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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks - new member here. I'm seriously considering a '23 RTL now that I see dealers moving off MSRP to $40k and less here around Chicago. Since I'm new to this vehicle I'm seeing the endless commentary on off-road capability. When I compare the Chevy it has a listed GC of 8.2" or .3" more than the RL. I drove a 4WD Colorado for several years for a public agency that took me off-road on a regular basis. Open fields, dirt trails, deep snow and crazy slopes all in 4HI. Obviously not Moab, but I never recall ever being concerned with GC or getting stuck. I understand 4WD vs. AWD but am I missing something here? I mean does .3" difference really matter? I'd like to at least hit the better seasonal roads up north if possible.
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Hi folks - new member here. I'm seriously considering a '23 RTL now that I see dealers moving off MSRP to $40k and less here around Chicago. Since I'm new to this vehicle I'm seeing the endless commentary on off-road capability. When I compare the Chevy it has a listed GC of 8.2" or .3" more than the RL. I drove a 4WD Colorado for several years for a public agency that took me off-road on a regular basis. Open fields, dirt trails, deep snow and crazy slopes all in 4HI. Obviously not Moab, but I never recall ever being concerned with GC or getting stuck. I understand 4WD vs. AWD but am I missing something here? I mean does .3" difference really matter? I'd like to at least hit the better seasonal roads up north if possible.
Thanks
I guess the answer to your question is are you going off-road a lot and need that extra .3” of ground clearance? Drive both and imagine day to day driving AND reliability for both. If you price out a Colorado w/leather and options that the RTL/RTL-E, there is a big price difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, like most it's a few times a year. My point was that many think there's a huge difference between the RL and the competition when at least on paper they're not really that far apart. So 98% of the time, the RL wins the race.
 

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We installed a skid plate on our Ridgeline in which has now been removed due to damage caused by ground contact while taking our Ridgeline off-road.

Just sharing!

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Appreciate it Bill. The problem s that off-road can mean anything. I was in Michigan a month ago with my friend's Silverado on seasonal roads. We barely deep made it out of there given the deep ruts, rocks, tree stumps. When you're spending $40-50k you want everything but that's just not possible.
 

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2019 RTL awd, MSM
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Many of the "real truck bros" make the Ridgeline out to be far less capable than it is. A few Ridgeline aficionados might make it out to be a little more capable than it is.

The Ridgeline will do just fine on most offroad trails, forest service roads, fire roads, etc., as long as you pay attention and don't do anything stupid. Learn how to pick your path properly.

Where the Ridgeline might get into trouble is when ruts are very deep and you can't straddle them, when boulders are numerous, greater than 8" diameter and you can't avoid them, running the AWD system hard on steep inclines or slippery slopes that can overheat the clutches, etc. For most stuff, it'll just fine given that the driver knows what they are doing.
 

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I also want to bring up it's not just about ground clearance but also about the design of the underside of the truck. The RL has a lot of critical components exposed such as the Oil pan, gas tank, rear diff etc that may be more sensitive than a standard truck design. For example on the Colorado, it may not matter if you bang the rear diff on a rock now and then as it is cast iron and can slide over things without potentially causing any damage. On the Ridge that rear diff is aluminum and would not take the same punishment. Same with the front end. A normal truck has a frame\crossmembers and things to slide around on when off road without causing too much damage and typically the gas tank etc tucked up a bit. The Ridge everything hangs down low.

I think if you add full underbelly skids on the ridge it's pretty capable, but stock I wouldn't take it on much more than a gravel road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also want to bring up it's not just about ground clearance but also about the design of the underside of the truck. The RL has a lot of critical components exposed such as the Oil pan, gas tank, rear diff etc that may be more sensitive than a standard truck design. For example on the Colorado, it may not matter if you bang the rear diff on a rock now and then as it is cast iron and can slide over things without potentially causing any damage. On the Ridge that rear diff is aluminum and would not take the same punishment. Same with the front end. A normal truck has a frame\crossmembers and things to slide around on when off road without causing too much damage and typically the gas tank etc tucked up a bit. The Ridge everything hangs down low.

I think if you add full underbelly skids on the ridge it's pretty capable but stock I wouldn't take it on much more than a gravel road.
Great points - that's what I suspected. I think my off-road needs are few and far between but you never know when you'll be tempted to do something dumb.
 

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Great points - that's what I suspected. I think my off-road needs are few and far between but you never know when you'll be tempted to do something dumb.
If you are easily tempted into a "hold my beer and watch this" situation, then the RL isn't the right vehicles for you. I suggest a Gladiator Rubicon, metal bumpers, lots of skids, rock rails, solid axles....you can bounce it off a lot of things and it will keep going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you are easily tempted into a "hold my beer and watch this" situation, then the RL isn't the right vehicles for you. I suggest a Gladiator Rubicon, metal bumpers, lots of skids, rock rails, solid axles....you can bounce it off a lot of things and it will keep going.
Ha! Maybe in my younger days. I was up north with a friend and his Silverado 4x4 on the 'seasonal' roads (more suited for ATV's) and I was more worried than he was.
 

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Depends on what type of work/prep you want to do for what type of off-roading you want to be prepped for. For most situations (gravel/log roads, crossing fields, snow driving, etc) just replacing the tires with a more aggressive tread will make the ridgeline plenty prepared.The awd transmission for this truck is fantastic.
If you want to really get set up for the more extream off-roading, just like any other truck, you can throw a lift kit, skid plates, and some bigger tires on the truck. I have the 2023 rtl-e and this is what I am planning on doing over the next 2 years.
 

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2021 Canadian Ridgeline Sport
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I've posted this elsewhere. This is my ground clearance solution. Leave the truck at the trailhead. No pinstripes.

Wheel Bicycle Tire Land vehicle Car


Even if I had a Colorado ZR2 or a Jeep Wrangler, there would be many places I would be reluctant to take my new expensive toy. I'm not interested in pinstripes running down the sides of a fairly new vehicle, courtesy of branches on an overgrown trail. With the electric fat bikes, no problem. Trail too narrow for a Jeep? No sweat. 20" log laying across the trail? Just lift the bikes over. Motor vehicles not permitted? No problem - e-bikes are OK. The tires run at 10-15 psi, so ground pressures are very low, which minimizes trail damage. Two-track roads with high centers or rocks requiring a lot of ground clearance are not a problem, either.
 

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I am of firm belief that Ridgeline is a fire road and mild terrain (sand) at best vehicle.

No skids…and no reliable points to attach one either. No low range. Poor angles all around. Passenger tires. Poor wheel articulation. Lots of aluminum underneath. No full size spare. Poor gas pedal modulation (for off-road). No hill descent. Traction control not the greatest. Rear iVTM overheats with extensive use.

BUT, RL is simply the best truck out there for bad weather driving, practicality, comfort, and best bang for the buck in the features that you get. We love our RL!
 

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Ha! Maybe in my younger days. I was up north with a friend and his Silverado 4x4 on the 'seasonal' roads (more suited for ATV's) and I was more worried than he was.
Yeah, you do have to be careful. I don't recall if it was the Reddit group or on here but a woman and her husband knocked the rear diff on a log or rock driving out to their camping site and cracked the rear diff case. They weren't trying to offroad or anything, just driving down the path to the campsite, the roads were rutted and they smacked something. That rear diff hangs down pretty low. Again, could be solved with skids just to be safe too.

We do a lot of camping and the occasional light trail while trekking around trying to find a good hiking path. I've wavered back and forth if the Ridge was the right choice for us but the ride quality and utility always wins me over. This next summer I'll probably add a 1.5" lift and full skids from No-Lo just so I can feel better while on the occasional light off pavement trek. Eventual goal is a bed rack and tent to do some overlanding!
 

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I am of firm belief that Ridgeline is a fire road and mild terrain (sand) at best vehicle.

No skids…and no reliable points to attach one either. No low range. Poor angles all around. Passenger tires. Poor wheel articulation. Lots of aluminum underneath. No full size spare. Poor gas pedal modulation (for off-road). No hill descent. Traction control not the greatest. Rear iVTM overheats with extensive use.

BUT, RL is simply the best truck out there for bad weather driving, practicality, comfort, and best bang for the buck in the features that you get. We love our RL!
I know what you are saying but according to the net the Ridgeline would not be able to do what it did in the video which it did.
 
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