When the Honda Ridgeline first entered the scene, reactions polarized the industry. But now that experts and consumers have both had a chance to warm up to this off-beat truck, opinions have shifted a bit. Has the Ridgeline earned a spot in your garage, on your worksite, or at the head of your wagon train?
To shed light on the matter, we’ve gathered the specifications and comparisons you need to make an informed decision. We understand purchasing a vehicle might mean a lot more financially these days, considering the state of the world. When you’re watching every penny, it pays to think before you leap — or sign off on a loan. So we’re here to help.
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline relies on a 3.5-liter V6 engine to turn its wheels. Capable of 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, this V6 is mated exclusively to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Ridgeline comes standard as a front-wheel drive truck. However, like any pickup worth its salt, it can also be purchased in all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive models can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while all-wheel drive adds an extra 1,500 pounds to that number. Payload ratings come in at just over 1,500 pounds as well.
Honda offers the 2020 Ridgeline in the following colors.
- Modern Steel Metallic
- Platinum White Pearl
- Lunar Silver Metallic
- Obsidian Blue Pearl
- Deep Scarlet Pearl
- Pacific Pewter Metallic
- Crystal Black Pearl
Trimlines and Pricing
If you’re looking to narrow down your choice of trims, here are your options.
Starting at $33,900, the Sport model acts as the base version of the Ridgeline. It offers cloth seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-inch touchscreen, push button start, and Bluetooth. Nothing too fancy, but a reliable truck for less than $35,000.
If you’re looking for more than the bare bones, the RTL model might be the right one for you. Powered and heated front seats, leather seating, a power moonroof and sliding rear window, and an acoustic glass windshield make the Ridgeline feel luxurious enough to be an SUV. This version starts at $36,670.
Standard all-wheel drive starts with this model. It also features goodies like LED headlights, daytime running lights, and bed lights, a heated steering wheel, and GPS navigation. It includes an ungraded sound system with “a truck bed audio system that’s perfect for tailgating.” Throw in a power outlet in the truck bed and some additional USB charging ports, and you’ll be ready to hit the beach or campsite in style. Budget at least $42,020 for this model.
Crystal Black Pearl paint isn’t the only blacked-out feature on this special edition model. You’ll also receive gloss black exterior moldings, blacked-out chrome accents, and gloss-black 18-inch wheels. Red accents in the leather seats surely set this top-tier model apart from the first look. However, it’s exactly like the RTL-E except for the cosmetic upgrades. You’ll pay $1,500 more than the RTL-E for the blacked-out look.
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline earned high marks from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It scored a perfect 5 out of 5 stars from the NHTSA. The IIHS gave it a top-ranked “Good” rating in all categories except “Small overlap front: passenger-side” (where it rated “Acceptable”). It’s easy to see that the 2020 Ridgeline prioritizes safety, just like every other Honda vehicle.
Speaking of which, the Honda Sensing suite of safety features is standard on all 2020 Ridgelines. Equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic control, and front and rear parking sensors are available on higher trims as well.
Both Kelley Blue Book and Fueleconomy.gov reported identical fuel efficiency ratings on the 2020 Ridgeline. When bought in front-wheel drive, the truck achieved 19 city and 26 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG). All-wheel drive models only lose two points on highway drives.
The 2020 Ridgeline competes with a variety of small-duty pickup trucks. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins are two popular examples. The Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, along with the Nissan Frontier, boast quite a lineage. Speaking of heritage, it’s something the Jeep Gladiator uses to its advantage too. If Dodge were to bring back the Dakota, the Ridgeline would compete with it as well.
So where does the 2020 Ridgeline fit in?
One way to compare these trucks is to look at off-road ability, towing capacity, and creature comforts. The latter of which could describe both characteristics of the interior cabin as well as the way the truck moves over the terrain.
In the case of off-road repertoire, the 2020 Ridgeline does lose some capability because it is a unibody construction. Most trucks are typically a body-on-frame design. However, the unibody concept resembles that used on an SUV, like the Honda Pilot for example. In plain terms, it’s much easier to off-road with a frame and body that flexes than with a solid construction that’s more rigid.
However, this unibody concept translates to a smoother ride, which is actually where the Ridgeline shines. According to KBB, the “ride comfort is a key advantage, as the independent rear suspension means there’s none of the ‘bed hop’ one gets in a traditional truck with its solid rear axle.”
Riding in the cabin is also a pleasant experience. Combining “the functionality of a truck with upscale amenities inside and out,” the Ridgeline’s interior “is as comfortable and high-quality as you’d expect from a Honda.” The one gripe we found a lot of reviewers mentioning was the lack of a volume knob. Note to automakers: not every function needs to be controlled with a touchscreen!
Now, when it comes to towing, the 2020 Ridgeline does pale a bit in comparison. With a max towing rate of 5,000 pounds, that’s quite a bit less than similarly-sized competitors. Keen-eyed customers will also notice the bed size is smaller, both length- and width-wise. Since the 2020 Ridgeline only comes with one cabin and bed size, you get what you pay for. If it’s the right size for you, great! If not, you’ll probably be looking into a rival with more options.
Speaking of pricing, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline does land at a higher price point than most rivals, even at the base level. Many competitors also offer various engine choices, along with cab and bed lengths. This is one spot where the 2020 Ridgeline can’t make up the difference. When compared to previous versions of itself, it doesn’t stand out much. U.S. News looked at a 2017 model and opined that buying a used model “will get you essentially the same vehicle as a 2020 Ridgeline.”
Ultimately, the 2020 Ridgeline caters to those looking for less of a work-horse truck and more of a crossover between well, the crossover SUV and truck segments. It’s not quite as rugged and powerful as it could be, but it’s more stylish and offers a smooth ride on the pavement. Based within Honda’s history of reliability, the Ridgeline represents the brand’s values through-and-through. Like most vehicles, it caters to a specific niche of drivers. But that means it doesn’t satisfy the entire spectrum.
The Last Word
The 2020 Ridgeline is unlike any truck on the market. That puts some customers off, but encourages others to consider it for their next vehicle. We find it’s best to spend some time with the Ridgeline in person, to experience all it has to offer. Because like with many strange things, it’s one thing to see it — and quite another to experience it. Go check one out for yourself.