2009 Honda Ridgeline RTL

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Oct 5, 2008
Buckley, Wa.
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
I've had this truck for a few months now, and it just turned 100,000 miles. None of my initial impressions have really changed -- it's a very enjoyable vehicle to drive. The handling is out-of-class for a truck, but the towing capacity is also out-of-class (the other way). Trade-offs! What really resonates with me is how hard Honda tried with this vehicle to make it feel like a truck. My personal opinion is they went a little too far with the ride firmness. It has a firmer ride than a 2WD half-ton tuned for the boulevard, which I think is unfortunate. The plus side is it still doesn't have any of the "after shake" associated with the solid rear axle and separate bed. There's a lot of room between the seat centerline and the door sill, so it feels wide. The hood has quite a center bulge in it as well, trying to hint at it being a truck. Despite being a nearly identical engine to that in our MDX, the 3.5L V-6 in this vehicle acts like a different animal. It's got more torque just off idle, and the intake tract is relatively unmuffled, so it actually does sound like a larger engine than it is. Fortunately, it also has plenty of go-power and willing transmission gearing and programming, so it also goes better than you'd think 3.5 liters' worth of six cylinder should in a 4,500 pound brick. Its wheelbase is a far cry longer than our MDX (over a FOOT longer, and halfway between a Tahoe and a Suburban), so it has less of a playful feel than the MDX has. I also think it's funny how Honda copied domestic ergonomics with this vehicle, which is sort of counter to the passenger car class -- where headlamp switches are moving from the dashboard to the turn signal stalk and the wipers are moving to the right side of the column. The Ridgeline's large rotary headlamp switch is on the dash (it's a reach!) and the wipers are on the turn signal stalk. Having grown up on GM cars, it's funny how quickly I re-acclimated to this layout. I look forward to doing the valve adjustment this winter. This engine has been run exclusively on either Pennzoil or Formula Shell 5W-20 from the Jiffy Lube around the corner from where the previous owner lived. Looking inside the oil fill hole, it's absolutely spotless, and I really look forward to getting those cam covers off to see what lies within. I suspect it'll completely validate to me the experience others have had with conventional 5W-20s in desert heat -- even at MM intervals (8-10k miles), it's just no problem with the right engine.
Great to hear an honest and satisfied writeup on the Ridgeline. I've owned two and love my second one even more than the first. My mpg's have been ok at an average of between 18 and 20 all around. For my needs the towing capacity is just fine. I don't think Honda advertised it as a 10,000 pound plus tow vehicle anyway, so I never expected nor desired it to be one. I think the power is ample for me as well...but another 50 horses would have been fun...if not needed.
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