2009 Honda Ridgeline RTL

Phil, I am very jealous. You're a much more committed beer drinker than I. During the year that we had our 2006 Four Seasons Ridgeline, I kept meaning to fill that handy underbed trunk with icy brew, but I never did it. My deepest respect, sir.

It was refreshing to get back into a Ridgeline after nearly two years. I was again impressed by the big Honda's carlike comportment and its brilliant packaging. The Ridgeline has been face-lifted since the initial design, and I think it works a lot better. (Compare this dark cherry truck's grille and taillights with our blue Four Season Ridgeline)

That short bed can be an issue, though, as Phil noted: I picked up a seven-foot folding closet door from Lowe's, and I had to drive with it leaned up against the closed tailgate. In a bigger truck, a door like that could lie flat.

The biggest letdown, though, I agree, is the V-6's fuel ecomony. The combined EPA rating is 17 mpg, and that's exactly what we got over nearly 29,000 miles in our departed 4S example. (Heck, if the Ridgeline did get better fuel economy, I'd be highly tempted to buy a used one, since the Ridgeline will tow and haul just about anything that I or most people could throw at it.) And while that truck was decently peppy, it quickly became burdened when asked to tow any sizable freight. Honda's pickup is not a truck for truck-lovers.

I totally dig the interior, though, Evan. The chunky layout and big buttons are clear and easy to use, and I think the hard plastics work nicely in this quasi-workhorse. Honda generally takes a different approach on ergonomics, though, I'll admit.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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