First off: I like the new Ridgeline (hell, i like the old one too). I think it looks great, and with all of its amenities, I think it will make some very happy owners.
But I think it will ultimately flop.
As has been pointed out before, the new Ridgeline may be all the truck that most people will ever need; however, most people who can afford a new Ridgeline and are in the market for a truck, will most likely buy an conventional, RWD, body-on-frame truck instead.For all the great things that the Ridgeline does, it doesn’t do a good enough job creating a niche for itself in an already-competitive truck market, and the perceived drawbacks of a FWD-based “truck” will ultimately doom it, in my opinion.
Nor does the Ridgeline capture the imagination. It’s probably going to be dependable, it’s certainly handsome in an understated way, and it provides plenty of utility. What it doesn’t have is that S2000-esque quality that we know Honda can bring.
Thanks to Mr. Regular’s latest installment, I realized what Honda needs to be making instead of the Ridgeline:
A small, lightweight, FWD/AWD pickup. They could incorporate most of the features in the Ridgeline into a smaller package, eschewing weight and bulk, and probably maintain 90% of the Ridgeline’s actual utility. Base it off the the HR-V; give it the same look as the new Ridgeline; give it a decently hot drivetrain (Civic Si, at the very least); take it to SEMA and get the aftermarket on-board early; sell it as a small, efficient, fuuuuuuuun alternative to all the current “small” pickups. It would fill the under-served mini-truck market, be a stand-out in the small sporty car market, and would be actually useful as an efficient, reliable cargo hauler.
What say ye, Oppo?