Reader Review: 2021 Honda Ridgeline Touring
Longtime Honda fan no stranger to Ridgeline but wishes the automaker would go one bigger
A Goldilocks truck. That’s how Calgary driver Jeff Van De Walle describes Honda’s 2021 Ridgeline pickup, and adds, “Because it’s not too big and it’s not too small. It’s just right.”
Honda first introduced its unibody Ridgeline in 2006. That generation lasted until 2014, when it was dropped from the range. Honda redesigned the mid-size truck however and launched a second-generation version for 2017. It was longer, lower, wider, and lighter than the outgoing truck and today, the Ridgeline is still set apart from other pickups thanks to its use of unibody construction – there is no underlying frame to the vehicle. Plus, it rides on fully independent front and rear suspension systems for a smooth and comfortable ride. Other unique features of the Ridgeline include a large, lockable in-box trunk and a two-way folding tailgate. For the 2021 model, Honda freshened up the look of the Ridgeline from the roof pillars forward. It gained a new fascia, and the grille moved to a more upright position while the hood became more muscular with some sculpting work. In Canada, the Ridgeline comes in Sport, EX-L, Touring and Black Edition trims. All models are powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and are also all equipped with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management (iVTM-4) all-wheel drive system.
Van De Walle’s ’21 Ridgeline in Touring trim, with the $300 Radiant Red Metallic II paint, cost just a bit less than $52,000 before taxes. First, a little background on Van De Walle’s relationship with the Ridgeline model. He’s no stranger, as he was given his father-in-law’s 2007 Ridgeline in 2013. When he got the truck, it had 140,000 kilometres on the odometer. It was at 391,256 when we talked and could very likely be over 400,000 now. As an outside sales representative for a survey equipment company, Van De Walle is always on the road visiting work sites.
There’s a bit of Honda theme in Van De Walle’s life. His first vehicle was his parents’ 1988 Honda Accord, which he got in 2000 during his last year of high school. After the Accord, he bought a 2002 Acura RSX. With marriage and children, Van De Walle moved to an ’05 Acura MDX. Currently, his family’s fleet consists of a 2017 Acura MDX and his ’07 Ridgeline.
“We are a genuine Honda family, and I don’t really have a reason why,” he explains. “Prior to the ’07 Ridgeline, I had a Nissan Frontier for just a couple of months. Everything was too tight, and that Frontier felt at least 15 per cent smaller than the Ridgeline when I finally got into the Honda.”
Although Honda has restyled the front of the Ridgeline, Van De Walle says he actually prefers the look of the 2007 model.
“That’s all subjective,” he says, but adds, “The new grille is very nice, I’ll give it that – it’s much more attractive than the previous style.”
Inside, Van De Walle says the Ridgeline is spacious with a fit and finish somewhere between that of his 2007 Ridgeline and the family’s 2017 Acura MDX.
“The overall layout is excellent, and everything is pretty standard. I’m sure it wouldn’t take anyone too long to figure out the controls.”
After picking up the Ridgeline, Van De Walle loaded his wife and two kids into the vehicle to drive to Invermere, B.C.