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I had a 2017 RL for 5 years and have had a 2022 RL for a little over 6 months.

Observations: I liked the overall performance of the 6-sp until it failed @78K miles. The 9-sp seems slightly faster, the dog clutches are noticeable, especially during deceleration -annoying to me, love the ability to select and remain in a certain gear in off-road situations and for engine breaking. The push button delays are slight negatives as far as I’m concerned. If each had the same reliability, I’d likely choose the 9-sp.

Which do you prefer and why?
 

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If the 9-speed had the same reliability as the 6-speed, I wouldn't be driving a Honda.
If the 6-speed had the same reliability as the 9-speed, I'd choose a 9-speed because:

1. Pushbutton shifter
2. "Lower" first gear
3. Paddle shifters
4. Longer maintenance intervals
5. Better fuel economy than my 6-speeds

What I don't like about the 9-speed:

1. More expensive/complex fluid change procedure
2. The temporary loss of engine braking when downshifting from 5th using the paddle shifters
3. The cost of the tool to place the transmission in neutral in the rare situation where the engine can't be started
 

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My wife has 2015 MDX with 6-speed auto (same as RL’s 6 speed?). She has over 130k miles on it with just routine maintenance. I prefer it over the RL’s 9-speed.

I am simply not a fan of the ZF 9 speed. Too much weirdness in how it goes about its business.

A good transmission should learn MY driving behavior…….not the other way around!
 

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As a 17 Ridgeline owner with 67k on it, my biggest gripe with the truck is the transmission. I did the 3X fluid change and filter and the shuddering got better. She shifts got slightly better. The fluid I removed was not dirty at all though. I really dislike the downshifting. It’s like I’m applying the brakes without changing the brake pressure and then it will downshift and feels like I pressed much harder. It’s just a jarring transmission and it’s a damn shame. Otherwise I love the truck.
 

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2017 Ridgeline RTS AWD, White Diamond Pearl
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I dislike the 6 speed in that Honda does not give me much control over it. For example, when towing, I can’t stay in 5th gear and lock out only 6th. My Dodge minivan, in my opinion, has a better 6 speed transmission than the Ridgeline’s. Lacking control of the transmission is my biggest gripe with the ‘17 Ridgeline.
 

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2022 WBE in Southern Florida
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If the 9-speed had the same reliability as the 6-speed, I wouldn't be driving a Honda.
If the 6-speed had the same reliability as the 9-speed, I'd choose a 9-speed because:

1. Pushbutton shifter
2. "Lower" first gear
3. Paddle shifters
4. Longer maintenance intervals
5. 1 MPG better than my 6-speeds

What I don't like about the 9-speed:

1. More expensive/complex fluid change procedure
2. The temporary loss of engine braking when downshifting form 5th using the paddle shifters
3. The cost of the tool to place the transmission in neutral in the rare situation where the engine can't be started
As for #5...

Officially:
2017 - 22/19/26 combined/city/highway
2022 - 21/18/24

In my experience:
2017 - 19 city. 30 highway (1,200 mile trip with more than 25k on the vehicle)
2022 - 18 city, 24 highway (800 mile trip when new)

The 9 speed has lower MPG than the 6 for the most part.
 

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The 9spd is a little quirky but overall I like it. D mode works well for mild driving and S mode works well for more aggressive driving. I don’t like how down shifts feel different depending on what gear you are going into.

Overall the 6spd is more predictable and consistent. If the 6spd had reliability, paddles and driver selected shift modes, it would be very even to the 9spd. However, I would still take the 9spd due to the deeper 1st gear and larger ratio spread.
 

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As for #5...

Officially:
2017 - 22/19/26 combined/city/highway
2022 - 21/18/24

In my experience:
2017 - 19 city. 30 highway (1,200 mile trip with more than 25k on the vehicle)
2022 - 18 city, 24 highway (800 mile trip when new)

The 9 speed has lower MPG than the 6 for the most part.
Do you have a front wheel drive 2017, The 2017 numbers quoted above are for the front wheel drive. The AWD was 18/25. Still better though.

The only Ridgeline I have ever driven is my own and I'm really happy with it. Much better than the 5 speed Ody's I had.
 

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2022 Ridgeline Touring
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I have had my 2022 for a few weeks now and I am getting used to the ZF 9-speed. I do find that I can now notice and detect when the dog clutches are working. During the 4-5th upshift you feel the revs go up a bit and then drop after 5th gear is engaged. At least that is what I think I am feeling. Same thing when downshifting or using the paddle shifters.

The touch button controls are easy to use and become second nature after a few drives. I like the paddle shifters and ability to hold gears going up or down long grades.

I would have kept my 2017 had the 6-speed been reliable and had no issues. Made sense to sell before the warranty expired and upgrade to the 2022 and not have to worry about having to drop $10k on a new transmission.

What are the service intervals on the 9-speed?
 

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In my experience:
2017 - 19 city. 30 highway (1,200 mile trip with more than 25k on the vehicle)
2022 - 18 city, 24 highway (800 mile trip when new)

The 9 speed has lower MPG than the 6 for the most part.
For me:

My 2017 averaged 20.7 MPG over 20,587 miles.
My 2019 averaged 20.3 MPG over 16,653 miles.
My 2021 averaged 21.1 MPG over 15,576 miles.

Same driver, same driving style, same commute, same gas station...nothing has changed except for the vehicle.

During the 4-5th upshift you feel the revs go up a bit and then drop after 5th gear is engaged. At least that is what I think I am feeling.
A quick glance at the tachometer during the 4-5 shift can verify that.

What are the service intervals on the 9-speed?
When code 3 appears on the Maintenance Minder once the oil life reaches 15% or every 30,000 miles if regularly driving under specific, severe conditions listed in the Owner's Manual.
 

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...I really dislike the downshifting. It’s like I’m applying the brakes without changing the brake pressure and then it will downshift and feels like I pressed much harder.
I was very surprised to find that the weird downshift feel went away when I disabled VCM. I wasn't expecting that, but it put me back in charge of the deceleration profile. I think the "feels like I pressed much harder" thing is when you set the braking you think you need and VCM does the 3-cylinder thing which adds some engine braking on top of the braking you applied - then it's too much and you have to figure out how much to let off to get back to what you want. It's like two people are driving the car.
 

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I was very surprised to find that the weird downshift feel went away when I disabled VCM. I wasn't expecting that, but it put me back in charge of the deceleration profile. I think the "feels like I pressed much harder" thing is when you set the braking you think you need and VCM does the 3-cylinder thing which adds some engine braking on top of the braking you applied - then it's too much and you have to figure out how much to let off to get back to what you want. It's like two people are driving the car.
oh really? I had no idea VCM was used during deceleration. I guess I just assumed it was during low load cruising speeds.
 

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The 9 speed in my 22 has been butter smooth and getting better MPG than my 07 Ridgeline with the funky 40mph clunk and dump, my 09 Ridgeline with the slightly better 40 mph grind and jump, and than my 14 MDX with the 6 speed did. Noticably quicker on hard launches too. Aside from the ugly fascia correction, the 9 speed is the reason to go newer, though I'm not sure the rest of the truck's build quality is what Honda would like it to be.
 

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The engine runs in 3-cylinder mode when coasting above 45 MPH, but returns to 6-cylinder mode below that speed.
I get 3 cylinder mode at 40-42 mph on a few roads near my house. This happens quite regularly. I'm not sure about lower speeds though. I think it comes on at lower speeds even, but I don't have clear recollection on those. I just happened to be paying attention to this recently because I was wondering if the slight roughness I was feeling was the road or the VCM. Most of the time I don't notice the VCM kicking in, but on some smoother roads it is noticeable.
 

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A bit hard to find the little push button D without looking down. I liked not having to look with the regular gear shifter on my Accord. Might seem trivial but after 5000 miles on my Ridgeline I still wish I didn't have to look down to "find" the button. Shouldn't have to. Should be able to do it easily by feel while looking forward.

Yes, the push button delay is annoying too at times. I wish this truck had a CVT; that's right, I said it. Honda's CVT + turbo is superior. There's no funky dog clutches needed, doesn't jerk at all, and breaking to a stop is completely smooth in a CVT, unlike in this 9 speed. But I mostly forget about it all and just enjoy the ride. These are minor gripes.
 
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