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After agonizing over spending way more than I planned, I bit the bullet. Here's my thought process for those who may be going through the same dilemma.

I initially didn't even have a Ridgeline on my radar. I had been looking at full size trucks and AWD wagons, needing a more practical vehicle than my 2015 GTI (which I have loved and have had zero problems with), as it was terrible in the snow. I realize I will get a ration of shit from the truck bro's I work with for buying this, but I am prepared :) . I don't tow anything, but do make the occasional trip to the dump, Home Depot, etc, and haul my bikes, and tubing and paddle board stuff to the river. I really only have the space for my wife and I to have one vehicle each, and this thing seems like it will do it all. And it fits in my garage! A Ram 1500 wouldn't have fit. We have no kids to haul. 20 MPG seems like a good compromise for the size and utility as opposed to getting 15 MPG in a full size truck.

The thing that piqued my interest was seeing 2019 RTL's for what seemed to me to be ridiculously low prices. $30,500-31,500 for a nice truck with leather seats and a sunroof! I went and drove one. It was a nice truck! If they'd have had a color I wanted I might have pulled the trigger then and there. I wasn't quite ready though, so I went home and geeked out, poring through this forum and other online stuff. I started realizing all of the cool features that were on the 'E', and realizing that I will probably keep this rig for a long time. I've had my GTI for five years and it has 86,000 miles on it. I got an upper trim level and never regretted having the extras. However, the price difference was huge, so I agonized over that for awhile. The blow-outs on the 2019's were pretty amazing. Alas, there were no more '19 E's to be had, that ship has sailed. There aren't a ton of 'E's on the ground here, so I found the nearest one to check it out. What a nice vehicle!

2109 RTL plusses: AMAZING GOOD DEAL! .9% financing on top of it (Not valid on 2020's), nicely equipped, tried and true six speed auto, conventional gear shift lever, no start/stop "feature". If there would have been 2019 'E's available at a comparable discount, it would have been a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I'm late to the party. If my budget was tighter I could have gotten the RTL and been happy with it. It is a great value at that price and a damn nice truck.

Here's what swayed me: I knew that I'd regret not getting the nice features because my budget allows me to pay for it. I'm frugal, and I love a bargain to be sure. I think I got a pretty reasonable deal on the 2020 but it was a ton more money than the RTL. However, I don't want to mess with modding a new vehicle. I couldn't have lived with the radio in the RTL. I want Apple Car Play and satellite radio and the gadgets in the infotainment, and I don't want to mess with having my dashboard and headliner ripped apart. The factory system in the 'E' is good enough for me. I know an aftermarket system would have been just as good/better, but I don't want buttons on my steering wheel that don't work. I also really like the adaptive cruise. I take a lot of long trips and it is really nice to have. Heated steering wheel, nice to have. Blind spot monitoring is a feature I wanted. LED headlights are another thing I don't want to be without. As I started to add up the modification cost and the hassle factor, as I live over an hour from a big town, it loses its appeal. I like the ambient interior lighting, it's a nice touch. The bed speaker is a groovy party trick that I will actually use when we go to the river or camping. The 110VAC outlet in the bed is cool. I don't think there are amenities on this truck that I won't use or appreciate. I really like the greater rear door egress and the locking tailgate is nice.

Here's how I overcame the negatives:

Six speed vs. nine speed: I'd probably rather have the six speed. They don't make the six speed anymore, and I wanted the features of the 'E' more than I cared about the six speed. I didn't see enough negatives for this to be a deal breaker. I didn't drive either extensively but it seems to be fine.

Button shifter: It's going to take getting used to. I have a knob shifter in the Ram truck I drive at work. I got used to it. The button shifter looks kind of groovy, however, I'd rather have a regular shifter. Oh well.

The infotainment: Yes, I wish it had a knob. Chrysler's Uconnect system is way better. It sounds pretty good, not as good as my GTI but good enough. The native navigation is really good. I think the auto critics went off the deep end disparaging this thing. It's really not that bad. It's going to take some getting used to, but it is fine. The display looks nice and it is plenty big. I'll mostly use satellite radio and Car Play. It seems that every after market system I looked at, though, lacked a knob. This system is an order of magnitude better than what I had before.

Start/Stop: I was really afraid this might be a bummer. I've driven some cars that really don't do this well. Again, this is here to stay so if it was a deal breaker I'd be out of luck unless I wanted to settle for the RTL. I'd rather not have it, but it is really hardly noticeable. I don't drive a lot in town, so it's not a big deal. At least there is a button to disable it as opposed to the Subaru I looked at that has the disable buried two menus deep into the infotainment.

I like the Zen of Honda. I'm glad to be driving one again. I've owned two Honda Accord's in my life and they were bulletproof. The refinement and quietness of the RL really impressed me. The interior quality is excellent. I'm actually looking forward to trying it out in the snow.

Thanks for all of the info on here and I look forward to contributing as I learn to enjoy this truck and add some personal touches!





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Congratulations, @CCC. Thank you for the picture. We just rented a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica and I agree with you about the Uconnect being a better system.

The stop/start system on the Chrysler was rough though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well thought out. You will miss the fun factor of the GTI though.
No doubt about it, I will miss that car. 86,000 miles and not a single problem, and an absolute hoot to drive. I once fit a brand new dishwasher in the box inside the hatch. Great little car but it doesn't lend itself to going anywhere off they pavement and was horrible in the snow.
 

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Congrats! I also recently just sold my 2015 GTI Autobahn 6-speed that I bought the Ridgeline to replace. I as well loved my GTI, and not one single problem besides normal maintenance with it. Hopefully the truck proves to be just as reliable. Nice color though!
 

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Myself coming from a 2016 Grand Cherokee Overland (all bells & whistles) the Infotainment in it compared to Honda didn't seem a huge steep down, but Jeep could have been improved in 2019 models. Honda pluses are the heated & cooled seat, and heated wheel functions are easily found rather than the Jeep, which had to go back in the screen and toggle to another screen to adjust. Miss Tranny temp which is good for towing reference is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Myself coming from a 2016 Grand Cherokee Overland (all bells & whistles) the Infotainment in it compared to Honda didn't seem a huge steep down, but Jeep could have been improved in 2019 models. Honda pluses are the heated & cooled seat, and heated wheel functions are easily found rather than the Jeep, which had to go back in the screen and toggle to another screen to adjust. Miss Tranny temp which is good for towing reference is all.
It boggles my mind that they don't offer cooled seats in the U.S. That is a feature I really wanted. At least I have remote start now to get the AC running before I jump in! I looked at Grand Cherokees, too, but the practicality of the pickup bed and overall value of the RL won me over. If I were going to do serious off-roading I'm sure the Jeep would have been a winner. I think they are nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Congrats! I also recently just sold my 2015 GTI Autobahn 6-speed that I bought the Ridgeline to replace. I as well loved my GTI, and not one single problem besides normal maintenance with it. Hopefully the truck proves to be just as reliable. Nice color though!
Thanks! I wish I could have both, but I really can't justify having more than one vehicle. I'll be interested to see what they do with the Mark VIII. I seriously considered a Golf 'R' for the AWD, but I am not super anal about my vehicles and I would have driven the thing into the ground like I did my GTI and would have felt even worse about it!
 

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Myself coming from a 2016 Grand Cherokee Overland (all bells & whistles) the Infotainment in it compared to Honda didn't seem a huge steep down, but Jeep could have been improved in 2019 models. Honda pluses are the heated & cooled seat, and heated wheel functions are easily found rather than the Jeep, which had to go back in the screen and toggle to another screen to adjust. Miss Tranny temp which is good for towing reference is all.
Why they have cooled seats in Canada and only heated seats in Texas, I will never understand. Honda needs to give Texans cooled seats in the next model year!
 

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I traded a GTI for my RTL-E. My car sold a day later. It will be missed. Plenty of room, power. The GTI is a great all around car. Wife wouldn't let me keep it, but she has an Alltrack. She got the Alltrack after the CVT in her Forester broke. That was the most aggravating transmission I've ever experienced. Subaru claimed it was a fluke but the parts to repair it was 6 months out. Checking the forums, I read of similar complaints. It had to go. Even if the transmission didn't break the driving experience was garbage. You could be cruising on the highway and it would downshift inexplicably and the RPM's shoot up to 8K. It "shifted" at odd moments.

I would have got a Tiguan or Atlas but there are weird options and both can be underpowered and guzzle gas for their engine configurations. Tiguan means aftermarket trailer hitch, Atlas has poor gas milage. VW makes a pickup in Europe but likely never bring it here. VW offerings in the US are nowhere near the European market.

I never considered a GM or Dogde, loosely considered a Tacoma, but it had too many realistic negatives (being a great off-roader that isn't used often doesn't out-way the cramped interior and lack of more modern feature). I considered the Ranger as a second choice. Realistically, it was an older platform updated for the US market. The Ridgeline won out because pound for pound it was a better all around truck for what I needed. I had consider a previous generation Ranger, but the gas mileage was awful for a compact truck and modern options were lacking.

Congrats on your new truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I traded a GTI for my RTL-E. My car sold a day later. It will be missed. Plenty of room, power. The GTI is a great all around car. Wife wouldn't let me keep it, but she has an Alltrack. She got the Alltrack after the CVT in her Forester broke. That was the most aggravating transmission I've ever experienced. Subaru claimed it was a fluke but the parts to repair it was 6 months out. Checking the forums, I read of similar complaints. It had to go. Even if the transmission didn't break the driving experience was garbage. You could be cruising on the highway and it would downshift inexplicably and the RPM's shoot up to 8K. It "shifted" at odd moments.

I would have got a Tiguan or Atlas but there are weird options and both can be underpowered and guzzle gas for their engine configurations. Tiguan means aftermarket trailer hitch, Atlas has poor gas milage. VW makes a pickup in Europe but likely never bring it here. VW offerings in the US are nowhere near the European market.

I never considered a GM or Dogde, loosely considered a Tacoma, but it had too many realistic negatives (being a great off-roader that isn't used often doesn't out-way the cramped interior and lack of more modern feature). I considered the Ranger as a second choice. Realistically, it was an older platform updated for the US market. The Ridgeline won out because pound for pound it was a better all around truck for what I needed. I had consider a previous generation Ranger, but the gas mileage was awful for a compact truck and modern options were lacking.

Congrats on your new truck.
When I bought my wife's Outback (a 2011) I got the 3.6 because I didn't want a CVT. Shortly afterward even the sixes went to CVT. The new Outback is pretty sweet, and it seems they've ironed out the reliabity of the latest CVT's. We'll probably replace the wife's car with one.

I even thought about an Alltrack SEL. Very nicely equipped, and they are giving the damn things away now. I just knew that I would hate going from a GTI to the 1.8 and I wanted more space and comfort/luxury. The Tiguan was too gutless. The Atlas was not my style and I just don't need three rows of seating, ever. The Arteon is very nice, but overpriced. Resale on VW's suck, too. Same parts bins used for all VW's now, too, and I didn't want to look at the same door handles/shift knob etc for another five years. OCD, I know!
 

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Alltrack really needs a 2.0T.

Everything else is completely true. VW doesn't really care enough for the American market to offer the great packages they have in Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yawza, nice truck ! shiny side up !
Thanks! Pacific Pewter is the color. I didn't want anything earthy or gray this time, but when I saw this one I thought it was sharp. My GTI and my wife's Outback are gray, and I didn't want another gray car. I think this color will hide the dirt well...lol.
 
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