Honda Ridgeline – A Ridgeline between Elegance and Practicality
The second-generation Ridgeline, which is built on a platform shared with the Honda Pilot, was produced in May 2016. Its distinctive unibody design seemed to be a hit with many Jamaicans, who imported the first-generation model independent of local Honda dealer, ATL Automotive Group.
This time around, ATL Automotive Group decided that it wouldn’t be left out of the expected success of the second-generation Ridgeline by adding it to their vehicle options.
Given that it is targeted primarily to the US market, it is only offered as a left-hand drive in Jamaica. Fortunately, the lane departure camera in the right mirror provides sufficient assistance to help drivers adjust to being placed on this side.
One of the outstanding things about this vehicle’s untraditional design is the cargo bed, which is not detached from the cab like the regular pick-up, even though there is a partition line to give the illusion that it is separated. Despite this, the vehicle feels very sturdy and drives more like an SUV than a pick-up.
With that being said, the verdict is still out on how the cargo bed will feel when it is filled with objects. I doubt there will be much flexibility to adjust to the distribution of weight, given its unibody frame.
To be fair, a pick-up like this is not built for a construction site; it’s more for a person who intends to use the extra space in a passive manner, like carrying friends to the beach or hauling ATVs, not loading cement and concrete blocks.
I am delighted that Honda used a six-speed transmission and not a CVT, which can be very disengaging. The vehicle applies power on demand with a precision that is greatly appreciated, especially when going uphill. Also, Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management system functioned more than adequately when confronted with the Irish Town, St Andrew, junction.
There are four drive modes available: sand, snow, normal, and mud. With that being said, I think most persons will just keep it in normal mode and let the computer do the thinking. In addition, it’s all wheel drive, hence, there this no option to select four-wheel or two-wheel drive.
As it pertains to handling, the weight of the steering felt perfect, especially when taking on corners. The same can be said about the suspension, which managed the road to Hollywell from Kingston quite easily.
What caught me off guard was how adequate the ride height was. Looking at it from a distance, its 7.87 inches for ground clearance makes it lower to the ground than the average mid-size pick-up. Surprisingly, this was not an issue off road. While driving over challenging terrain, I was a bit sceptical but it was able to clear it without even scraping the side rails. Admittedly, it cannot be used for extreme off road conditions, however, it should be OK for casual off roading.
WHAT I LIKE:
– Responsive touch-screen infotainment system
– Accurate voice recognition when programmed into vehicle
– Very comfortable ride
– Backdoor doesn’t open wide enough
– Cost of test model: $7.985 million with a monthly cost of $92,400
– Engine size: 3.5 litre V6
– Hp: 280 @ 6,000 rpm
– Transmission:6-speed automatic
– Competitors: Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, VW Amarok
– Who the dealer believes the vehicle is for: “The Ridgeline has a wide appeal ranging from males to females in their late 30s to 60s. It’s a vehicle for those looking for adventure, as it is rugged and able to switch into different drive modes to accommodate any experience. It’s also considered the most family-oriented pick-up as it’s extremely spacious and comfortable,” said Christina Taylor, group marketing manager, ATL Automotive Group.