The second generation Ridgeline took a different approach in design from the first generation Ridgeline by sharing Honda's new "global light truck platform," found in the third generation Honda Pilot as well as other large Honda vehicles. However, Honda did have to create or modify components in order to support their next generation pickup, including: Despite these modifications, Honda has stated that 73% of the second generation Ridgeline's components remain common in some way with the third generation Pilot. With the mixed success of the first generation Ridgeline, Honda posted "an open letter from the company's head of truck product planning, denying rumors that the Ridgeline would be dropped and insisting that a pickup truck will remain part of the company's portfolio." With that proclamation, Honda became committed to the development of a new Ridgeline. After a one-year hiatus in Ridgeline production, the second generation of their mid-size truck went on sale in June 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle. According to Honda, the Ridgeline was not designed to steal sales from the more traditional trucks sold in North America, but was developed to "give the 18% of Honda owners who also own pickups a chance to make their garages a Honda-only parking area."
According to Honda's research clinics, they found that buyers made assumptions about toughness and payload based on the gaps between the tires and the truck's wheel arches, the vehicle's stance, and whether or not it had a tow hitch. Jim Loftus—the second generation Ridgeline's Performance Lead Engineer—said, "Those things were honestly kind of 'aha' moments or big surprises to us as a project team..." So the team—lead by Large Project Leader and Chief Engineer Kerry McClure—went back and incorporated all of those messages into their next generation pickup. In November 2015, Honda presented its new Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the 2015 SEMA Show, giving the public some insight into the design language that would be used in the next-generation Ridgeline. Two months later, at the North American International Auto Show, Honda unveiled the production version of the second generation Ridgeline.
The second generation Ridgeline is based on what Honda calls its new "global light truck platform." Its unibody frame uses a modified version of the third generation Pilot's "three-bone" spine—vs the four–bone spine of the first generation Ridgeline—composed of aluminum, magnesium, and various composites and steels—such as a laser welded door ring made of hot-stamped ultra-high strength steel. Honda also developed a new C-pillar that can distribute loads across the unibody frame without buttressing.
Despite similarities with the third generation Pilot, Honda has stated that nearly every major component has been beefed up with a 17% stronger front structure, a 31% sturdier rear, and 50% of the chassis's components changed or were strengthened for the second generation Ridgeline.
Honda's new global light truck platform, specifically the third generation Pilot and the 2019–present Honda Passport, include many features and capabilities that are shared with the second generation Ridgeline which are uncommon for mid-size pickups, such as:
Both Honda and automotive journalists alike have denoted the second generation Ridgeline's new truck bed audio system—where the bed walls are turned into speakers that can be controlled via a Bluetooth enabled smartphone—a bed-mounted 115 volt (V)/150–400 watt (W) alternating current (AC) inverter, as well as the unique features—such as the in-bed trunk and flat cabin floor—that carried over from the second generation Ridgeline.
The second generation Ridgeline's new structure gives it an average 78 lb (35 kg) reduction in weight from the first generation pickup. The C-pillar and rear sub-frame were strengthened giving the second generation 28% more torsional rigidity over the first generation Ridgeline. In addition to this mid-size truck's new underpinnings, there are noise, vibration, and harshness improvements, such as active noise cancelation, active control engine mounts, and an available acoustic windshield.
|City||19 mpg‑us||18 mpg‑us||12.8 L/100 km|
|Highway||26 mpg‑us||25 mpg‑us||9.5 L/100 km|
|Combined||22 mpg‑us||21 mpg‑us||11.3 L/100 km|
For the 2018 model year, the Ridgeline had some minor repackaging of its trim levels. For the US market, Honda removed the AWD option from the base RT trim, removed the RTS trim from the lineup, and expanded the Sport trim by adding two additional exterior colors (Lunar Silver Metallic and White Diamond Pearl) to what was an all-black Ridgeline. This left the RT trim with the Modern Steel Metallic exterior color as the only option remaining in the lineup with two-tone (black and gray) upholstery. The Canadian market saw the removal of their green exterior color (Forest Mist Metallic) and beige interior color from its 2018 lineup.
For the 2019 model year, the US version of the Ridgeline received a 2.5 A USB charging port to the bottom three trim levels—increasing the total number to two—and the two middle trims (RTL and RTL-T) received the power moonroof and power sliding rear window that used to be exclusive to the top two trims. The Canadian market saw the removal of the Ridgeline's base LX trim from their 2019 lineup, giving them four trim levels to choose from.
In late 2017, Car and Driver magazine conducted an in-depth review of the 2018 Ridgeline comparing it to the same model year Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and GM's Colorado/Canyon. The numerical comparison revealed the Ridgeline had the best gasoline fuel economy, best cornering performance, best rear-seat passenger space and volume, lowest sound levels, best seat height, better visibility, and best in class safety features. For the "cons," the 2018 Ridgeline has the lowest tow rating, worst in class braking, lowest ground clearance, and the poorest rated infotainment system. The other criteria used by Car and Driver showed the truck falling in the middle of its competition giving the second generation Ridgeline Car and Driver's best mid-size pickup ranking for 2017.
|Categories||Ratings by trim level|
|RT, RTS, Sport,
RTL, and RTL-T
|Front crash prevention
|Head restraints and seats||Good|
|LATCH (ease of use)||Acceptable|
After running through IIHS's new test procedures, the 2017 Ridgeline was given their new top honor, the Top Safety Pick-Plus. —As of September 2019, the 2017 Ridgeline remains the first and only Top Safety Pick-Plus mid-size pickup truck in IIHS's history.— Additionally, IIHS reported that the 2017 Ridgeline was the only pickup that received top marks at their new headlight performance test; however, these high marks only applied to the top trim levels of the Ridgeline that were equipped with LED projector headlights. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2017–2019 Ridgelines its top mark, a five-star safety rating. NHTSA testing showed that the 2017–2019 Ridgelines have the best rollover resistance of any truck (full-size or mid-size) currently produced for the US market at 16.4% for FWD and 16.9% for AWD.
As in 2012, PickupTrucks.com performed another mid-size truck challenge but with 2016 and 2017 model year vehicles sold in the US. Through a battery of objective and subjective test—many similar and some different from the 2012 challenge—the 2017 Ridgeline came in second overall "by one of the slimmest margins in any test" PickupTrucks.com has conducted, winning half of the objective tests. PickupTrucks.com said, "There's no question the Ridgeline was the surprise of this challenge... Our biggest surprise came at our daylong romp at the Bundy Hill Offroad Park where we found the Honda Intelligent Traction Management system to be shrewd and smooth during our sand drags and steep hill climbs. However, as well as it performed, it still had a few problems;" such as how "much sag occurs while carrying payload," mushy and unpredictable brakes, and a hard to use with bad Sun glare infotainment touchscreen. "Still, if you need your pickup to be a Swiss Army knife and you don't need to carry a lot of gear, there isn't anything else in the Ridgeline's league."
File:2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Off-road.ogv Compared to the first generation Ridgeline, Honda's second attempt at a mid-size truck for the North American market has the automotive press changing its tune, yet it still has an image problem. Gearheads.org wrote the "2017 Honda Ridgeline still won't get respect but should" stating, its "downside is going to be looks" with its "soft rounded pudgy panda look rather than a sharp chiseled warhorse." A New York Daily News reporter wrote, "You'd think that the most utilitarian of passenger vehicle styles—the pickup truck—would be a completely logical purchase. If that were the case, the Ridgeline would outsell all of the other midsize trucks by a landslide, boasting the best combination of safety, utility and drivability in the class. But the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado both have something that the Ridgeline almost completely lacks: ...bravado." Car and Driver wrote, "The company [Honda] readily admits that the problem with the first generation pickup was that the styling was off-putting, but then it went ahead and made the next iteration of the truck just as unconventional as before. It's a shame, because for all its minivan-with-a-bed looks, the Ridgeline is a comfortable, capable thing for people who don't regularly tow 10,000 pounds." "The Ridgeline's roomy cabin, ample storage, smooth ride, and innovative touches make its rivals seem outdated. ...it not only has cargo space, but also the makings of a great tailgate party..." with one of their editor's proclaiming, "What a great truck (and, yes, it's a truck, to all the haters out there). It's seriously practical without being unparkably huge." Autoblog published a short list of pros and cons after wrapping up their long-term road test of the second generation Ridgeline writing its size, the in–bed trunk, and its comfort were pros while the "OK" fuel economy, lack of paddle shifters, and a rear-door opening that was too small for comfortable ingress/egress were cons. Motor Trend magazine summed up their view by says they liked "its smooth ride and sharp handling," disliked "the high price, clumsy infotainment system, and plain design," and nominated the new Ridgeline as one of its finalist for their 2017 Truck of the Year competition.
With the introduction of the 2018 model year, media criticism of Honda's pricing for its Ridgeline expand. With the removal of the AWD option from the Ridgeline's base RT trim and the removal of the RTS trim, would-be US owners have to step up to the Sport trim to get an AWD equipped mid-size truck. According to Bloomberg Business and The Truth About Cars (TTAC), pricing was considered a problem with the first generation Ridgeline with TTAC writing, "It's not difficult to see that Honda is once again positioning the Ridgeline in what many conventional pickup truck buyers will consider an uncomfortable price bracket."
Examining the sales figures for the second generation Ridgeline, TorqueNews wrote, "...it looks as if American Honda Motors has yet another sales success in its ever expanding lineup." With Honda targeting sales of up to 40,000 Ridgelines per year, initial sales demand for the new Ridgeline outpaced production. To help address demand for its larger vehicles, Honda moved production of its Acura MDX to its East Liberty Auto Plant in order to increase production of the Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline. However, comparing Ridgeline sales in the US between 2017 and 2018 shows a 12% decline overall
|Calendar year||US sales||CA sales||Production|
Although Honda claims not to be in competition with other mid-size truck manufacturers, in 2017 the Toyota Tacoma outsold the Honda Ridgeline 5 : 1 despite the Ridgeline's slight edge in sales over the GMC Canyon that year. Yet, Kelley Blue Book has consistently ranked the second generation Ridgeline in its top ten best resale value vehicles in the US with the 2019 model year having an estimated resale value of 63.2% at 36 months and 51.3% at 60 months, just under their top ranked mid-size truck, the Toyota Tacoma. However, a 2018 Autoline Daily report stated the Ridgeline is the only mid-size truck in North America whose sales are down in a market that "suggests there's room for more players."