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Ridgeline Looks - Success or Failure

19441 Views 92 Replies 58 Participants Last post by  casique
My Opinion - Long Post

Soft. Girly. Bland. Round. Blah. These are just some of the words I have read in this forum over the past few days. Are they true? Maybe, but everyone has a right to their opinions and the famous quote "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" has never been more true than with the introduction of the Gen 2 Ridgeline right? Wrong, and here's why:

From when the first generation of Ridgeline was introduced to the day the last one was sold, the looks were NOT described using the adjectives shown above. It was either A) Nice looking or B) It's ugly. There was very little middle ground with the Gen 1 Ridgeline looks. Now some people who thought it was ugly ended up buying one because of the clever features and utility and "Honda." If the Gen 1 Ridgeline was anything it was polarizing in the looks department. We can all say what we want but we all know that if you don't like the looks of a vehicle you won't enjoy owning the vehicle. Personally I pride myself on owning practical, well made vehicles but even I want the thing to look decent!

Now, many (most) of the previous and current Gen1 owners blame the lack of sales of the Gen 1 squarely on the shoulders of Honda marketing and advertising. I don't know how many times I have heard "Honda should have had more commercials" or "Honda should have more internet ads." True, to a point. What you guys are forgetting is the LOOKS of the Gen 1 Ridgeline. Like it or hate it... there is no in-between. We have forgotten this in the past 10 years. In my opinion the Gen 1 low sales numbers were low mainly because of the body design and the "look" of the vehicle. How many times have you heard or read about that "sail" or the "high bed" or all the other descriptive words people say? I heard "It's ugly" more times than I could count. Sure, when they rode in it they loved it. When they got out they hated it. Many vehicles have been wildly successful with minimal advertising and marketing. My 4Runner is a prime example. They have run a few commercials over the past six years (four I think) and they sold 100K units last year. Word of mouth is much more valuable than advertising and vehicle looks trumps them all.

With that said I have read several comments in the past few days lamenting the fact that the Gen 2 does not look like the Gen 1! Really? You don't want Honda to sell many of the Gen 2 Ridgelines?

Honda designs are typically bland. The Gen 1 Ridgeline was bold and you see what happened. Tacoma's got redesigned last year and you have to look hard to see what they changed. Why screw with a good thing? The CR-V and the Pilot are two of the best selling vehicles in their class. If looks are so important (and they are) why NOT make a truck with the same basic look as their successful siblings! Your argument is going to be "In the truck market, things have to be manly and tough." I call BS on that. There is nothing tough or manly about the Chevy Colorado. Heck, what is a tough or manly look anyhow? Put muscles and a mustache on it? Make it tall and rugged with a few scars?

The new Ridgeline is fairly bland, true, but apparently America wants bland. Look at the top sellers in each class. Bland is king. Even the F series truck (which hasn't changed significantly in years) is bland, yet they sell a bunch of them. For all those that feel miffed because they think the past and current Ridgeline owners aren't getting what THEY want? Think for a minute: How many are there? Enough to make the Gen 2 successful? I think not. Also you are getting most everything you had (pass through excepting) in hopefully a broader appeal package. If I were Honda I wouldn't listen to me when it came to the looks department... I thought the Gen 1 looked nice lol. Yeah, me and not very many others.

Bottom line is this: The Gen 2 Ridgeline is basically a Pilot with a bed. Sure, it has some clever features and a few different styling ques but in essence it is exactly that: Bland, not over the top, no wild colors, in other words, comfortable. So some of you can criticize the look as bland or girly or even "meh." The truth is the "bold" experiment of the Gen 1 didn't work so well. The proof on how successful the Gen 2 Ridgeline will be is in the sales numbers. I think they will succeed precisely for the reason some of you think they will fail... looks.
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If i understand you correctly, your saying because the RL G2 is a rounded, neutral and generic looking truck that people won't look at it and have a reaction one way or the other? And because of that, wider range of people will consider buying it and look at all the great features and that will sell more Ridgelines?
Yes, non polarizing looks.
Great post. This is my thoughts initially and reserve any final judgement until seeing it in person because pictures only do so much. To me the looks are a bit soft and I hate that it looks the exact same as the Pilot from front view. I love the Pilot as an SUV/crossover but not for a truck. Not if you are really wanting to get people with other trucks to convert. I doubt Honda's execs said, "let's go for the people without trucks and get them to convert". If you want to build it on a SUV/crossover platform, that's fine but if you put a bed on it and it looks like a truck you must listen to other truck enthusiasts out there and build it for the majority that will more likely consider buying it. Honda went after the minority (not sure why) with this design. Yeah, I bought my ridgeline for the reliability and practicality but still wish it looked more masculine (harder lines and more squared profile). Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder but more 'beholders' will think it is too soft. Why can't I have looks along with the practicality? Again my final opinion awaits seeing in person.
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Honda rarely fails...and the ridgeline g2 will sell. Many buy Honda for its reliability. Price will have a lot of impact on sales numbers. They offer a fwd model maybe there is a market for it. Buying a tonneau cover or a bed cap will be a lot easier. Time will tell
I agree with much of what you've said, and I too believe the G2 will sell more than G1 based on looks alone. BUT, if a decent dose of effective advertising is added to identify & SHARE the greatly unique features that have been the hallmark of Ridgeline all along, THEN you'll see some real stealing of market share based on the differentiation that knowledge brings to potential buyers.

It's that distinction that can make it stand apart, even while the looks say bland, middle-of-the-road. And anyway, hasn't Honda always been mostly bland, middle-of-the-road style-wise? Hasn't really hurt them so far.
I like it. Not everyone wants a truck like truck. I think it will sell well maybe better than the 1st Gen
I say 2nd Gen has more success than 1st Gen.
You have a good game plan you stick with it but it can always be altered a little bit. The 1st Gen had a lot of road blocks this mainly coming from traditional pickup truck buyers. Many have never been a Honda vehicle owner.
Many are stuck in their macho thinking way I need the bigger truck.
I am the kind that is looking for a practical vehicle that serves my needs well.
The 1st Gen was well thought out and 2nd Gen is new with improvements to the original formula. This time around Honda should not really care to much about the traditional pickup truck buyer. They will get many from the SUV passenger car crowd. The key is their marketing so waiting for Super Bowl add. The market is much different from 10years ago when 1st Ridgeline arrived. People are buying more CUV crossover type vehicle. So if Honda does good on their advertising this truck will be a success. They don't need to fall into that trap with fickle macho pickup truck buyers.
The Ridgeline also has a proven name to fall back on from 1st Gen.
If they get people into the show room for test drives and more info on vehicle
features and capabilities is offered by sales people that know something.
The sales people need to know about the 1st Gen Ridgeline so they can say this is new or improved like bed length & width. The in-bed trunk improvement & rear under seat storage improved ect. Need to have better pictures of accessories on truck. Explain & educate how the vehicle drives.
Don't stick it in a corner or out back of a dealership like Red Head stepchild it will be a success.
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Most of the time when I see a vehicle in person it looks better. I'm afraid that's not going to happen this time. I've seen the new Pilot in person & I really don't like the looks.
I purchased all of my prior Ridgelines based on functionality, reliability, and resale value. Looks factor in there somewhere but are variable. Some vehicles are just too ugly to consider, some excellent to the point of reducing the impact of the previously mentioned factors.

For me, G1 was "OK" I was not crazy about the transition from cab to bed but I bought more than one Ridgeline anyway. I consider the changes from the A pillars back on the G2 to be an improvement in both looks and function. From the A pillars forward I understand what I think are the factors that result in what we see. For me I think it's "good enough". Not a brilliant success or a miserable failure.
The standard looking bed alone is going to be a BIG sales helper...and the front end is not all that different in design than the Chevy Colorado, which has enjoyed decent success...I don't think the Gen 2 will be running down the Taco in sales numbers but Honda will move a decent number of units.

I don't even think pricing is going to be that big of an issue. The Colorado/Canyon and Taco are NOT cheap, even after incentives...
I'd like it a lot more if the headlights/grill were less 'swoopy' and more 'boxy' and truck-like. Also, not a fan of the faux vertical seam that 'separates' the unibody cab and bed.

Otherwise, it's not bad.

I'm actually received that it's not awesome, cause it will be quite a while before I plan to buy my next vehicle. I'm going to continue enjoying my 2012 RL and hope a 'makeover' in 3-4 years makes the new RL irresistible.
For me, I think the redesign is somewhere between a success and a failure. The first time I saw the new RL, my first reaction was…”meh”…I was not blown away but yet I was not overly disappointed either. I guess we pretty much knew what the front ½ of the truck was going to look like, with the information we got from Joe; that from the back of the rear door forward, it was going to have a lot in common with the 2017 Pilot. So, that was no surprise.

I actually like the truck from the rear door back. More like a traditional truck. I think this is in an attempt by Honda to try and attract more “traditional” pickup buyers. I like the idea of the bigger box and the flat floor in the trunk. We don't have the specs yet, but I sure was hoping Honda could find another inch or so in clearance. Even a 1/2 an inch would have helped. It looks a bit low to me. I think the interior is fine. Nothing terrible yet nothing flashy. Looks like a Honda interior.

Overall I think Honda did a decent job with the G2. Like the G1; I didn’t much care for the looks, but it grew on me. The more I see the G2, the more I like it.

The long and short of it is, for me, my initial thoughts are...I think it is OK. With that being said, I will reserve final judgment until I see one in person and drive it.
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Function and specs and interior, it's a success. Looks, it's a total fail. It just looks so awkward and out of proportion. The rear door to the bed is extremely bulky looking. The rounded shape and lack of any significant creases or bulges makes it look wimpy. It is surely a good driver and for that it will be a success. It is NOT going to swipe ANY sales from traditional truck buyers. It will satisfy the niche market of Honda loyalists who want to be different than Accord buyers and think they may do yard work a couple times a year and a run or two to HOME DEPOT. If you want a bigger vehicle that rides nice and gives you more room, this beats an SUV or the Mini Van, both of which could accomplish the two previous uses above.

It will sell the same as the other model and if it goes up in price and is not actually cheaper, it will sell less.
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Sorry lovers, but the Gen 1 is an ugly duckling. Not just the rear, but the proportions are off. Too thick in some ways.

Keep this in mind...that first video that was posted of the unveil. You heard the lady say "that looks NICE!" That is the view of most people. It will sell well.
Much more concerned about the interior than the exterior. My impression of the outside is it's inoffensive, which makes it on par with 11 of the 13 previous Hondas I have owned. Exceptions being the 89 Accord which I loved with the flip lights, and the RL1, which I understand to be odd but works fine for me. Honda never hits hard with styling and that can pay off with designs ageing well. Also, in the case of the RL2, I see a number of exterior design choices that can be corrected/altered/customized with some affordable bling, which is fun to do anyway... which leaves the interior, which IMHO was too car-like for the Pilot, and further off-base for the RL. It's certainly luxurious enough, but more or less impedes the utility aspect of how I use the RL.
Throw some molded floor mats, durable car seats and you have a dirty ready work truck, and as a bonus the seats/floor will stay nice underneath for resale value.
Throw some molded floor mats, durable car seats and you have a dirty ready work truck, and as a bonus the seats/floor will stay nice underneath for resale value.
Don't be surprised to see just that in a lower cost 2WD base version. Might just sell well for the reasons you point out.
Front wheel drive will cater to the 30% that get little if any bad weather. All wheel drive will dominate northern sales.

I think it's better looking than the first generation but the first generation was a solid 5. This is a 6 tops. I guess the tech newbies will satisfy a lot. I'll consider the updated model in a few years.
I think the OP's perspective and comments are pretty correct.

There are a few things about Gen 2 that I would like to see different, but the comments and rants of some posters before and after the intro are interesting..........and at times ridiculous or irrelevant. Seems to me that the most common complaints about Gen 1 have been about unorthodox styling, fuel economy, and outdated interior, features, etc.

Honda has addressed all these significantly and there are still complaints about Gen 2 being either "too much" or "not enough." However it will still be unique in the marketplace and will succeed on its own merits. It just won't be as "odd".

I think Gen 2 will be more successful than Gen 1 and with a lot of different buyers than before.
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