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2012 Honda Ridgeline

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2012 Honda Ridgeline Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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 the Ridgeline
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).

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.

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 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!

2012 Honda Ridgeline Details
Interior

If there is a sore spot to be found with the 2012 Honda Ridgeline truck, it resides inside the vehicle. While the Ridgeline's interior design is logical, the plastics Honda uses are hard and dull, devoid of any feeling of warmth or excitement. The totality of the pieces creates a hard, industrial-feeling car better suited to interior styling from the previous decade. Things warm up a bit when leather seating is added, but you can get it only on the top-of-the-line RTL trim. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline's interior is highly functional, with lots of little storage bins throughout the cabin and a rear seat bottom that can be folded up allowing storage of a mountain bike, antique book case or anything else you don't want to leave exposed in the Ridgeline's bed.

Exterior

No matter what angle you view the 2012 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, you'll see a vehicle unlike anything on the market. The 2012 Ridgeline's angular skin is shared in part with the Honda Pilot, although the wide, flared C-pillars are unique to the truck. Those same C-pillars, however, join a high bed wall helping to increase the Ridgeline's cargo hauling capacity, but they also create big blind spots for the driver. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline's 5-foot bed can accommodate most dirt bikes or a single ATV, while the clever lockable under-floor trunk can hide a large cooler or a number of small equipment items. Adding to the Ridgeline's flexible bed is a dual-hinged rear tailgate that can either be folded down or be opened to the left.

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 2012 Honda 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 6-speaker, 100-watt audio system.

Optional Equipment

Honda, as is customary, keeps it simple with but four well-equipped trim levels: Base RT, new Sport, mid-level RTS and up-market RTL. The RTS adds alloy wheels, 160 watts of audio, dual-zone climate control and an 8-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. Sadly, features common on most vehicles such as heated side mirrors and a rearview camera are only accessible to those who purchase the most expensive trim level, the RTL.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Honda Ridgeline's 3.5-liter V6 offers ample horsepower (250), but that power is relatively high – 5,700 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 carlike refinement and oh-so-reliable longevity.

3.5-liter V6
250 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21

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2012 Honda Ridgeline Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 678 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

Best light duty truck I've ever owned

By on Thursday, April 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,870

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: "Best truck I've ever owned"

Cons: "Automatic headlights were not an option."

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

"The only negative about this truck is not having automatic head lights as an option. The ride is almost car like. I've never had a problem hauling a load whether heavy, or light. The trunk under the bed is a great feature, I can keep my tools out of sight. I've had no troubles with anything mechanical, or electrical. The Ridgeline is reliable, comfortable, with many useful features not found on other trucks. I'm a very satisfied customer, and if I was to purchase another truck, my first stop would be to look at the Ridgeline truck at my Honda dealer."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Awesome dual purpose vehicle. lot of fun driving

By on Monday, March 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "The ultimate transformer of pickups"

Cons: "Gas mileage could be better"

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

"Totally reliable. Not one breakdown or major repair in 5 years. Still rides as smooth as the day I bought it. With all the options, it makes my other pickup friends envious."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Sunday, March 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

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: "Good design and quiet and smooth riding."

Cons: "Could get better gas mileage"

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

"I bought my Ridgeline new back in 2009 and haven't had a complaint yet.This Ridgeline is one of the best vehicles I ever owned.Smooth riding and serves my needs for a light weight truck. I have no need to haul heavy loads, thats what the big Dodge Ram and Chevy Silverado are for. I pull a small travel trailer and never even know it's there. I like all the storage areas and the swing out door and locking well under the bed for grocery shopping as it can hold a lot of bags and stuff and nothing is exposed to theft or to take up passenger space in the rear seat. The ride is superb. The only thing I wish it would get better gas mileage. At speeds around 55 to 60 I see 23-25 mpg, but as soon as I approach the 70 mark it drops to 20. For me all I need is the ability to carry some furniture, concrete bags etc. or a small trailer. I definitely will buy another Ridgeline if this one ever wears out. It's a great family truck."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great everyday use & handy to have to move things

By on Wednesday, March 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,580

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Car like ride. Versitile"

Cons: "Fuel milage, Power on the highway. Short bed"

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

"Five years since I bought this truck. The battery and tires are the only things that has been replaced, outside of service items. This truck rides so good that I hate to get out of it at the end of a long drive. The sound system is wonderful. The gauges are easy on the eyes and do what need to be done. I have hauled couches 300+ miles. Gas grills across town (35 miles). Moved dirt, rocks, sod and landscape blocks. This mid-size truck will do most everything you will want. The hide away trunk is great for shopping. Never used it as a ice chest but you could. The swing out tailgate makes loading the bed so much easier, I'm surprised it's not on all the trucks. The only thing I wish it had was a little more power when passing on the interstate and better fuel mileage on the same interstate."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

This is a great light truck..

By on Saturday, November 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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: "Reliability, safety, unbelievable resale..."

Cons: "Gas mileage is lower than anticipated"

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

"My second ridgeline. If you don't need over 5,000 lbs towing capacity or extreme off road chops, this truck is perfect. Great ride, good handling, very low maintenance. 4wd is excellent for on-road snow/wet use. This is not a vehicle meant for off road use."

30 people out of 38 found this review helpful

will have it repainted and keep it til it dies.

By on Saturday, October 10, 2015

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

"Unlikely it will die, probably my son will end up selling it after a few years of using it out of boredom, I have driven it for 8 years now and still love it. Rear axle alignment is not really a problem as posed in other posts. Mechanic at dealership not worried but if you want a perfect alignment, there is a kit available with dealer. When I look at specs report on alignment I don't worry at all. Otherwise absolutely no issues with truck, except for a torn speaker replaced under warranty. (yes, guilty of cranking it up too much)."

13 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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