2024 Honda Ridgeline Up Close: The Ridgeline lineup is now TrailSport
Honda’s Ridgeline midsize pickup truck gets a mild refresh for the 2024 model year and gains an off-road-oriented trim level in the process. As with its Pilot and Passport SUV siblings, the Ridgeline will offer an enhanced TrailSport trim level with exclusive detailing and fortifications to handle rough terrain. I got a closer look at the Ridgeline TrailSport ahead of the 2024 Ridgeline’s expected arrival at Honda dealers this winter.
Related: Honda Passport Trail Sport 2024 and Black Edition: exterior and interior
Since its launch for the 2006 model year, the Ridgeline has been something of an oddity among traditional pickup trucks. Unlike competitors Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma, the Ridgeline is built on an SUV platform with front-wheel drive, which is shared with the Passport and Pilot, rather than rear-wheel drive. Driving, truck body on chassis.
The upside of this design is that the Ridgeline offers ride quality, on-road handling and overall refinement that no conventional truck can match; The downside is that the Ridgeline isn’t as capable of rough off-roading as its competitors, though it’s tough enough for the way most people use their pickup trucks. In the years since the current-generation Ridgeline debuted in 2017, Honda has sought to make it more “trucky,” even if the changes are mostly cosmetic, like a blocky front-end design, standard all-wheel drive and a Honda Performance Enhancement Package that boosts the look further.
Ridgeline Trail Sport
With the Ridgeline’s new TrailSport model for 2024, Honda is taking things a little further than looks alone. The special off-road-tuned suspension features unique spring rates, damper valving and stabilizer bars. Honda says these modifications increase off-road ride quality and articulation without significantly detrimental on-road ride and handling. There is also a steel skid plate under the chassis that protects the engine oil pan from sharp rocks and other off-road obstacles. Some off-road tires can be quite noisy on the street, but Honda says the TrailSport’s General Grabber A/T Sport tires provide much-improved off-road traction while remaining quiet and comfortable while off-road. Power-folding rearview mirrors, which come in handy when crossing narrow off-road lanes, are another standard feature.
Of course, Honda hasn’t forgotten about the TrailSport’s looks. Upfront is a unique grille that features a more massive-looking mesh design and TrailSport badging, along with a black upper grille strip and a decorative lower bumper painted in Pewter Gray. The rearview mirrors and door pillar edges also get a black treatment; The new five-spoke 18-inch wheels are finished in the same pewter gray as the front skid garnish. The tailgate gets a TrailSport badge. The distinctive blue-gray color called Diffused Sky Blue is exclusive to the TrailSport and is offered on the Ridgeline TrailSport as well. One convenient update to the TrailSport is shared with all 2024 Ridgelines: The tailgate now has filled-in Ridgeline lettering stamped on the steel for an old-fashioned pickup feel.
The cabin features TrailSport-specific touches, too: orange ambient lighting; contrast orange stitching on the seats, steering wheel and door panels; TrailSport logos embroidered on the front headrests; and all-weather rubber floor mats with TrailSport logos.
The TrailSport I checked looked suitably adventure-ready, and the Diffused Sky Blue paint it was wearing really showed. But the specialized hardware here won’t turn the TrailSport into a rock crawler on the level of the Colorado ZR2 or Tacoma TRD Pro. There’s not as much lift in the ride compared to other Ridgelines, so approach, departure and breakover angles aren’t noticeably improved.
However, Honda’s torque vectoring all-wheel drive system is capable of off-road driving; It can send up to 70% of engine torque to the rear wheels and continuously divides up to 100% of torque between the rear wheels based on driving conditions at each wheel. For example, if one of the rear wheels is high off the ground, the system can send power to the wheel in contact with the ground to keep the pickup moving.
Internal updates for everyone
All 2024 Ridgelines get new dashboard displays and some thoughtful revisions to the center console. A new 7-inch digital instrument panel, with digital tachometer on the left and analogue speedometer on the right, replaces the previous instrument panel. The digital dash contains user-selectable displays, such as Honda Sensing safety system settings and vehicle information, which are controlled via the thumb wheel on the steering wheel. The infotainment touchscreen has been enlarged from 8 to 9 inches and is slightly recessed, leaving a bezel at the bottom of the screen for the user to steady their hand when selecting – this actually makes it easier for your finger to hit what you intend to touch on the screen. Honda says a faster processor delivers faster touchscreen performance without any lag, and the integrated navigation system has been simplified with new graphics and fewer menus. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are now standard.
The center console has been revamped to include a large integrated armrest with an expanded storage box underneath that can accommodate a full-sized tablet; This arrangement is much better than the awkward trunk with a rear lid and thin seat-mounted armrests in previous Ridgelines. The dual cupholders have been enlarged to fit larger drinks, and the storage tray in front of the push-button shifter has been expanded so two large smartphones can be placed side-by-side (the tray also includes a Qi wireless charger on the driver’s side).
Our favorite Ridgeline features also stand out, including the dual-hinged tailgate (mounts on the driver’s side as well as the bottom), 60/40-split folding rear seat cushions (which enable long cargo to be carried inside the cab) and a large lockable trunk built into the The back of the bed floor.
Price and release date
The 2024 Honda Ridgeline lineup, including the TrailSport model, is scheduled to go on sale this winter, so be sure to stay tuned to Cars.com for more information, including pricing, as it becomes available.
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