If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it is to expect the unexpected. You never truly know what is waiting around the next corner, so it’s best to be ready for anything. One day you’re making martinis for dozens of people behind a bar, or sitting in front of a classroom full of kids talking about the history of the US, and the next you’re filing for unemployment, or trying to teach long division to a computer screen on Zoom. Life throws things at you, and all you can do is learn how to react. So with that philosophy in full effect, it’s no surprise that we are starting to look at our choice of automobile in a different light as well, which brings us to the 2020 Honda Ridgeline.
It may surprise you, but the Ridgeline has been around since George W. Bush was in office. It had a brief hiatus in 2014 to usher in a new generation, with a complete redesign in 2017. Gone are the days of the quirky and funky stylings of the first gen’s half-pickup truck motif, and thankfully so. For 2020, Honda has taken a truck that is essentially ready for anything, and tweaked it a little more ready.
Unlike so many of it’s half ton competitors like the F-150, Silverado, Tundra, and Ram, the Ridgeline doesn’t offer the same old body-on-frame construction. Honda chose to set its pickup to a softer setting, and also a more fuel efficient one. Powered by a very long withstanding corporate 3.5-liter V6, that can be seen in several other Honda models, the Ridgeline’s gets a solid 280-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed through a brand new for 2020 nine-speed smooth shifting automatic transmission and then on to your choice of either just the front wheels (yes a FWD pickup truck), or to all four corners for added traction and stability.
The Ridgeline is ready to up and haul at a moments notice, especially in AWD form. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds (vs. 3,500 for the FWD). Granted, this weight limit is vastly less than its competition, but that same coil-sprung independent rear allows for a sedan-like ride quality that the leaf-spring and solid-axle group have no chance of matching. Adding to that sense of tranquility on the road is the tweaked electrically assisted steering, which provides wonderful feedback without being overly numbing to what’s going on on the road.
While on the outside, the Ridgeline looks a lot like a Honda Pilot with a pickup bed, on the inside it feels almost like an Odyssey. Quiet, and soft, the center mount and upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a nice centerpiece to the interior. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and despite its adult-like character, Honda piped in an optional in-bed audio setup that uses the cargo box as a giant speaker. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split, which again makes it more spacious for cargo. The fold-down armrests are a nice touch as well.
That bed is a standard 5.3 feet long, which is on par with other short bed pickups, but it does provide a water tight truck in the bed that houses 7.3 cubic feet of storage room. Honda did compensate for it’s short bed by putting a generous 50.0 inches of space between the rear wheel wells, which means more lateral room for transporting construction materials.
The Ridgeline is the most fuel efficient truck in its class, posting an impressive 19/26/23 city/highway/combined mpg, which may actually be a little underrated, as some folks have claimed to come close to hitting the magical 30 mph mark on the highway. But even with the stated numbers, it is ready for any long road trip as soon as you are.
For 2020 Honda has done away with the base RT and RTL-T trims, and now offers one of four trim levels: Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and the Black Edition, with the Sport coming in at just $33,900 all the way up to the Black Edition’s lofty price of $43,520, and the others falling in between.
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is a wonderfully balanced truck that is ready for just about any weather, any road, or any off road you can throw at it, and in the time of pandemics and riots, it’s not going to be long before it starts raining frogs or swarms of locusts come flying around. COVID-19 has taught us to be ready for anything, and in the 2020 Honda Ridgeline, we will be.