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By Mario Cywinski

Honda launched the first Ridgeline mid-size pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in 2005. For the all-new 2017 model launch, Honda went back to where it all began at NAIAS.

The exterior of the Ridgeline shows that Honda has decided on a more traditional pick up look after the radical design of the original version. The 2017 Ridgeline is a distinct departure from its predecessor, with all-new grille, front fascia, lights, rear fascia and side profile.

“We are bringing our unique technology and original thinking to the market in a new and challenging concept for a Honda pickup,” Jean Marc Leclerc, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Honda Canada Inc. “We think we’ve got a better idea, a truck that uses its unibody construction and Honda packaging magic to deliver more of the things that many of today’s truck customers want and need with none of the things they don’t.”

Powering the Ridgeline is a 3.5 litre V-6 engine outputting 280 horsepower (a 30hp increase over the outgoing model) and 262 foot/pounds of torque (a 15 ft/lbs increase) and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A standard all-wheel-drive system is part of the Ridgeline package. Fuel efficiency is rated at 12.8 L/100 kilometres in the city and 9.5 L/100km on the highway. The engine has variable cylinder management (VCM), which allows the vehicle to operate on three cylinders in a variety of situations. The Ridgeline comes with A 73.8L fuel tank.

The Ridgeline’s larger size improves its interior room. Total wheelbase is 81.2mm longer, length is 71.1mm longer, it is 12mm higher, is it 15mm wider, and has a bed that is over 101mm longer then the old version. The ground clearance increases to 203.2 mm. The Ridgeline incorporates 19.3 per cent ultra high-strength steel and 35.7 per cent high-strength steel in its unibody design. Towing capability is 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs.) with a standard Class III trailer hit with seven-pin wiring connector.

The size of a pick up truck bed is an important consideration for many buyers. Honda has taken notice and increased the size of the truck bed in every direction. The truck bed is 1,524 mm between side linings, 1,270 mm between the wheel wells and is 1,295.4 mm at the D-pillars. The overall bed is 2120.9mm long. Payload has increase by 19 kg to 713kg.

The interior of the Ridgeline features a eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sms text message function, truck bed audio system, HondaLink connected vehicle system, available satellite radio and HD Radio. Convenience features include push button start, smart entry, remote engine start, heated front seats, hill start assist, and available heated steering wheel and auto high-beam.

Available features on the Ridgeline include: amplitude reactive dampers, vibration-damping subframes, motion-adaptive electric power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, ABS with brake assist, vehicle stability assist with traction control, trailer stability assist, agile handling assist, tire pressure monitoring, and 18-inch wheels.

Safety features on the Ridgeline are plentiful, beginning with air bags including dual-stage front driver and passenger, front side and side curtain airbags. Honda Sensing features are available, including: collision mitigating braking system, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist System, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Rear view camera and parking sensors are also available. FVT

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