The 2020 Honda Ridgeline can give you the most car-like experience in the midsize pickup category. That is all thanks to its unibody construction, providing more ride comfort and noise isolation than its traditional truck-based competitions. Plus, it also offers cool storage tricks like its lockable-in bed truck, exclusive to the Ridgeline.
Honda keeps its single engine option–a smooth-spinning 280-hp V-6. What’s new for 2020 is a standard 9-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous 6-speed and promising huge improvements in terms of fuel efficiency and acceleration. Honda has also made some changes with the Ridgeline’s trim levels for the 2020 model. But the major change for 2020 is its improved availability of the bigger touchscreen including the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It may not have the same level of off-road ability and attitude like its rivals, Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Jeep Gladiator, but it is definitely the most comfortable, spacious and refined among the group. For everyday use, the Ridgeline is the best pick among the group.
Here are its best features:
Best Ride and Handling in its Category
Few rivals can match the 2020 Honda Ridgeline’s handling and ride performance. This truck stays collected and well-mannered on winding roads so it feels like you’re driving a car, not a truck. It also rides smoothly, even over rough roads. The throttle response is particularly receptive during hard acceleration. Its car-like ride quality is also credited to its coil-sprung independent rear suspension. There is minimal body lean and you can barely feel small bumps.
A Satisfactory V6 Engine
Many small trucks come standard with a 4-cylinder engine and have V6 available as an option. But the Ridgeline is different as it only comes with a V6 engine. The 3.5-liter engine produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and is equipped with plenty of muscle which makes it ideal for driving around downtown or on the highway. A standard 9-speed automatic transmission is paired with the V6 engine. Driving the Ridgeline feels smooth, thanks to its engine.
Solid Gas Mileage
The Honda 2020 Ridgelinewith front-wheel drive earns 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway while the all-wheel-drive version gets 19/24 mpg city/highway. Those are good ratings for the compact trucks category and solidly better than other V6-powered competitors. It can even match GMC Canyon with the diesel engine and AWD, which is amazing, considering Honda’s gas engine.
Exceptionally Comfortable and Supportive Seating
Every Ridgeline model comes in a crew cab body style and can seat 5 people. Both front and back rows provide ample space for adult passengers. The front seats offer lots of support for long trips, and the driver will appreciate the impressive forward visibility. Rear-seat adult passengers will enjoy the most space of all midsize competitors. Consumers would also love the fold-down armrests on both front seats, especially since the center console sits low between the seats. To make sure passengers are comfortable, the Ridgeline provides rear air conditioning vents.
The Ridgeline’s cabin is one of the most upscale and roomy in the class. There are soft-touch materials throughout the cabin. It stays quiet inside, even at higher speeds. While you can still find some hard plastic materials here and there in the interior, that’s the case in compact pickup trucks.
Packed With Standard Driver Assistance Features
The Ridgeline comes standard with lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and road departure warning. Some of these features are included in the Honda Sensing suite of driver technology. Blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic features are available as options.
Useful Climate Control System
The heated steering wheel and the heated front seats of the RTL-E trim are very beneficial during unseasonably cloudy and cool weather. The climate controls’ setup are also user-friendly, although knobs are more favorable to the fan speed and temperature rocker switches. But this is a minor issue. Moreover, the availability of a power sunroof and a sliding rear window, which is easy to open, so you can enjoy sunshine and fresh air when the weather is suitable.
Highly-Rated Safety Performance
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline received an overall safety rating of 5 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It got five stars in the frontal and side crash evaluations and four stars in the rollover test.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the 2020 Ridgeline a Top Safety Pick. It got the highest rating of Good in 5 crash tests and the 2nd highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side overlap front evaluation. Headlights ratings vary by model. Both the RTL-E and Black Edition models got a Good Rating for how well they lit the road ahead, but the Sport and RTL models got the worst rating of Poor.
The IIHS uses a different scale for grading active safety features. Loaded Ridgelines got the top rating of Superior for the effectiveness of their front crash prevention features.
Other (not so brilliant) Features
Ridgeline Infotainment, Connectivity and Navigation
Many Ridgeline owners are not fans of its infotainment system. One of the reasons is the fact that there is not a single knob or physical button for it, and considering that the average age of Ridgeline owners is 64 years old, this makes the issue worse. Honda opted to use a touch-sensitive surface covering an eight-inch display and a vertical row of touch-sensing controls that unfortunately do not necessarily function accurately. If you have never experienced using steering wheel audio controls regularly, the Ridgeline will cure you of that fast.
Also, the voice recognition system in the 2020 Ridgeline is dated. If you are a tech savvy Ridgeline owner, you’d expect you’ll just use natural voice recognition to change stations, adjust volumes, input address or find points. Be prepared to be disappointed since the Ridgeline requires you to use specific menus, and even then the response time is not quick. You cannot simply say, “Find the nearest restaurant.” You are required to use proper verbal prompt pathways, and then wait. Good thing the Ridgeline supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For both can address the problem. Still, Honda should add some actual buttons and knobs to control the stereo and offer shortcut access to main menus to make Ridgeline owners happier.
Other standard features include seven speakers, two USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth. A truck bed audio system, an eight-speaker audio system, a moonroof, satellite radio, HD Radio, and navigation are available.
Ridgeline Not So Stellar Off-Road Performance
Ridgeline is not as capable as an offroader compared to its rivals. However, it still offers a traction management system, and all-wheel drive, which makes it decent enough to handle snow, mud and other difficult terrains.
Below Average Towing Capacity in the Class
A properly equipped Ridgeline has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. That is enough to pull a boat or a trailer but is the lowest max tow capacity in the class. Its maximum payload is 1,580 pounds, which too, is less than what rivals can haul.
Ridgeline Cargo Space
The Ridgeline only provides one bed length, and the bed length is almost a foot shorter than most competitions’ longest bed length. Despite this, there are still plenty desirable aspects of this Honda’s bed. Its width is adequate enough to easily fit 4 by 8 sheets of plywood, plus a number of handy in-bed features, such as an audio system, a power outlet, and a 7.3-cubic-foot storage trunk beneath the bed floor featuring a builtin drain plug. Another useful feature is the dual-action tailgate that you can lower or swing open to the side.
J.D. Power gives the 2020 Honda Ridgeline a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.
Ridgeline and Child Car Seats
Ridgeline has 3 full sets of LATCH connectors for the Ridgeline’s rear seats, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave Ridgeline the 2nd highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. However, the lower anchors are set too deep in the seats, and the tether anchors are difficult to find.
Honda Ridgeline Trim Levels
Honda Ridgeline Sport
This trim has a base price of $33,000. Tri-zone automatic climate control, push button start, and an infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, seven speakers, Bluetooth and 2 USB ports come standard.
It is packed with standard assistance features including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation and forward collision warning. Some of these features are included in the Honda Sensing suite of driver technology. All-wheel drive is available at $2,240. You can have a heated steering and rear parking sensors at $500 each.
Honda Ridgeline TRL
The TRL starting MSRP is $36,670. On top of the Sports trim’s features, the RTL power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, leather upholstery, moonroof and a power-sliding rear window. You can get all-wheel drive for $2,150 and heated steering wheel and rear parking sensors are again available at $500 each.
Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
This trim offers a starting MSRP of $42,020. It comes standard with blind spot monitoring, all-wheel drive, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, a truck bed audio system and an in-bed power outlet.
Honda Ridgeline Black Edition
At a starting price of $43,520, the top-of-the-line trim has all the features of the RTL-E plus exclusive and unique styling elements such as special edition leather seats, black alloy wheels and black exterior trim.
Which trim is right for you?
Every trim comes with a crew cab body configuration and a V-6 engine paired with an automatic transmission. The RTL is highly recommended for those who want to have a few nice features without spending a lot of money. But if your budget is flexible, the RTL-E is a better choice. It features almost all amenities you can get in a Ridgeline which include plenty of driver assistance features.
Other Specifications You Need to Know
Ridgeline Cab Style
The Honda Ridgeline only offers one cab style and all trims feature a crew cab setup and seat five people. Few trucks, notwithstanding the cab style, have as much passenger space as this truck. The first and second seats can accommodate adult passengers with ease.
Ridgeline Bed Length
The Ridgeline comes with only one bed length (5 feet and 4 inches long). Other vehicles in its category have multiple bed length even options that are 6 feet or longer. Nevertheless, the bed of the Ridgeline offers plenty of utility. Its bed is four feet and two inches wide at the wheel wells and five feet wide at the bed walls. That width length is enough to fit 4 by 8 plywood between the wheel wells, which is not the case in some trucks in the same category. As a matter of fact, the wheel wells of the Ridgeline are less invasive in the bed’s line than most of its rivals.
The Ridgeline bed also has a unique feature that sets it apart from other compact pickup trucks, and that is a storage truck underneath the floor bed, providing 7.3 cubic feet of space plus a drain plug that you can fill with ice and use as a cooler.
Review sites have awarded the 2020 Honda Ridgeline one of the highest ratings among compact pickup trucks. Honda gave Ridgeline quite a different set of features and specification than most trucks in its class, but it is able to pull it off well. The carmaker is able to come up with a truck that should attract not only traditional truck buyers.
As mentioned earlier, it may not be the best off-roader and has the lowest tow rating, but it offers more comfortable, more space and more luxury than the rest of the class. It is highly recommended to small truck buyers.