Remember when Honda unveiled the all-new Ridgeline pickup truck back in 2016? Essentially a Pilot with no third-row seating, the next-gen Ridgeline challenges conventional pickup designs with a unibody platform, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive capability, and a wide array of sophisticated tech.
So what’s next for the Honda Ridgeline? How about an off-road buggy conversion? Yes you read that right, Honda recently transformed the Ridgeline pickup truck into an open-air vehicle capable of going over any terrain with ease.
Built and designed by Honda R&D Americas, the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept is Honda’s vision of the ultimate off-road machine. It combines the off-road capability of the Ridgeline, as well as the compact and simple design of the Honda Pioneer 1000 side-by-side.
Beginning with its exterior, lightweight body panels replace the traditional metal body. In terms of design, the concept borrows much of its styling from Honda’s line of side-by-side vehicles. The front fascia is dominated by a huge skid plate, angry-looking LED headlights, and a mean front grill. Meanwhile, the doors, custom-designed bed and tailgate panels are lifted straight from existing Pioneer side-by-side vehicles.
Given its open-air design, the concept does not come with a roof and instead has a roll cage which keeps the passenger cell secure. Finally, huge black alloy wheels, chunky all-terrain tires, and a modified suspension allow the concept to remain mobile and go over any debris unhindered.
Inside, the cabin sticks to a simple design and has been made to last in outdoor conditions. It gets a Pioneer 1000 steering wheel, Civic Type R seats trimmed in waterproof material and smartphone holders. It even gets a durable paint finish that protects the exposed instrument panel from the elements.
Like its standard counterpart, the Rugged Open-Air Vehicle is powered by a 3.5-liter Earth Dreams-developed V6 with i-VTEC. It puts out 280 PS along with 355 Nm of torque and is mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox.
To date, Honda has no plans of making a production version of the Open Air Rugged Vehicle concept any time soon. However, we won’t be surprised if Honda borrows some of the styling elements and features of the concept for a special variant of the Ridgeline in the future.