I’m a truck purist and proud of it. So I somewhat scoffed at the opportunity to test drive a 2019 Honda Ridgeline, boy was I wrong.
When I drive a truck I enjoy what a body on frame vehicle represents. A stiffer ride, higher ride height, and overall abilities.
The unibody Honda Ridgeline is maligned among a contingent of truck driving enthusiasts and has never quite cracked the code on the truck-buying public, or maybe they have?
Sales of the Ridgeline have been healthy and consistent, which proves there is a market for quirky looking trucks that drive like cars. For those like me who are clinging to preconceptions about the Ridgeline, I believe it’s time for you to take another look, and here’s why.
After spending a week driving the Ridgeline I was impressed by its comfort, pep, and overall usability.
There are two major features that make the Ridgeline stand out from their competition and could be the selling point that sways buyers.
Honda Ridgeline Tailgate and Truck Bed
At first glance, the Ridgeline tailgate and bed don’t look like anything special.
The tailgate opens down like a traditional tailgate providing access to the bed. Honda recognized that a drawback to the traditional design was the difficulty of reaching in and accessing items in the bed because you had to lean over the tailgate.
Swing Open Tailgate
So Honda fixed this by also making the tailgate swing open like a door. There is a hidden release lever underneath the bottom right side of the tailgate which allows you to swing the door out. I like how they made the lever hidden instead of placing it on the door.
Once you’ve opened the tailgate door, you can then access the hidden truck bed storage. A large in bed compartment can be used to stash gear, luggage, shopping bags, and anything else you don’t want to be exposed in the truck bed.
The lid is lined with weatherproofing and locks in place when you lock the truck.
By placing the storage underneath the bed you no longer need a truck box to take up precious cargo room in the truck bed.
I used the truck bed to haul eight 4×8 pieces of plywood and skate ramp surfacing. There is 4 feet between the small wheel well bulges so the plywood could lay flat. Then I simply used tie downs to keep the lumber in place.
The rear sliding window opens which allows you to carry longer 2x4s if needed without them protruding out the back.
Honda placed speakers in the side walls of the truck bed, which you can turn on to maximize your tailgating experience. They sound great and can be used to play whatever music you are playing in the cab.
LED Lights and AC Power
The tricked out truck bed doesn’t end with speakers. 115V AC power is available behind a small panel that can be used to stash electronics or valuables.
Two bright LED lights illuminate the truck bed and there are two tie-down hooks at each corner of the bed.
Stadium Rear Seats
Rear passengers are usually an afterthought in mid-size trucks, but Honda has thought of your passengers and provided them with stadium seating.
Which means the rear seats are raised, providing passengers with an unobstructed view of the front and making the experience of riding in the back more enjoyable.
This also means there is an abundance of storage space under the rear seats which are easily accessible by flipping up the seat.
These thoughtful innovations and attention to detail have won me over. As a truck guy I can honestly say the Honda Ridgeline should be given serious consideration to anyone seeking the utility of a pickup truck, without leaving the comfort of their crossover or SUV.