Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Honda | posted January 12, 2016 11:05
Honda goes unconventional with the unibody-constructed 2017 Ridgeline pickup
After teasing the all-new pickup last month, Honda officially revealed the 2017 Ridgeline at this year's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Set to challenge conventional pickup designs, the Ridgeline makes use of new technology that Honda claims will set it apart from the rest.
“We are bringing our unique technology and original thinking to the market in a new and challenging concept for a Honda pickup. We think we've got a better idea, a truck that uses its unibody construction and Honda packaging magic to deliver more of the things that many of today's truck customers want and need with none of the things they don't,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Starting with the chassis, Honda based the 2017 Ridgeline's frame from the Global Light Truck platform. This meant that the new Ridgeline sits on a lightweight unibody construction, allowing for a more comfortable and versatile level of ride comfort and handling according to the automaker. Moreover, using a monocoque platform also allowed Honda to install a fully independent suspension system.
Over to its design, the front fascia carries styling cues from the 2016 Pilot, specifically the wide grill, tapered headlights and front bumper. Turning towards the side, it has a simple design courtesy of flared wheel arches, a character line that runs the entire length of the pickup and distinct alloy wheels. The rear also gets the simple finish; black rear bumper, tailgate- and cab-mounted spoilers and vertical taillights.
The truck bed is where Honda also poured its technical know-how. Starting with the tailgate, it has a unique dual action system as it is both hinged at the bottom and along its left side. It allows for easier opening, depending on the situation or allotted space. It also features tie-down cleats capable of holding nearly 160 kg of weight, 400-watt power inverter that can charge tools or power appliances such as a blender or TV and a new in-bed audio system.
Completing it all is the versatile 'In-Bed trunk' design. Underneath the tailgate is additional storage space for small items. In addition, it also stores the spare tire which makes for easier tire changing.
Aboard the pickup, Honda claimed it has one of the most spacious and sophisticated cabins in the midsize pickup segment. It gets leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, engine start/stop button, full-color TFT multi-information display and an 8-inch touchscreen Display Audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The rear seats can also be adjusted for people or cargo carrying. The 60/40 split rear seats can be folded down and allow long items to be stored easily. Other long baggages can also be stored underneath the seats as well.
Under the hood, the 2017 Ridgeline is driven by a 3.5-liter Earth Dreams V6 that benefits from direct injection and i-VTEC. No power ratings were released but Honda did state it will deliver "top-in-class powertrain refinement and acceleration." It is then mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and will be available in either FWD or AWD configurations. Models fitted with AWD will have Honda's i-VTM4 torque vectoring system and Terrain Management System.
In terms of safety features, it gets Lane Departure Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation and Lane Keep Assist. Furthermore, all models will also have a multi-rearview camera while higher-spec models will come with Honda LaneWatch and Blind Spot Information System.