2021 Honda Ridgeline Gets Beefier, American-style Looks

As good as it is, the Honda Ridgeline is no match for its American rivals in terms of sales. It also sits well behind the class-leading Toyota Tacoma. Can a substantial redesign and update for 2021 help close the gap? Honda is certainly counting on it.

First of all, the body looks quite different now. There’s a new hood sporting a pronounced power bulge, boxier fenders and bumpers, a more aggressive-looking grille and LED headlights updated for better illumination. Atop the grille is a crossbar that bisects the headlight lenses–gloss black or chrome depending on the trim level.

The 18-inch wheels have been revised to give the 2021 Ridgeline not only a tougher appearance but also a 20 mm wider track. They are wrapped in all-season tires featuring a new, more aggressive sidewall and shoulder design. In the rear, new twin exhaust outlets also contribute to a more aggressive look.  

For those looking to take styling to the next level, a new package created in collaboration with Honda Performance Development (HPD) answers the call. It adds a unique grille treatment, black fender flares, aggressive bronze-coloured wheels and special HPD graphics on the bed walls. No performance upgrades, though, so it’s not exactly like Toyota’s TRD.

Inside the cabin, the centre display has been updated with sharper graphics, easier-to-use touchscreen icons and a physical volume knob. All Ridgelines get new contrast stitching on the seats, while select models have new dash, steering wheel and centre console accents.

Photo: Honda

The engine doesn’t change, namely a 280-horsepower, 3.5-litre, direct-injected VTEC V6 backed by a nine-speed automatic transmission (the latter was added last year). Power is transferred to all four wheels via Honda’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring AWD drive system, which automatically sends up to 70 percent of the engine’s 262 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels and continuously apportions 100 percent of that torque between the left and right rear wheels based on driving conditions.

Likewise, payload and towing capacities remain the same—1,580 pounds and up to 5,000 pounds, respectively.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline will hit the market early next year. Pricing and full specifications for Canada will be announced shortly before that.

Photo: Honda
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