New Model News

2021 Honda Ridgeline gets truck-ier with new exterior, upgraded interior

For 2021, the Honda Ridgeline gets meaner looking but keeps the equipment that makes it well-mannered.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc
The current iteration of the Honda Ridgeline is the anti-truck truck. The 2020 version looks more like a Honda Pilot with a bed than most anyone's idea of how a pickup truck should traditionally look. For 2021, that's going to change.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline featrures an extensive refresh of the model. Nearly the entire exterior is new. The interior has been significantly upgraded where needed (it was already quite highly regarded). Most importantly, the Ridgeline maintains what buyers have thus far loved about it - the available all-wheel drive and comfortable seating.

2021 Honda Ridgeline The Honda Ridgeline sees its biggest changes on the exterior.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

"Truck enthusiasts have long recognized Ridgeline as an incredibly versatile and capable pickup, and now it's got the rugged looks to match," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of Auto Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Ridgeline signals a new direction for our light-truck designs, one that more effectively communicates all the hard work that goes into making Honda pickups and SUVs such proficient on- and off-road performers."

From the front roof pillars forward, the sheet metal of the Ridgeline is new. It has a new hood with a pronounced bulge, new front fenders that are designed to enhance the fresh squared-off nose. The 2021 Ridgeline's grille is more upright than before and now flanked by LED headlights.

A crossbar sits atop the grille and extends to bisect the headlight lenses. It's gloss black on Ridgeline Sport and Black Edition models and chrome on the RTL and RTL-E. Below that the new front bumper, with more body color on it than the previous iteration, incorporates side vents that are designed to enhance the truck's aerodynamic performance.

2021 Honda Ridgeline The truck has a new, more upright grille.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The back of the Ridgeline has a reshaped bumper with exposed twin exhaust outlets.

The entire Ridgeline line rides on 18-inch wheels with backspacing reduced 10 mm, increasing track width a total of 20 mm. This gives the truck a more aggressive and athletic stance.

For buyers looking to make their Ridgeline more dominating, a Honda Performance Development (HPD) Package is available. It adds a unique grille treatment, black fender flares, bronze-colored wheels, and special HPD graphics on the bed walls. This package is one of four post-production packages that Honda will offer on the 2021 Ridgeline, taking a cue from other automakers' playbooks. The others are the Utility, Function and Function+ packages with equipment lists forthcoming.

The 2021 Ridgeline will continue to be powered by Honda's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is rated at 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet for torque, and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Honda offers the Ridgeline Sport and RTL with torque vectoring all-wheel drive while the RTL-E and Black Edition have it standard.

2021 Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Ridgeline is the only truck in its class to have the ability to carry 4-foot wide items such as plywood and drywall in the bed, between the wheel wells. Ridgeline also comes standard with a washable, lockable In-Bed Trunk®, offering an additional 7.3 cu.-ft. of secure storage space under the bed floor.

The Dual-Action Tailgate, which folds traditionally and opens at the side, swinging wide, can handle dynamic loads of up to 300 pounds, supporting long payloads including motorcycles and ATVs. Eight standard tie-down cleats rated at 350-pounds each are inside the bed.

Honda continues to rate the Ridgeline as having a 1,580-pound payload capacity and up to 5,000-pound towing capacity.

Inside the cabin, the 2021 Ridgeline continues offering top-class passenger comfort and rear-seat legroom. The Ridgelines Sport trim gets new cloth seat inserts, all trims get new contrast stitching on the seats, and Sport, RTL, and RTL-E trims have new dash, steering wheel, and center console accents.

2021 Honda Ridgeline The Ridgeline has plenty of power to haul two dirt bikes. Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

It's also gotten an infotainment system upgrade including the Display Audio system, which features crisper graphics, easier-to-use touch screen icons, and a physical volume knob. Honda will continue to offer an in-bed audio system for RTL-E and uptime levels.

The 2021 Ridgeline comes standard with a suite of safety and driver assist technologies called Honda Sensing, featuring Collision Mitigation Braking System with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline was designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas in California and Ohio, and is manufactured along with its V6 engine at the Honda plant in Lincoln, Alabama using domestic and globally-sourced parts. For the 4th straight year, the Ridgeline ranked in the top 10 in the 2020 Cars.com American Made Index.

More information about the 2021 Ridgeline, including prices and detailed specifications, will be available closer to its on-sale date early next year.

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The new Civic Hatchback just went on sale.

Honda

The Honda Civic is one of the most popular and well-known cars of any type. Honda keeps refining the Civic formula to the point that it seems hard for the car to get any better, but that's what we're here to talk about. The 2022 model year sees the Civic enter its eleventh generation, and updates for the new model year make the car more upscale, more refined, and safer than ever before. Honda released the Civic Sedan first, but the Hatchback is now on the streets. Both cars are excellent, but we want to take a closer look at the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback. Here are three things to know about the car.

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback The Civic Hatchback is almost as practical as a small SUV, and it's way more fun to drive. Honda

Cargo Space

Looking at the Civic Hatchback, or any modern Civic for that matter, it's easy to start believing that there's nothing to it - that you can't use it as a proper family car. That isn't the case here, nor is it the case with the 2022 Civic Sedan. The Hatchback starts with 24.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, and the rear bench folds flat to open up even more room for gear. That's shy of a compact crossover, but better than many subcompact crossovers - and the Civic is infinitely more fun to drive than either. The Honda CR-V, for example, offers 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, but the subcompact HR-V offers just 23.2 cubic feet of space. I know which vehicle I'd rather drive, and it's the Civic Hatchback by miles and miles.


2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Clever design elevates the Civic above its competition.Honda

Refinement and Design

Honda's redesign of the Civic started with the Sedan, which released first. Its interior carries premium feeling materials and a grown-up design that is at odds with the Civic's reasonable price tag. There are several clever design touches like a singular metal grille that runs the length of the dash. The front air vents are concealed behind it and feature thoughtfully designed control knobs. It's a detail that isn't seen in other cars at this price point, and it's one that elevates the Civic from a budget car to one that feels special.

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback All Civics come packed with safety tech.Honda

Safety Features and Crash Test Scores

The Honda Civic Sedan and Hatchback both earned Top Safety Pick + awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Vehicles earn the honor by scoring "Good," "Advanced," or "Superior" in all categories, including headlights. On top of that, Honda equips the cars with plenty of advanced driver aids, including forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, collision mitigation braking, and road departure mitigation. Blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control are available in higher trims.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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