The 2019 Honda Ridgeline won Cars.com’s recent 2019 Mid-Size Truck Challenge — an intensive, class-spanning multicar comparison test — defeating the all-new 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator, as well as a 2019 GMC Canyon. With a unibody design instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction of most pickup trucks, the Ridgeline is something of an outlier in the truck world.
But owing in part to its unusual design, the Ridgeline offers buyers versatility and convenience that might make even the most dyed-in-the-wool pickup fan consider it. If you’re one of them, here are four things we really like about the Ridgeline, and two things (including one significant one) that give us pause:
Things We Like
1. Ride Quality
One of the strongest qualities of the Ridgeline is its relatively serene ride when compared to other pickups. Thanks to its unibody construction, the Ridgeline remains controlled over rough pavement, where other trucks might be more prone to jostling occupants. Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley says the Ridgeline is “proof that a mid-size truck doesn’t have to ride like a truck.”
2. Interior Appointments (Mostly)
Much of the Ridgeline’s interior also has been called out for praise, with comfortable front and rear seats that scored highest in our recent comparison testing. That’s in addition to large and clever interior storage spaces that make the Ridgeline useful for carrying items inside, as well as in the bed.
3. Cargo Capabilities
But don’t think the bed is just another pickup bed. Once again, the unibody design is a positive here, as the rear wheel wells don’t encroach into the bed area, giving owners usable space from bed wall to bed wall. We measured that space as more than 14 inches wider than the next widest bed in our test.
There’s also a lockable trunk in the floor of the bed for storing items you might not want exposed to the elements. We measured it at 8 cubic feet of volume, and the trunk is also washable and includes a drain. Bed-side lighting and eight cleats for securing cargo also increase the Ridgeline’s bed functionality.
After offering all this, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that a Ridgeline is one of the pricier vehicles in its class — but in our comparison, the Ridgeline was actually the lowest-priced competitor. As one of the few pickups of any size to qualify for a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Ridgeline offers a lot for the price.
More From Cars.com:
- 2019 Honda Ridgeline Review: An Impressive Interloper
- Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?
- Ready for a Mid-Size Truck? We Rank 4 of the Best
- How We Chose the Winning Mid-Size Truck
- Ranger, Gladiator, Ridgeline, Canyon: Which Has the Best Bed and Tailgate?
Things We Don’t
1. Touchscreen Infotainment
We’ve found one significant flaw with the Ridgeline, however: its poor multimedia system. Lacking physical controls even for things as simple as volume and tuning, the Ridgeline’s multimedia is difficult to operate. The system itself features poorly designed menus that are made more frustrating by how difficult it is to navigate them. We probably sound like a broken record with how much we dislike this system, and Honda has started to make improvements to the infotainment setup in other vehicles in its lineup — but the Ridgeline lags behind.
2. Behavior With Payload
The Ridgeline also struggles with significant payload: Its measured acceleration and quarter-mile times while loaded were among the lowest, if not the lowest, in our Mid-Size Truck Challenge, and that was also noticeable in everyday driving.
“There’s no Tow/Haul mode, and with a payload, it’s noisy and unpleasant, and the driving character changes for the worse,” according to Cars.com reviewer Brian Wong.
In other words: If you need a pickup to do work every day, the Ridgeline isn’t for you.
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