Probably not your typical story from what I have been reading here and on other sites. I didn't do any research beforehand, and really didn't know squat about the Ridgeline before I drove it off the showroom floor.
About three weeks ago, I about had it with my Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer. Everything was going wrong with it, and I no longer had any desire to put any money into the money pit.
When I woke up that morning, I headed straight to the credit union. I got a pre-approved auto loan then decided I would go to the BMW dealer to check out their X5 SUVs. I had previously test driven a Mercedes ML500, and I was pretty impressed with those too. I was pretty much set on getting either a BMW X5 or a Mercedes ML500, depending on which I liked better at the end of the day.
Only a funny thing happened on the way to the BMW dealer. As I drove down the boulevard on the way to the BMW dealership, I caught a glimpse of the new Ridgelines at the Honda dealership. I decided to stop and give them a look over--- more as a validation that I would be making the right choice when I purchased an X5 or ML500. I hadn't owned a Japanese car in over a decade, and really had no plans to do so that day.
Well a couple of hours later, and some furious negotiating back and forth, I found myself the owner of a brand new white Ridgeline RTL. One thing that helped immensely with my negotiations was a preprinted cut and paste of the dealerships I was intending to visit that day. I made it abundantly clear that I would own a new vehicle by the end of the day, and I didn't hide the fact that I was leaning towards either a BMW or a Mercedes SUV.
I guess the salesman, saw that I wasn't kidding. I flatly refused to pay their asking price which was several thousand over invoice. I was simply aghast at the thought of paying over invoice, "Why the hell would I pay over invoice for a Honda when the BMW and Mercedes that I really want is being discounted below sticker?" At the time, I didn't realize that Ridgelines were somewhat of a commodity; the hot new model, and maybe my naivete and unwillingness to budge made their resolve stronger to seal a deal with me.
I was about to walk out with my pre-approved loan when the salesman came back with his last offer. I quickly did the math in my head and realized I would save almost $20,000 on a vehicle which was in many ways much more useful for my purposes, and deep inside, I also knew that I would be getting something a bit more reliable (judging from the BMW that I already own.)
So there you have it, when I woke up that morning, I knew very little about the Ridgeline, and by that afternoon, I was driving off the lot in one.
By the way, I wasn't all that familiar with the trim levels, but I asked for the one with all of the bells and whistles and still managed to make it under what a base model of the BMW I wanted started at.
Got the RTL with Navi, Moonroof, roof rack, side-steps, bed extender and a trunk. They said the trunk was a $5,000 option, but they threw that in for free in the deal.