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Midsize Pickup Comparo



  • That alone would strike it off many people's lists, including mine.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Thanks for the link, and yes, I was aware of this race effort. I still think that Honda will offer a Ridgeline trim level geared at those who are off-road oriented. I think they have to, or the Ridgeline will never be considered by those who take their trucks off road.

    Once you get away from the suburban areas, you will find that a lot of pickups are used off road. Honda will never get those customers unless they have something (convincing) to offer them.

  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 501
    I am not a rock crawler. However, both work and recreational activities take me on rutted woods roads, non maintained USFS roads, and the good old Georgia mud.

    Now I know that the regular Ridgeline would probably work for me most times. And I know that if I wanted I could get a kit to lift it, put bigger tires and wheels on it, change to computer so the speedo and odometer work right, potentially mess up the ABS and stability control, and void the warranty (hey, all of a sudden this is not sounding so good).

    Right now I like the Ridgeline, but I am leaning to a Frontier Crew Cab (probably NISMO). All I am saying is that if Honda had some kind of off road package, that might sway me to the Ridgeline. And while I know the hard core rock crawlers would never want a Ridgeline, I think that there might be enough folks in my position to justify an off road version raised about 2", with slightly bigger and more aggressive tires (265/70 maybe) which would raise the truck some more, a low range and with some skid plates.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I don't doubt that Honda could sell a few more Ridgelines if they offered a real off-road package. But I doubt these would go to off-road enthusiasts. The hardcore folks will go for something cheaper which they could modify into something even more capable.

    These trucks probably would sell to people who never venture off-road, but want to look like they do. In which case, Honda could probably sell just as many by slapping some offroad decals on a unit with bigger tires and no other significant upgrades.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    Probably more than half the time it is about the LOOK.

    Truth be known, an Odyssey would serve my family better than the Pilot or Ridgeline, 99% of the time. More room, better ride, and a bit more fuel efficient. However there is that 1% when a more trucklike vehicle is needed. So the compromise. (ALSO, a mini-van looks that way 100%) :cry:

    We do try to maintain a certain degree of "MAUCHOISM" here!! :shades: Don't we!

  • gugimanngugimann Posts: 11
    everyone i talk to about the truck say that it looks horrible, the front end is ugly, but i think its fine, i heard that honda is going to change the front end and maybe try for a V8 in the truck, i read this in an article and now i cant find it, anyone else hear of this?

    with this, they ridgeline can have a better competition with other mid size trucks
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Honda has tested the Ridgeline with another company's V8 under the hood. Not because they plan on using someone else's engine, but to see how well the chassis handles the extra weight.

    However, Honda is rumored to be building a V8 in 3-5 years. We won't see that for a while.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Im teally torn between the two. I like what Honda gives you(features and accs) and the added space. Tacoma is better looking, better 4wd system, better engine (I feel), and a couple other little things I like about it. 2 young kids, 95% on-road travel, live in NH (snow). Without a huge debate, thoughts? Give me some a few plus and minus reasons for both?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I think the Ridgeline makes for a better "family" vehicle, and the Tacoma a better "work" vehicle. Judging by your post, I would say the Ridgeline would make more sense for you.

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    I agree with rsholland The RL might be a better bet for family use.

    There are many factors to consider when choosing a vehicle.

    What will it be used for most of the time?

    When considering one for mainly transportation, safety should head up the list. Height verses width for better or worse roll over control. Number and placement of air bags. Whether or not it has stability control, and of course crash test results. Adequate power, not necessarily the most power.

    Next would be comfort. Support of the seats. Enough room for everyone, and environmental control. Ease of getting into and out of. Is the ride stiff and "JOGGY" or more car like?

    Economy of operation. Is it designed to run on regular and will do even better on premium or is it based on premium and will do OK on regular.

    Maybe the most common sense approach would be: Is it a good family vehicle and fairly good truck? Or is it a good truck and a fairly good family vehicle.

    The Frontier, Tacoma and Ridgeline should all have good resale value when time to trade.

    A stated earlier, if the only consideration was me, it would be the 4X4 Frontier extended cab, stick shift, V6 in black, dark green or red. However for my real world the Ridgeline is a better choice.

    Everything is a compromise. If the vehicle doesn't satisfy the family needs, it won't be around very long.

  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    Wow, I was standing in your shoes a year ago. The Following is my purchase experience from March 15, 2005. They're both extremely fine vehicles, but the Taco doesn't really compare to the RL IMO, and here's why.

    Keep in mind I was very stoked to go buy my 05 Taco Sport.This was a big decision. I can only think of a better choice if I needed to tow 10,000 lbs. For me it came down to the 05 Taco and the Ridgeline. This is my first Honda purchase. #1 in consideration was brand reputation, reliability, and resale value, and for me that was Toyota and Honda. I've owned a Toyota truck and car for fourteen years with not one problem between them, so Toyota really had brand loyalty from me, but the more in depth research I did about how Honda engineers approached this vehicle. It convinced me this was very different than a chopped up pilot that I initially thought it was. Honda truly brought some new ideas and improvements to the pickup table and they needed too with their first entry into this market. I was impressed with their Unibody integration with a ladder truck frame giving it 20 times more torisional stability and 2.5 time more bending rigidity. combine this with a beefy 4 wheel independent suspension, and you've got truck toughness with a ride of a nice car. This really does give the vehicle a more overall solid feel. This is also the best automatic transmission I've driven. Acceleration is excellent.

    Other features that pushed it over the top:

    - The 2006 Honda Ridgeline has earned a 5-Star safety rating for both frontal and side impact crash test performance from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), American Honda Motor Co., announced today. The Ridgeline, Honda's first truck, is the first ever 4-door pickup to earn the government's highest crash test safety rating.

    -really like the VTM-4 AWD system instead of part time 4x4. It also has VSC that can be turned off and VTM-4 lock that locks the rear and front diffs

    -I can haul 4x8 building material, and it will lay flat in the bed of this mid size truck. There's no wheel wells taking up valuable space. No other midsize can do this. (I really don't want to be driving some huge full size truck just to do this.)

    -Biggest cab in class. It's pretty roomy inside. Love the flip up backseat allowing for alot of storage in back of the cab. lots of storage space through out. The center console is the best laid out storage space I've seen in a center console.

    -Inbed trunk and 2 way opening tailgate (genius) lights in bed light the cargo area when you open the gate. (not available on Taco-NAOT)

    -dual climate control (saved my marriage )

    -leather interior, I really feel like I'm in a nice sedan (very classy, and not available on Taco)

    -moon roof (NAOT)

    -power rear window (NAOT)

    -heated mirrors (NAOT)

    -power driver's seat (NAOT)

    We love this truck. It does everything well for us. It's a nice luxury touring car. It hauls cargo when I need to, and I love it off road. The most amazing thing: The styling has grown on me. I love the way this truck looks or maybe it's function and utility is driving the beauty.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really think the Ridgeline is the way to go due to my needs. Can you tell me how it handles off road, Snow, and mud. We have alot of you feel it limits and how deep has anyone gone in th snow for a good period of time (1/4 mile +)? Any issues with ground clearance?
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Did you ever consider the Frontier? I have not looked at the remodel up close but it looks the same size at the Tacoma? Not sure if it has any special features like Honda gives you. I see its alittle cheaper but not by much.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    My daughter's boy friend just got a new Frontier crew cab. It's a great truck, and he loves it. Still, I say for family use, the Ridgeline is the better choice. The rear seat on the Frontier isn't nearly as comfortable as the Ridgeline's rear seat.

    One other thing: The Ridgeline is the only mid-size truck wide enough to lay plywood flat on the bed floor, if that matters to you.

  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    The Frontier is a couple inches narrower and also shorter by approx. 3 inches up to approx. a foot or more (depending on model).
    The Frontier can also be purchased very well equipped.
    The Frontier is my darling.
  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really think the Ridgeline is the way to go due to my needs. Can you tell me how it handles off road, Snow, and mud. We have alot of you feel it limits and how deep has anyone gone in th snow for a good period of time (1/4 mile +)? Any issues with ground clearance?

    Can you ever have to much ground clearance? Yes, more ground clearance would be good. I think the Taco has just a little more clearance than the RL. In the snow and winter driving, the RL rules for sure. The only time I've felt I've come close to the limits of the Ridgeline is in deep sand terrain. This wasn't even a road or close to anything that could be called a road. If your going any where other vehicles have gone like on a trail, the RL will handle anything its ground clearance, departure and approach angles will allow. Even those limits are probably too much for my own good.

    Over the last year, I've found the traction system in the Ridgeline to be very adept at extracting me from any enviroment I've subjected it too.


    We live here in the mountains located in the Southwest. I've encountered severe Winter storms on a mountain pass here called Black Ridge. If it is snowing bad in town, you can bet Black Ridge is almost impassable. Typically in those storms you can see many vehicles off the road, and more than a few flashing yellow lights visible from tow truck assisting stranded drivers.

    Traveling in this storm, the Ridgeline felt absolutely stable. Usually, this is white knuckle driving. What a pleasent surprise it was to feel so secure on this road during this storm. Of course, visibility is still bad, and your still surrounded by bad drivers on this dangerous road so you can never let your guard down completely. Even so, we were able to turn on the XM radio and listen to the comedy channel and relax. What a nice change.

    This last few days, we've been dumped on by over a foot of snow. My driveway is about 70 ft long. The ridgeline backs out like it's not even there traction wise. I spent the morning trying to get stuck, but no luck. Overall I'm very pleased with the winter performance of this vehicle.


    We have relatives that live very close to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes here in the south west. To get to their residence it involves a fair amount of driving off road on deep sandy BLM trails. I've driven on these trails with a full size Chevy Silverado, and I've done it in the Ridgeline. Let me tell you, there is a significant difference in the ride of a unibody on frame truck like the Ridgeline, and BOF (body on frame) truck like the Silverado. The Ridgeline got us to our destination with out the typical grunts and groans from our passengers. No handholds required to prevent passengers from hitting their heads against the glass. The more Rigid body of the Honda is a tremendous improvement over BOF design. These trails were traversed in the Ridgeline's default traction mode: AWD, VSA on.

    These same trails were torn up to make way for a conventional gravel road. During the construction process, it was nothing but a straight sand drag to their home for more than a mile. I did turn off the VSA in these conditions. I never had to engage VTM-4 Lock. This was nothing but raw sand terrain. The Ridgeline could have used more ground clearance for sure, but it still handled it very competantly, though I would never subject any vehicle to those conditions on a regular basis let alone a $30,000+ Ridgeline.


    I've been in the mud with the Ridgeline, but not alot. I've been on a dirt road that was practically a river in spots, and the RL handled it fine.

    This is a quite capable traction system, but if your doing serious hard core off roading, it will need more clearance of course.

    Below are Honda's specs for the Ridgeline's capabilities.

    Honda engineers concluded that a robust medium-duty off-road capability was most consistent with the needs of the customer and the philosophy behind a next generation of truck that offers a smarter balance of capabilities with a higher level of comfort, convenience and real-world versatility. Medium-duty capability readily supports trips to remote trailheads for motorcycle, ATV and mountain bike riding, and camping, as well as excellent all-weather capabilities. Also, anybody who has ever driven down a "washboard" dirt road in a body-on-frame truck can appreciate the refinement afforded by the Ridgeline's unibody structure, which more effectively minimizes the severe vibrations that can occur. To define exactly what constitutes medium-duty off-road capability, the Ridgeline engineering team selected 14 key performance criteria based on observations of typical off-road adventurers. They then utilized special test courses at their R&D facilities in North America to assure that the Ridgeline delivers all the intended capabilities with impeccable reliability and durability along with real world verification.

    The list of test courses includes:

    28-degree dirt hill
    Sand hill
    Water pit
    Rock roads
    Embedded log course
    Step-up, step-down
    Sand drag strip
    Gully course
    Ground contact course
    Washboard road
    Frame twister
    Power hop hill (23-degree slope with rippled surface)
    Gravel road
    Startable grade
    The results speak for themselves - the Ridgeline has 8.2 inches of ground clearance, a 25-degree approach angle, a 22-degree departure angle, and a 21-degree breakover angle for negotiating rough terrain.It can claw up a 28-degree (53-percent) dirt slope from a dead stop. It can tow a 5,000-pound boat up the steepest of boat ramps.
  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    Did you ever consider the Frontier? I have not looked at the remodel up close but it looks the same size at the Tacoma? Not sure if it has any special features like Honda gives you. I see its alittle cheaper but not by much

    Sorry, I didn't seriously consider the Frontier. I just didn't consider it to be close enough to Toyota or Honda in quality or reliability. I'm sure it's a fine truck, and I've heard good things about it, but I like to keep my resale value as high as possible.
  • got1bgot1b Posts: 48
    You may want to consider the REDESIGNED 07 Ford Explorer Sport Trac (not the old 05).

    Ford offers all the same features as Honda, including memory on the leather

    The Ford offers a full time 4WD like the Honda, but with 2 Low low gear like the Toyota (the best of both worlds)

    It as an 8 cylinder option, providing more HP and Torque then any other mid-size

    It has all the same safety features as the Ford Explorer, which just received five stars for both frontal and side impact, the trac should be no different.

    It has a fully boxed frame, allowing it to tow (w/ 8 cylinder) >6,600 lbs.

    You can price them out on New Vehicles at, 07 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
  • atlvibeatlvibe Posts: 109
    Neighbor just bought '06 chevy colorado crew Z-71 off road. I-5, cloth, power equipment, black fender moldings. Drove and the I-5 ...iS okay... once you get rolling. Lots of engine buzz and some body shake. It's not the standard by an imagination. However, he showed me the bottom line between the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Pre-runner. Once he used all his Gm card perks and cash rebates.... the net difference was 5400.00. Granted the Toyota is a far better product,but the money difference made up his mind. I could see his point of view. He uses as a Home depot runner anyway. It's a competent truck in that regard.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Great info and experiences. Thanks! This has helped make up my mind. I know the 07 Ford Sport trac is coming but I have owned 3 ford trucks and have not been happy with ride, gas and depreciation. I will still take a look if it comes out soon but I think the Ridgeline is the way to go. My lease is up later this year. I hope I can still get under invoice (1k dealer cash) or better. By then the 07 Ridgeline might be out. I have not heard of any changes, I am curious though if they will do any. But they might not give invoice on an 07 early on...we will have to see! Thanks Again.
  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    I have not heard of any changes, I am curious though if they will do any. But they might not give invoice on an 07 early on...we will have to see! Thanks Again.

    I'm betting on no changes for the RL in 07. Enjoy your ride.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I have not heard of any changes, I am curious though if they will do any. But they might not give invoice on an 07 early on...we will have to see! Thanks Again.

    I'm betting on no changes for the RL in 07. Enjoy your ride.

    If there are any they will likely be minor...examples:

    The 2006 Odyssey added DRLs over the new-for-2005. The 2004 Accord added XM radio to its Leather models over the new-for-2003.

    Not major stuff, but worth looking into if you aren't in a hurry to buy.
  • I'm a big Honda fan and had pre-ordered the first available 06 Ridgeline in October 04. At the press intro in Jan 05, I discovered the Ridgeline doesn't have an undercarriage designed for serious off-roading. Besides its relatively limited ground-clearance, the lowest points that will scrape bottom will suffer serious damage. Many dealers have Ridgelines on display on a ramp. Crawl under one and see for yourself what will get damaged if you try to "ride the frame rails" in a serious off-road environment.

    Recognize, however, that Honda did not design the Ridgeline to handle situations that the small percentage of hard-core off-roaders like me tackle. Once I realized my off-road needs were beyond what the Ridgeline was designed for, I got my deposit back and bought on 05 Frontier crew-cab NISMO 4x4. The off-road capability of this truck, especially since adding a 2.5" lift from, is amazing. The lift brings the ground clearance from the stock 10.5" to 13". I scraped bottom a lot before the lift without damaging anything, as the lowest point is the frame rails that can handle the abuse. Since the lift, I've hit bottom very little.

    I chose the Frontier over Tacoma for several reasons. Tacoma recommends premium fuel, the back seat takes a lot of gymnastics to fold compared to Frontier and has less real-world leg room, all four 05 Tacomas I test drove had mechanical / quality problems (like difficulty engaging 4wd as others have reported), and most significantly the low point on the bottom was the exhaust, which someone like me would damage off-road. A stock Tacoma looks higher than a stock Frontier, but when you crawl underneath you discover the undercarriage of the Frontier is better designed for serious off-roading.

    14 months and 25,000 miles later, I am still thoroughly impressed with the Frontier. I have since had the opportunity to do an extensive (all-day) test drive in a Ridgeline, including off-road, and was very impressed. If you respect the limits the Ridgeline was designed for, i.e., don't scrape the undercarriage, its loose traction capability is actually quite good, as others have reported. When the going gets pretty tough, locking the VTM-4 lock makes a significant improvement. With VTM-4 lock off (normal mode), I scared myself pretty good trying to climb a 40-degree grade. With VTM-4 lock on and a running start, the Ridgeline actually made this hill. By comparison, my Frontier NISMO with Hill Start Assist, 4-lo, and locking rear can actually stop half-way up this hill and then continue up with no problem. Going back down this hill with Hill Descent Control in the Frontier is no problem either.

    Thus the Frontier will do everything the Ridgeline will do, but not vice-versa. However, with the exception of hard-core off-roading or towing, the Ridgeline will do everything the Frontier does better. When driving the two back-to-back you can't help but be more impressed with how car-like the Ridgeline drives. It makes the Frontier feel like a truck for lack of a better description.

    While recognizing that Honda did not design the Ridgeline for serious off-roading or towing over 5000 pounds, and thus forgiving its shortcomings in that area, there is one area where Nissan did a better job than Honda: the stability system. For my taste, Nissan's stability system intervenes at just the right time and allows me to really push the limits when traveling on loose traction dirt roads, like forest trails. When rounding a corner too fast, Nissan's system steps in and keeps the vehicle perfectly aligned as it brings the speed under control. On these same roads in the Ridgeline, the stability system intervenes a little too late, allowing the truck to get sideways in the corner. By the time things are back under control, you lose a lot of speed in the Ridgeline, whereas the Frontier is still motoring on. If it were a race, the Frontier would easily be able to maintain a greater speed than the Ridgeline.

    When all is said and done, unless you need more off-road or towing capability than the Ridgeline is designed for, I would recommend the Ridgeline over ANY other truck, either full-size or mid-size. The Ridgeline has the interior room and bed-width of a full size (try loading a 4x8 in the bed of a Tacoma or Frontier), but is only a little bigger than a mid-size on the outside, and delivers gas mileage comparable to a mid-size. The biggest difference, however, is the driving feel. The Ridgeline drives like a car; everything else drives like a truck. I still love my Frontier and its off-road capability. If it weren’t for my off-road needs, however, I would be in a Ridgeline.
  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    Great post Dan, thanks. I think you summed it up pretty well.
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104



    NHTSA now tested the Crew Cab Tacoma, and it was rated 5 stars all around just like the ridgeline... Since theres no direct links to the specs( changes the URL each visit) I posted the front crash pics... You be the judge..

    The 4DR Frontier was rated 4 star frontal and 5 Side.
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    I found this 0-60 Acceleration video on a new Tacoma.

    imageClick to see Video
  • Looking at the crash test results on it seems that everyone has either a 4 or 5 star rating, with the exception of the full-size Chevy and GM pickups (only 3-stars for the passenger). I guess this means that everyone is building safer trucks, which is good.

    If you look at the fine print, there is a variation within those ratings. For example, even though Ridgeline and Tacoma both get 5-stars, the Ridgeline has a lower Head Injury Criteria (244/272 vs. 316/413 for Tacoma), but the Tacoma has lower femur loads.

    Another good site with crash test results is, although they don't have any numbers for the Ridgeline yet.

    While surviving a crash is important, avoiding it might be even more important. Having gone from a truck without a stability system (Silverado) to one that has one (Frontier), I will never have a truck without a stability system again. It's very easy to get sideways with an empty pickup bed, and a good stability system can make all the difference in the world. Honda is the leader here making their system standard on the Ridgeline.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Great prospective....I stopped by to see the Frontier Crew cab today to get a feel for it and see the options and such. They did a nice job with it. I was impressed. I was behind a Ridgeline coming home after viewing the Frontier and looked at the height of the Ridgeline and also the ground clearance. Couple things caught me eye. One was the Ridgeline looks low on the road compared when I viewed it inside the dealer (as well as compared to the height of the Taco and Front-I think they are the same height but look different) and also the muffler hangs lower then the rest of the frame and such. I would think that would hit on alot of things. Mainly the pipe running back behind the rear axle. I wish the Ridgeline was higher but it would loose its ride and stability for sure. Ridgeline is more practical for me due to the family and the amount of 4wd driving I do (mostly snow and mud).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Oookay. I don't quite know how to respond to that, so here it goes...

    COOL! I've never done a run like that on my new car (and don't plan too), but I did that on my 130 hp Accord LX a couple years ago, and I KNOW it took longer than your Tacoma. Congrats on your quick ride.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Great post and summary. I think you pretty much nailed it.

This discussion has been closed.