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All-New Honda Ridgeline Has Truck Silhouette

Next-Gen SUT Coming in Two Years

Joggle your memory and recall what the Honda Ridgeline looks like; to answer your next question, yes, it still exists and sales have actually been up for 2013 over 2012 by nearly 30%. You can indeed buy a 2014 Ridgeline. However, the sobering fact is that a month of recent F-Series sales is greater than the Ridgeline’s whole 2006 best-selling year.

Before we go any further, let’s have the awkward conservation about the Honda Ridgeline. The confusion comes in defining exactly how to classify the Ridgeline; perhaps it has suffered from trying to be everything to everyone. Here are a few ideas to add to the confusion.

First idea – it is not a truck. Truck people, as represented by solely me in this case, would shun it from the truck ranks because it doesn’t have a removable, separate bed and lacks body-on-frame construction. Open bed space does not automatically make something a truck.

Second idea – it is a truck, in fact a half-ton truck alternative. Honda seemed to advertise the Ridgeline as an alternative to half-ton pickups like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan, which might have been too far of a stretch and a disservice to the V-6 Ridgeline. We all know you don’t contemplate between an F-Series and a Ridgeline when it comes to “truck things” like towing.

Next idea – it is a SUT. It was originally introduced as a SUT (sport utility truck), which is a four-door open-bed something, which actually might be the best classification. However, the SUT term never really took off, and two of the big players – the Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Explorer Sport Trac – don’t exist anymore.

Another idea – it is like a midsize truck. With its sole V-6 offering and truck-like appearance, its closest rivals could be the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, but again, classifying it with trucks seems problematic.

Final idea – it is what it is, and that varies depending on who you are. It has the storage and bed characteristics of a pickup truck, with the same lineage as the unibody car-like Acura MDX, Honda Pilot and Honda Odyssey. If you’re coming from a Civic, it might feel like a truck; if you’re coming from a Silverado, it might feel like a convertible minivan. The bottom line is to classify it however feels right to you.

Now, on to the main point.

The Ridgeline, introduced in 2005 as a 2006 model, was assembled in Alliston, Ontario, Canada from 2005 to 2008, and from 2008 to present in Lincoln, Alabama. It will be assembled there until September 2014, that is, because thereafter the Honda Ridgeline is going to take a “time out” to figure out what’s going on for the long-overdue next generation Ridgeline, which will be introduced perhaps as a late 2016 or 2017 model. Whatever the exact timing, we can expect a two-year hiatus for the Ridgeline.

A cryptic rendering has been released, and it sure does have the silhouette of a traditional truck. However, we will not hold our breath for a traditional body-on-frame replacement, as the upcoming generation will likely utilize the new Honda truck chassis, which the 2014 Acura MDX debuted and the Honda Pilot and Honda Odyssey will also likely use. Regardless, don’t hold your breath at all, because this replacement is still about two years out.