2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E long-term review and update

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2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E long-term review and update

We’re entering the tail end of our year with the 2018 Honda Ridgeline. The different-take truck has proved to be popular among the staff, and I think just about everyone will be sad to see it go. Check out the intro to see just what we have and why we added one to our fleet. You can also check out our other long-term coverage here, including stories on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Kia Stinger GT.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore — I’ve been pleased with our long-term Ridgeline. It’s functional and looks good. It’s a truck that’s well-calibrated to my lifestyle. I’ve transported a recliner in the bed, a car seat in the back seat and stacked boxes, gear, groceries and other essentials of life throughout the cabin. The golden retriever sits wherever she pleases. It’s an ideal daily driver for pickup buyers who don’t need a full-size truck.

I’ve really warmed to the styling. The side profile is attractive, with a prominent but not overwrought beltline, chrome handles and sporty wheels. Conversely, it does look too generic up front and could easily be mistaken for a Honda crossover.

Inside, I’m immediately comfortable. The seating position is elevated, but not towering. The infotainment is a little dated but easy to use. Everything is where it should be. I usually feel refreshed after driving the Ridgeline. Vent the windows, turn up the seat heaters, yeah — that’s a pretty good morning commute in the fall.

The powertrain is fine. There have been times where I’ve mashed the gas to secure lane position and felt like the Honda was coming up short. It’s not often and the 280-horsepower rating is more than enough most of the time. It’s competitive with the segment, though the GM mid-sizers outgun with their 308-hp V6. I think I’d like a little more torque from the Ridgeline. The 262-lb-ft leaves me underwhelmed.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed our year in the Ridgeline so far. I make it a point to sign it out once a week since it’s so agreeable and functional. Plus, I like driving a truck.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder — The more I drive this thing, the more I love it. It’s starting to feel like home. As a person who rarely seems to need a pickup, I’ve found myself doing truck stuff — moving furniture, picking up discarded wooden pallets and the like — a lot more, I think just because I have access to a truck. I’m starting to worry people will start asking me to help them move, although I’d rather do it in the Ridgeline than in a more massive, taller truck, even if it meant more trips.

It seems like every week, I discover a new feature I wasn’t aware of. Once it was the sideways opening of the tailgate (be careful opening it on an incline, Joel Stocksdale tells me). Another was the button to open the center part of the rear window.

One thing I haven’t done with it yet is tow. That’ll change soon. Next month, I’ll be hitching an Airstream Basecamp X to the back of that thing and driving it to Northern Michigan with my wife and large son. I’m interested to see how it fares, and I’ll be sure to report back.

Associate Editor Reese Counts — Call me Dyson, because I’m a big fan of our Ridgeline. I was one of the most vocal about adding one to our-long-term fleet, and I’m quite glad we did. It’s the perfect multitool and a great counter to our other two long-term vehicles, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Kia Stinger GT. It’s all the truck most people need, even if it’s not what they want.

For better or worse, it’s basically a Honda Pilot with a bed. I dig the car-like ride and handling as well as the small footprint when compared to trucks like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. The powertrain is smooth, though, like Greg, I wish the V6 had a bit more grunt.

Now that fall is here, I have some plans for the truck. The bed speakers and drainable trunk make it a nearly-perfect tailgate vehicle. I want to load the bed with pumpkins so my wife can decorate the house. I want to take the Ridgeline to my parents house in St. Louis for the holidays, knowing I’ve got heated seats and a decent all-wheel-drive system.

Hell, I might even buy one. My wife — initially put off by the so-so styling — has talked about replacing her CR-V with a Ridgeline. I don’t know if I could give it a greater compliment.

Manager of Production, Eddie Sabatini — Ah, what a year with our long-term Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup truck, aka Maroon 5idgline (no one called it that). It’s a handy vehicle with a comfortable ride and tons of interesting features, like the truck bed speakers. It also has loads of space, the center console can fit a gallon of milk, FYI.

My favorite memory with the truck is when our senior video producer Chris McGraw proved that a human can fit into the additional bed storage — check out the video below.

If looks could kill, don’t worry, you’re safe with Ridgeline. Maybe it’s the color I dislike, maybe it’s the crossover/minivan vibes it gives off but it’s not my truck-o-tea … cup-of-truck? I like coffee. To be fair, I have seen some grey Ridgelines with black wheels on the road that look decent but looking at Maroon5 makes me sad. Truck butt, minivan midsection (without the convenient doors), then we move forward and slope downward into the despair that is the round snout. Crossover/minivan vibes for the aesthetic L in my scorebook.

Overall, though, I’ll be sad to see this gentile workhorse go.

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