From City Slicker to Country Boy: 2021 Honda Ridgeline Gets Rugged

Image: Honda

As much as we try to cover the news without bias here at TTAC, it would untrue to say that those of us on staff don’t have certain vehicles we like more than others. Our Slack channel is often filled with discussions about how this car or that crossover is good or bad and why. We all have certain vehicles we’d put our own money down on.

Adam has shown Bronco love. Chris has Nissan on the brain. I have a weakness for hot hatches, Impalas from the mid-60s and mid-90s, all sorts of quirky vehicles, and Fox-body Mustangs (the current pony car is pretty damn good, too). Our last news guru had a thing for old cars. Corey insists on making up words to describe cars with taillights that run from side to side without interruption.

Tim Cain even bought a Honda Ridgeline. Which, as it happens, is something I would also like to do, if I needed a truck, which I don’t.

That brings us to, yes, you guessed it, the Honda Ridgeline.

Image: Honda

I like the current Ridgeline for its Accord-on-stilts car-like ride, its tailgate-friendly tricks, and the fact that Honda hasn’t tried to make a mid-size truck that’s probably more at home on city streets (despite being, by all accounts, quite capable off-road – yours truly has only driven one on the street) into some faux-rugged rig.

Until now.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is redone, and the biggest changes are fore of the A-pillar. That’s a new hood with a power bulge – no, that’s not a term referring to a body part on a certain type of film star – a more “upright” grille, a squared-off nose, new front fenders, LED headlights, and a grille crossbar that’s either Gloss Black or chrome, depending on trim.

Image: Honda

There’s a new front bumper that ads air vents on the sides to improve aerodynamics and has more body color than before. There’s also a skid plate, which is both there to protect the undercarriage and make the truck look tougher. The rear bumper is reshaped and the two twin exhaust tips are redone, as well. With the tips being more exposed than before.

Image: Honda

The 18-inch wheels are also changed to look off-road ready and the all-season tires get a more aggressive sidewall. The track is widened by 20 mm. New options packages include a Honda Performance Development package that offers bronze wheels, a different grille treatment, black fender flares, and HPD graphics.

All that gives the truck a more rugged look, as if it changed from a suit to flannel for the weekend up at the cabin by the lake.

Image: Honda

Inside, the infotainment system gets updated/improved graphics, different icons for the touchscreen, and an actual volume knob. Sport-trim trucks get new cloth inserts, while all trims have new contrast stitching for the seats. Sport, RTL, and RTL-E trims get new accents for the dash, steering-wheel, and center console.

The Alabama-built Ridgeline will remain powered by the 3.5-liter V6 that makes 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Image: Honda

I may be in the minority, because I prefer the “citified” looks of the outgoing truck. Others may approve of the “truckier” looks more than myself, and still others will be happy to see that there’s more differentiation from the Pilot crossover.

Love it, like it, or loathe it, this is the next Ridgeline. Pricing has yet to be revealed. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is set to launch early next year, according to the press release.

[Images: Honda]

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