The new 2016 Honda Ridgeline pickup won’t go on sale for another two years, but Honda released this cryptic teaser sketch this afternoon, which allegedly previews its forthcoming second-generation pickup truck.
That Honda is developing a second-generation pickup for North America is hardly a secret. In July, reports surfaced that suggested the current Honda Ridgeline would cease production in 2014, but a new second-generation model would arrive in time for the 2016 model year. Honda’s release today confirmed both points, noting production of the current unibody Ridgeline, which is built in Lincoln, Alabama, will come to an end in “mid-2014.”
As such, all eyes are turned to the new 2016 Honda Ridgeline, a truck Honda senior vice president Mike Accavitti describes in a prepared release as having “an even more important role in our future product portfolio.” Like most other Honda models developed expressly for North America, the 2016 Ridgeline is being designed and engineered by American Honda’s research and development staffs in both California and Ohio.
Predictably, Honda’s teaser sketch reveals very little, but the shadowy line suggests the new Honda Ridgeline will be far more upright and conventional than the last Ridgeline. Not the near-vertical C-pillars, a far cry from the unusual (and controversial) flying buttresses used on the original Honda Ridgeline.
There’s a good chance the 2016 Honda Ridgeline also grows in size – if not only to appease American buyers, who seem to lean towards full-size trucks, but also to qualify for a more lenient Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which is now calculated in part by a vehicle’s footprint. A larger footprint would result in a lower mandated standard – important, considering the present 2014 Honda Ridgeline is EPA rated at 15/21 mpg city/highway, which is on par with several full-size pickups on the market.
Details on the new 2016 Honda Ridgeline are scarce, to say the least. There is a remote chance it could adopt a new platform, but if the new truck follows in the footsteps of the first, expect it to instead ride on a modified version of the unibody architecture that underpins Honda’s midsize utilities, including the new 2014 Acura MDX and the forthcoming third-generation Honda Pilot. If so, expect the new Ridgeline to benefit from a direct-injection six-cylinder engine, and an increased use of high-strength steel to trim weight.
Much remains to be seen, but one thing seems evident: between GM’s new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and the new 2016 Honda Ridgeline, the long-dormant midsize truck market will suddenly receive some new sheetmetal.