By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/6/2011
Where Toyota and Nissan decided to jump feet first into the compact/mid-size pickup-truck market, Honda took a decidedly different approach. Rather than trying to bring another body-on-frame pickup to the market, Honda created a crew-cab configuration based on its popular Pilot SUV. The resulting vehicle became the Ridgeline, a 5-passenger truck with a carlike ride, good handling and safety reviews, and fuel efficiency on par with most mid-size SUVs. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline truck also features a very clever mini-trunk beneath the bed's floor, something no other pickup offers. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline continues to add to the original Ridgeline's success, adding more features consumers want while remaining the only vehicle of its kind in the segment.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need the open-bed utility of a pickup truck, but you don't want the rough ride, poor handling and fuel-thirsty engine that usually accompany such trucks, the 2012 Honda Ridgeline truck deserves a good hard look.
If towing more than 5,000 pounds or hauling really heavy loads is a top priority, you may want to look to a full-size V8-powered crew cab. Off-road enthusiasts won't find much to like with the 2012 Honda Ridgeline's standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup, which is great in snow and on dirt roads, but is not designed for serious off-road adventuring.What's New for 2012
The 2012 Honda Ridgeline gets a new Sport trim that includes black-painted 18-inch wheels, a black honeycomb grille, foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, and more. All 2012 Honda Ridgeline trucks receive a new grille and headlight treatment, as well as a 1-mpg increase in highway fuel economy..Driving It Driving Impressions
Because its body is welded to form a single unit (as opposed to a separate body attached to a rigid frame), the 2012 Ridgeline can be fitted with a more sophisticated independent suspension. The Ridgeline's suspension is the principal reason it drives so well, with excellent steering response, minimal body roll and comfortable, controlled ride. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline's 3.5-liter V6 engine is a proven powerplant that has no problem moving the 4,500-pound truck, although the transmission does hesitate a bit before responding to full-throttle input, and shifts can sometimes feel abrupt. Fuel efficiency is on par with V6-powered trucks from Toyota and Nissan, although we should point out that Ford's newest V6-powered F-Series actually gets slightly better mileage (15/21 vs. 17/22).Favorite Features
Variable Torque Management (VTM-4) 4WD
For today's confident traveler, few things maintain that confidence better than 4WD. And despite its lack of a low range, the 2012 Honda Ridgeline's 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.
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 a cooler full of beverages? Put it back there! Need to conceal valuable items too messy to place in the cab? Put them back there!