The 2014 Honda Ridgeline has been providing a non-traditional pickup option ever since its release as a 2006 model. The Honda Ridgeline is the only truck of its kind on the market, a vehicle that combines the smooth driving of a crossover with the utility of a pickup - and all of that under the banner of Honda reliability. The Ridgeline might not be dominating yearly truck sales reports, but it has managed to find a following of owners who appreciate the way it stands out from the crowd.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Honda Ridgeline
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline doesn't go up against the main moves and shakers in the pickup business - the full-size crowd that includes the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado. Instead, it's aimed at those seeking a mid-size truck, something big enough to be useful but small enough to be practical, especially in a more urban environment. From a size perspective, the Honda Ridgeline is much more in-line with vehicles like the Nissan Frontier and the GMC Canyon, albeit with a larger interior and a suspension system that isn't quite as rugged.
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline's suspension is indeed one aspect of the vehicle that sets it apart from every other truck currently on sale. Instead of riding on a body-on-frame chassis like a traditional pickup, the Honda Ridgeline instead cribs its unibody platform from Honda's sedan line-up. This means that the Ridgeline is technically more of a crossover than a truck, which is in turn reflected by the fact that the Honda's suspension is tuned for light-duty applications instead of off-road shenanigans. The upshot of the Ridgeline's unibody design is a much more comfortable ride and more precise steering than one would expect from a pickup.
Going hand-in-hand with the 2014 Honda Ridgeline's unibody structure and street-oriented suspension system is its full-time all-wheel drive system. Lacking the same type of low-range four-wheel drive offered by most other trucks, the Honda Ridgeline is more about on-pavement traction than muddy trails. The Honda all-wheel drive system that is outfitted to the Ridgeline is in fact tuned to send most engine torque to the front axle during normal operation, with the rear wheels only being engaged when slippage is detected. For limited off-road use, the pickup offers the ability to lock its all-wheel drive system to more evenly split torque at low speeds.
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline is offered exclusively with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine underneath its hood. This unit is tuned to produce 250 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque - numbers that aren't exactly earth-shaking, but which are more than enough to give the Ridgeline a total towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. The Honda is shifted via a standard five-speed automatic transmission, and thanks to its primarily front-wheel drive power distribution the pickup is able to return fuel mileage of 15-mpg in stop and go driving and 21-mpg on the highway.
All versions of the 2014 Honda Ridgeline - regardless of their price point - come in a four-door Crew Cab body style. These doors are full-size, and offer excellent access to what is a generous passenger compartment. Those riding in the rear of the truck will have no trouble with comfort, even on longer trips, as the vehicle offers a bench out back that can add three adults to the pair sitting up front for a total of five occupants. The Crew Cab design also means that there really isn't a 'work truck' trim available with the Ridgeline - this pickup is aimed almost exclusively at retail customers, not fleet buyers.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the 2014 Honda Ridgeline is its cargo management system. The Honda Ridgeline's bed - like most crew cab pickups - isn't all that long, measuring it at roughly five feet. The open storage area is merely one aspect of the Ridgeline's versatile cargo capacity, however, as the vehicle features an 8.5-cubic foot 'trunk' underneath the bed that can actually be locked in order to protect valuable items. The truck's tailgate is also a unique design - it can either flip down like a standard pickup, or be opened to one side on a hinge, which is again more like a crossover than a truck.
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline starts out in RT trim, which includes a rearview camera, a power sliding rear window, power windows and door locks, a trip computer, and 17-inch steel wheels. Stepping up to the Ridgeline Sport adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, a different look for the vehicle's exterior trim, and 18-inch rims, while the RTS steps back down to 17-inch rims, provides dual automatic climate control, a louder stereo system, and tinted windows. The RTL returns the Honda to 18-inch rims, adds a sunroof, heated leather seats, satellite radio, and fog lights, and the new-for-2014 Special Edition comes with blacked-out trim, its own special 18-inch wheels, a honeycomb grille, and unique badges.
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline is equipped with electronic stability control and traction control, which work together with its standard all-wheel drive to prevent an accident from occurring in the first place. In the event of a collision, the Honda Ridgeline features side curtain airbags that deploy along both sides of the vehicle, a pair of forward airbags, and seat-mounted side impact airbags for forward occupants in order to protect passengers from injury. Due to its rather long lifecycle, the Ridgeline does not offer any of the active safety features that have started to become available with more modern pickups.
The 2014 Honda Ridgeline starts at an MSRP of $29,575 and it tops out at $37,505 for either the RTL or SE edition. While its opening price might be higher than some of the regular cab, four-cylinder mid-size trucks that are available, it compares favorably with fully-loaded V-6 mid-size pickups like the Toyota Tacoma at the high end. The Ridgeline is also competing against crossover vehicles - including Honda's own CR-V - due to its five-passenger seating and versatile utility. After all, who needs a rack when you can simply toss your bikes into the back of this pickup and call it a day?
We've already hinted a few times that it's been a long time since the 2014 Honda Ridgeline has received any significant updates, and in recognition of that fact 2014 will mark the final model year of the current generation of the vehicle. Somewhat unusually, instead of bringing out a new Ridgeline for next fall, Honda will instead be waiting until the 2016 model year to introduce the redesigned version of the pickup. This means that there will be nearly a two-year gap between the 2014 and the 2016 editions of the truck where Honda will not have a Ridgeline in its stable.