2006 Honda Ridgeline: Best All-'Round vehicle we've ever had
Overall, and in the context of rating a "Truck", I must give the Ridgeline highest marks for all categories. Our 2006 RTL has passed the 45K mile marker and still drives like new.
It's easy to compare it to some cars, as the handling really does rival a sedan car, even one with a sports package. The RTL with Moonroof and leather seating, plus all the other creature comforts rival any higher end car and far exceed other trucks, but maybe not all SUV's. Taken out of context, such as compared to an Audi S4 V8 Avant, the RL is "lacking" in amenities and material quality. But that's not a fair comparison, as the Audi is $55K. Of course it can't do any serious off-roading without damage.
Generally speaking, we fall into the average user category: mainly used for daily commuting, towing our 19" racing catamaran, a 5x10' utility trailer and loading up at Cost-Co. I have gone off-road a few times and camped in the mountains for days. It was necessary to reduce tire pressure to prevent rattling the truck apart- 26-28 PSI works well. We usually cruise at 65-73mph and average about 18mpg combined, or closer to 20mpg on longer trips. I have gotten almost 22mpg on longer trips on secondary roads, where speeds are lower.
Performance was rated as a 5, due to the great handling. It's so far and beyond what a normal truck is, it's a true dichotomy. Acceleration is pretty brisk for a 6cyl, but my old V8 Tundra felt faster and had a lot more torque. No complaints, even when fully loaded with people and gear, passing power is quite good. Just floor it and let the VTEC do it's magic, otherwise passing power is okay, but won't suffice for backroads with short passing areas. The engine seems to rely more on high RPM than torque when the call for power is made. Normal driving is fine with one slight exception: shifting often kicks down to 4th gear even for slight hills or over passes. It can still lose speed and prodding the throttle a bit more will cause it to kick down to 3rd. This gives the impression the engine doesn't have enough power and the higher RPM surely lowers the MPG more than nessary.
This truck does not take kindly to oversize tires, even "plus zero" sizing. The above examples are related to the bigger tires: we have 275/60/17's. Our 20" summer wheels and tires, are a very close match to the original tire diameter and really make the truck more "zippy". Cornering then borders on near lunacy! The trucks Roll-Stiffness is just amazing, combined with fully independent suspension, very wide tire track (2-5" more than comparable trucks)and stiff OE shocks make this a true Sport Truck. If you prefer a soft ride be sure to set the tire pressure to factory specs and don't buy heavy duty replacement tires-- stick with P-rate tires for this truck.
If you drive in the snow a lot and need a truck, this is the one. The full time AWD system makes for a VERY safe handling vehicle. There is no need to remember to switch on the 4x4-- ever notice how most vehicles stuck in ditches, etc are 4x4's? People just don't turn the system on, or think it's not needed. A normal truck by virtue of poor weight distribution and a live axle is a recipe for an accident, even in wet weather conditions. Either way, a regular 4x4 can't compete with an AWD system. AWD will work in ANY condition, where 4x4 cannot always be used, or damage can result-- if nothing else your tires will pay the price due to locked up axles.
It's the best Do-EVERYTHING car/truck!!
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