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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was 'lucky' enough to have gotten one of the first 2021 Ridgelines (my VIN ends with 000XX). When buying it, I wanted the touring trim (Canadian version of the RTL-E) but in order to get one of the first ones I had to step up to the Black Edition as a local dealership was getting one allocated. The day I got the call that the RL was in, which was actually a few days before the official release date, I was excited to go pick up my first Honda, which was to replace my GMC Canyon that had over 275,000km on the odometer.

Well, I am now about 2 months into ownership with about 3,000 miles of mostly highway driving and it has made me far less excited to own my first RL.
  1. The front windshield came with a defect - the dealership has ordered me a new windshield and it is being covered under warranty, but there is no indication as to how many more months it will be before a windshield can be obtained (they are currently unavailable to order).
  2. My hood had a large amount of body panel adhesive that was left on the bottom edge prior to being painted. The paint then eventually popped off. This was on the bottom edge of the hood, very visible from the driver's seat. My RL was sent to a local body shop that 'fixed' the damage, but there is still a visible spot where the paint has a bulge in it as the body shop didn't do the best job.
  3. The rear seat mechanism on the passenger side does not function properly - I was told it does and that it is intentionally 'stiff' from the factory as the seat is lighter on that side and they don't want it accidentally coming up. I call BS on that explanation; it just doesn't work properly
  4. There was a section of the front bumper where the paint had a big defect (the clear coat didn't seem to cure properly). This was fixed by the body shop when they took care of #2.
  5. Every little pebble that hits the windshield seems to leave a permanent mark. I've been told that the acoustic glass may be much more prone to rock chipping.
  6. The tech is worse than what other manufacturers have had out for over 5 years now - to be fair, I knew this going in.
  7. BUT.... even with that... my biggest problem? The rattles!!!
    1. The rear power sliding window rattles pretty badly - the dealership has 'fixed' this but can't guarantee that the problem won't come back. If it does then I am being told that an entirely new rear windshield will need to be put in
    2. There is a rattle from the right-hand side of my dash that I haven't been able to pinpoint
    3. There is an occasional rattle from my center speaker (if I smack it then it goes away for a while)
    4. There is a metal 'chirping' noise that comes from the back seat somewhere
I really want to love this truck. It ticks all the boxes for me. But it has become an unpleasant experience every time I drive it as the rattles/squeaks just won't stop. There is some bliss when on nice smooth roads, but unfortunately, I live in an area that gets harsh winters and the roads are less than perfect.

When shopping, I compared the RL to the usuals, the Ranger, Taco, and Canyon, and for the price, I justified the RL as I expected the Honda to have far superior build quality (perhaps with the exception of the Taco). But I have come to regret that decision. I'm even thinking of just taking a decent loss and selling my RL but not sure I can stomach how much I'd lose in that situation.

Yes, I am just venting - if you think that Honda is still the best, great! I think that many of their vehicles are still amazing. But, I also believe that the RL is such a low-volume vehicle for Honda that they don't put the same care into how they are being built.
 

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I've owned a 2017 and now a 2019 Ridgeline. Both trucks came factory equipped with multiple factory defects. Luckily I wasn't charged extra for them. (I think) Just suck it up. You will enjoy your Ridgeline after your initial six months to a year of initial adjustments and repairs required to get all in order. Congratulations on your 2021.
 

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There is no best manufacturer any more as far as I can tell. I would say that Toyota is still probably at the top, but even Toyota has problems with individual vehicles and some model years. For anyone that buys a new vehicle my advice is to carefully test drive and inspect the vehicle you are buying and if you find some issues you aren't comfortable living with just pass and pick another.

I still have a rattle in my 2019 that I haven't figured out and I didn't notice when purchasing. It seems to be coming from the dash somewhere up front on the passenger side. I was next to a big truck with "enhanced" sound yesterday and whatever they were playing was just the right frequency to activate the rattle while stopped at a red light. I have a friend that plays in a band so I might just see if I can convince him to set up one of his big speakers for me one day and see if we can activate the rattle and track it down.
 

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Sorry to hear that. My 2019 suffers from 5. I think all 2021s suffer from 6.

Fortunately, my example doesn't suffer from the other issues you have. I think with Honda, build quality can be hit and miss; I imagine most are built well, but there seems to be enough escapes that you have to ask about Honda's quality.
 

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Forget any notion that the Ridgeline is a Japanese product and is associated with Japanese quality - it is not. It was designed in the US exclusively for the North American market and is built in Alabama using mostly parts that were built in America. For better or worse, the Ridgeline is one of the most American vehicles you can buy.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama where the Ridgeline is made is not known for producing reliable vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, the Ridgeline is HMA's most reliable product. The four models made at HMA are outlined in red.

Wanna guess where their most reliable model is made? Mexico. :)

411757


I have a friend that plays in a band so I might just see if I can convince him to set up one of his big speakers for me one day and see if we can activate the rattle and track it down.
I've used "frequency generator" apps to generate constant tones to reveal and fix rattles.
 

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I was just thinking about this on my 2021. Although not as bad as yours. I had a big blob of seam seal on the inside of my pass door that picked off and then just touch up painted over. I also have some seam seal on my roof along the edge that should have been wiped off but was painted over. I'll live with it as I don't want to get paintwork done at a shop and its barely noticeable unless I pointed it out. Also I was under the truck installing my welcome lights and noticed they painted over dirt/dust on the under side of the door. The paint under the door is also not very good coverage, I can see primer in spots. I blame American factories. I feel their quality control isn't nearly as good or the workers aren't nearly as dedicated to their work as outside factories. I am also having the typical audio issues.

On the plus side I know that the ridgeline resale value will be great, and the truck fits my needs and wants.
 

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To me it sounds like you won't be happy until you dump it. Get rid of it now! You should be able to negotiate a good trade value and since the market is overpriced so is your trade in. You might be happier with a used vehicle that has all the bugs worked out.
 
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If you decide to dump it, see how much Carvana will give you for it. The used car market is hot right now and Carvana has been paying crazy high prices for used vehicles.

If you decide to buy a Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado/Canyon, Frontier, or Gladiator, you might not improve reliability and you'll be giving up a lot in terms of ride quality, safety, performance, efficiency, comfort, handling, features, and utility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you decide to dump it, see how much Carvana will give you for it. The used car market is hot right now and Carvana has been paying crazy high prices for used vehicles.

If you decide to buy a Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado/Canyon, Frontier, or Gladiator, you might not improve reliability and you'll be giving up a lot in terms of ride quality, safety, performance, efficiency, comfort, handling, features, and utility.
I'm up in Canada = no carvana

I'm going to start looking into trading it for something else, but while the trade-in value may be high, so would the value of what I'd be trading it for. In the end, I'd be losing a massive amount of money if I were to try and get rid of it now.

I may just step up to an F150 with the hybrid powertrain.
 

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It's a tough call. I too like most expect a pretty well built car when I pay these prices. I have days that I wonder - should I just buy a used car, with some dings, scratches etc and known issues. Heck, I drive 30k per year so I probably should, and buy a toy to really take care of.

If you are looking at a full size - really think about it. I have a 2021 Nissan Titan, it's build quality is actually excellent so far. My only nitpick is the transmission is a little clunky at lower speeds (and it does drive me nuts, but it's how they all seem to be).

But it's bigger than I need, I love it on the highway, but do not around town, or in parking garages. My wife and daughters won't drive it, the gas mileage is bad. I would argue it's better built than either of my ridgelines, but it's just not what I need.

IF you want the surest car as far as quality - I would recommend a toyota 4 runner. I drove them for years, They might even hold better value than a Ridgeline. But, as far as creature comforts, they are way behind. I test drove one the other day again. Built like a tank (in Japan still), just never had much in the way of issues other than brake calipers on my 2003 that was 14 years old (though they did have a frame rusting issue.. so there is that but that was long ago).

But the gas mileage sucks, and they just don't drive like the Ridgeline. Before I pull the trigger on another ridgeline I am going to drive a subaru outback one more time (we have a 2012) and likely a limited 4 runner just to make sure.

BUT, I do agree with you the QC for Honda, especially out of that Alabama plant is spotty. I can't blame you for making a move, but would tell you to really think about the next one. The Ridgeline is an excellent tool for the job for many of us.
 

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or maybe wait for the new Santa Cruz to come out later this year and make comparisons. It should be a similar truck to the ridgeline in many ways. But being a first model year i'm sure it will have it's issues.
 
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I have had that rear window rattle on our 2020 from day one and agree it is really annoying. Had our Ridgeline back to the dealer, their verdict was 'needs more grease' and their addition of such did help the issue....for about a thousand miles. It is back and slowly getting worse again, will have another dealer appointment soon on that.
 

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I had a similar list of frustrations with my 2018. I worked through them, and after three years, I'm quite happy with the truck. In fact, in two years, I plan on passing it on to my son, and every time I think of getting another model for myself, I do a mental comparison, and it comes off worse in comparison to my Ridgeline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
An F-150 is quite a different tool than a Ridgeline. Is it the best tool for your job?

Also, the F-150 Hybrid appears to have lower real-world fuel economy than a Ridgeline.

If you're considering an F-150 for quality, it's statistically more likely to be even worse in this regard than a Ridgeline.
No, the RL is certainly more suited to my needs. I only really ever tow a 20ft boat and a smaller snowmobile trailer.
The F150 is just a significantly nicer interior and far superior tech.

IF you want the surest car as far as quality - I would recommend a toyota 4 runner. I drove them for years, They might even hold better value than a Ridgeline. But, as far as creature comforts, they are way behind. I test drove one the other day again. Built like a tank (in Japan still), just never had much in the way of issues other than brake calipers on my 2003 that was 14 years old (though they did have a frame rusting issue.. so there is that but that was long ago).

But the gas mileage sucks, and they just don't drive like the Ridgeline. Before I pull the trigger on another ridgeline I am going to drive a subaru outback one more time (we have a 2012) and likely a limited 4 runner just to make sure.

BUT, I do agree with you the QC for Honda, especially out of that Alabama plant is spotty. I can't blame you for making a move, but would tell you to really think about the next one. The Ridgeline is an excellent tool for the job for many of us.
I actually went to test out a 4Runner Limited before I got the RL. The biggest issue with the 4Runner was the antique of an engine that they use and that the deck height for the trunk was too high for my wife to be comfortable with loading it up. It also has some weird 4WD system that makes it an absolute gas guzzler (and with the price of fuel up in Canada that is a big consideration).
 

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Toyota isn't any better. I had a 2019 Tacoma that required a new differential and the fender flares would pull away from the body panels. I had 4 fender flares replaced in one position. The entune system Toyota uses is just as mediocre as Hondas tech. Just glad my phone actually stays connected to the Honda software.

I have a 2021 Ridgeline as well and have a few minor paint issues but have installed PPF to protect the front end. I have no other issues. You will run in to the same problems with any manufacturer. If you find a perfect vehicle, consider yourself lucky.
 

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Sadly my 2019 had a lot of fit issues and sadly I managed to repair or adjust most of them. What a local body shop did I had to redo. I still have a perceived wind noise from the right front door area. I am about to decide it may be tire resonance. It goes away when the brakes are applied. A new door weatherstrip may be in order. Adjustment didn't help. I had multiple molding alignment installation issues, missing clips, door, tail gate alignment and right beds panel skin fitment issues. Sun roof needed adjusting. Hood reglued. Radiator cowl panel buzz. (missing clip) Molding screws over the back glass were over tightened warping the molding. I had to remove molding. shim under some screws and reinstall. A pleasure to drive now.
 
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