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2011 Honda Ridgeline

Overview
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2011 Honda Ridgeline Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.7

It is to Honda's credit that, when the decision was made to enter the truck market in the U.S., they began with a clean sheet of paper, and subsequently came up with a clean sheet approach. The Ridgeline is wholly unique in the U.S. pickup segment, and has more in common (at least conceptually) with car-based El Caminos and Rancheros of the past than body-on-frame Silverados and F-150s of today. Its unit body, all-independent suspension, transversely mounted V6 engine and in-bed trunk all run counter to typical U.S. truck spec, yet its load and towing capabilities are perfect for weekend warriors and - more relevantly - those that own Honda's own motorcycles and ATVs.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for an open bed to occasionally haul stuff, but don't require significant towing capability (or the perceived baggage that comes with driving a pickup), the Ridgeline is - at this point - the only game in town. Its accommodation, comfort and on-road composure are first-rate, and its all-season capability works in both Yakima (WA) and Yuma (AZ).

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a pickup to be a TRUCK, with hauling and towing capabilities appropriate to that descriptive, the 2011 Honda Ridgeline may not fully meet your needs. And while its 4WD system is standard - and capable of sending up to 70 percent of available power to the rear wheels - it does not offer a low range; for boulder hopping you'll need to go elsewhere.

What's Significant About This Car?

Still fresh from its redesign in 2009, the 2011 Honda Ridgeline carries on with no major changes. Of note, not even its press release was changed...

Driving the Ridgeline

Driving Impressions With its unit body, reinforced frame and an all-independent suspension, the operative word for the Ridgeline's handling is solid. Curb weight is 4,500 pounds, and while Honda's 3.5-liter engine is...

reasonably efficient, an EPA rating of 15/20 is some 15 percent beneath that of Ford's new F-Series V6. It is - in short - not a relaxed power delivery, and that comes through in more over-the-road mechanical intrusiveness. The unit construction and all-independent suspension do contribute to a more car-like feel when compared to conventional trucks, but in the Ridgeline it's a "big car" feel - the biggest of any American-spec Honda.

Variable Torque Management (VTM-4) 4WD
For today's confident explorer, few things maintain that confidence better than 4WD. And despite its lack of a low range, VTM-4 does an admirable job of navigating the logging trail, winter snow or seasonal downpour. And in diverting up to 70 percent of available power to the rear wheels, power goes exactly where it should go when towing a trailer.

In-bed Trunk
If more trucks offered independent rear suspension (rather than a live axle), we'd hope more trucks would offer an in-bed trunk. It's an absolutely great idea that expands the utility of the Ridgeline almost exponentially. You have miscellaneous gear? Put it back there! (Noisy children riding with you? Put 'em back there!)

2011 Honda Ridgeline Details
Interior

We'll channel Mr. McGuire's one-word piece of advice to Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock - "Plastics" - because the Ridgeline interior is absolutely full of them. To be sure, most cars and trucks in 2011 are 'plastic', but the Ridgeline's use of same seemingly dates back a whole generation in car and truck design. The Honda's hard plastic dash has an almost industrial look, although (to its credit) industrial use of plastic makes for generous storage bins throughout the interior. Additional utility is provided by a rear seat that will fold up and out of the way, accommodating one mountain bike or - hypothetically - two unicycles. The utility is excellent, but the design execution is more "utility closet."

Exterior
2011 Honda Ridgeline photo

Choose any angle - front three-quarter, rear three-quarter or in profile - and you'll find the Ridgeline significantly different from anything else in the U.S. market. With the redesign for 2009 the Ridgeline's skin - shared (to a degree) with Honda's Pilot - became more angular. While outward visibility is good, the B and C pillars are overtly thick, and give the Ridgeline - in profile - a somewhat bulky appearance. The bed, although but five feet long, can accommodate dirt bikes on top - and riding gear (via the in-bed trunk) down below. In both proportion and sheetmetal, however, the Ridgeline is beginning to look like a product with a set-to-expire freshness date.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

For activity-oriented adults with an outward bound sense of adventure, Honda Variable Torque Management 4WD (VTM-4) is the most significant embellishment on the Ridgeline's standard menu. Comfort and convenience amenities, of course, are also included in the window sticker, even on the base RT. Additional standard equipment includes A/C, cruise control, an integrated trailer hitch(!), power windows and door locks, power sliding rear window and six-speaker, 100-watt audio system.

Optional Equipment

Honda - as is customary - keeps it simple with but three trim levels: Base RT, mid-level RTS and up-market RTL. The RTS adds alloy wheels, 160 watts of audio, dual zone climate control and an eight-way power driver's seat. The RTL provides you with leather seating, 18-inch alloys, moonroof, XM Satellite Radio and HomeLink remote. On the RTL navigation with voice recognition is available. And there are dozens of available dealer-installed accessories.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Honda Ridgeline's 3.5-liter V6 offers ample horsepower (250), but that power is relatively high - 5700 rpm - on the tach. And at a time when Chrysler's Ram truck brand is offering its Hemi V8 as a no-cost option, the Honda's well-regarded V6 might seem somewhat inadequate. Over the road, however, you'll enjoy the V6's car-like refinement and oh-so-reliable longevity.

3.5-liter V6
250 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20

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2011 Honda Ridgeline Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 632 Ratings for the 2006 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Best pickup ever!

By on Friday, July 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 712,346

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "perfect cheap and fun"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best Pickup ever for everybody, its comfortable, powerful at 120 and design is ok. high quality pick up with much room to never run out of, and very reliable, (usually). this is a must have!"

Best Vehicle Ever

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, reliability, driving, amenities"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I own a 2008 Honda Ridgeline RTL. We liked this vehicle when they first came out. We bought ours brand new in 2008 and we love it. It is very comfortable and easy to drive. It is very smooth even at very high speeds. I really like some of the special amenities like the hidden waterproof trunk. Even though ours is 6 years old now it is still like brand new. The only negative is the gas mileage. It doesn't bother me because we don't put a lot of miles on it."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

I love this truck. It is amazing.

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very dependable, stylish looking, versatile,"

Cons: "tires are expensive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Ridgeline in2005 when it first came out. I was amazed and delighted with the trunk. I am still very satisfied with the way it drives and the gas milage it gets. This has been the best car/truck I ever owned. We take it on vacation. Long trips are very comfortable with this truck. there is plenty of room for 5 adults and baggage."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Why are there not more of these on the road?

By on Thursday, July 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Value, aesthetics, trunk, 2-way tailgate"

Cons: "Fuel milage (20ish)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have 2008 RTX and it has been PERFECT for me. This truck is not going to haul a 10,000lb trailer. If you purchase with that knowledge, you cannot be disatisfied. I haul a camper regularly, 2 jet skies, and trailers of dirt with ease. If you are thinking of a new truck/vehicle, you owe it to yourself to at least test drive this well engineered package. Nothing bad to say, can't wait to purchase my new one."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love this little truck!

By on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,080

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Too Many to List"

Cons: "Turning radius. No auto on/off headlights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It doesn't replace a full size pick up truck but it the most versatile vehicle I have ever owned. Well thought out design. Rides like a car. In bed truck is awesome. Flip-up rear seats with storage, another great feature. Honda quality & reliability. When this one is ready to be traded I plan to buy another Ridgeline."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

2012 Honda Ridgeline RTL- Excellent Condition

By on Monday, June 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great handling, lots of storage inside, under bed"

Cons: "Nothing- Need longer bed"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This vehicle is the smoothing riding, responsive handling, most maintenance free vehicle I have ever owned. Front wheel drive, all wheel and four wheel dive combined with V-Trac. Color- Gun Metal Grey- no longer made, light gray full leather ventilated seats, heated seats, sunroof, every option they offer except for navigation. Never been off road or mud. Looks as if it came off the lot new."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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