2021 Honda Ridgeline gets truck-ier with new exterior, upgraded interior

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

For 2021, the Honda Ridgeline gets meaner looking but keeps the equipment that makes it well-mannered.
The current iteration of the Honda Ridgeline is the anti-truck truck. The 2020 version looks more like a Honda Pilot with a bed than most anyone’s idea of how a pickup truck should traditionally look. For 2021, that’s going to change.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline featrures an extensive refresh of the model. Nearly the entire exterior is new. The interior has been significantly upgraded where needed (it was already quite highly regarded). Most importantly, the Ridgeline maintains what buyers have thus far loved about it – the available all-wheel drive and comfortable seating.

2021 Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline sees its biggest changes on the exterior.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

“Truck enthusiasts have long recognized Ridgeline as an incredibly versatile and capable pickup, and now it’s got the rugged looks to match,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs, one that more effectively communicates all the hard work that goes into making Honda pickups and SUVs such proficient on- and off-road performers.”

From the front roof pillars forward, the sheet metal of the Ridgeline is new. It has a new hood with a pronounced bulge, new front fenders that are designed to enhance the fresh squared-off nose. The 2021 Ridgeline’s grille is more upright than before and now flanked by LED headlights.

A crossbar sits atop the grille and extends to bisect the headlight lenses. It’s gloss black on Ridgeline Sport and Black Edition models and chrome on the RTL and RTL-E. Below that the new front bumper, with more body color on it than the previous iteration, incorporates side vents that are designed to enhance the truck’s aerodynamic performance.

2021 Honda Ridgeline

The truck has a new, more upright grille.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The back of the Ridgeline has a reshaped bumper with exposed twin exhaust outlets.

The entire Ridgeline line rides on 18-inch wheels with backspacing reduced 10 mm, increasing track width a total of 20 mm. This gives the truck a more aggressive and athletic stance.

For buyers looking to make their Ridgeline more dominating, a Honda Performance Development (HPD) Package is available. It adds a unique grille treatment, black fender flares, bronze-colored wheels, and special HPD graphics on the bed walls. This package is one of four post-production packages that Honda will offer on the 2021 Ridgeline, taking a cue from other automakers’ playbooks. The others are the Utility, Function and Function+ packages with equipment lists forthcoming.

The 2021 Ridgeline will continue to be powered by Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is rated at 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet for torque, and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Honda offers the Ridgeline Sport and RTL with torque vectoring all-wheel drive while the RTL-E and Black Edition have it standard.

The Ridgeline is the only truck in its class to have the ability to carry 4-foot wide items such as plywood and drywall in the bed, between the wheel wells. Ridgeline also comes standard with a washable, lockable In-Bed Trunk®, offering an additional 7.3 cu.-ft. of secure storage space under the bed floor.

The Dual-Action Tailgate, which folds traditionally and opens at the side, swinging wide, can handle dynamic loads of up to 300 pounds, supporting long payloads including motorcycles and ATVs. Eight standard tie-down cleats rated at 350-pounds each are inside the bed.

Honda continues to rate the Ridgeline as having a 1,580-pound payload capacity and up to 5,000-pound towing capacity.

Inside the cabin, the 2021 Ridgeline continues offering top-class passenger comfort and rear-seat legroom. The Ridgelines Sport trim gets new cloth seat inserts, all trims get new contrast stitching on the seats, and Sport, RTL, and RTL-E trims have new dash, steering wheel, and center console accents.

2021 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline has plenty of power to haul two dirt bikes. Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

It’s also gotten an infotainment system upgrade including the Display Audio system, which features crisper graphics, easier-to-use touch screen icons, and a physical volume knob. Honda will continue to offer an in-bed audio system for RTL-E and uptime levels.

The 2021 Ridgeline comes standard with a suite of safety and driver assist technologies called Honda Sensing, featuring Collision Mitigation Braking System with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline was designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas in California and Ohio, and is manufactured along with its V6 engine at the Honda plant in Lincoln, Alabama using domestic and globally-sourced parts. For the 4th straight year, the Ridgeline ranked in the top 10 in the 2020 Cars.com American Made Index.

More information about the 2021 Ridgeline, including prices and detailed specifications, will be available closer to its on-sale date early next year.

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