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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 642 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
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

great truck, rides like a car, hard for me to sell

By on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

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

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

"I can only hope I own another vehicle as well built and reliable as this Ridgeline. No rust after 9 years and I have a DPW salt shack near my property!! Every year I have at least 3 people ask me if my truck is 2 or 3 years old, I tell them it's a 2006 and they don't believe me. I love the compliments and it motivates me to keep him longer."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

One Of three Honda's Owned

By on Friday, October 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable Ride;Easy Entry/Exit."

Cons: "Cloth Seating Material Substandard; Poor Mileage."

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

Unique Looking Truck

"Purchased the Ridgeline new in January 2013. Required a vehicle that could pull in excess of 2000lbs. Did not need a full sized truck. Really like the Unique Styling, Crew Cab roominess,Lockable Trunk beneath the bed. Options added: F&R Splash Guards; Weather Tech Front Floor Liner; Honda Front Mask(Summer Use);Protective Paint Film to Grille,Front Bumper and Rocker Panels; Fiberglass Topper;Fiberglass Nose Bug Deflector;F&R Seat Covers;Carpeted Dash Protector. Weak Points found: Cloth Seating Material Substandard;Bumpers should be Metal not Plastic."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Unique Looking Truck

Quality built versatile SUV/pickup

By on Friday, October 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quality build, comfort, 4 wheel drive system"

Cons: "Pickup box design"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Hard-core pickup fans will likely disregard the Ridgeline but for me its capabilities exactly match my needs. It drives and rides very comfortably and quietly - more like an SUV than a pickup, but provides enough hauling/towing capacity to satisfy my requirements (mostly recreational.) The power is very adequate for towing my moderately - sized boat and ATV and it has enough cargo capacity to transport the camping and recreational gear that I use. The feature that I like the most is the 4 wheel drive system which engages automatically as needed - not necessary to manually engage and disengage, and it allows turning without tires "jumping" when engaged (although it can be manually locked up for tough going.) The one thing I am not especially happy with is the pickup box. While I have managed to cope with the 5 foot length (would prefer 6 feet) I struggle with the high sides which prevent me from reaching in from the side of the vehicle, and with the depth of the box when the tonneau cover is in place. The depth issue results from the in-floor trunk - a handy and desirable feature which I fully utilize and enjoy, but which has the effect of raising the box floor. Gas mileage is pretty good - I have achieved as high as 26 mpg on highway, and consistently get 17 - 18 towing my boat which weighs about 1,500 pounds. The V-6 engine is smooth and quiet. Since the vehicle designs is seven or eight years old it doesn't feature some of the technology that newer models have, but it has plenty for me. Honda quality is evident throughout."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great passenger/Truck, great trunk

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 215,000

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: "Honda got it right the first time"

Cons: "Navi screen needs to be tilted to driver"

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

"Only regular maintenance, NO major/minor transmission or engine work. Navi screen should tilt to driver; I highly recommend this truck, one of the best all around."

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Best PU I have owned

By on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

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: "Fun to drive and fullfills our needs."

Cons: "Gas mileage, towing capabilities."

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

"I own several vehicles. I have owned several different pickups over the years. I owned Toyota, Nissan, even a VW pickup years ago. I owned a Dodge Dakota with hemi engine. I wanted something dependable and comfortable without being too large for the wife. I looked at SUV vehicles and almost purchased the Pilot. I needed something to tow a small camping trailer and also something that was more car like in handling and comfort. I like the idea of also having a bed that I could carry things like a lawnmower or even something larger without having it inside of the cab area. I drove almost everything available. A friend asked me if I had driven the Ridgeline. I had not so, I went and took one out for a test drive. Well, I should not have done that because when I got out of it and got back into my Dodge, I felt like I was driving a log wagon. The Ridgeline drove so well and felt so tight and controlled and it just felt very well constructed. The steering response was very good and it just felt like a vehicle that I would enjoy driving. I thought about the truck the rest of the week and went and found just the one I wanted at a dealer not to far from my house. I got the RTL w/navi. I have had the truck since 2006 and it just turned 41,000 miles. I keep it clean, serviced and well cared for. When I took it for the service a couple of weeks ago, the shop manager said it looked new and he had never seen a cleaner engine bay and interior on any truck. He said the truck was just like new. They really did a good job of checking everything out and said the truck needed nothing but the regular maintenance. It still have the original Michelin tires and they have a lot o life still left on them. The truck is parked mostly inside during the day and stays in a garage at night. The paint looks new and I love the truck more than any vehicle I have ever owned. When asked if I wanted to sell it, I said, why??? I would definitely want another Ridgeline if I sold my truck. My wife loves the truck also. She said she was so afraid I was going to get a truck that was too large for her to feel comfortable driving. The size of the truck is so manageable. It really replaces a car and a truck. If I needed something larger and perhaps stronger, I would get a full sized truck. But the Ridgeline completely fulfills our need for a pickup. It is unique in many ways and I will keep it as long as I can. I would certainly recommend the truck to anyone wanting a dependable, mid sized truck that drives like a fine car. I had rather drive it than my Mercedes. It just feels good to drive it in town and on the road. It is a very smooth highway vehicle that doesn't tire you out behind the wheel. The vehicle is relatively quiet and really travels down the highway."

11 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Wonderful vehicle. Pickup feels like a Caddilac.

By on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "I knew I was Safe (and comfortable) when driving."

Cons: "A stronger engine to be nice drive camper in Mts."

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

Touring the Rockies with a 17' camper.

"Advantages of a pick-up as well as a 'higher' view of driving ~ my 5' wife loved being able to 'see' over traffic. Heated leather seats, power driver's seat, lumbar supports that work. 'Room' for each passenger. Rear seats have inset hooks for three (3) infant seats. Air conditioning and heating vents into back seat. Tailgate opens 'down' OR swings open. AND, besides a Huge trunk (hidden nicely) the spare tire "Slides" out to you at waist level. The 'truck bed' has a special protective cover like a 'rhino cover'. Wonderful & Useable truckbed lights. ~ (comparing to hauling like in a pickup) Does a Great job, though, could use middle attachment points. ~~ All in All, the Best vehicle I have ever owned, actually better than I thought possible to own."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Touring the Rockies with a 17' camper.

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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