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Ridgeline Looks - Success or Failure

19430 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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I like the looks of the gen 2 Ridgeline, but I also liked the looks of the gen 1 Ridgeline, which is part of why I bought it in 2005 when it first came out on the market. Then I heard from so many on both how ugly they thought it was and why would I want to spend $34,000 on a mid size truck when I could get a full sized truck. I drove and had both a 74 Chevy 4 x 4 and a two wheel drive Ford Ranger, turned out the Ridgeline was over 200 pounds heavier then my Chevy and the same width and a bit longer. Not till I went to a Ridgeline meet did I hear anyone refer of the truck as attractive.
I have had my 06 since July of 2005, been on this forum for a very long time, went to the first All Cal meet in Santa Cruz. At that time the Ridge was still gawked at and often derided. If I had a dollar for every time someone ridiculed the truck, called it a sissy truck or, ha ha, a ricer, I could have paid my truck off early. It looked nothing like any other truck and here in far northern California, I was the first to get one and only one around for nearly a year. I was a rolling ad for the truck and showed it off often. The two biggest features that sold it was the trunk and back seats, biggest objection has always been the canted bed rails and the side sails. I now know a lot of people in my town that own one and love them, some of them that got introduced to it by me or by my recomendation to check out the Ridgeline owners club. I carried home made cards and brochures downloaded from the site, passed them around to anyone interested in the truck or had one and wanted more information about this club.

What interested me in the gen 1 was its safety ratings, crew cab for my dogs, all wheel drive and it was a Honda. I had been driving a Subaru, loved its all wheel drive and up here in our rain, mud, snow and rough roads, all wheel made better sense then four wheel for most situations. If Subaru had listened to me, they would have made a significantly larger Baja with a V6. I still like the Baja, no less ugly then the Ridgeline. I did not buy the RL because it was pretty, but because it was functional. But hey, I drove an old 64 International Harvester for 10 years. Sturdiest truck I have ever driven or owned. Drove a 74 Chevy Cheyenne all wheel drive for another 10, loved the looks of that truck, gas was crazy, 6 to 8 city, 10 highway. Fell in love with the Ridgeline, right off the bat, if they had made the outside as sturdy as the inside of the bed, for work people like me, I would have been in heaven. Honda should have done at least an interior redesign four of five years ago to prepare the buyers for a new generation. 10 years is a long time for a nearly unchanged vehicle and then to drop a new design, I am sure they must have expected some back draft.

I have always been curious, what was the point of the sloped bed rail and side sails on gen 1. Aerodynamics?
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