Yes well said and is exactly how I have felt from the beginning of the news there would be a gen 2 Ridge. It will work for a niche market, but to really make a statement the truck needs to have more then just average specs. Some here are hoping it will only be niche truck. I think they prefer owing a unique truck to themselves that very few see marketable. The F-150 is the complete opposite to that. To this point I really believe they will indeed get their wish and majority of others will be looking elsewhere. However...With limited production capacity, Honda only needs to guide the new Ridge into that niche we all know exists. But will the G2 live up to the revised expectations of today's mid-size truck buyer? The success or failure of the new RL may not have much impact on Honda's bottom line, but it will certainly affect their image as a competitor in the US market.
Correct not at all, in fact it will be judged heavier then it was before imo. It will take more to impress. In other words people who review will likely be more critical on its performance this time around. If its the same as before (gen1) would they praise it as highly? or would they give it a average mark or worse even a below average grade. Some people could care less what any of these critics say they are buying one hands down done deal no matter what. IMO it needs to be very good but that starts with class leading specs. MPG being probably highest for Honda. I don't think they win in the tow or hauling or climbing off-road aspect. They need that fuel milage to be high. Can they do it?When the G2 RL comes out, it's a safe bet that it will be directly compared to the BOF midsize truck competition. The reviewers will run it through the same on-road and off-road challenges as those other pickups. I expect the RL to do better than the competition in some test categories and not-so-great in others. But I don't expect any reviewers to make excuses for it because "it's really in a different niche than other trucks". They might not judge it too harshly in the boulder crawl, but if it gets high-centered or damaged on a rutted dirt road, I really doubt they will say "That's no big deal because over 90% of pickup owners never take their vehicles off the pavement."
Honda needs to intro the RL2 to the public (and reviewers) as a "different kind of utility truck", not to be compared directly with other trucks. So what if it's a minivan with a bed? A minivan is one of the most useful vehicles made, regardless of the stigma. The RL sure doesn't look like a minivan, and that will be most important to most buyers.
Your post reminded me of the movie Vacation with Chevy Chase? They drove that massive station wagon. It was what most families wanted in the 80's The magic wagon with the panel doors was the cream of the crop. The white colour with the fake huge wood panel. I remember because even I was putting the heat on as a young kid for my parents to get one. It had the digital compartment located on the headliner between the two front seats it could tell time and outside temperature. It was a huge deal back then and a expensive option. Realistcally although it was trendy it was a terrible vehicle. Transmissions and engine problems caused havoc on the models. They are much better now of course.This whole line of thought just outlines how the passage of time shifts perceptions about great stuff.
Once upon a time, Station Wagons were the greatest thing since sliced bread. And they WERE in fact great family utility vehicles for their time. Then they got poo-poo'd by the cool crowd.
Next Mini Vans were the new, improved concept (remember the "Magic Wagon" commecials anyone?)
These were OUTSTANDING vehicles for all kinds of family use.... a great improvement over too-small sedans, awkward vans, and not-so-accommodating station wagons. Soon the mini-van got bashed as "soccer mom" vehicles by the folks that didn't like them, mostly because by now there was another 'cooler' choice: the S. U. V. .... oooohhhhh. New marketing words......
This mini-van bashing is not so different from "truck guys" bashing our RLs because they didn't like them; don't you think?
So what's getting bashed now?... "gas guzzling SUVs"? There are even people who deliberately vandalize SUVs just because they are SUVs. How crazy is that.
But what is the latest sweet-heart vehicle.... Oh yeah... the "crossover".
New vehicle terminology & catchy buzzwords for a different type of vehicle configuration that does something else for somebody. If you like it, it's a winner, if you don't then you don't..... and you might bash it, depending on your inclinations. Or you might love it, but bash it later when some new fangled deal turns you fickle.
Point is: There are different cars/trucks for different people/situations... and different times and places. AND there's nothing inherently "wrong" with a mini-van, or an SUV, or a station wagon for that matter; or vans or small truck or big trucks, etc. (did I leave out El Camino/Ranchero types?.... don't know what to call them).
So in my mind it's kind of petty to stab at ANY vehicle by calling it a minivan with a bed or (fill-in-the-blank). Sort of defines double standard when you think about how much it has been complained about when past critics labeled our G1 RL the same way, don't you think.
I guess I just don't think you have to bash one thing in order to cheer for another. Seems small minded to me. Just my 2 cents.
Bingo I think you are right! People right out of the gate might get hung up on the term truck and instantly compare it. It might happen anyways. I worry about the budget restricting the full potential of the product. It's the right call though either way. I don't think they want to battle the other makes in the truck segment if they did I would have to believe the specs would be more in line with what we are seeing. What we are hearing is not what one might expect to be more "truck like" (eg arm rest/no console?) that is a straight out of minvan land, and that alone is not doing them any favours to sell it as a truck in the North American market.Honda needs to intro the RL2 to the public (and reviewers) as a "different kind of utility truck", not to be compared directly with other trucks. So what if it's a minivan with a bed? A minivan is one of the most useful vehicles made, regardless of the stigma. The RL sure doesn't look like a minivan, and that will be most important to most buyers.