More Aggressive But Still Packed With High-Tech Goodies

Honda completely redesigned the Ridgeline for 2021. It has the heavy-duty looks and is ready to take on its “tough-stuff” midsize pickup competitors. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline, which will debut early next year, has a V6 engine, all-wheel drive, 1,580 lbs. payload capacity, and an impressive towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs.

And get this: its bed hauls four-foot-wide building materials flat, with no scratches or dents. And nope, no bed liner is needed. According to Honda, the new Ridgeline’s bed is scratch and ding resistant without an aftermarket liner. The bed is made of glass fiber-reinforced SMC composite, so you don’t need a liner to prevent scratches and dings.

“Truck enthusiasts have long recognized Ridgeline as an incredibly versatile and capable pickup, and now it’s got the rugged looks to match,” explained Art St. Cyr, Vice President of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs, one that more effectively communicates all the hard work that goes into making Honda pickups and SUVs such proficient on- and off-road performers.”

2021 Honda Ridgeline: Engine & Powertrain

Honda has a lot to crow about when it talks about the 2021 Ridgeline, but perhaps the most impressive point is what’s under the hood. A 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC V6 powers this Ridgeline. Bump up the trim level, and the Ridgeline comes with Honda’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.

i-TVM4 automatically sends up to 70 percent of the engine’s 262 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels and continuously apportions 100 percent of that torque between the left and right rear wheels based on driving conditions at each wheel. i-VTM is available on the Sport and RTL and standard on the RTL-E and Black Edition.

All Ridgelines have a nine-speed automatic transmission and an Intelligent Traction Dynamics System. The system provides 2WD models with the proper power distribution for snow and pavement alike. By contrast, i-VTM4 models receive additional, selectable modes that include mud and sand.

2021 Honda Ridgeline.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline employs the automaker’s i-VTM torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. On unpaved surfaces, the i-VTM system reduces the rear sway (or fishtailing) associated with traditional 4×4 trucks. Photo: Honda North America.

What About That Bed?

Yes, it really can carry four-foot-wide drywall, plywood, and other materials between the wheel wells due to an extra-wide stance. It’s the only midsize truck on the market currently with that capability due to its unibody construction and independent rear suspension. Each Ridgeline includes a washable, lockable In-Bed Trunk with an additional 7.3-cubic ft. of secure storage space under the bed floor.

Inside the bed are eight standard tie-down cleats rated at 350 lbs. each. The 2021 Ridgeline has a Dual-Action Tailgate too, which opens downward or to the side. For those Sunday tailgates, you can opt for an In-Bed Audio System in the RTL-E and above to turn the Ridgeline into an outdoor speaker.

2021 Honda Ridgeline.
Photo: Honda North America.

So What’s The Body Like?

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a pronounced power bulge, new front fenders that emphasize the squared-off nose, and an upright crossbar grille that bisects the LED headlights. A front bumper with broadside vents is both aerodynamic and rugged looking. You’ll also find twin exhaust outlets, a prominent skid plate, 18-inch wheels, and all-season tires.

Honda has a few optional packages available that offer extras, including black fender flares, bronze wheels, and a distinctive – but not yet debuted – grille.

Is The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Comfortable?

Of course, that’s subjective, but the cabin is spacious, and the design doesn’t skimp on the head or legroom. There’s a new display audio system with sharper graphics and user-friendly controls. Choose a Ridgeline in Sport trim, and you’ll find cloth seat inserts, contrast stitching, a new dash, and more. There are foldaway 60/40-split rear seat bottoms too.

2021 Honda Ridgeline interior layout.
2021 Honda Ridgeline interior layout. Photo: Honda North America.

2021 Honda Ridgeline Safety Features

It’s got all of the advanced safety features you’d expect, including a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Road Departure Mitigation, among others.

2021 Honda Ridgeline: Pricing & Availability

Honda has not yet released the MSRP or exact arrival date, so stay tuned. According to Honda, we should see the 2021 Ridgeline early next year.

Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. Favorite professional assignment: driving on the Texas Motor Speedway. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.

Photos & Source: Honda North America.

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