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2024 Honda Ridgeline Road Test and Review

Brady Holt
by Brady Holt
April 16, 2024
2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Ever since the first-generation Honda Ridgeline debuted in 2006, it has been a subject of debate – is it a real truck? It has a pickup bed and a high seating position, but it has the unibody front-wheel-drive-based platform of a crossover SUV rather than a traditional rear-wheel-drive-based body on frame. 

Still, the Ridgeline has steadily become more traditional. Its second generation rolled out in 2017 with a more traditional silhouette, and the 2021 model year brought a redesigned squared-off front end, and now the 2024 model brings a new off-road-themed TrailSport model along with a new infotainment system. For this review, we spent a week testing the new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport. Keep reading to learn more about the Ridgeline’s pros and cons – and whether this crossover pickup is the perfect truck (or car) for you. 

Priced From $39,750

The Ridgeline has a high starting price for a mid-size pickup: $39,750 for the base Sport model. Still, we think it’s still a lot of pickup for the money. First, the Ridgeline Sport is an all-wheel-drive crew cab with high-end features like adaptive cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button starting, a wireless smartphone charger, blind-spot monitoring, and seven-speaker stereo. Secondly, as we’ll discuss more later, the Ridgeline has the feel of a pricey full-size truck from the driver’s seat. 

Other Ridgeline models include the leather-equipped RTL; $42,580, the new TrailSport (which adds a heated steering wheel, GPS navigation, and parking sensors along with off-road add-ons for $44,980; and the top Black Edition with blacked-out wheels and trim in addition to a premium stereo, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and an in-bed three-prong power outlet. We wish the Ridgeline let you get its luxury features without having to get a TrailSport or a Black Edition – not everyone would have picked those appearance packages. But it’s still reasonably equipped for the money for the right buyer. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Interior Upgrades

The Ridgeline largely has the interior of a 2016 Honda Pilot – gently curved dashboard without a rugged, fancy, or high-tech flavor. Still, we appreciate its simple ergonomics, especially in light of this year’s new upgrades. 

Most notably, the Ridgeline’s old 8-inch infotainment touchscreen had sluggish responses and sat aside some fussy touch-sensitive controls. This year, Honda added a couple of real buttons along with a bigger 9-inch screen with crisper graphics, quicker responses, and a simplified layout. We’re fans. It's not world-beating infotainment, but it turns a former negative into a point that's neutral at worst. A redesigned gauge cluster is also clearer and more upscale-looking than last year’s, at least to our eyes. Lastly, Honda redesigned the center console with more space for phones (including on the well-placed wireless charger). There’s also now a traditional console bin that doubles as a center armrest, instead of fold-down armrests attached to the seats. This big, deep space is more generous than you’ll find on rival mid-size pickups. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Space to Spread Out

More important for many buyers than more console storage, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline feels like a full-size pickup from behind the wheel. You spread out on wide, expansive front seats, and you don’t bump elbows with the front passenger on the center armrest. The seats are cloth and manually adjustable on the Ridgeline Sport, while other trim levels include leather (RTL and Black Edition) or more rugged leatherette (TrailSport) with power adjustments and seat heaters. 

The backseat isn’t as massive. It’s as wide as a full-size Ford F-150, but its legroom is closer to an extended-cab F-150 than a four-door crew cab. However, the Ridgeline still has a more comfortable rear seat than rival mid-size trucks – even before you consider its extra width. The seat is high and supportive, with plenty of headroom and hip space. You’ll just find your knees close to the front seatbacks. Like on other pickups, you can flip up the rear seat cushion to create an open, enclosed cargo area. But as we’ll discuss, Honda doesn’t stop there for your cargo needs. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Cargo Considerations

The Ridgeline has a 63.6-inch-long bed that’s both a bit longer and wider than most mid-size rivals. It’s also shallow, but there are a couple reasons we think many owners won’t mind. First, the wheel wells barely intrude. Secondly, under the floor is the Ridgeline’s famous “trunk.” This lockable 7.3-cubic-foot space is bigger than the trunks of some sports cars, and it provides a way to secure small items that you don’t want bouncing around in the open bed. A drain plug also lets you use it as a built-in cooler. Honda hasn’t tackled two longtime complaints: Locating the spare tire in the trunk under the bed is inconvenient if you get a flat while the bed is loaded, and the tailgate isn’t damped for gentler opening and closing. (Instead, it can swing outward for easier access to the bed.) 

When you’re using it like a truck, the Ridgeline has a modest but acceptable 5,000 pounds of towing capability. That’s worse than rivals’ peak numbers, but in many cases, only base-model rear-wheel-drive models achieve the top towing rating of an entire truck model. Its payload capacity of 1,583 pounds is more than comparable trim levels of some body-on-frame mid-size pickups. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Meet the TrailSport

As we mentioned, the Ridgeline looks the part of a truck at a glance. It has the upright silhouette of a typical pickup, and although the body is built all in one piece, Honda even provides an artificial body seam between the bed and cab. For folks who want a bit more trucky flavor, the TrailSport, like our test vehicle, is a new Ridgeline model this year. It joins the Honda Passport and Pilot mid-size crossover SUVs in offering this trim level. 

On the Ridgeline, the TrailSport brings a few design tweaks along with an off-road suspension with greater articulation and improved compliance over bumpy terrain. It also features all-terrain tires and additional underbody protection. It’s the better Ridgeline for tackling a forest road on the way to a trailhead, but it doesn’t transform the Ridgeline into a mighty off-road machine. It doesn’t even increase the modest 7.6-inch ground clearance. Still, every Ridgeline includes torque-vectoring all-wheel drive that can send up to 70% of the engine’s torque to either or both of the rear wheels to maintain traction. And a choice of drive modes lets you tailor the truck’s systems for pavement, sand, snow, or mud. It may not be a truck that you’d take for adventurous off-road driving, but it’s capable enough to get you to other destinations.

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Comfort Comes First

Another way that the Ridgeline feels more like a full-size truck is its smooth, quiet ride. Most mid-size trucks these days are rough-and-tumble “lifestyle vehicles” for which bouncing and roaring count as character. Instead of character, the Honda provides the smoothness and refinement that you’d typically have to spend a lot extra for. 

The comfort-focused Ridgeline isn’t a sporty little Honda. It’s not clumsy like a massive truck, but it has a softly sprung suspension that’s all about ease of use instead of light-on-its-feet agility. You’ll notice the difference versus a smaller car-based pickup – the less capable, less spacious Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Versus traditional mid-size trucks, the Ridgeline’s easy steering is the biggest difference that many owners will notice. A wide 43.4-foot turning circle is inconvenient in tight quarters, though, and we didn’t love the soft-feeling brake pedal. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Moderately Economical

Every Ridgeline has a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. This non-turbo engine makes smooth, effortless power and decent gas mileage for a pickup. 

In EPA testing, the Ridgeline gets 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined in most trim levels, while the TrailSport’s off-road tires cut about 1 mpg. That edges out four-wheel-drive versions of the four-cylinder Chevrolet Colorado and V6 Nissan Frontier, and it ties the 4WD Toyota Tacoma with its new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Only the four-cylinder Ford Ranger does better. Still, the numbers are close together; we wouldn’t choose one pickup over the other purely based on fuel economy. We averaged 19 mpg in our 2024 TrailSport test vehicle and previously saw 22 mpg in a base Sport, though we didn't test them in identical conditions. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt

No Direct Competitors

As you’ve heard throughout this review, the Ridgeline has no direct competitors. Other car-based pickups cost less and drive like small cars rather than big ones, and traditional mid-sized pickups have more capability and rugged character. But none of them has the Ridgeline’s spread-out space or smooth and quiet ride. 

That’s why we also compare the Ridgeline against half-ton full-size pickups like the Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500. These trucks are huge, hugely capable, and hugely expensive. They have more rear legroom and deeper beds than the Ridgeline, along with mighty towing and payload capabilities. But if you’re looking at a full-size truck for a full-size feel from the driver’s seat and won’t be doing intensive truck work, the Ridgeline can cost upward of $10,000 less than a comparably equipped half-ton. 

2024 Ford Maverick Lariat ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Ford Maverick Lariat ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Still the Gentlest Pickup

TrailSport or not, and whether or not you consider it a “real” pickup, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline remains the gentlest pickup on the market. It provides an open bed without all the compromises of a traditional truck – or all the capability, either. 

At the same time, the Ridgeline still has towing, hauling, and off-road capabilities that would exceed a passenger car’s. And we’re fans of this year’s updated infotainment, which removes what could have been a reason not to buy the Ridgeline even if you like its package. If you buy a pickup for recreational off-roading or hardcore hauling, or you value the flavor of a truck that can do those things, the Ridgeline won’t be for you. But if you want spaciousness, comfort, and a pickup bed at a relatively affordable price, don’t miss this newly improved Honda. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport ・ Photo by Brady Holt


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