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This January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Honda Ridgeline beat out competitors such as the Nissan Titan and even the Ford F-Series Super Duty truck for the highest honour Detroit offers for the pickup truck segment – the coveted Truck of the Year award. The win comes on the heels of a massive design overhaul for the 2017 model year.

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Launch day buzz

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“The Ridgeline has been incredible for us,” Executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. John Mendel stated, “Consumers love it. It’s been virtually sold out since we introduced it.”.  Experts in the automotive industry are marveling at Honda’s ingenuity at not only delivering innovative features but for delivering an unexpected smoother more dynamic ride than conventional pickups.

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2017 Ridgeline bed

Dual Action Tailgate

 

The second generation Ridgeline has a new 3.5L SOHC V6 engine with 280 peak horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. peak torque out of an i-VTEC (intelligent Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control) for intake valves and Variable Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation for best in class fuel economy.  A new 6-speed automatic is coupled to a new intelligent Variable Torque Management All Wheel Drive system with front to back and left to right torque vectoring.

 

 

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2017 Ridgeline Black Edition

 

2017 Ridgeline dash

Inside the Black Edition

 

 

The first generation Ridgeline’s sales may have been shy of Honda’s initial expectations but there’s a reason those original Ridgeline owners have been eagerly awaiting a second generation and why a Ridgeline never lasts long on our used car lot.  One Halton Honda customer has a business with multiple pickup trucks in it’s fleet, only one of which is a Ridgeline.  He loves how everyday his workers show up early so they can be the first to grab the keys for the Ridgeline.  It’s the truck his crews always prefer to travel in.

The accolades kept rolling when it was announced that the Honda Ridgeline was the only 2017 model year pickup truck of any size to earn top safety honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  The IIHS evaluated the safety characteristics of 10 pickup truck models, named the Ridgeline a Top Safety Pick + in its 2017 lineup. 

 

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To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crash-worthiness tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

 

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Just so you don’t think that this truck is 100% all-about-business, Honda ramped up the fun factor and turned the truck bed into a sound system with the addition of six speakers in the bed walls.  These “exciters” or transducers, are embedded in the left, right, and cab-facing walls. The six exciters produce 540 watts of audio and are controlled from inside the cab.  They vibrate the bed walls, more or less like audio speakers, except here the speaker cone material also has to withstand Canadian weather and rocks being dumped in the truck bed during the workday.

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You won’t miss a beat with all these speakers.

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A truck that understands business up front and party in the back.

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Want to impress your friends with a little pre-game entertainment?  Honda thought of that.  They added a powerful 400-watt AC outlet outside the cabin in the wall of the truck bed. That’s enough wattage to power a blender full of margaritas or big screen TV for several hours before the game.

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Pull out your big screen TV and be the ultimate tailgater.

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The 400-watt AC outlet located in the truck bed.

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And to prove that they think of everything; if the battery runs low, AC power cuts out so you’ll be able to start the engine and get home after the game. Need ice for those margaritas? Honda kept their in-bed trunk compartment for your cargo or more importantly, fill it with ice and use it as a cooler (there’s even a drain to empty the melted ice afterwards).  The dual action tailgate still opens in the traditional pick-up truck way, but also swings to the side giving you easier access to your trunk/cooler.

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Handy spot for your weekday tools or your weekend beverages.

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The redesigned 2017 Ridgeline is produced at Honda’s plant in Alabama’s Talladega County and went on sale last summer. Ridgeline owners have known it for years and the now competition is scrambling back to their drawing boards.  There’s a new benchmark in the industry and it’s available for test drives…and tailgate parties.

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*The Truck of the Year Award was judged by a panel of 60 automotive specialists who analyzed vehicles based on innovation, design, performance, value, safety, technology, and driver satisfaction.