The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a tough pick-up truck with all-wheel drive and a peppy V6 powertrain. The rugged exterior gives way to a comfortable interior with plenty of versatility and SUV DNA inside. The Ridgeline isn’t the most powerful truck on the market, but it is one of the most reliable vehicles for work or play.
The 2021 Ridgeline doesn’t overcomplicate its qualities. There are just four model trims for the Ridgeline. For a pick-up truck, that’s refreshingly streamlined and simple. There is the Sport model that comes with 18-inch wheels, rearview camera and dual-action tailgate. The next level up is called the RTL. It provides leather upholstery, a power moonroof, and heated seats. For just a small increase in price, the RTL model is a top value. Then, there’s the RTL-E. This is the top model of the Ridgeline and it comes with advanced tech features like navigation, wireless phone charging, and cross traffic monitors. For an MSRP of $42,420 the Ridgeline truck with the best features is quite affordable.
There is a special trim called the Black Edition. This model adds unique style elements to the Ridgeline. As the name would suggest everything has a blacked-out aesthetic. It comes with black exterior accents and 8-inch black alloy wheels. The interior features black leather upholstery and contrasting red ambient lighting.
Exterior Style of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline
Competition for the Honda Ridgeline is tough. Perhaps that’s why the Ridgeline has an even tougher exterior design for 2021. The front bumper, grille and hood have all been updated. The result is a front end that matches up with contemporary style cues that consumers expect for a pick-up truck in 2021.
The rear of the Ridgeline has dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports. That’s a new feature. The tailgate is attractive and incredibly versatile. It can flip down vertically or open horizontally on side hinges. The bed itself is a rust-resistant composite with lockable trunk storage. It’s 64 inches long and 60 inches wide from wall to wall.
The Honda Performance Development (HPD) package gives the Ridgeline a sporty, almost throwback style upgrade. It comes with bronze 18-inch wheels, chunky fender cladding, and a unique front grille design. However, it doesn’t add any mechanical advantages to the Ridgeline. The name is a bit misleading in that regard. It’s an appearance package for now, but Honda might use the moniker to add off-road prowess to the Ridgeline in the near future.
Performance Capabilities of the Ridgeline Pick-up Truck
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a 3.5 liter V6 engine for a power plant. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound feet of torque. The Ridgeline is a swift little mover that shunts power to all four wheels with a 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It gets 18 miles per gallon in urban settings and 24 MPG on the highway. For the point of comparison, the 2021 Ford Ranger pick-up truck gets slightly better gas mileage with 21/26, but the Honda Ridgeline does stretch highway driving a bit farther than the Toyota Tacoma.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. and a maximum payload of 1,583 lbs. That falls a bit short of the competition. The 2021 Ford Ranger can pull 7,500 lbs. and haul up to 1,860 lbs. when properly configured. However, the Ridgeline can still handle the average workload with ease.
Both the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma have performance packages. There’s the Tremor off-road package for Ford and the TRD off-road model from Toyota. That doesn’t mean the 2021 Honda Ridgeline isn’t tough enough for the trail. It has a durable unibody frame with a 20.4 degree approach angle and 7.64 inches of ground clearance. The V6 engine is capable enough to power through some tricky terrain, but it lacks the performance underpinnings for managing challenging variations in elevation.
There are MacPherson front suspension struts and a multi-link rear suspension in the rear. The steering is quite smooth for a pick-up truck, too. The Ridgeline handles itself like an old-school SUV. It’s comfortable on the interior but capable of towing a car out of the mud or carrying a living room’s worth of furniture across town.
Interior Amenities of the 2021 Ridgeline
The 2021 Ridgeline pick-up truck looks a lot like the Honda Pilot when you open the doors. That’s actually a good thing. The Honda Pilot is a fantastic SUV, so it bodes well for the Ridgeline to borrow some of the Pilot’s finery.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has comfortable seating for five passengers and there’s underseat storage in the rear for extra gear. With leather seating and matching leather steering wheel, the interior of the Ridgeline dares to present itself as an upscale vehicle when you get to the mid-level trim.
The base model has plenty of amenities though. There’s a standard 8-inch touchscreen display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity comes standard on all models and so does a 7-speaker premium audio system. There are at least 2 USB ports and a wireless charging on the higher level models.
Safety Technology from Honda
Honda offers the Honda Sensing Safety Suite with every model of the Ridgeline truck. So many automakers provide advanced safety features across a number of costly packages, but Honda offers them as standard features.
The 2021 Ridgeline comes with lane keeping technology, road departure and lane departure warnings. The Ridgeline has forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking. It comes with adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera. Blind spot warnings are available on every model except the entry level Ridgeline. The previous year’s Honda Ridgeline received a 5-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Final thoughts on the 2021 Honda Ridgeline
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has an MSRP of $36,490. There’s no smoke and mirrors with the Ridgeline. The base model comes with all-wheel drive and a V6 engine. Thankfully, Honda didn’t force a four cylinder engine into the lineup just to get interested buyers to skip up to a costlier model.
When it comes to off-road performance, the Ridgeline doesn’t quite match up to the Ford Ranger or the Toyota Tacoma. However, that still leaves a lot of room for the Ridgeline to win over new buyers. It’s a hearty everyday truck that doesn’t specialize in any one particular aspect. It’s mechanically well-rounded and that’s an essential quality for a pick-up truck.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has top notch safety equipment and fantastic safety ratings. The interior of the Ridgeline has everything that you’d want from a family SUV. There’s leather upholstery, a fantastic sound system, push button ignition, a moonroof, and infotainment. For drivers who plan to spend plenty of time behind the wheel, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline promises a fantastic long-term relationship. It’s got everything that you need and nothing that you don’t.