A rumor has it that the Honda Ridgeline pickup will be a taking a two-year break before launching an all-new version in 2016. While this may be interesting news to the small collection of its fans, the truck isn’t exactly sought after. Will the new truck change this?
Since its introduction in 2005, the Ridgeline has had many truck fans scratching their heads. Is it a full-size truck or a compact/mid-size truck? Can you tow with it or will it break? What is up with the locking trunk in the bed?
The truth is that the Ridgeline is tough to categorize. It is simply a different type of vehicle and trying to call it a “truck” at all isn’t extremely accurate. It really has been made to fill a niche and has done a good job of attracting a loyal fan base.
Yet, a new rumor/update has been a long time coming. In fact, Honda announced three years ago that a new Ridgeline was coming in 2011. Then 2011 came and passed. Loyal fans declared that Honda simply wasn’t ready and recession screwed up a new model (if you believe the forums). Now comes word that the truck will be a taking a two-year production “time-out” to prepare for the next generation. A reports in Ward’s Auto says that the Lincoln, AL plant (home to the Ridgeline) will be shutting down in September of 2014. And a new Honda Ridgeline won’t be available until 2016. With the delay, leading people to question Honda’s commitment to the Ridgeline, a company spokesman told Ward’s, “Ridgeline continues to be an important part of our lineup.” Sure.
A sure sign of any vehicle’s demise is the lack of attention and new features. This description seems to fit the Ridgeline well as it is virtually the same vehicle that first appeared in 2006. It is highly suspicious then if the truck will come back.
The case for the Ridgeline coming back is actually in its favor. Yes, it isn’t the true North American truck like a Ford F-150, but it does fill a niche. Many buyers want the versatility of a pickup without the large fuel costs and upfront costs. This consumer demand has been so high actually, there are several rumors of an El Camino variant making a return.
One thing is for sure, the truck market is rapidly changing due to pending CAFE regulations and consumer demand for more plush rides with better fuel economy. Frankly, the Ridgeline meets many of these consumers needs.
Will the next-generation build on what made it special or be a true competitor in the profitable truck market? Sadly, we won’t know until 2016.