Next Honda Ridgeline to Focus on Fuel Economy

Automobile Staff
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2009 Honda Ridgeline

What's next for the Honda Ridgeline?; If Honda executives get their way, the next generation of the unibody pickup truck will be considerably more fuel efficient.

Launched in 2005, the Pilot-based crew-cab trucklet was designed to appeal to buyers looking for an efficient alternative to conventional midsize pickups.; Though the Ridgeline's 3.5-liter V-6 and unibody construction are fuel-saving measures, the truck is still considerably thirsty: the EPA rates the 2009 Ridgeline at 15/20 mpg city/highway.

Those figures aren't helping Ridgeline sales.; Since its launch, Honda's struggled to move more than 4000 units per month, and the current focus on fuel economy isn't likely to improve those figures.; From January to July, Honda sold 22,061 Ridgelines, which is down 17.3 percent from last year.

"It's a very nice concept, but the sales aren't so successful," said Koichi Kondo, Honda's executive vice president.

"Capacity wise as a pickup truck, it has enough - loading capacity, towing power.; Everything is OK, but fuel efficiency is the key."

Honda plans on addressing this factor by either refining the existing package for the next generation truck, or by expanding the Ridgeline brand and adding a smaller-sized (possibly based on the CR-V) pickup.

Should the Ridgeline name expand across multiple models, Kondo adamantly told Automotive News that Honda would not pursue a full-size truck.

Source: Automotive News

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