Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner

Ridgeline Looks - Success or Failure

19427 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.
See less See more
1 - 8 of 93 Posts
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.
Good post! I think that in GenII's Ridgeline's case it is largely a function of LIMITED budget. The Pilot redesign undoubtedly had huge $ thrown at it and it was tailored by Honda to hopefully appeal to its market segment. Boxy and tough was set aside for the softer and more aerodynamic. Ground clearance was less important than fuel economy. The interior pretty much received the same type of make over; comfy, cozy, more minivan or sedan. . .less truck.

With limited budget, the GenII Ridge is dominated by being based on the Pilot. Chassis, front sheet metal, front interior are barely (if at all) modified from the Pilot. With these constraints there was only so much that could be done with the design.

So now the GenII Ridge is thrown into the market. What demographic? Is it traditional (midsize) truck buyers or is it sedan, minivan, suv types whose needs are changing?? IMHO the exterior is perhaps just enough to pass muster with some of the truckers, but the car interior will send many of these running away. On the other hand, I think that the "morphing" car/minivan/suv er's will be very pleased with sleek / softer looks inside and out.

Who is Honda actually going to market it to? They talked "outdoorsy" in their intro but it really seems too soft in its styling and interior appointments to be properly tuned for that market. Tailgater's? Interior and cost seem to be out of touch.
To me, Honda marketing seems to be a bit confused about who to sell the truck to. The "Morphers" seem to be the best fit.

For my interests, this is sad as I had hoped that styling wise it would have been more truck. However, being based on the Pilot with a shoestring budget wasn't really compatible with "truck" . . . .
See less See more
Understandably, some (particularly Gen1 owners) will be turned off, but I don't think a car-like interior is the death knell for the Ridgeline.

The Frontier has a car-like interior and it has sold relatively well compared to the Ridgeline. And its exterior is generally conservative too. I can see the new Ridgeline taking away market share from the Frontier. (In fact, on the Frontier forum, there are a lot of positive comments about the new Ridgeline.)

hiPSI, great post.
"Death knell" probably not. I do feel that the interior in particular will hurt sales to the truckies. I use my GenI for family and construction. I am having a hard time visualizing my drywall dust covered self sitting in that front interior with some long boards lying on top of the dash, though the rear window and anchored down on the tailgate. It simply screams car / minivan / soft SUV.

The Pilots' interior on the GenII Ridge is a cost cutting move. Same thing with the hard body parts up front. Regardless, they clearly had to spend some $ to make the Pilot a truck. From the rear doors back it appears that in both looks and function they have done a killer job. Why not just go the extra bit and give the Ridge a bit more truck in the front half? Yes it would have added to the cost. But I think it would have reaped benfits in overall sales . . I can't see that it would hurt sales much or if at all to those coming from cars, minivans, and SUV's. Looking more "truck" would definitely help with the truckies and there are a lot of them.

I think that Honda (perhaps smartly so) was risk adverse with the GenII, not wanting to spend much for what might be a small sales item. Its a self fufilling prophecy if you ask me. It also might be that Honda simply doesn't get "truck."
See less See more
Here's an interior shot from our 2016 Pilot showing something I hope is carried over to the new Ridgeline...
Is your Pilot 2WD or AWD?
And why THIS is even being discussed on a thread that was intended to discuss the 2017 RL looks is beyond me. For my part - sorry for the departure. But I just couldn't let that stand. Done.
I have read through this thread a couple of times and for the life of me can't figure out what you and HiPSI are complaining about??? This thread has been more on topic than most and with people discussing the trucks appearance (OUTSIDE AND INSIDE); will it be a SUCCESS or FAILURE?? THAT WAS THE F'N TOPIC. We just saw the truck a few days ago and are now discussing what we saw. How is this "old crap" . . .And so what if it is a done deal! We are still discussing the success or failure of the design. Again that is the f'n topic! Y'all need to be the ones moving on!! And PSI your whining (repeatedly) about the whining is condescending nonsenese . . .


Sorry for the departure, But I just couldn't let that stand . . . .
Keep in mind that the Ridgeline is a much more complex vehicle to build than the ladder frame pickups. It should be a safer pickup to drive also because of it's construction.

Just saying, that's one way I understand the higher price than the more conventional pickups. Pay more but get more.
Why do you think that the Ridge is going to be significantly more expensive than the comparably equipped competition?

Those complaining about the potential $40kplus price tag probably haven't looked at top end midsize truck pricing recently.

Honda will be well aware of the pricing of the competition and they will price the GenII Ridge accordingly.
I have never cared for the plain vanilla looks of most Toyotas and Hondas. "Offend no one" at the expense of making any sort of statement. I have to give Toyota credit for recently balking that trend with the unifying "fish mouth" theme that they have going on. I personally don't care much for it in most executions but it has set them apart from the rest of the vanilla field. That Lexus may not be your cup of tea but it is a hell of a lot bolder of a design than the Acura stuff. I can respect that even if I don't care for how it looks . . .

Is it a good sales move? Hard to say. I might be like Starbucks shaping the coffee tastes of the masses. They got everyone hooked on a strong, burnt coffee flavor that now seems to be equated with quality.
I will buy the G2 AWD Ridgeline... For MPG, Reliability and awesome interior........but why not have looks AND reliability and sell 10 times more...
I will not feel good driving the I would a GMC Canyon or the New Ford Ranger.....and I want that good feeling... Just saying..
KIA stepped up in the design department.. I drive a new Kia Sorrento for an SUV... and it feels like the ....New Honda's I've owned (Six) 88 thru 2004 the past.
The Ridgeline concept sells solely on practicality...features and reliability.... If Honda wanted to it could look rugged....and be awesome...for the masses.
Ford Escort sold millions in the 80's through 90's but...yuk..... Honda quit being .......Yuk.. I cannot believe the design engineer... stepped back.... looked at the Ridgeline and
said " Good Job".
It was the PILOT design engineer that stepped back and (probably) patted themselves on the back. The Pilot was softened to appeal to broader SUV market that includes urban dwellers and women. Aerodynamics also played a role.

For the Ridgeline there was NO BUDGET to deviate from the Pilots sheet metal and there is very little that can be done with just changing the plastics on the front. New sheet metal would have involved large expenses for development (crash worthiness, wind tunnel etc etc) and for the manufacturing of unique to the Ridgeline parts.

Honda wants the Ridgeline in their lineup but they have a very low level of commitment to it.

Thank the Pilot for the very existence of the Ridgeline. . . .
I wanted comfort, I wanted reliability, I wanted good resale, I wanted a smaller pickup. I wanted a Ridgeline. I don't need a vehicle to secure or enhance my masculinity... I'm over that crap.
I want a vehicle that appeals to my sense of aesthetic. This "compensation" argument has truth to it but it is WAY overplayed. Yes we should all drive a vehicle that functionally meets our needs but why not get just a bit of a thrill from how it looks as well?

GenII is ugly but it has character and just a bit of balls. GenII's inside and out is Pilot . . .Committee designed to appeal to the current SUV market; largely urban and female. Good call for the Pilot. Misses the mark for a truck.
1 - 8 of 93 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.