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we bought the ridgeline (Silver/RTL w/ Navi) and took off for a road trip across US and Canada - here is the brief report card:

- Engine/Transmission - ran great, no problems, >20mpg consistently across a variety of terrain. Auto transmission had a few issues going uphill on >5% grades sometimes when it would hunt for the right gear and shift to D4or3, manual setting to D3 helped. Got the first service done in Ottawa, Canada at 7000 miles (300 miles beyond vehicle suggestion of service when the very annoying xxx miles overdue indicator came on). Now at 7000 miles beyond the first service, oil life is 40% remaining - quite good.

- Tires - even wear, at the first service the techs inspected it and said no need to rotate since the front/rear are both wearing extremely evenly. Good traction in snowstorms and icy conditions in Toronto/Barrie area and in Idaho on mountains (Hwy 93). No skids/spins even on black ice where a F150 in front of us did a near-360 spin and in to the ditch behind the snow-cleaner. The caution sign ("!") came on a few times when the truck did a little shimmy on the hard packed ice in Banff.

OFFroad -- we did 200 miles+ of offroad driving in various national parks and monuments in Utah/Arizona/NM and it handled very very well on the gravel or bumpy muddy roads --

- Lights (Headlamps, tail lights) -- driving in rain and snow required constant cleaning and the soft plastic (arrrgghhh - cheap cheap Honda grrrr, at $34K I expect hard acrylic or glass lamp covers that wont scratch) is VERY scratched - cleaned it with Maguire's cleaner and it still SUCKS. Passenger side tail lamp cover was head butted by a mountain bighorn sheep in Jasper, Alberta and had it replaced and now the two tail lamps look VERY different in brightness. My 5 year old car that has been parked outside always has BRIGHTER tail lamps than my 1 month old ridgeline. (this is my biggest complaint w/ the vehicle other than seats - read on).

Seats - HONDA gets a 0/10 or D-- failing grade on the seats. The seats are thin, hard, and the first week of driving gave us both extremely sore backs (had to ice it EVERY night for the first 10 days). We eventually got used to them but again, RTL leather seats should have been much more comfy-er than they really are. we have done >8 hour a day driving trips in a Mercedes E320 and Volvo XC70 and Volvo S80 and BMWs and had NO issues whatsoever -- I am quite disappointed and looking to swap out the seats - recommendations welcome.
Again, at $34K, I expected a MUCH better experience and especially for the RTL w/ leather. If folks here had similar experience, please let me know and if you know a good brand of comfy seats we should go for, please please let me know!

Storage/Trunk/in-bed -- no problems, even with 3-4 inches of snow in the bed there was no water leaking in to the in-bed trunk. the storage under the rear seat helped.


Navi -- Good performance overall except where it is out of "Database coverage area" i.e. in Canada beyond about 50 miles from the US border - the annoying part is that it wont even indicate breadcrumbs OR just a GPS readout - the screen actually goes BLANK - DUHHH Honda -- why is that??? (No, I wont buy your 300$ Canada DVD because it doesnt cover MExico anyway where we go next) gimme the GPS readout and the relative indication on a blank background and that would be great -- breadcrumbs would be better. when the unit turns on after ignition, we could see the breadcrumbs trail but when the screen goes blank, it disappears.

daylight saving time and various time zone switching takes place automatically - neat feature (except when it is out of database coverage area).

Navi system User friendliness is poor compared to other Navi systems out there. Specifically you cannot just go back to one step except from the drivers' steering wheel control. quite annoying when the passenger is helping w/ setting destination etc. the 4-way knob is quite challenging as well - pressing it straight in is not easy (e.g. for selecting "OK" - usually it jumps to one of the 4 directions instead - they could have used a 4-way button w/ a central "OK" or "enter" button which is usual on some other cars.). Also, the system computed weird routes in the "Direct" mode picking unpaved roads in 2 instances Vs. paved or primary roads which were less than 5 miles difference in total route (on 100+ mile routes) - strange. The system crashed twice (once in the "show alternate routes" and once where part of the roads went through "unverified areas") and hung - came back on after engine off and on stop.

more details later - if you folks arent bored of the long post. Did see about 10 other ridgelines on the roadtrip and some very eager questions about the truck at various places including from a farmer near Thunder Bay, Ontario who had done 6 test drives and echoed my comments about the seats. he did sound like he was going to buy it though.
 

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Awesome post! Your road trip sounds like it was a great long term test. welcome to family. Do you have any photos of your trip you can share?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ah yes - pictures - have plenty (500+ slides) but no scanner so will scan and post in the next few weeks.

now, on to Baja and mainland Mexico and if Honda would transport our truck, we will do a 3 month EU roadtrip as well but i doubt that will happen.

all in all, minus the seats fiasco, it is an ideal road trip vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
also, here is the route:
- CA to AZ (Grand Canyon SOuth Rim, North Rim) to Utah (All 5 grand circle national parks) to NM via AZ (Santa Fe) through Colorado to Kansas to Chicago to Cleveland to Cinci to Pittsburgh to Rochester to Ogdensburg (Border) to Ottawa to Kingston to Toronto - Barrie - Sudbury - Thunder Bay - Winnipeg - Dauphin - Yorkton - Saskatoon via Edmonton to Jasper to Banff to Golden to Cranbrook to Waterton (US Border closed D'OHHHH) to Croydon/Carway to Missoula to Wells and from Wells, NV Hwy 80 to Bay Area.
 

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I want to hear the story about the mountain big horn sheep butting your tail lights -- what was THAT about?
 

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Head lights - not many cars come with glass headlights anymore. I suspect it's a safety issue.

Seats - I give them 9/10. They are extremely comfy for my wife and I. I suppose this is where everyone's build differences come into play.

Navi - you can hit the 'Cancel' button to go back one step or out of the screen you are currently in.

Also, not having the data on the DVD is probably more than just "you buying a Canada DVD issue". I wonder if it has anything to do with some laws. I mean, why can't they get XM or Directv in Canada? No sure, just speculating here.

Regarding usefulness of the Navi. I've used a few other systems, and this one by far is the best of the bunch. Now the voice recon program could use more work as it works only 50% of the time for me. But in generally, I really enjoy the system.

Oh and yes that 'joystick' is way too small.
 

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Great Post! Have you tried to adjust the lumbar support on the seats?
 

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shingles said:
Head lights - not many cars come with glass headlights anymore. I suspect it's a safety issue.
You might be correct but I would have guessed that they are plastic to reduce weight, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. :)
 

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Excellect report! Hope Honda picks up on this and takes the hint in the areas of concern.
 

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Enjoyed your review of your journey. Wow- 13000 miles in a month. I have under 8000 in almost 9 months. I have to disagree on the comfort of the seats. While I have no experience at driving extreme distances with my Ridgeline, I have done a couple of 400 mile one-way trips and found the seats to be VERY comfortable, as good as anything I've owned over the years (and I've owned a bunch). IMHO, Honda did an outstanding job on the front seats- I wouldn't change a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
UglyTruckling said:
I want to hear the story about the mountain big horn sheep butting your tail lights -- what was THAT about?
... in Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada - for my money the most beautiful place in the world), the bighorn sheep come right up when you slow down and start licking your car/truck like mad (its the salt and our ridgeline had plenty since we had been in the Eastern Canada in snow)... they cleaned up the truck pretty nicely front + back and then one of them didn't like the tail lamp or the light shining on it or whatever and whammmm just crashed his head (with a royal rounded set of horns) right in to the passenger side taillamp.
 

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Just wanted to add that I wish the seats could be more at a 90 degree angle. My CR-V seats sit more upright and I find them more comfortable. My husband, however, thinks the seats in the RL are more comfortable! Go figure!
 

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palo-alto said:
... in Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada - for my money the most beautiful place in the world), the bighorn sheep come right up when you slow down and start licking your car/truck like mad (its the salt and our ridgeline had plenty since we had been in the Eastern Canada in snow)... they cleaned up the truck pretty nicely front + back and then one of them didn't like the tail lamp or the light shining on it or whatever and whammmm just crashed his head (with a royal rounded set of horns) right in to the passenger side taillamp.
Wow... that had to be pretty startling! Wonder what it was that irritated the sheep so.
You must have some spectacular pictures -- I hope you post some at the ROC.
 

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I drove the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper. I've driven cross country four times, but so far that is the most beautiful drive I have ever taken. If all works out I will drive to Labrador this summer. I still dream of driving to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. :)
 

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I have done 4 13hr days in the Ridgeline, and 4 5 - 7hr days, and I have to say that the seats are the most comfortable I have been in for any period of time. I think as others have pointed out, it is likely a personal thing, but I hope Honda doesn't change the seats at all.

I also find the Navigation system to be one of the best I have dealt with. I have played with and used a number of different systems, and in general this one is great. But there are some things that could be better.
 

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rms56 said:
He saw his own reflection and thought it was a Dodge Ram tail light:eek: wouldn't you?:D
Too funny....
 

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denvrfan said:
Enjoyed your review of your journey. Wow- 13000 miles in a month. I have under 8000 in almost 9 months. I have to disagree on the comfort of the seats. While I have no experience at driving extreme distances with my Ridgeline, I have done a couple of 400 mile one-way trips and found the seats to be VERY comfortable, as good as anything I've owned over the years (and I've owned a bunch). IMHO, Honda did an outstanding job on the front seats- I wouldn't change a thing.
I love the seats also. My Tacoma seats were terrible. I think these seats are better than my Infiniti. THe bolstering in perfect for me. I like the firmness also. No huge trips yet, but 2 hour range is great so I expect longer to be OK. 2 hours in the Tacoma and it was time to stretch!!!!
 
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