ROC Rank: 7k Comma Club
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Moon Township, PA
Model Year: 2007
Color: Nimbus Gray Metallic
Re: Ridgeline - 2013, 14 & 15 - the future.
I can't imagine Honda downsizing the RL. Subaru's latest experiment with a compact sport truck -- the Baja -- ended with poor sales and it seems unlikely they even recovered their development costs for the vehicle. It might have been too small and too car-like for the niche market of small truck buyers that still exists out there. Neverless, that maket is apparently not big enough to interest the major carmakers. Maybe Scion will pull it off.
Regardless, the new RL will surely be based on a shared platform with the Pilot. That's just the new economic reality of a competitive global market: build vehicles from a limited number of versatile, well-tested platforms and stay flexible to changing demand. Conceivably, a sport truck could be designed from the CRV platform, but where's the market for it? The vast majority of Amercian truck buyers now want 5 passenger capacity and comfort, plus some towing and open hauling capability. Otherwise, they'll buy an SUV or CUV.
With all the new technology and the ever-rising bar to meet CAFE regs, I'm hoping the new RL will get a LOT better mpg's, despite keeping similar dimensions to the current RL. I think the competition is pushing hard to increase fuel efficiency for trucks.
It wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that a smaller sport truck type vehicle could be made from the CR-V chassis. Just look at the new RDX - Honda has proven they can shoehorn a version of the 3.5 liter V6 into a CR-V-like frame. However, as was suggested, the R&D needed to produce an essentially brand new vehicle like that would be very expensive and the sales forecasts are just not there to justify such a vehicle. Now, simply taking an already great truck, adding some tweaks to an already great engine and giving it a new transmission and sheet metal??? THERE is where the cost-to-benefit ratio is. Relatively low cost to produce a vehicle that can easily sell 15-20k units per year.
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