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Sure thing. being this is my town and I get this report everyday from the SacBee, i would be more than happy to:
RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Honda gets rolling with Ridgeline
Scripps Howard News Service
Last Updated 11:53 am PDT Thursday, September 22, 2005
More than half of all vehicles sold are trucks. And for the first time, this year some of them will be Honda pickups.
Entering the half-ton truck market with the much awaited Ridgeline, Honda broadens its fleet after trailing Toyota and Nissan for years.
Whether this is an opportune time to introduce an all-wheel-drive pickup with fuel prices drifting around $3 per gallon remains to be seen. But the Ridgeline's claim to the best fuel economy in its class could help.
With an EPA rating of 16 city miles per gallon and 21 highway, the Ridgeline falls fall short of exemplary. Assuming mid-grade unleaded at $3 per gallon, it would cost $66 to fill an empty tank. But drivers who want all-wheel-drive in a compact pickup could see the Ridgeline as an attractive alternative to full-size monsters bearing other nameplates.
Powered by a 3.5-liter, 255-horsepower VTEC V6, the Ridgeline hits the scales at 4,503 pounds with a truck bed measuring 60 inches by 49.5 with a depth of 20 inches. As a four-door, the truck accommodates a family of five and offers safety features such as front and side airbags, rollover sensor and tire-pressure monitoring.
Offered in three trim levels - RT, RTS and RTL - the Ridgeline has a fairly high price range of $27,700 to $34,640 for an option-laden RTL.
Standard features on all models include lockable trunk in the truck bed with room for tools, golf bags or other precious possessions. The tailgate opens two different ways to make loading easier. And the independent suspension with two frame rails running lengthwise and seven cross members is designed to improve ride quality and rigidity.
All models are ready to tow with standard transmission and oil coolers, heavy duty brakes, dual radiator fans, fresh air intake system for improved towing performance in hot weather conditions, and wiring for 4-pin and 7-pin trailer hook up.
The Ridgeline RTS, priced at $30,075, adds alloy wheels, a seven-speaker 160-watt audio system with subwoofer and six-disc, in-dash audio system with steering wheel controls, dual zone automatic climate control and an eight-way power driver's seat.
The Ridgeline RTL ($31,490) adds leather seating surfaces, HomeLink remote system, an interior compass in the rearview mirror and heated front seats. Options on the RTL include power moonroof and XM Satellite Radio with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System.
Ridgeline achieved the best rollover resistance rating of any pickup tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in August. Earlier in the year, Ridgeline became the first four-door pickup to receive NHTSA's top 5-star safety rating for frontal and side impact crash test performance, Honda notes.
Versatility is increasingly important as the line between a pickup and sport utility continues to blur. The Ridgeline is designed for those who really have to haul things that they wouldn't want in the back ends of their SUVs, such as hay, mulch or manure.
The tailgate is an important innovation because it swings out or flips down, depending on what kind of loading you need to do. The trunk is also cleverly designed. Hidden beneath a hinged portion of the truck bed, the 8.5 cubic foot space is lockable and water resistant. The truck's spare tire is stored in a sliding tray inside the trunk.
The Ridgeline's standard Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive System can transfer up to 70 percent of available torque to the rear wheels.
Designed to tow a 5,000 pound trailer, the Ridgeline is equipped with transmission and power steering coolers, a dual fan radiator, heavy-duty brakes and a fresh air intake system. The V6 engine puts out 252 foot-pounds of torque.
The interior is basic but comfortable, boasting the most rear-seat legroom for a four-door pickup. The second-row bench seat has storage space beneath and has a 60/40-split. Controls for the air conditioning and heating controls are designed for simplicity and ease of use. The shift lever is mounted on the steering column.
While the new Ridgeline is unlikely to pose a deep threat to the Big Three truck makers, it does lift Honda's profile significantly against the Japanese brands.
"The truck market is evolving and we think Ridgeline is at the leading edge of the trend," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., "The Honda Ridgeline delivers all the capabilities of a truck with none of the traditional truck trade-offs."
WHAT'S NEW: All new model.
PLUSES: Versatility, reliability, comfort.
MINUSES: Price, lack of rear-drive option, fuel economy.
BOTTOM LINE: Attractive small truck with Honda quality.