The Honda Ridgeline pickup has never fit into a category. It's the only pickup for sale today built off a unibody chassis — the same one underpinning the Honda Pilot — and that design gives it a few advantages (ride, handling and a trunk under the pickup bed) along with several disadvantages over traditional midsize pickups. The Ridgeline has never been a huge seller for Honda, and even though sales are up 29 percent this year, Honda has moved just over 16,000 copies, or about what Ford does in F-Series in a week.
As long expected, Honda revealed today that it would stop building the Ridgeline next year in its Alabama plant. The new news: Within two years, Honda will build a successor to the Ridgeline, one with the silhouette shown above — and despite being no more than a few lines, shows Honda may have learned from its mistakes.
Before the fans flood the comments, let's acknowledge that for a small group of buyers — well-off owners who needed a pickup bed attached to a comfortable ride — the Ridgeline was a strong contender. But that's a pretty small market, made even more so by the competition in full-size trucks. For Ridgeline money, one can buy a nicely optioned crew-cab, four-wheel-drive traditional pickup, and modern editions will offer the same or better fuel efficiency and comfort with far more towing and hauling potential.
Born in the same era that saw Honda loose the Element upon the world, the Ridgeline broke with truck convention, but the outline shared with Honda does reveal one key difference; where the Ridgeline used a flying buttress design along the front of the bed for stiffness, it also meant traditional caps and covers wouldn't fit. The new Ridgeline has a perfectly flat bed, just like pickup buyers want, or so Honda hopes.
- Honda Pilot