This ad will close in

2008 Honda Ridgeline Review

The Ridgeline delivers superior handling and unique cargo possibilities


Based on U.S. News editors' analysis of 51 leading automotive reviews and test drives, the 2008 Honda Ridgeline ranks #1 of 5 in Sport Utility Trucks.

The Ridgeline delivers superior handling and unique cargo possibilities, in addition to holding up Honda's solid reputation for reliability and value. However, it only offers a V6 engine, and some have complained of rear visibility issues. If you're in the market for a sport utility truck, you should also consider the Cadillac Escalade EXT or the Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

PROS

  • Soft ride and agile handling for a sport utility truck
  • One-of-a-kind, lockable in-bed trunk
  • Carries Honda's reputation for quality and value

CONS

  • V6 engine underpowered for acceleration, hauling and towing
  • Questionable seat comfort
  • Poor visibility due to over-the-shoulder blind spots
  • Cost-cutting evident in some interior features

With its car-like handling, spacious five-passenger cabin and Honda nameplate, the 2008 Honda Ridgeline has been described as "a truck for the truck-allergic" by reviewers like Edmunds. The New York Times elaborates, stating the Ridgeline "is unapologetically aimed not at mythical blue-collar Bubbas, but at the middle-class people who actually buy many of the pickups sold today: white-collar professionals in green suburbs, in blue states as well as red ones."

BusinessWeek notes that truck purists will point out that the Ridgeline is not capable of excessive off-roading and towing, nor does it offer a longer bed or V8 engine -- "but for most of us, it's all the truck we need." To many, the 2008 Ridgeline represents innovation for including unique utility features that other pickups do not. Features like an in-bed trunk and a dual-action tailgate lead Car and Driver to note that "of vehicles in its size class, we can't think of any others that deliver a more comprehensive menu of all-around utility attributes."

Nevertheless, the Ridgeline is also noted for not providing those attributes cheaply. As a Honda vehicle, it includes features such as side curtain air bags and all-wheel drive as standard fare, but at a higher price. Or, as the Orlando Sentinel explains, "there are expensive models of all pickups, but there are only expensive Ridgelines." Still, Consumer Guide states that "innovative pickup features and Honda's typically strong resale value" are the reason the Ridgeline is listed as a "Recommended Pick" for 2007. IntelliChoice has not rated the 2008 Honda Ridgeline's value, but gives the 2007 Ridgeline an "Average" value rating, based on total cost of ownership compared to others in its class.

The Ridgeline is also distinctive for its build. Although similarly styled to sport utility trucks like Chevrolet's Avalanche or the Cadillac Escalade EXT, the Ridgeline has a unit-body structure and all-independent suspension, similar to its platform-mate the Honda Pilot. The SUT is available in four trims: the base model RT, the primed-for-towing RTX, the RTS and top-of-the-line RTL.
Performance Review - 7.9 (Good)

Although the 2008 Honda Ridgeline does not have the performance capabilities and capacities of traditional trucks, writers say it's sufficient. USA TODAY states, "Honda has melded sporty-car driving with weekend-warrior toting, creating what's likely to be the perfect blend for many people." Continue with Full Performance Review.
Exterior Review - 6.4 (Mediocre)

Opinions of the 2008 Honda Ridgeline's exterior are split. Reviewers like the Detroit News writer hate it -- "the Ridgeline reminds me of the old Rodney Dangerfield joke about how he was so ugly as a kid his parents had to tie a pork chop bone around his neck so the dog would play with him." In contrast, the Los Angeles Times finds the Ridgeline "sleek, sophisticated . the thing looks like a Heckler & Koch assault rifle." Continue with Full Exterior Review.
Interior Review - 7.6 (Good)

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline is appreciated for providing a spacious five-seat cabin with good storage possibilities. As Kelley Blue Book states, the Ridgeline has "a great set of front bucket seats and a unique storage compartment below the bed that's perfect for hiding valuables." But many are disappointed with seat comfort and material quality. Continue with Full Interior Review.
Safety Review - 8.6 (Very Good)

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline does very well in federal government crash tests, but does not have insurance industry crash test results. Reviewers like the Detroit News "can't think of anything they didn't put on the Ridgeline in terms of safety features," but are equally concerned with the truck's poor over-the-shoulder visibility. Continue with Full Safety Review.
Reliability Review - 9.2 (Excellent)

We are still compiling data for the predicted reliability of the 2008 Honda Ridgeline. Additionally, the truck is covered by a three-year or 36,000-mile basic warranty. Continue with Full Reliability Review.

Although the 2008 Honda Ridgeline does not have the performance capabilities and capacities of traditional trucks, writers say it's sufficient. USA TODAY states, "Honda has melded sporty-car driving with weekend-warrior toting, creating what's likely to be the perfect blend for many people."

One of the Ridgeline's strongest selling points is its ride quality and versatility. Edmunds calls the truck "comfortable, quiet and easy to drive," and AutoWeek recalls that "we didn't encounter a truck-worthy job the Honda couldn't handle . It tackled fishing boats, large appliances, furniture and Home Depot runs with equal ease, not to mention numerous trips to the grocery store and off-road trails where the in-bed trunk proved particularly useful in keeping food-or mud-laden dirt biking clothes-safely contained."

Acceleration and Power

Unlike most trucks, the Honda Ridgeline only provides one engine option -- a V6 with 247 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. Forbes describes the engine as "gusty" and "reliable," while Consumer Guide finds it "refined" and appreciates that it "rises only to muted, classy growl at full throttle."

But writers from AutoWeek are among those to state that "a few more ponies underhood would be good" for the Ridgeline. Edmunds agrees, writing that "the engine's need for more bottom-end power is undeniable when pulling away from a stoplight with four passengers packed in the cab." The Detroit News also notes the same, and adds that not providing a V8 option "will turn off some traditional truck buyers."

Several reviewers also express disappointment with the SUT's paltry gas mileage, but Kelley Blue Book calls it "surprisingly good," considering the Ridgeline's size. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 Ridgeline at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on highways.

The Honda Ridgeline's transmission is a five-speed automatic with a heavy-duty transmission cooler for towing. The majority feel the five-speed is mated well to the V6 engine, providing "smooth-shifting" for Forbes and "responsive" performance for MSN.

Handling and Braking

Car and Driver explains best how reviewers feel about the Ridgeline's handling: "Just about everyone who drove the Ridgeline was pleasantly surprised by its agility, and all occupants had good things to say about its ride quality. Sometimes they even forgot to add the 'for a truck' disclaimer, and one logbook scribbler thought it behaved 'like a tall Accord.'" AutoWeek agrees, noting that "it's a truck we can live with -- one that handles our chores without being a chore to handle."

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline has a Macpherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear with trailing arms, a unique setup for a pickup truck that helps supply an agile ride. Also contributing to good ride quality is the Ridgeline's integrated closed-box frame with a unit-body construction -- similar to a sedan -- with fully-boxed high-strength steel frame rails and cross members with internal stiffeners. As a result, the Ridgeline "doesn't buck its driver out of the saddle on broken concrete," Motor Trend reports. The Sacramento Bee adds that the ride is "cloud-like . the smoothest I've ever experienced in a pickup. Yes, it's possible to feel like you're gliding down the freeway in a pickup."

The 2008 Ridgeline's steering is variable power-assisted, providing a sporty feel "with just the right amount of resistance and feedback" for Edmunds, while helping the Chicago Tribune slip the Ridgeline "into and out of parking spots like a sedan." The Ridgeline's ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes are also power-assisted. Consumer Guide describes them as "strong, sure," and Motor Trend managed to stop the Ridgeline from 60 miles per hour in 139 feet. "Not sport truck territory, but not bad in the universe of trucks," its writers explain. Meanwhile, Kelley Blue Book appreciates how the anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist helps in "more effective 'panic' stops."

Off-Roading

Automotive reviews note that the Ridgeline is an adequate vehicle for trails, but "might elicit snickers from off-road enthusiasts," as Automobile Magazine describes. The Ridgeline "easily navigated steep, wet hills and small water obstacles" for the Detroit News, and is ideal for "traversing deep snow" or "moderate off-road treks," in Kelley Blue Book's opinion.

However, Edmunds notes that the Ridgeline "bottomed out repeatedly" on its off-road test of "flat and muddy trails, a mild twisting uphill climb and a steep, rocky downhill descent." Its editors continue to describe the off-road experience, saying that "the Ridgeline's 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires are not conducive to off-road driving. When we tried climbing the hill, the undercarriage started groaning, so we abandoned the run and returned to dry pavement."

Others judge the Ridgeline objectively. Motor Trend writes that the Ridgeline's tires and automatic four-wheel drive system were "never meant to make it a burly off-roader," but "it'll get you up a snow-covered driveway or out of a snotty mud patch just fine."

Hauling

The Honda Ridgeline has a payload capacity between 1,549 and 1,558 pounds, depending on trim. Several note these numbers as respectable, but still feel disappointed that the length and width of the bed won't meet traditional pickup needs. The New York Times writes that "there is no room for 4-by-8 foot sheets of plywood, the ubiquitous if archaic standard by which manly man pickups have been measured." The Los Angeles Times explains that the Ridgeline is "a blue-state pickup," good for carting "motorcycles and ATVs and climbing gear, the bric-a-brac of affluent leisure. It can't pull a road-grader up a hill but it can haul a 22-foot boat up a ramp at Lake Shasta."

Towing

The Ridgeline's RTX trim can tow up to 5,000 pounds and includes the necessary equipment standard. These features include a high capacity radiator and a heavy-duty power-steering cooler, as well as trailer connection wiring for four- and seven-pin connectors and the trailer brake controller.

Despite the array of equipment, reviewers caution against using the Ridgeline for towing. Kelley Blue Book says that for serious towing duties "the Ridgeline will not be your first choice"; Consumer Guide suggests the "V6 also may be taxed" and MSN says the pound capacity "makes it fall short of competitors."


Opinions of the 2008 Honda Ridgeline's exterior are split. Reviewers like the Detroit News writer hate it -- "the Ridgeline reminds me of the old Rodney Dangerfield joke about how he was so ugly as a kid his parents had to tie a pork chop bone around his neck so the dog would play with him." In contrast, the Los Angeles Times finds the Ridgeline "sleek, sophisticated . the thing looks like a Heckler & Koch assault rifle."

Despite mixed emotions on the Ridgeline's attractiveness, reviewers unanimously appreciate its functional design. Its cargo bed is 60 inches long with the tailgate up and 49.5 inches wide between wheel wells -- "one of the shortest around," as U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman notices, but it "means that unlike many other pickups, it will fit in most garages." The bed's tailgate is dual-action, meaning it not only swings down, but swings out, similar to a car door. Consumer Guide calls this feature "nifty," while Kelley Blue Book thinks it's "handy."

However, reviewers' favorite Ridgeline feature is the in-bed trunk. "It's a relatively simple thing -- so simple, you wonder why Honda's rivals did not think of it ages ago," the Washington Post says. The trunk is 8.5 cubic feet and is "big enough to hold a huge 72-quart cooler or three sets of golf clubs," the Chicago Tribune explains. However, the same reviewer has other ideas for the trunk's use: "You can fill the trunk, which has drainplugs, with ice to cool the pop for the family or company picnic. The trunk is big enough to fill with warm water to bathe the kids after the picnic so they don't soil the cabin . only your imagination limits what you can do."

Others are impressed but note that the trunk is "not so useful if the cargo bed is loaded," as Cars.com finds. Truck Trend adds that "we learned you don't want to get a flat tire when you're carrying a load of gravel in the bed -- it covers up the trunk that holds the spare tire."

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline is appreciated for providing a spacious five-seat cabin with good storage possibilities. As Kelley Blue Book states, the Ridgeline has "a great set of front bucket seats and a unique storage compartment below the bed that's perfect for hiding valuables." But many are disappointed with seat comfort and material quality.

For optimum luxury, several recommend upgrading to the top-of-the-line RTL. The Orlando Sentinel has "no complaints" concerning the interior, while the Washington Post writer likes the "comfort and seating space of a luxury sedan designed for five people; an array of cleverly located storage bins, nooks and crannies, reminiscent of a well-executed minivan or station wagon; and, of course, it has Honda's legendary high-quality fit and finish."

Seating

Most say the Ridgeline's seats could be more comfortable. Cars.com thinks they "deliver excellent support," but Consumer Guide represents those who find "padding is a bit thin for best comfort, the cushion is rather flat, the backrest too upright."

Edmunds describes the front row's bucket seats as "firm, well shaped and comfortable," while Motor Trend likes that "the driving position is commanding." For all the reports on comfort, the Detroit News' female reviewer is concerned with how the expansive space up front will affect women drivers. "There are no adjustable pedals on the Honda truck and while the steering wheel tilts, it does not telescope," she says. "Both of these features would have gone a long way toward helping short women get comfortable behind the wheel and as far away as possible from the air bag in the steering wheel." Newsday also worries that "smaller people might find the reach for the stereo switches uncomfortably long."

Reviews also notice pros and cons to the second-row seating. MarketWatch thinks "two passengers, and in a pinch three, can be seated to the rear in good comfort," but others place a time limit on comfort. Forbes explains that "while three riders can fit in the fairly spacious rear seat, thin cushions might prove uncomfortable for longer trips."

Interior Features

Like all Hondas, the Ridgeline has abundant standard features. These include power windows for the front and rear cabin, a HomeLink� remote system and a multifunctional center console with sliding armrests. Consumer Guide describes the Ridgeline's gauges as "large, simple," while U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman is appreciative of climate controls that are "grippable, just right for a truck."

However, not all first impressions hold up. MSN notices that "there's obvious cost-cutting. For instance, the steering wheel tilts, but has no telescopic feature." Newsday is also disappointed. "The Ridgeline's dashboard is a similarly uncoordinated affair, aesthetically, looking like it was cobbled together with leftover parts," its reviewer groans. The Detroit News is particularly disgusted with the Ridgeline's matte metal cabin door handles. "They look like the metal safety rails you see in hospital bathrooms," the reviewer writes.

For the most features and luxury, reviewers like Edmunds recommend the highest level RTL, "which includes extras like leather, seat heaters, a moonroof, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat and an outstanding XM-equipped stereo."

Navigation

Reviews are generally pleased with the 2008 Ridgeline's Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition, which is available for the RTL trim. Consumer Guide thinks the system is "easy to use," and appreciates that it "doesn't absorb climate controls." Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star likes that the system "lists restaurants according to the Zagat Survey."

Cargo

Reviewers find that the Ridgeline's in-bed trunk is not the only location for inventive storage. The 2008 Ridgeline's seats "flip up effortlessly with the pull of a handle to let you stash gear," the Detroit News reports. Once the rear seats have been secured against the back of the cabin, Motor Trend anticipates that you could even store a big-screen television in the new space. If you prefer to leave the rear seats down, the Ridgeline has 2.6 cubic feet of storage space provided beneath them, the perfect size for a mountain bike, says Kelley Blue Book.

As Consumer Guide notes, there's "ample small-item storage, too." The Ridgeline has door pocket storage bins, seatback pockets and a passenger-side storage tray, in addition to six cupholders and three 12-volt power outlets. The Ridgeline's sliding center console is also a favorite. When out of the way it "creates a big space next to the driver for a bulky purse," the Detroit News remarks, while Automobile Magazine calls the area "so labyrinthine you could easily lose a Big Mac in there for weeks."

Some do note a potential problem in the Ridgeline's storage setup: Not providing access to the in-bed trunk from the cabin. Motor Trend predicts that "if you've got a kid or two, a dog, and a weekend's supply of luggage, diapers and toys, something is going to make the trek outside the cabin in the rain."

The 2008 Honda Ridgeline does very well in federal government crash tests, but does not have insurance industry crash test results. Reviewers like the Detroit News "can't think of anything they didn't put on the Ridgeline in terms of safety features," but are equally concerned with the truck's poor over-the-shoulder visibility.

The last model year tested by the federal government, the 2007 Ridgeline, earned 5 out of 5 stars for both driver and front passenger protection in front impact crashes. In side crashes, the 2007 Ridgeline also earned 5 stars for front seat and backseat occupant protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the Ridgeline's crash safety.

Accident Avoidance

The 2008 Ridgeline has anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. The truck also has a vehicle stability assist function with traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system standard for all four trims. One standard feature the Chicago Tribune enjoys for accident prevention is its windshield wipers "that automatically heat without pushing a button or turning a dial to melt the ice and free the blades so they can work when the temperature is 20 degrees or colder."

What reviews note as a glaring oversight is the lack of a back-up assist system, as several reviewers complain of significant blind spots. Car and Driver suggests that "side mirrors needed to be bigger to illuminate the substantial blind spots created by the flying buttress C-pillars." Newsday agrees, noting that "the high walls of the cargo bed slightly hamper the driver's vision in left to right lane changes."

Crash Protection

The Ridgeline's crash protection equipment includes dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags, front side air bags and side curtain air bags with a rollover sensor. All seat belts are three-point with the front seat having adjustable belt anchors and automatic tensioners, and the rear seats have the lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) system.

We are still compiling data for the predicted reliability of the 2008 Honda Ridgeline. Additionally, the truck is covered by a three-year or 36,000-mile basic warranty.

Powertrain coverage is good for five years or 60,000 miles.

Many see the 2008 Honda Ridgeline as reliable by association. The Boston Globe writes that "it's a Honda, albeit a big one, meaning dependability, quality and reliability should be considered built-in until proven otherwise."

The Ridgeline earns respect on long-term test drives for its consistency. AutoWeek mentions that it's "not bad to survive a year with the staff and get away nearly scot-free." Meanwhile, Car and Driver says that "it's always easy to develop warm feelings about a vehicle that refrains from calling in sick, and in this sense, the Ridgeline . had an attendance record that was all but perfect . seemed just as new at 40,000 miles as it did when it actually was new -- no squeaks, no rattles, no loose trim pieces, no mechanical idiosyncrasies, with the feel of something carved from a single chunk of billet."

Also see J.D. Power's assessment of the Ridgeline's quality and reliability.

Trim Styles and Specifications

2008 Honda Ridgeline:
RT $28,000 $25,362 15 City
20 Hwy Gas V6 3.5L/212 Gas V6 3.5L/212 AUTO


2008 Honda Ridgeline:
RTX $29,500 $25,814 15 City
20 Hwy Gas V6 3.5L/212 Gas V6 3.5L/212 AUTO


2008 Honda Ridgeline:
RTS $30,425 $27,553 15 City
20 Hwy Gas V6 3.5L/212 Gas V6 3.5L/212 AUTO


2008 Honda Ridgeline:
RTL $33,090 $29,961 15 City
20 Hwy Gas V6 3.5L/212 Gas V6 3.5L/212 AUTO


2008 Honda Ridgeline:
RTL with Navigation $35,090 $31,769 15 City
20 Hwy Gas V6 3.5L/212 Gas V6 3.5L/212 AUTO

Loading the player ...

This Is the Most Important Habit for Business Success

Ads by Google

0 Comments. Post Yours.