When you have a lot of stuff to take to a waste transfer station
, there is nothing better than having a truck to help you get rid of all that junk.
But when that truck also offers a smooth ride with lots of features you would expect to find on an upscale SUV, then you have the best of both worlds.
That’s not a bad definition for my recent test vehicle, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition.
It is a truck that doesn’t mind getting dirty but somehow it feels wrong to get this truck dirty because it looks so nice.
The Honda Ridgeline went through a design change for the 2017 year and into 2018 the truck maintains its stellar look and style.
When I tested this truck last year I called it ‘aggressive
’ but when you are sitting behind the wheel you might think you are driving an SUV because the handling is very smooth.
That might have a lot to do with the fact the Ridgeline is built on the same platform as the Odyssey minivan and the mid-size Pilot.
In fact, take this test. Have someone drive this truck for you while you sit in the passenger seat and close your eyes. Now you know you are sitting in a truck but just for a second you will think you are in a much smoother running SUV.
The Ridgeline, Honda’s only truck in its fleet, comes in four trims; The Sport, EX-L, Touring and the Black Edition. All four are powered by a 3.5-litre, direct injection V6 engine that produces 280 hp with 262 lb/ft of torque. It is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission and features an econo mode to help save on gas.
The difference in the four trims are the accessories.
The Sport comes loaded with many standard features including anti-lock brakes; lane departure and forward collision warning; adaptive cruise control; front wiper deicer; power sliding rear cabin window and 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support.
I could write another 500 words just listing the standard features on the Ridgeline which would put many upscale sedans to shame.
Those numerous standard features are why the Ridgeline starts at a hefty $40,790 for the Sport and tops out at just below $50,000 for the Black Edition.
The Black Edition turns the style and accessories of the Ridgeline up to 11, starting with a very stylish black chrome front grille while adding black 18-inch tires and a striking red ambient lighting in the cabin.
One of my favourite features is the truck bed audio feature which sends the stereo sound out to the truck bed. That feature is not on the Sport or EX-L models.
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Neither is the 150W/400W power outlet in the truck bed which is handy for any power tools you might be using that require being plugged in.
The Ridgeline truck bed is five feet four inches long by five feet. When I checked it against other trucks it fit somewhere in the middle though my impression is it is shorter than other trucks I have driven.
The weekend I had the Ridgeline I had to get rid of lots of fence boards which had been blown down in the April windstorm. The pile sat in my backyard for a few months until the fence was replaced. I also had an old mattress and lots of junk sitting in the garage.
I had thought I could make the trip to the dump just once but the Ridgeline was full once all the wood was loaded and tied down using some of the eight heavy-duty tie-down cleats.
The wood off loaded at the landfill site on Ritson Rd. in Oshawa, the Ridgeline was able to carry the mattress and other junk for the second trip. Thank goodness for the scratch resistant bed.
I had some helpers that day, what is it about guys loving trips to the dump, and they were able to sit comfortably in the roomy back seat.
One of the other differences in the Sport and Black Edition is the entertainment system. The Black Edition features a 540-watt stereo with CD player and eight speakers. The Sport and EX-L offer a 225-watt system with seven speakers.
All trims feature a seven-inch infotainment screen which looks nice but as I noted last year, I’m not a fan that Honda has done away with the buttons to help adjust the volume of change channels.
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Until you get really use to it, or preferring the steering wheel controls, you will find yourself taking your eyes off the road to try and get your finger on the sliding scale to turn the volume up or down.
One area the Ridgeline excels in is safety. The truck has won numerous awards for its safety and it is easy to see why. Just some of the standard safety features include: lane assist; blind spot monitoring; numerous airbags; forward collision monitoring, brake assist and tire pressure monitoring. The Black Edition and Touring also add rear cross traffic monitoring and automatic high beams.
The Honda Ridgeline is for families who are looking for a versatile vehicle. It can get down and dirty with the best of them but will clean up and not be out of place when you are looking to go someplace in style.
It’s like the James Bond of trucks.
2018 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition
Full-size, five-passenger pickup truck
3.5-litre, direct injection, SOHC V6 (280 hp, 262 lb/ft).
(Regular) 12.8/9.5L/100km, city/highway
Up to 2,267 kg (5,000 lb) when properly equipped
Base price $49,790
WEBSITE: Honda Ridgeline