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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport review: Getting old

The Ridgeline is a good small truck, but it's too outdated inside

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport review | The Road Beat

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport review by The Road Beat

Words and pictures: Mitchell Weitzman

You know a vehicle is outdated when even Toyota updates the Tacoma. With the Tacoma receiving its first major overhaul in what must be twenty years (no exaggeration), the Ridgeline is now the resident geriatric of small pickup trucks. Ironically, Honda's popular offering was always far ahead of the Tacoma in refinement, but it's now quite overdue for a revamp of its own. Luckily, it still drives plenty great, but the aging is most notable with the interior, as this no longer seems like a brand new vehicle built in 2024, especially one retailing closer to $50K than $40K. The new Tacoma and Colorado/Canyons twins both offer compelling enough choices to either go that route or, if you're a Honda stalwart, I'd hold off until a fresh model arrives.

Strengths of Ridgelines past remain, offering a reasonably sized truck that fits in normal parking spaces, 'reasonable' fuel consumption, and a reasonable driving experience that is reminiscent of a car rather than a traditional pickup truck. Honda pioneered this concept of the everyday modern compact truck back when Tom Brady had only won several Super Bowls, building a truck-lite shape onto a modern unibody construction. The resulting vehicle drives tremendously well, and is also easy to commandeer in everyday scenarios. In fact, the best way to describe is that you simply forget that you're driving a truck. Besides, not everybody buying a truck needs 11,000 pounds of towing or whatever crazy statistic they want to throw out, but just something convenient with a pickup bed. And because of its modern and sophisticated mannerisms, the Canyon handles not like a truck, but like Honda's best crossovers and SUVs, with a poise and balance that has been absent from past Tacomas since, well, forever.

2024 Honda ridgeline trailsport

Performance is compelling, too, with the smooth-operator V6 dishing out convincing power at the top of the rev range. With 280-horsepower, 0-60 MPH can be dealt in 6.5 seconds, which is still a great figure today, owing to how impressive that must've been ten years ago. Surprisingly, fuel economy is rather decent, averaging 22 MPG over a week, which easily trumps the paltry 17 MPG the outgoing V6 Tacoma would achieve. The tradeoff, however, is this V6 does lack low-end oomph, requiring downshifts to make normal progress or deeply burying your right foot to extract the most from it. When you do plant the throttle down, motivation is high, so either think of this as a weak on torque, or simply that it's, er, interactive. Most troubling with this powertrain is the nine-speed automatic that shifts all too lazily, especially on downshifts, where there can be a noticeable pause in-between gears. If you're trailering all 5,000 possible pounds and descending downhill, be wary of manually downshifting to help control your speed, as each cog down is met with an increase in speed on a steep enough slope. So, Honda, get a quicker shifting transmission. Smooth, yes, but this slush box is past its expiration date and can make necessary engine braking tricky.

Negatives continue on the inside of the Ridgeline, and truthfully are the main point of concern with this lite truck. With no other fancy or clever way of putting it, the Ridgeline looks far too old inside to be a brand new vehicle in 2024. On a wider scale, it all just looks very 2016. Giving away the Obama-era roots are a small center display screen that oddly angles upwards, which makes it harder to see than it should, and large plastic buttons that might be easy to use, but are dated and ugly. Dour sums it up, and a new GMC Canyon looks ten years newer as a result. Even the refreshed Tacoma puts this aesthetic firmly in the rear view mirror. Quality and fit and finish are at least good, and nothing feels particularly flimsy per se, but gosh it looks old in there. Recent other Hondas have received a new design directive inside and its time the Ridgeline adopt the new, simplified, industrial-chic motif of its brethren.

At least this Ridgeline does have leather seats, as a Tacoma (and its corresponding price hikes) would likely have fabric at this price point. Still, the leather does little to make up for the rest of the aging design inside.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport interior

Some Ridgeline ingenuities do remain at least, like the convenient hidden storage underneath the truck bed. And this new Trailsport trim offers aggressive (for a Honda) tires and retuned suspension for enhanced off-road endeavors. Look, you're not going to be out jumping sand dunes along with a Ram TRX or Ford Raptor, but the added edge and capability make the Ridgeline more versatile and usable than ever, whilst also improving the look considerably with its newfound stature and visual purpose. While most are easily led to believe that a traditional body-on-frame structure is the strongest, Honda does claim their advanced unibody design is as durable, which maybe while we're at it, don't go on your smartphone and Google "Chevy Colorado broken frame..."

The Honda Ridgeline, like an outgoing politician, is a bit of a lame duck where it stands right now. While massively ahead of its compatriot, the Toyota Tacoma, for so long, its Japanese rival has easily leapfrogged it with a jump larger than anticipated, offering improved refinement and capability in all the important places. Adding to the mix are Chevy and GMC with their revised Colorado and Canyon twins, complete with luxurious interior options, and then Hyundai on the other end of the spectrum with their crossover-with-a-bed Santa Cruz, and don't forget the Ford Ranger or Maverick for even more options. If you're wanting a Ridgeline, your best bet currently might be a used and/or certified one, because I can't imagine willingly forking over $46,830 for a brand new one like this. If you're needing one right this moment and want new, I'd honestly look elsewhere, but if you can afford waiting, the replacement Ridgeline (that ought to be coming somewhat soon) could be the revelation I'm hoping for.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport

As-tested price: $46,830

Pros: Still great driving dynamics; Added off-road ability

Cons: Dated and cheap feeling interior; the new Tacoma

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport rear seats

2024 honda ridgeline trailsport interior front seats

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport exterior

2024 Honda Ridgeline interior


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