2017 Honda Ridgeline

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Everything makes a comeback.2017 Honda Ridgeline

The El Camino, for instance. Only today it’s called the Ridgeline – and Chevy doesn’t make it.

Honda does.

But it’s the same thing, basically:

A car with a pick-up bed

Better, in some ways.

Because it has four doors instead of just two, no driveline hump dividing the floorpan in half, cramping up the interior (because it’s based on a FWD design, engine and transmission/axle mounted together and sideways, up front, not front-to-back as in a rear-drive truck) and can be ordered with an all-wheel-drive system – something the rear-drive-only El Camino never offered.

So, it’s better in snow – on paved roads, even the FWD version – because it’s better, traction-wise, to pull than push. And it can haul more people more comfortably.'17 Ridge w:bike

It can also cart up to 5,000 lbs. – much more than most cars and almost as much as many mid-size trucks.

One of the few things it hasn’t got that the El Camino did have (until near the end) is a V8 engine.

And, of course, a Mr. T air freshener hanging from the rearview… optionally available.

WHAT IT IS

The Ridgeline is Honda’s fusion of car and truck themes.

It looks like a mid-sized/crew cab truck – and has a bed, like a truck – but under the skin, it has more in common with cars. Including most notably its car-type FWD (AWD optional) drivetrain, integrated (unibody) frame and chassis and its car-like easy-access step-in height.

The classic El Camino (last sold new back in ’87) actually had more in common with trucks even though it looked more like a car. Because it was based on a rear-wheel-drive layout, like a truck – and came with V8 power.el camino

Like the El Camino, the Ridgeline pretty much has the market to itself because no one else makes a direct competitor. There are cars and crossover SUVs on the left – some of which offer AWD and a bit more ground clearance but all of which have fully enclosed passenger/cargo areas, limiting what you can cart around. Most can’t pull much, either.

And on the right, there are trucks – which have beds and can cart (and pull) stuff around – but which are also… trucks. Which in 2WD form suck in snow – unless you order them with 4WD. With a driveline hump – even without 4WD – dividing the interior, eating up the space available.

Which are harder to climb aboard because of their jacked-up ride height.'17 Ridgeline composite

And which ride and drive like… trucks.

In the middle – and all by itself – stands the Ridgeline.

Base price is $29,475 for an RT trim with FWD.

Adding the available AWD system increases the sticker price to $31,275.

There are also RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T and RTL-E  trims, each available with or without AWD. All are crew cabs (four full-size door)  and come with a 5.3 foot bed.'17 Ridgeline back seats 2

The top Ridgeline trim is the all-black (even the wheels) Black Edition, which comes standard with the AWD system and pretty much everything that’s standard (and optional) in the lower trims, plus unique all-black leather seating with contrast red stitching and ambient red interior lighting.

It stickers for $42,870.

The next-closest thing to a Ridgeline is a mid-sized “real” truck like the Chevy Colorado (and it’s GMC twin, the Canyon) crew cab, which starts at $24,990 for a 2WD (rear-wheel-drive) model with a four cylinder engine. A more comparably equipped V6/2WD Colorado crew cab stickers for $27,120.

Adding 4WD ups the MSRP to $30,365.

You might also take a look at the Toyota Tacoma – same basic thing as the Colorado/Canyon.

Or maybe check the classic car classifieds for an nice old El Camino!

WHAT’S NEWold Ridgeline

The Ridgeline is back after a two year “vacation.”

It’s been thoroughly gone over – retaining the elements that made the original popular (including the multi-function bed with large/lockable under-bed storage area) plus some important tweaks to correct design aspects of the original that were less than ideal, such as the plasticky interior, semi-cramped rear seats and – most of fall – the body-cladded neo-Aztekian exterior styling and loose-toothed acceleration.

Also, you can buy a lower-cost FWD version now.

The previous Ridgeline came only with AWD.

However, it’s still made in just the one take-it-or-leave it crew cab (and short bed) bodystyle.

WHAT’S GOOD'17 Ridgeline with bikes

Most of what makes a light-duty truck useful, without the downsides of actually owning a truck.

It’s quick:  zero to 60 in six seconds vs. 8.3 before.

It’s no longer ugly. Non-Aztekian exterior styling.

Drives like the car that it is under its skin.

Can carry about as much in its bed as a “real” mid-sized truck with a short bed; like the Chevy Colorado crew cab; maybe more stuff because of its clever under-bed storage area.

Spacious/versatile interior – especially the back seats.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD'17 Ridgeline touchscreen

Tap/swipe touchscreen can be hard to use accurately when you’re moving.

Wider turning circle than before (44.4 feet vs. 42.6 for the previous Ridgeline – and 41.3 for the current Chevy Colorado crew cab).

Hasn’t got a real spare tire – and the donut spare it does have is located under the bedliner. If you get a flat and have stuff in the bed, you’ll have to unload the bed before you can change the tire.

Gas mileage is better than before, but it’s still about as thirsty as a mid-size truck (and more thirsty than a mid-sized truck with a diesel engine, like the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon can be equipped with).

UNDER THE HOOD'17 Ridgeline engine

As before, the Ridgeline comes standard with a 3.5 liter V6. Unlike before, it has gumption now: 280 hp (vs. 250) and it’s paired with an also-new six-speed automatic (a five-speed automatic was used previously).

You can choose either FWD or (optionally) AWD in all trims except the Black Edition, which comes with AWD standard.

To Honda’s credit. the Ridgeline’s optional AWD system is not marketed as “4WD.”

Technically, it would be accurate to describe it that way, since all four wheels are driven. However, it would also be at least a little bit disingenuous, because “4WD” has traditionaly been used to describe a truck-type system, one based on a rear-wheel-drive layout, that’s usually part time (usually, the rear wheels are driven when the 4WD is not engaged) and which has a two-speed transfer case and low-range gearing.

The Ridgeline’s AWD system is full-time and (usually) most of the power goes to the front wheels, with power kicked back to the rear wheels when the front wheels begin to slip.17 Ridgeline console

Also, there is no two-speed transfer case and so no low range gearing.

It is a much lighter-duty system than most truck-type systems, designed chiefly to increase traction on paved roads when it rains and snows. It is not designed to tackle unpaved (or unplowed) roads and deep mud.

But – and this is important – AWD – is the better pick for on-road driving.

And for that matter, so is FWD.

AWD systems are (usually) full-time, or always on. Most truck-type systems are either on (you’re in 4WD) or not on (you are in 2WD… which means rear-wheel-drive… with not much weight on the rear wheels … which usually means lots of wheel slip in snow (and wet).

AWD also helps with cornering traction on dry roads; 4WD isn’t really meant for that. It’s designed to increase traction in a straight line and (read the manual) should not be left on when you’re driving (and cornering) on dry, paved roads. Doing so can result in excessive/premature wear and tear.

Truck-type 4WD also adds weight – several hundred pounds, typically. Much of that coming from the (usually) cast iron transfer case, which the Ridgeline’s AWD system doesn’t have.

Speaking of which, the new Ridgeline itself is much lighter: 4,242 lbs. for the FWD version vs. 4,504 lbs. before. This plus 30 more hp is probably why the ’17 is so much quicker (zero to 60 in about six seconds vs. 8.3 before) and also more fuel efficient: 19 city, 26 highway for the FWD version vs. 15 city/21 highway for the old AWD Ridgeline.'17 Ridge tow

And the new Ridgeline with AWD (also lighter than before) isn’t too bad on gas, either: 18 city, 25 highway – better than the previous AWD Ridgeline and in line with the mileage of gas-engined mid-size trucks like the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins.

However, it’s not quite as good as the mileage delivered by the diesel-engined versions of the Colorado/Canyon, which rate 20 city, 29 highway – and can also pull up to 7,700 lbs.

The lighter-duty Ridgeline maxes out at 5,000 lbs. – but this is still much more than most cars, which usually max out at 3,500 lbs.

ON THE ROAD'17 Ridgeline road 1

It’s not overwhelming. That’s the first thing you notice.

Today’s “real” trucks – even mid-sized ones – can be.

Even if you are a large man – as I am – current pick-ups are sometimes just a bit too much. They stand so high they make even someone six feet three (like me) feel small. You have to climb in them and the bed walls are so tall you can’t see what’s in the bed (much less get to it) unless you’re standing on a milk crate. Some new trucks actually have ladders built into the tailgate.

It’s that bad.

They do drive nicely, though – even the huge (1500s and up) ones. Super quiet and (amazing, given many have leaf spring/not-independent rear suspensions) not rigid-riding. But they can be a handful.

The Ridgeline isn’t.'17 Ridgeline road 2

It is as easy to get into as any car, just about. Because it is not jacked-up off the ground, as most “real” trucks now are. It has the design advantage of a car-type chassis with its naturally lower floorpans. Most trucks – especially trucks with body-on-frame construction – are a climb to get into (and into the bed) because the cab is stacked on top of several inches of I-beam-like frame rails. Some also have another inch (or more) of rubber biscuits in between the frame rails and the body.

Here you just open the door and get in.

The door sills/floorpans are only 20 inches off the pavement; for perspective, the Jeep Cherokee – a crossover SUV – I test drove last week is about the same (19 inches).

Although you do sit higher up than you would in a car, it’s more like being in a crossover SUV like the Honda Pilot – which is the DNA donor for the Ridgeline. This (crossover/car-like) is how the Ridgeline behaves on the road, too.

It is not a handful.'17 Ridgeline gauges

You face a car-like, easy-to-read gauge cluster and there’s a car-like/console-mounted gear selector rather than a truck-type column shifter.

No additional shifter for the 4WD system (because there isn’t one). If you bought the optional AWD, the only additional control surface is a little button behind the shift lever which you depress to toggle through the terrain management modes (Normal, Snow, etc.) that’s it.  Unlike a part-time 4WD system, which requires more thought – and input- the Ridgeline’s system is (as in an AWD crossover) minimalist in terms of the attention it demands.'17 Ridgeline on gravel

The one area where  – ironically – the Ridgeline turns out to be more truck than “real” trucks like the Chevy Colorado is its turning radius – which is 3.1 feet wider than the Colorado crew cab’s (44.4 feet vs. 41.3 feet). This despite the Honda being about three inches shorter overall (210 inches vs. 212.7 for the Chevy) and having a shorter wheelbase (125.2 inches vs. 128.3 inches).

It’s also five feet wider than the Ridgeline’s half-brother, the Honda Pilot (39.1 feet). But then, the Pilot is also stubbier (194.5 inches, bumper to bumper).

But overall, it is a very easygoing, easy to live with truck.

Also, a quick truck. Much quicker than a diesel-powered Canyon or Colorado. Quicker than the gas-engined versions, too. Because it’s lighter than they are – and more aerodynamic, too.

AT THE CURB'17 Ridgeline tub

The new Ridgeline looks more like a truck than an Aztek with a bed. This is a good thing.

So also the retention of the design features that made it possible to overlook the Aztekian looks of the original Ridgeline. Like the dual-purpose bed.

You get two. One – the obvious one – is the Ridgeline’s 5.3 foot main bed. This bed is actually slightly longer than the Chevy Colorado crew cab’s standard 5.1 foot bed. It’s also wide enough to take a 4×8 sheet of plywood or drywall lying flat; in other mid-sized trucks, you have to carry them canted at an angle – which makes it harder to carry as many.

Underneath the main bed is a second bed. Well, a well. A large, bathtub-like storage area. It’s big enough to take an illegal alien across the border – or holds several bags of ice and a few cases of your favorite beverage. It’s also hidden – and can be locked. It’s a very handy feature that’s unique to the Ridgeline. Also handy is the dual action (and likewise lockable) tailgate, which folds down conventionally as well as outward and sideways.'17 Ridgeline tailgate

Not so handy is the location of the spare tire – which (because  of the bathtub-like storage area) is not located under the bed, as in other trucks. It is located in a storage cubby just ahead of the bathtub-like storage area. You may see where this is headed.

To get at the spare, you must raise the lid of the bathtub-like storage area. But this is hard to do with stuff in the bed, on top of the closed lid. So if you get a flat while carrying cargo, you will have to unload the bed first.

And the spare isn’t a real spare.

It’s one of those temporary use-only mini-spares that’s not meant to replace a flat tire but only to let you gimp the Ridgeline to the nearest tire store to buy a real tire to replace the flat/damaged one.

This is ok in suburbia but not-ok if you’re in The Woods. But then, you really ought not to be there in the first place.17 Ridgeline back seats

The bed and additional storage area – in addition to being more versatile (and spacious) than a regular crew cab pick-up’s short bed – is also easier to use because it’s lower to the ground. The Ridgeline is not afflicted with the super tall bed walls now (unfortunately) typical of even mid-sized trucks.

A step ladder is not necessary.

Inside, you’ll find more usable room, too. The second row has 36.7 inches of legroom (vs. 35.8 in the Colorado crew cab) and the back seats easily fold up to create additional room for cargo you’d rather not carry in the bed. The floor is also flat – no driveline hump – because the Ridgeline doesn’t have the space hogging driveshaft tunnel that’s part of what you get in a rear-drive-based “real” pick-up truck.

The flatness (and fold up seats) makes it feasible to carry a bicycle inside the cab.

THE REST'17 Ridgeline touchscreen 2

Some reviewers fault Honda for offering just the one body/bed configuration. It would be more El Camino-like if you could buy one with just two doors. But people mostly buy two-door trucks for work – and the Ridgeline is more for play. And for everyday use. Hauling the kids to school in the morning and hauling dirt bikes to the country come the weekend. In between daily commutes. So I don’t see a problem with the Ridgeline’s one (and only) layout. Keep in mind that real mid-sized trucks like the Colorado/Canyon and Tacoma are also hard to find in other than four-door/shorty bed layouts.

The same even goes for current 1500 trucks. They’re available – theoretically – but check out what’s sitting/ready to go on most dealer’s lots.

I would have preferred a more feedback friendly touchscreen. Trying to tap/swipe it in just the right place while you’re moving down the road is a lot like trying to shoot a gun accurately from a moving platform. The Ridgeline’s LCD looks great, but knobs and buttons would work better. Fortunately there are redundant button/knob controls on the steering wheel for many functions.Innovative 2017 Honda Ridgeline Pickup Leads the Flock

The base trim comes with a very decent (200 watt/seven speaker) audio rig, push button ignition, tilt and telescoping wheel, 18 inch wheels, LED exterior lights, receiver hitch and back-up camera. If you’re cross-shopping the Ridgeline against trucks like the Colorado/Canyon and Tacoma, take note that the lower priced “work truck” versions do not have many of these niceties.

The higher trims offer even more decent audio rigs (540 watts, eight speakers) leather seating and trim, heated seats and steering wheel, sunroof and so on.

A Cowboy Cadillac in every sense except the need for a ladder to get in the thing.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The old Ridgeline did well in spite of its flaws. This one ought to do very well – because it has very few flaws.

Just don’t forget what it is – and what it’s not built to do.

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52 COMMENTS

    • Hi Richard,

      The Ridgeline’s optional AWD uses what Honda calls Intelligent Variable Torque Management, which has torque-vectoring capability.

  1. Front wheel drive cars/trucks eat tires on the “drive” wheel. They also handle like crap compared to rear wheel drive cars (there is a reason that sports cars and expensive luxury cars are all rear wheel drive and why Acuras (made by Honda) all feel cheap and crappy to drive (with the exception of the NSX which is rear wheel biased). It’s also why Infiniti (Nissan) sells the Q50 with RWD/AWD and the AWD is RWD biased even though it’s built on the same platform as the Maxima which is FWD. The Maxima handles like crap and burns through front tires while simultaniously feeling bigger than it actually is. The Q50 has none of those problems. (60,000+ miles on a set of tires versus 20,000 if I was lucky on our Maxima) Yes you pay about $2k more for basically the same car but the Q50 is miles ahead of the Maxima BECAUSE it’s RWD. (and if anything, the standard slush box makes the Q50 handle worse than the CVT but at least the slush box won’t break every 80,000 miles like the CVT does.)

    I’d never wish a front wheel drive truck on anyone. Yes better in the snow without 4wd but who cares? It’s going in 4wd mode anyhow.

    And Honda has major problems with their POS AWD systems that have major issues if more than one wheel slips. (i.e. good luck getting all 4 wheels to turn)

    This is a toy for clovers. This isn’t a useful man truck that can do real work of any sort in the long term. Car manufacturers should be going to torque vectoring RWD (i.e. don’t just power off when a tire spins, put a limited slip in and break the inside wheel and drive the other one!) and getting rid of the POS that is FWD.

    FWD = Evil crap for clovers. (and I have yet to ever drive a FWD vehicle where that wasn’t true)

  2. CUVs have taken big market share from both SUVs and minivans. And they’ve driven station wagons almost to extinction.

    The Ridgeline is basically a CUT (crossover utility truck.) And it may see similar success.

    You have to live without a truck’s heavy duty chassis…..and without it’s “real” off road ability. That still leaves the rest of this Honda’s “truck virtues” intact.

    85% of truck buyers will never really need the Ridgeline’s missing abilities. For those who will though, the Ridgeline won’t replace a real truck any more than a CRV can replace a 4Runner.

    But again, so what? Won’t stop this CUT from being a big hit.

    • Hi Mike,

      I dig it enough to want it. It’d be more useful to me than my “real” Nissan pick-up, which can’t tow as much nor carry as much, either!

      • What year is your Nissan pick-up?? To get a relevant comparison, you need to compare the 2017 Ridgeline to other 2017 mid sized trucks.

        I wouldn’t mind owning one of these, either….to use (with a shell,) as a station wagon. But I’d still need a real pick-up to carry all the stuff I sometimes need to carry to the places I sometimes want to go.

        Regarding the Ridgeline’s ponderously large turning circle, that’s due to packing all that FWD hardware up front. Not enough room for the front wheels to cut to a sharper angle.

        • It’s an ’02 Frontier. Four cylinder engine/2WD (had the same in a ’98 with 4WD). The Ridge can pull 1,500 pounds more, gets much better mileage and has more useful capacity.

          This applies vs. current mid-sized trucks, too! They can’t carry a 4×8 sheet flat, for instance. And their standard four cylinder/2WD (RWD) layouts suck in snow and drink gas like my V8 Trans Am!

    • Station wagons suffered a mass die off in 1985 and have never recovered. Various other options are simply picking off the remains. The crossovers remind me of 1940s cars. Someone just gave them a fancy name.

  3. > Which in 2WD form suck in snow

    They suck on wet roads too. I watched a RAM 1500 get sideways (almost) when the owner gunned it during the rainstorms we’re having this week.

    When I had my 2006 Ridgeline, the AWD was *amazing*. You could floor it from a stoplight because the clutches in the rear diff were engaged from 0mph up to about 15mph. During snowfalls, as long as I didn’t get high-centered, I was one of the few vehicles out and about.

    The oddball styling definitely hurt the original Ridgeline, but it still was one of the most all-around *useful* vehicles I’ve ever owned. The locking trunk especially so, as I could go shooting and have my guns in there, and not worry about theft if I stopped somewhere for a burger. When I moved to Texas, I put a topper on it, and loaded it up with my household goods, and a bike rack on the trailer hitch. With the cat sleeping in the back seat alongside more of my stuff, the drive was a piece of cake as it had a terrific highway ride.

    As long as we don’t have another global financial meltdown (we seem to be due again…) I think the new Honda pickup will be a top seller. Especially now that Honda’s marketing has finally figured out they have to actually work for their pay, and are running Ridgeline ads that don’t have chess-playing Sumo wrestlers or Chuck Norris in a bistro.

      • “This is among the very few new vehicles that tempts me…”

        OK Eric, the other one tempting you is the Volt – the pair would look good in your driveway:)

          • “good Republican” – I used to believe in such a thing, even considered myself one for years. Now I think of them more along the lines that the US Cavalry used to think of the ‘Native Americans.’

            • Hi Phillip,

              I equate “good Republican” with “good German.” They have a lot in common. Particularly, a veneration for the symbols of government power and near-worship of armed government workers. They also tend to be unquestioning order-followers as well as prigs with regard to things they consider to be vices or “sins.”

              • There are a few of us in the Republican Party who are Ron Paul libertarians. If enough folks got involved, rather than whining, maybe there’d be hope.

                One positive about Republicans is that they mostly remain for the inalienable right of self-defense, i.e., gun ownership.

                • I think 2012 showed what the republican party does when people get involved that they don’t like. Lot’s of Ron Paul supporters got involved, became majorities at the local level. They researched the rules and used them. As a response the party played dirty. When that wasn’t enough the republican party just gave them the middle digit and did what they wanted anyway.

                  Without overwhelming voter support getting involved didn’t do a thing. With overwhelming voter support it’s not needed. Just how the system is.

    • “You could floor it from a stoplight because the clutches in the rear diff were engaged from 0mph up to about 15mph.”

      Same with my 2012 RAV4 V6 4WD. All wheels engaged 0-25mph – super useful and it occurs and disengages automatically.

  4. Nice review Eric. Guess Honda is not really known for Diesel engines, so it’s not surprising that the Ridgeline doesn’t offer it as an option.

  5. This updated Ridgeline is a massive improvement over the outgoing one in pretty much every way, and I wish Honda the best. To me, it seems that for most people that buy pickups, aside from those used in genuinely working roles such as farm trucks, construction, etc., would find that this is a far better match for them than a Colorado/Canyon or a Tacoma. I still think the styling needs improvement, particularly that front end, but it’s not hideous, like the previous generation one was. It’s mostly just boring.

    IF this thing can manage to be reliable, and especially if it achieves the reliability Honda used to be known for (they’ve faded a bit in recent years), this might actually be the mid-sized pickup to beat. Reading Eric_G’s comments, though, gives me some pause. I didn’t realize they had cylinder deactivation on this engine. It really remains to be seen after it’s been on the market a couple of years if they hold together.

    For the average Joe and Jill who need to carry some home improvement store goods once or twice a month, or need to tow a small boat or other toy trailer, or even someone who needs a high-mileage delivery pickup, this might be a good investment.

  6. Nice review. I really wanted one of these when they were announced, but several reasons why I rejected it (somewhat interesting that I am going to buy a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and I noticed one in the driveway in your video).

    First was the price. I knew it was going to be pretty expensive, and given my timeline and that it’s brand new, I figured there wasn’t much negotiating room. To get it tricked out the way I wanted was going to be much more than my budget.

    Second was cylinder deactivation. The VTEC engine design is pretty fantastic, and one of the things that drew me to the Ridgeline to begin with. But in order to get an extra 1 MPG out of the engine they shut down 3 cylinders when they “aren’t needed.” This has been done for a while now in the Pilot (same engine), and Pilot owners have been complaining about much higher oil consumption and other problems. Besides that, a 3 cylinder engine without a counterweight on the driveshaft is going to shake like crazy, so Honda went with active dampening engine mounts. Passive engine mounts fail over time, what’s going to happen when the active mounts begin to quit? Note that someone did figure out a work-around that will trick the ECM to keep cylinder deactivation from happening, but it’s an unknown if that will void the warranty.

    The ride on the highway is great though. No noise at all, even wind and tire noise is nonexistent. Very wide across too. Reminds me of being in an old Cadillac. Much of this is because of the active (there’s that word again) noise cancellation system built into the stereo. I didn’t like the green/red rings around the display scolding me when I put my foot into it.

    But the big reason I wanted it was for traversing forest service roads and back country stuff. Even though I doubt I’d have any real problems getting to where I wanted to go, not having a full spare, no control over the transmission and the locking rear diff in the Cherokee made it the better choice, I think. I will miss having the locking trunk though (great for storing food in bear country). Even in the blah-lands (one step better than badlands) of western CO and UT I think I’ll be a little more comfortable knowing that I have more than I need to get out of a bad situation.

    So it looks like the Cherokee and a Harbor Freight trailer will basically do everything I needed the Ridgeline to do, at a much lower price.

    • I’ll second your praise for the review. One thing about eric’s reviews, they always make me consider vehicles I thought I had zero interest in.

      Regarding your Cherokee decision – is there a reason you are getting the Cherokee over the Grand (other than cost)? I just spent 10 days in southern Utah with the Grand Cherokee and came away pretty impressed. At first I was turned off by the usual annoyances (stupidly large A-pillars, retarded electronic shifter, etc.) But by the end of the trip, my attitude completely changed.From 80mph on the highway to some truly gnarly back roads, the thing did a great job with it all. Plenty of cargo room and a 6,200 pound tow rating. I averaged about 26 mpg.

      I’ve not driven a Cherokee, nor have I ever owned a Jeep, but I’m kind of intrigued with their products.

      • Thanks, guys!

        On the Cherokee: It has more capability, if you need it. The downside is it’s noticeably thirstier and not as quick (or as quiet) as the Honda, which is remarkably quick and quiet.

        It is fairly pricey, though – but that’s a function of being very nicely equipped even in base trim. That said, I wonder whether it would have been smart policy for Honda to offer a “basic” version without some of the high-end amenities but with a sticker price around $25k… .

        • Something close to this is the truck I need. Actually I’d like a Falcon Ute but that’s not available to me. However the AT only and the high base sticker turn me off. It would just be a snow/hauling vehicle for me. I don’t need it to be fancy but I like buying cars new so I don’t have to start in the hole on upkeep/repairs.

          • Yeah, agreed.

            I think they’d scoop up a lot more business by offering a “work truck” version priced around $25. Maybe with FWD and AC and power windows and a basic stereo and skip the rest.

            I’d be interested in one.

                • I don’t want an F150. A friend has one. It’s cash for clunkers era one. It’s too big for me. They’ve only gotten bigger and uglier or at least look to have.

                  • Yes, they are absolutely out of control. A couple guys at the office have them – they are just behemoths.

                    Aluminum, though, so there’s that…

                  • Any current 1500 is too much for me, too. They have grown to 2500/3500 size (just without the dual rear wheels). The bed wells – which I bitch about often – are ridiculous. Much too high. If a 6ft 3 man has trouble accessing the bed without a milk crate or step ladder… well…

                    • We had a conversation about that at the liquor store the other day. One guy was driving a ’98 1/2 T 4WD Chevy still looking and running great. I offered to buy it, no go on that. The guy behind the counter said he sold his regular cab ’99 1/2 T 4WD and regretted it, thought he’d pick up an ext. cab but hasn’t been able to find one(there are plenty out there and they’re expensive)for his budget. I want a ’93 or older since they have no computer except for the TBI.

                      We all had the same gripe, new pickups are just too damned tall and those old pickups had plenty ground clearance. I said I couldn’t reach anything in the bed even on a half ton. He said he had to get up on the tire to get anything out of his mother’s new Toyota SS crewcab 4WD. I couldn’t even see the bottom of the bed standing next to it.

                      GM’s are much lower, at least easier to get into and get something out of the bed but appear to have the same ground clearance, go figure…..although new ones are much taller than older ones.

                      I’d like to take a like-new 92 pickup of any sort and put it beside the same type new pickup on a handling course. There does come a time when you need to make a corner fast.

                  • Most of our fleet is F-150. The newest ones look like they sit much lower to the ground than my 2012 and for whatever reason the fleet accountants bought “short bed” trucks for the installers. Much smaller than the full size bed, although the front and cab are still the same size.

      • The Grand Cherokee is just more than I need, more expensive and harder on gas. I got turned on to Jeep because I saw a really great deal on a used GC diesel but it got snapped up before I had a chance to investigate. Confused over the Grand Cherokee and plan ol’ Cherokee (two completely different cars that should have different names. Lazy marketing), I mistakenly started looking at Trailhawks and found out they’re pretty good, at least if you get the V6 engine. When I started looking for my TDI replacement I thought I was going to go with a sport truck but after driving them I wasn’t all that impressed. Seems everyone but Honda is giving people what they can market (serious off-road capability that most will never use), not what they really need (a vehicle for the 80% of the time they’re going to be driving on pavement).

          • A shame too. I’ll really miss the 600 mile range of my A3. Especially since my new car only has a 15 gallon tank! I have get used to planning my trips around refueling stops again. At least they include a nice app to find gas stations in the nav system. Software cheaper than hardware.

        • Doesn’t matter if you drive 80% of miles on the highway if you can’t get to and from your home year around without a Real 4wd.

          • Hi Tall,

            I live in The Woods – very rural area, up in the Blue Ridge. We get snow. I’ve had no problems with a FWD/AWD vehicle with good snow tires.

            • Then there are people who could have 4WD with duals and get stuck where other people could drive a car with P Trac and be fine.

        • I have an ’84 Wagoneer. If a dumbass friend hadn’t backed it HARD into a tree and warped the rear body I’d have put a GM engine in it to replace that sick 360 oil burner and be driving it. The Selectrac system was great and it was comfy and roomy. It wasn’t too big either, much smaller weight-wise than a Suburban.

    • My number one priority in any vehicle is reliability and unfortunately Chrysler/Jeep/Fiat isn’t in the same league as Toyota/Honda.

      Confirmed by prior ownership of a Grand Cherokee Limited 5.9.

      • Hi Libertyx,

        Honda (and Toyota) still are still very much Blue Chip brands; FiatChrysler (Jeep) stuff is less so. They have, apparently, made some fixes to the nine-speed automatic being used in many of their vehicles…

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