2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine

Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

About a decade after the introduction of the original Honda Ridgeline, we’re going to get a second generation of the trucklet. The face, hood, roof, bed, and profile of this Honda Baja racer are basically what’s going to be on the production version, so take it all in.

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Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine

Obviously, the tube-frame, twin turbo V6 and deep-travel desert racing suspension will not be making their way to Honda dealerships. But the shape and look is pretty much all there, according to the company.

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The 3.5 liter engine makes “upwards of 550 horsepower” and apparently is vaguely based on the production Ridgeline powerplant, as in it’s got the same block, cylinder heads, and crankshaft.

Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr says “While this race truck is unique and different from the production Ridgeline, it does a nice job of expressing not only our styling direction but also the fact that the Ridgeline, for all its unique qualities, has been and will continue to be a pickup with true truck capability.”

Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine

Honda will be running in the Baja 1000, which they last attempted in 2012 with a similarly-equivalent “Pilot.” They ended up finishing in just under 30 hours.

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Like the original, the next-gen Ridgeline is being cooked up in North America and will be built in Alabama. It’s pretty much a 2017 Pilot in the front, but based on this racer concept it looks a little meatier in the back than just a CUV with the rear glass removed.

Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine
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The Ridgeline gets dumped on for being a poser truck, but if you’re clamoring for something “small and efficient with a cargo bed” I have a feeling this will be a pretty solid platform.

All that said, let’s look at the sweetass race-spec only bits:

Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine
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Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine
Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine
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Illustration for article titled 2017 Honda Ridgeline: This Is It, As A Full-On Off-Road Racing Machine

Unveiling this as a race-truck first and not the other way around was a great idea. Now when the civilian version comes out you’ll see a little bit of the racer in it, which is way cooler than seeing your parent’s car with stripes and shocks later.

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Images via Honda


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

potbellyjoe
PotbellyJoe and 42 others

Obviously, the tube-frame, twin turbo V6 and deep-travel desert racing suspension will not be making their way to Honda dealerships.

That’s a shame.

In all seriousness, the Ridgeline’s biggest problem was taking itself too seriously in the market. Honda tried to market it to truck guys, knowing full-well that it was capable enough for 90% of them. I mean we’d like to think that trucks are used as trucks, but driving into your kids’ soccer games and tell me how many dads drive from their corporate jobs in pick-ups with nary a scratch in the bed.

What they need to do is clearly define, and then legitimize casual truck use. Something provocative and maybe slightly crass, but aware that it is a 60% truck for a person who needs 20% truck, but likes to think they need truck still.

It’s a hard concept to sell, but this is what being a disruptor is all about. They’re trying to change the market with this truck, that’s why it doesn’t kowtow to the “FULLY BOXED FRAME, MASSIVE V8, OR NO BUY!!!” truck buyers.

Maybe the ads shame them a bit.

Or go the other route and have a guy in a starched shirt and ironed jeans in a Saturday morning setting trying to justify his 3/4-ton truck to his buddies by saying he does landscaping and “hauls” his boat to which Honda-owner asks, “Oh is that your boat?” pointing to a 12’ aluminum fishing boat behind this lifted F-250. Then show the Ridgeline leaving the party with an 18’ Four Winns behind it.

Or better yet, ask “Is that your boat?” and point to an 18’ Four Winns behind a Ridgeline and have the guy timidly go, no, that’s mine and point to the 10-12’ aluminum boat behind a huge truck. Have the guy go, “Oh, do you need all that, for just that?”

Couldn’t be worse than what they were doing.