2019 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition Review

It might be a surprise to some, but the best selling vehicles in North America are not the Toyota Corollas, the Honda Civics, or any of the popular SUVs you see on the road. They are pickup trucks. People love their pickup trucks for all sorts of reasons. It is easily one of the most diverse customer base in the industry. Some love the pickup truck for its form factor, some need its towing capacity for their trailers, some love its ground clearance for off-road driving, and some enjoy its large truck bed for home projects.

With the Ridgeline, Honda has created a smart truck that could fulfill most of those needs. The original Ridgeline, while innovative, turned off many buyers because of its unique styling. The lessons have been learned. As a result, the second generation Ridgeline looks much more like a conventional body-on-frame truck, while keeping many of its car-like features.

Thanks to Honda Canada, I was loaned the 2019 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition for a week. Below is my unbiased review.

Looking like a conventional pickup truck, the Ridgeline looks rugged and ready for business. The Black Edition Ridgeline adds the black chrome grille bar, black door handles and 18" black aluminum-alloy wheels for a uniformed yet aggressive look.

It is a handsome exterior especially at certain front angles. I received lots of compliments at home centers and shopping malls. People tend to admire the subtle aggressive look that is enhanced by the Black Edition's exterior upgrades.

The Ridgeline's interior is top-notch. It sports segment-leading interior spaces, making it one of the largest and most versatile cabins out there. Just like most trucks, hard plastics are used below dash for durability. Other parts of the cabin are covered with soft-touch, high quality materials.

The 10-way power adjustable driver seat is both comfortable and supportive. There are fold-down armrests on both front seats for added comfort. This is especially important because the center console sits low.

The rear cabin provides the most space in the segment. Three adults fit comfortably atop the optionally heated rear seats. There is a decent amount of storage below the rear seats, thanks to the completely flat floor bed. The 40/60 seats can also be folded up for additional storage space.

For the Black Edition, special seat stitching and floor mats add sophistication to the interior. It also features Red ambient lighting in the foot well and door pockets.

Our tester comes with a 8" infotainment display that sits front and center of the dashboard. The software interface takes some getting use to and responses to user inputs are slightly delayed. The lack of physical buttons only make things worse when the car is in motion. Thankfully, the Ridgeline comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Honda's implementation of the projected navigation system allows pinching, swiping, or tapping directly on the touchscreen.

The 7" color TFT center meter display in the instrument cluster lets you keep track of your vehicle’s speed and important vehicle information. They are easily interfaced by intuitively laid out buttons on the steering wheel.

In terms of audio, the 2019 Ridgeline has an innovative 540-watt Truck-Bed Audio System that uses electromagnetic transducers to turn the entire truck bed into a giant speaker, perfect for any tailgate party. In the cabin, a 225-watt audio system powers 7 speakers including a subwoofer for a great listening experience.

Safety and Driver Assistance
In Canada, Honda is generous in providing standard safety features. They include:

  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Collision Mitigation Braking Syste (CMBS®) 
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) 
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) 
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) 
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) 
  • Hill Start Assist 
  • Auto high beam (Standard Above Sport Trim)

The HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response System also comes standard. It automatically contact emergency operators when an airbag is employed.

I find some of the active safety features to be too sensitive, thus distracting. The solution for me is to simply turn some of them off.

It earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and is the only pickup truck to be named a Top Safety Pick from IIHS.

All trim levels of the Ridgeline are powered by the same Direct Injection i-VTEC V6 engine that produces 280 hp of power and 262 lb.-ft of torque. All that power is directed to the wheels with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 6 speed transmission feels smooth, and the throttle response is immediate. There is more than enough power to send the car flying on the road, but it lacks towing capability. The front wheel drive models can only tow a maximum of 3500lb, but teamed up with the Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM 4™) AWD system, the Ridgeline is capable of towing up to 5000lb, still about 1000 to 2000lb less than its leading rivals.

While looking like a conventional, body-on-frame pickup truck, the Ridgeline is actually built with a rigid unibody frame. With that setup, the Ridgeline behaves much more like a car on the road, and it is a good thing. Its coil-sprung independent rear suspension keeps the lean in corners minimal, and absorbs road bumps admirably.

The steering is nicely weighted and the Ridgeline is very composed on the road. The Intelligent Traction Management System lets you choose between Normal, Snow, Mud or Sand modes to help keep you grounded when you are off paved surfaces.

The V6 in the Ridgeline is the most fuel-efficient in its class. It is rated for 12.8 L/100km city and 11.3 L/100km highway. Our test drives falls in between and returned a 12.0 L/100km fuel economy rating.


Cargo Space & Storage
The Honda Ridgeline has a 5.3ft long bed and a fold flat tailgate. With 50.0 inches between its wheel wells, the Ridgeline is the only mid-size pickup that can fit a sheet of 4x8 flat on the bed floor. The Scratch-resistant bed is treated against UV sun light and has eight heavy-duty tie-down cleats to help keep everything in its place.

Being the only unibody pickup truck on the road, the 2019 Ridgeline enjoys a few innovative features. There is a locking, weather-tight compartment under the trunk bed with a 7.3-cubic-foot capacity. It has a drain and can be doubled as a cooler. The available 150-watt/400-watt AC in-bed power inverter lets you plug in tools, floodlights, and more.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is like a lovechild between a car and a traditional pickup truck. It provides the comfort, ride quality, and fuel efficiency of car with the utility of a pickup. For most people who do not need a heavy duty truck for work, the Ridgeline provides everything they need with few compromises.

The only problem I have with the new crops of pickup trucks (that include the Ridgeline and its rivals) is the price. At more than $45,000 CAD one will have to seriously consider if they need the added utility. Because at this price, there are some excellent SUVs out there that can perform 90% of the jobs.

Test Vehicle
2019 Ridgeline Black Edition
$51,925 CAD without Destination
Crystal Black Pearl


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