The new 2017 Honda Ridgeline will offer both frontwheel and allwheel drive options Photo courtesy of Honda

The new 2017 Honda Ridgeline will offer both front-wheel and all-wheel drive options. (Photo courtesy of Honda)

Honda renews aim at mid-sized pickup market

Renewed 2017 Ridgeline unibody pickup rolled out at NAIAS

Honda rolled out its completely revamped 2017 Ridgeline mid-size pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week, believing that the vehicle’s “unibody” construction will help set it apart from the other models in the light truck segment.

“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,” noted John Mendel, executive VP at American Honda Motor Co., Inc., in a statement.

Designed, developed and manufactured in America, the new Ridgeline will launch in the first half of 2016 with a combination of new features and capabilities:

  • The new Ridgeline is based on Honda's Global Light Truck platform and its rigid yet lightweight unibody construction, next-generation ACE body structure and fully independent suspension, should deliver a “higher level of ride and handling” refinement than conventional body-on-frame pickup designs, the OEM said.
  • The new Ridgeline will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 gasoline engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
  • This truck will available for the first time in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations, Honda said, with AWD models will utilize Honda's i-VTM4 torque vectoring technology and featuring Intelligent Terrain Management with four off-duty modes – Normal, Sand, Snow and Mud – to improve all-weather handling, traction and performance.
  • The 2017 Ridgeline will offer a 60/40-split and folding second-row seat provides the ultimate versatility for people- and cargo-hauling utility. With the seats folded down, the Ridgeline will comfortably carry up to five people while still accommodating long items under the rear seat.
  • The truck’s 5-ft. wide and 5-ft. 4-in. long bed is 5.4-in. wider and 4-in. longer than the previous generation Ridgeline, with the 2017 Honda Ridgeline offering a 4-ft. wide flat bed space with 48-in. between the rear wheel arches.
  • Payload capacity will approach 1,600 lbs., the OEM said, with final specifications to be released closer to launch. The pickup’s bed will feature eight 350-pound tie-down cleats, however, Honda noted.
  • The OEM added that the 2017 Ridgeline’s composite, UV-stabilized and scratch-resistant bed also includes new features such as an In-Bed Trunk, dual-action tailgate, and optional 400-watt AC power inverter.

Honda noted that it set an “all-time record” for U.S. sales of light truck models in 2015, up nearly 12% from 2014 to 661,188 units, though it includes its sport utility vehicles, compact utility vehicles, and minivans in its “light truck” lineup. Those numbers bested the previous record of 602,123 Honda-brand “light trucks” sold in 2006, the OEM noted. 

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