gets a kudos for innovative features like the center console that boasts numerous storage areas and configurations. In spite of being one of the biggest vehicles from Honda, the Ridgeline is also one of the most engaging to drive, with a nimble, almost sporty feel supported by a strong 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic transmission. But if you push it a little, you’ll be reminded that the AWD is an automatic system that doesn’t send torque to the rear until there is wheel slip at the front. – Mike Meredith
The Honda Ridgeline has the DNA of a great truck and a car. Starting off with the reliable and smooth V6 powerplant, the Ridgeline is able to tow 5,000 pounds while still achieving 18 mpg in mixed driving. There is room for five people in the crew-cab layout, or you can fold the rear seats to haul items you don’t want exposed to the elements. The best parts of the Ridgeline are all the extra features, such as a secret in-bed compartment in the trunk where you can store additional stuff like groceries or sports equipment. The driver has access to all comforts that can be expected when driving a Honda, including easy-to-read controls and a great navigation system. While definitely not the best-looking pickup on the market, the Ridgeline wins you over by delivering excellent cargo-carrying ability combined with car-like sensibility. – Joe Chulick
As a rule, I find Honda cars highly competent but uninspiring. And the Ridgeline does nothing to change that opinion. Honda has tried to come up with innovative solutions to some of the compromises necessary in a pickup (like the mini storage tray under the truck bed for small things that you don’t want to expose to the elements. Even so, the Ridgeline fails to do anything particularly well, and as a vehicle of so many compromises it manages to be my least favorite Honda. It has uninspired looks. It’s underpowered. And it’s not very frugal. Taken all together, the Honda Ridgeline manages to somehow be boring in a most unusual way. – Paul Hagger