F150 owner test drive review of the Ridgeline
I own a 2016 Ford F150 XLT supercrew 4x4. It is a great vehicle, but very difficult to park at my work. I hated the way the 2016 Tacoma drove, and I didn't bother looking at the Colorado/Canyon because of poor reliability ratings. I've been following the Ridgeline carefully as a mid-size truck seems like a great fit for me.
Well, I finally got to test drive one today. It was an RTL trim with AWD. The MSRP of the Ridgeline RTL is about $3000 less than my F150 sales price. I wanted to test drive one that cost near the same as my F150, but my choices were limited. A closer comparison with my truck would probably be the RTL-T or RTL-E Ridgeline since my XLT came with the 302a "luxury" package from Ford. I don't need to tow much, and my hauling is mostly kids, bicycles, groceries, and large items purchased from home improvement stores. The Ridgeline is enough truck for my needs.
Here is what I think after a test drive:
1. Handling: The Ridgeline has nice acceleration and handling. It drives more like a car than the F150. Getting around in traffic is a breeze. On the down side, the Ridgeline driving position is lower, giving less view of the road. Winner: Ridgeline
2. Comfort: The front driving position is comfortable in the Ridgeline, but my Ford is more comfortable. The Ford has more adjustments (telescoping steering wheel, adjustable pedals, and more adjustments on the power seats) to get the best driving position. The Ridgeline soaks up bumps in the road better and doesn't seem to hop like my Ford does when taking bumps on a turn. The back seats in the Ridgeline are awful in comparison to my Ford. I'm tall, and my knees were in the seat back when sitting in the rear. Winner: F150
3. Parking: This was my main reason for looking at the Ridgeline. It is easier to park, but surprisingly not much easier than my F150. The RTL doesn't have back up sensors, and my Ford does. I nearly backed into a post with the Ridgeline because I was using my side mirrors to squeeze into a spot. I was focused on the sides and not what was directly behind me. The Ridgeline seems as wide as my Ford. The Ridgeline is definitely shorter, through. A higher trim Ridgeline with back up sensors would be better. Winner: Ridgeline (not by much though)
4. Truck bed: The Ridgeline in-bed trunk is clever, but the lack of a locking tailgate is awful. My Ford has a bedrug carpet bed liner and tonneau cover. When I lock my tailgate, the entire volume under the tonneau cover is like a trunk in my F150. The Ford box-link system gives more options for cargo in the F150 bed. The F150 bed is deeper and therefore has a bigger volume to store stuff below the sides of the bed. The little storage compartment on the side of the Ridgeline is useless because the cover is made of flimsy plastic and it doesn't lock. Winner: F150
5. Electronics: The Ford Sync 3 system doesn't (yet) have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. My F150 trim level doesn't have navigation. For fairness, a higher trim level Ridgeline that costs as much as my F150 would have these things. The RTL trim does not. Ford Sync 3 will have these things in 2017. My F150 also has a lot more power options, including TWO standard 115 volt 400 Watt outlets in the cab, more usb charging ports, and other charging ports. Winner: Tie
6. Towing and payload: The F150 has significantly higher tow and payload ratings. My F150 also has trailer backup assist that makes it easier for a novice to back up a trailer. Winner: F150
7. Off road: The F150 has a traditional 4x4 system that is manually selectable. The Ridgeline AWD system is always on and the computer handles everything. The F150 has higher ground clearance and a full sized spare tire. I would much rather have the F150 if I were heading out into the wilderness. On city streets with light snow or ice, the Ridgeline would probably be better. Winner: F150
8. Cost to buy and maintain: The sales prices are actually similar. Ford has a higher MSRP, but sells at deep discounts from that. The Ridgeline gets slightly better gas mileage than my F150 with the 2.7 L turbo 6 cylinder. The F150 body is aluminum, so it won't rust, but will likely cost more to repair after a collision. Honda has a reputation for reliability, but there is no information yet on the Ridgeline reliability. The F150 is rated fairly highly on reliability from Consumer Reports. Winner: Tie
So there you have my opinion. I think the Ridgeline is a good product that can compete against the Tacoma and Colorado/Canyon. The Ridgeline offers a far better driving experience than the Tacoma that I test drove. The Ridgeline is even competitive in a number of ways for customers like me who have purchased full sized trucks given the poor choices in the mid-sized segment.
Am I going to trade in my F150? No. The Ridgeline just doesn't offer enough of a compelling reason to take the financial hit that I would take on a trade. The F150 is more truck than I need, and I may eventually trade it for a Ridgeline when I am not regularly hauling kids in the back seat and when the Ridgeline has made some improvements (hopefully a locking tail gate and a way to securely carry a full sized spare tire).