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2018 Honda Ridgeline: Release dates, prices, specs, and features

In the complicated world of trucks, Honda's Ridgeline makes things simple

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Honda’s Ridgeline midsize “lifestyle” truck, built on a unibody frame, is in just the second year of its second generation. The 2018 Honda Ridgeline models are unchanged from 2017, and it’s unlikely this generation will be changed except for styling and extra feature refreshes for close to a decade, as was the case with the first generation Ridgeline, launched in 2006.

You won’t see many Ridgelines in service as contractors’ work trucks or towing large boats or campers. As Digital Trends’ 2017 Ridgeline Black Edition reviewer noted, people-centric features such as truck-bed audio, secure storage, a drainable ice chest under the truck bed, and a two-way tailgate are the clever, useful additions typical buyers are more likely to use than the tow hitch.

The other trucks in the Ridgeline’s midsize pickup niche have the traditional body-on-frame construction that helps them tow more, carry more, and withstand the rigors of off-road racing. The Ridgeline’s softer ride and its focus on driver and passenger comfort, versatility, and just plain fun make it a rational choice that matches the way many buyers actually use their trucks. While other midsize truck builders keep adding performance and styling features, the closest head-to-head comparison with the Ridgeline may be Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, but the current concept vehicle isn’t expected until 2020.

The 2017 Ridgeline didn’t start selling until mid-2016, so that year’s annual sales count of 23,665 doesn’t actually represent the truck relative to other midsize models. As of the end of November 2017, Ridgeline U.S. sales totaled 31,895 for the year. While not exactly ripping up the market compared to the Toyota Tacoma‘s 179,419 units, the Chevy Colorado at 103,370, and the Nissan Frontier at 68,840, the Ridgeline is now in fourth place in its grouping, ahead of the fifth place GMC Canyon‘s 28,639 sales.

Tech features

For the most comprehensive suite of passive safety and driver assistance tech features, you’ll have to choose either the Ridgeline RTL-E or Black Edition trim. The two top trims have Honda Sensing as standard equipment. Honda Sensing includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.

The RTL-E and Black Edition also have auto high beams and blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert. None of these more advanced features are available as separate options or as packages in the other four Ridgeline trims.

The RTL-T trim is the only one with Honda LaneWatch, a system that uses a camera in the passenger side mirror. Any time the right turn signal is on, the camera plays video on the center stack display showing what’s going on on the right side of the vehicle.

Standard Ridgeline safety tech features include a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines, tire pressure monitoring, and daytime running lights.

Mechanical driving aids on all Ridgelines include vehicle stability control with traction control, antilock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist, and intelligent traction management with snow mode for two-wheel-drive (2WD) models and snow, sand, and mud modes for all-wheel drive (AWD) trucks.

Standard Ridgeline infotainment includes a 5-inch color LCD screen, 200-watt audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio support, MP3 compatibility, aux and USB input, and speed-sensitive volume control.

The RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition lose the 5-inch screen in favor of an 8-inch 800×600 resolution touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Hondalink, SMS text messaging, Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and Honda HD Digital Traffic, and SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio, Pandora compatibility.

The RTL-T bumps up the audio power to 225 watts, but the RTL-E and Black Edtion score a 540-watt premium system with eight speakers including the subwoofer. The two highest trims also have a standard truck-bed audio system good for tailgating.

How to choose a 2018 Honda Ridgeline

The world of pickup trucks can be daunting from the outside. The first step with other automakers’ midsize and full-size trucks can be confusing, choosing among regular, extended, and crew cab styles and short, regular, and long truck beds. When you add choices of two-wheel or four-wheel drive and multiple combinations of engines, transmissions, and trim levels, the process can be bewildering. Truck makers like to point out the wide range of selection variables to help buyers get exactly what they need for work, play, or daily transportation needs.

Choosing a Honda Ridgeline is comparatively simple. All Ridgelines have the same engine, transmission, 64-inch truck bed, and four-door, five-passenger cab. Ridgeline buyers choose two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and from six trim levels, but that’s it. Ridgeline trims range from the well-equipped 2WD Ridgeline RT trim ($29,630 starting price) to the fanciest, most feature-packed AWD Ridgeline Black Edition ($43,120 to start).

The Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter SOHC V6 is rated at 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 RPM. The only transmission choice is a six-speed automatic. The Ridgeline RT is two-wheel drive only, and the RTL-E and Black Edition are exclusively AWD. The Ridgeline Sport, RTL, and RTL-T trims are available in both 2WD and, for an extra $1,900, AWD.

Check out the trim descriptions below for standard equipment for each.

2018 Honda Ridgeline RT, Sport, and RTL trims

The three least-costly Ridgeline trims don’t come with or have option list access to the full range of passive assistance tech, but they’re hardly bare-bones trucks. If you don’t add many or any options to the Ridgeline RT, Sport, and TRL trims, you can keep the price tag from just below $30,000 to the mid $30,000s.

The base 2018 Ridgeline RT, starting price $29,630, comes with 2WD only. The RT’s extensive list of standard features is also on all higher-level trims. The feature starting point for the Ridgeline, in addition to the engine, transmission, and tech features detailed above, includes 18-inch silver-painted alloy wheels, a dual-action tailgate, in-bed trunk with ice chest, halogen headlights with auto on-off, rear privacy glass, LED taillights, a class III trailer hitch, security system, trunk bed lights, and remote entry.

The RT’s interior has air conditioning, push-button start, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls, floor mats and map lights, two 12V power outlets, and vanity mirrors for driver and front seat passenger.

The 2018 Ridgeline Sport, starting price $33,170 with 2WD and $35,070 with AWD, adds 18-inch gray-painted alloy wheels, black exterior trim, fog lights, and three-zone automatic climate control to the RT feature set. The Sport trim also adds the smart key entry, HomeLink universal garage remote system, and driver and passenger seatback pockets.

Stepping up to the first level of Ridgeline luxury, the RTL trim starts at $33,390 for 2WD and $35,830 for AWD. The RTL builds on the Sport trim feature list with a  leather-trimmed interior, heated front seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way power adjustable passenger seat, and an acoustic windshield that helps reduce interior noise levels.

Trim 2018 Ridgeline RT 2018 Ridgeline Sport 2018 Ridgeline RTL
Base price 4×2 $29,630 $33,170 $33,930
Base price 4×4 N/A $35,070 $35,830
Base engine 3.5L V6 3.5L V6 3.5L V6
Base horsepower 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM
Base torque 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM
Transmission 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity 19.5 gallons 19.5 gallons 19.5 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
Fuel economy 4×4 N/A 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Maximum towing weight 4×2 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds
Maximum towing weight 4×4 N/A 5,000 pounds 5,000 pounds
Base wheels 18-inch silver-painted alloy 18-inch gray painted alloy 18-inch machine-finished alloy
Cab styles 4-door, 5 passenger 4-door, 5 passenger 4-door, 5 passenger
Box lengths 64-inches 64-inches 64-inches

2018 Ridgeline RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition

The three top Ridgeline trims continue to pile on comfort, convenience, and luxury features. If you want to stick with 2WD,  you can’t go higher than the RTL-T because the RTL-E and Black Edition come with AWD only. The RTL-T is available with either drive system. Unfortunately, only the RTL-E and Black Edition have the full safety suite.

The 2018 Ridgeline RTL-T, $36,080 to start with 2WD and $37,980 with AWD, builds on the RTL feature list. With the RTL-T you get  Honda’s satellite navigation system, an audio display touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 225-watt audio system, dynamic rather than projected guidelines with the rearview camera display, LED daytime running lights, Honda LaneWatch as mentioned above, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Breaking through the $40K level, the 2018 Ridgeline RTL-E starts at $41,620. The RTL-E includes, in addition to the RTL-T’s features, a blind spot information system, the Honda Sensing Suite, a 540-watt Premium Audio System, and trunk bed audio system. Additional TRL-E upgrades include a power sliding rear window, one-touch power moonroof, LED headlights, two-position driver seat memory a 400-watt truck-bed power outlet, blue ambient lighting, illuminated front row beverage holders, and a conversation mirror with sunglasses holder.

The top trim 2018 Ridgeline Black Edition, starting at $43,120, adds the following to the RTL-E feature list: distinctive black edition exterior trim and black leather interior, 18-black alloy wheels, and red ambient LED lighting

Trim  2018 Ridgeline RTL-T  2018 Ridgeline RTL-E  2018 Ridgeline Black Edition
Base price 4×2 $36,080 Not available Not available
Base price 4×4 $37,980 $41,620 $43,120
Base engine 3.5L V6  3.5L V6  3.5L V6
Base horsepower 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM 280 hp @ 6,000 RPM
Base torque 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM  262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM
Transmission 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic  6-speed automatic
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity 19.5 gallons 19.5 gallons 19.5 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined N/A N/A
Fuel economy 4×4 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Maximum towing weight 4×2 3,500 pounds N/A N/A
Maximum towing weight 4×4 5,000 pounds 5,000 pounds 5,000 pounds
Base wheels 18-inch machine finished alloy 18-inch machine finished alloy 18-inch black painted alloy
Cab styles 4-door, 5 passenger 4-door, 5 passenger 4-door, 5 passenger
Box lengths 64-inches 64-inches 64-inches
Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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