Weekend Athlete: 2009 Honda Ridgeline

Ridgelinewa

We normally stay away from trucks so our colleagues at PickupTrucks.com can have all the fun, but I snuck out with the Honda Ridgeline while nobody was looking. Why? Because I always doubted the picture Honda has on its website of a bicycle standing upright behind the driver's seat. I thought there was no way that was an adult's bicycle.

I was wrong.

My road frame fit in there with just a slight turn of the handlebars. Now, I'm not saying there's always truth in advertising, but the picture is accurate in this case.

And yes, I know there's a bed in back of the Ridgeline. I know it'll easily carry my bike, tent, etc. Yep, it'll all just sit back there. In the open. Where anyone can grab it.

Now, maybe you live in an honest neighborhood, full of trustworthy folk, but I live in Chicago, and sometimes I have to load my car up, go to work and leave it unattended for hours on end. On those days, I like to leave my stuff locked up. That's why I tested the Ridgeline’s cab not its bed.

Now then, as you can see, everything fit really well. It was a pleasant surprise.

Loading did present the single biggest problem because, as I was using the cab to hold my toys, I had to load from the side. That's going to be a problem in any parking lot where you have someone parked next to you. Again, if you're the sort who can use the bed, go for it, but I like my stuff to stay inside with me.

The folks at PickupTrucks.com can give you a better idea of how the Ridgeline does as a pure truck, but for Weekend Athletes it's an interesting vehicle. I can't say I recommend it over most small SUVs, wagons or hatchbacks, but it wouldn't leave your toys out in the cold in a pinch.

The best way I can put it is that sometimes when I do this test I'll sum up by saying the car isn't the right tool for the job – meaning that said car falls short. In this case, the Ridgeline isn't really the right tool for the job because there are other vehicles that offer greater flexibility. However, if you're the sort who needs a truck bed, too, it is a unique offering.

Weekend Athlete Scores (Out of 10)

Ease of loading gear - 4: Loading from the side creates problems in crowded parking lots.

Ease of seat operation - 6: They fold up easily, but it's nothing segment-shattering.

Bike hauling ­- 7: It's good, but not outstanding compared to other vehicles.

Locker-room cred - 5: This is the toughest one to grade. On the one hand, you lose some flexibility loading only from the side, then again, you have a big bed back there …

All-around - 5.5: I guess I can say that if you held a gun to my head and said I had to take a pickup truck on my weekend adventures, this would be the one I'd want. But I'd want other vehicles more.

By William Jackson | December 18, 2008 | Comments (3)

Comments 

Red

A bit ugly and not efficient. My neighbor has never exceeded 18 mpg from the wheezing six cylinder engine in his Ridgeline. As a wannabe truck for city dwellers it's okay I guess.

Ken L.

Ahhh…. the Honda Ridgeline, one of the most controversial vehicles in the Pickup truck world. It’s been out long enough for everyone to know what it is and how it’s made, so let’s not call it what it’s not, a traditional pickup truck with a solid rear axel, V8 engine and RWD/4x4. I would’ve thought you found the perfect vehicle for the weekends; it offers AWD and a very flexible cabin and bed with descent mileage and handling. Did you know that with both backseats folded, the driver and passenger seats could fold almost completely flat on the floor? You could sleep in it, albeit with your knees bent. I really thought a vehicle like the Ridgeline would unseat the Element, which I believe is still tops in your book right? The Ridgeline not only offers more storage capabilities than the Element, but it should meet a weekend athlete’s needs and plenty more, perfectly! Weekend Athletes are what Honda engineers and designers had in mind when they crafted the vehicle since it’s not overly huge. By the way, one can also say that since you live in the city of Chicago, loading and unloading an SUV before or after parallel parking can be cumbersome. Oh well, to each, their own. Thanks for the review.

Terry

I nominate it for ugliest truck award! Honda got everything right but where it mattered most. Nice truck with features and durability but it's just too darn ugly!

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