Heels on Wheels:2010 Honda Ridgeline Review
SEE ALSO: Honda Buyers Guide
2010 Honda Ridgeline Review
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE 2010 HONDA RIDGELINE VEHICLE
The Honda Ridgeline is what you get when you take a unit-body truck and place untraditional frame proportions on the sides. Although a bit unusual in looks, it creates quite the handy pickup truck with a spacious, SUV-like second row.
I drove a 2010 Honda Ridgeline with a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine and 247 lb-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm. The EPA rates fuel economy at 15-city/20-highway driving for a combined 17-mpg. My nicer RTL trim came with a moonroof, leather-trimmed interior and heated seats. Honda’s easy-to-use and comprehensive Satellite-Linked Navigation System features voice recognition software, Bluetooth and a multi-information display for both Zagat Survey restaurant information and XM Radio details. This screen also serves as a backup camera. Total price for the Honda Ridgeline RTL is $36,780.
The Ridgeline offers functional surprises not found on more rugged rigs, like an 8.5 cu-ft in-bed storage department and a dual-action tailgate that swings down or to the side like a door. The 5-foot-long composite cargo bed is able to haul two of Honda's largest off-road motorcycles or one full-sized 4-wheel ATV, making this the perfect ride for Honda enthusiasts.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The interior of a Ridgeline offers space and functionality. The rear seating area can quickly convert for cargo duty by simply folding the seats up and the center console features a convenient sliding armrest and sliding lower tray with hidden storage areas. Honda’s navigation system is easy to use on the fly without taking your concentration off the road. Leather seating adds refinement. Standard features on the RTL trim also include an integrated trailer hitch, trip computer, keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted controls and an 8-way power driver's seat with lumbar support.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2010 Ridgeline achieves 5-star or “Good” crash safety ratings for frontal and side impacts with IIHS. These areas have seen an improvement from previous model years. Honda claims the integrated closed-box frame and reinforced unit-body construction create a truck that reduces a likelihood of rollover. Honda’s electronic stability control system, known as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control, also plays a big role in slippage correction through better traction and brake integration. All Ridgelines are equipped with: Anti-lock brakes; Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control; Brake assist; 6 advanced airbags; Front seat active head restraint; Tire pressure monitoring system; and Daytime running lights.
Cost Issues: A base RT trim is $28,459. The RTS trim is $31,555. The RTL trim is $34,430 (when fully loaded, you get that $36,780 price tag). There are not a lot of optional packages that bog down the price – just Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System that is optional for the RTL only.
Activity & Performance Ability: The standard 5-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control helps maintain the most appropriate gear when going uphill or downhill. Supported by the 4WD or VTM-4 system that also acts as a locking rear differential, the Ridgeline has zero slippage on wet and icy conditions in speeds of up to 18-mph. However, it’s important to remember the Ridgeline offers medium off-road performance. Braking is immediate and commanding (maybe a little too much so). Truck characteristics are evident in tight parking garages or turns where the radius is less compromising. Driver visibility improves with the backup camera.
The Green Concern: The Ridgeline suffers from big truck fuel consumption: the EPA rates fuel economy at 15-city/20-highway driving for a combined 17-mpg.
FINAL PARTING WORDS If your need is to get recreational vehicles to the trailhead, the Honda Ridgeline is a perfect match. The hidden in-bed cargo space and extended tailgate allow for more storage that what meets the eye.
©2010 Katrina Ramser