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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new member and let me say I appreciate what I've read and learned here. Let me also say, right off the bat, I am NOT a Tacoma "Fan Boy", in fact I'm not a fan boy of any model or maker. I like what I like, I like what is "good", and what does or should perform the way it should - especially when "it" can cost $50K and more.

So, I'm an owner of a 2003 Toyota Tacoma SR5 PreRunner (4 door). I am the original owner, the truck has been "babied" its entire life, has ONLY been serviced by the dealer for things that I did not wan't to tackle, or things that were warrantied, etc. Fluids, belts, sensors, hoses, etc. all replaced by me. My truck in all those years doesn't have a single door ding and has only 85K miles on it. Still it is is 17 years old. So... I'm in the market as they say.

I like the look of the "2nd gen" (the first gen... ummmm... no, sorry), have found that most reviews of the 2019 - 2020 (which is what I'd be looking at) are very favorable, and in most cases put the Honda in number one or two position above the Ford, Chevy and Toyota. For me, the "limitations" of the Honda over say a "real truck" (what we know many non-Ridgeline people call their trucks) are not problems for me. Yes I want to be able to dive fire roads, etc, haul bikes and camping gear, but NOT tow or do any real "4 wheeling". So the Honda seems like exactly what I'd want.

I live in W. Los Angeles and have a large Honda dealer (with a Toyota dealer next door - owned by the same). I have seen so few, none really, Ridgelines on the road. I've been surfing the web, looking at photos and reviews for a week or so now. So today I decided to visit the dealership. First off, they only had ONE Ridgeline. It was a black "Sport" '19. I told them I was not buying today, but that I was in the market (told that what I had, and that I WOULD be looking at Tacomas too), and that April / May I would be buying. They let me walk around the exterior and sit in the drivers seat.

So... Let me just ask, I know(?) that the major change between the '19 and '20 is the transmission, right? Also, is a "Sport" much different than say a RTL-E (what I would be looking to buy)? I ask because I was very disappointed in both the interior (WAY more "plastic" and plastic feeling than even my 17 y/o Tacoma, WAY more plastic than my wife's '19 Mazda CX-5, which was much cheeper, and WAY more 'cheep' feeling than a '19 CRV), and the use of just an overwhelming amount of plastic that is sure to be a rattly mess down the road in areas such as around the rear window, the nearly entirely plastic rear bumper, and the way the plastic "bed Liner" (well, it is't really a liner, it IS the bed) sits on the bed "rails", and top of the tailgate, and interfaces between the bed and cab. Why is it that a CRV or Pilot actually costs less than a Ridgeline (building a truck is actually easier than building a 5 door, 4+ hatch) and has more features (why did the CRV sitting next to the Ridgeline have the SAME mirrors, but didn't have and there is no option for, intergraded lighted singles in the mirrors?

So, has the 2020 been improved in these areas? Is an RTL-E "better" in regards to the very (for a Honda) cheep feeling plastic interior (the door panels have rough mold seam lines on them) of the '19 I just looked at?

I went into the dealer today thinking I'd be drooling over what I saw, and would be confirming what I had thought I knew by reading reviews and such. But now, I'm back to square one. I guess I'd better go see the Ford, Chevy, and Toyota? Or... are all modern trucks (that can easily cost over 50K) this way? Not as excited as I thought I'd be.
 

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Perhaps you should do more technical research before coming here to search for opinionated information. First of all the Pilot is a more expensive vehicle than the RL. All vehicles today contain more “plastic” than a 17 year old vehicle, and in reference to the bed construction composite pieces, the Tacoma also has a composite bed now. The RTL-E replaces most of those plastic interior pieces with soft touch leather wrapped pieces. I can assure that if you were disappointed with the cheap plastic feel of the interior of the Sport then any Tacoma will feel like a little tikes toy because their interior is much more hard touch plastic. Sport model is one of the lower end trim models and is packed with features as such. Of course now Honda Sensing is standard so you find that on all as of 2020. Go do more research then come back here if you still have questions.
 

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You could probably get a 19AWD Sport for 27k though. The higher trims will be nicer.. This platform is old now but if you don't feel better about it after driving it then at least you have made an informed decision.
 

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I traded a 2012 Tacoma for my RL, a haven't regretted it for a second. The RL is more comfortable, drives better, and gets way better gas mileage. I don't go offroad or tow anything, so the two things the Tacoma does better are not a factor.

The 3rd gen Tacoma has improved over the past few years, but a lot of owners aren't thrilled with them vs. the 2nd gen like I had. Do your research before putting out any $$$.
 

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If you dig a little deeper, you're going to find that the RTL-E is loaded with comfort, safety and convenience features that the Sport lacks. It all depends on whether or not you want those features and are willing to fork out the bucks for them.

The 9-sp transmission is probably the most significant change for the 2020 model. Honda also gave the rear doors a wider opening angle, but there's an easy hack to do nearly the same thing on 2017-2019 RLs. There are some minor upgrades like 3-level seat heaters and an electronic tailgate lock.

You can find several threads and a video posted on this forum that describe and discuss the 2020 changes. As for the abundance of plastic on the RL, I can't comment on that but think you should do your comparison with other midsize pickups. You can drive an RL on many fire roads but you're going to have to be much more careful than with your old Taco due to significantly less ground clearance, lower angle of approach and an unprotected oil pan.
 

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Yeah, check out the newer Tacoma compared to your old one and see what you think. I tend to hate buying new vehicles because there is seemingly always something that is not as good as the old one.

When I went to a 2008 Tundra from my 2000 Tundra I had a bit of buyer's remorse in that regard. Really only "upgraded" because my wife's grandfather needed a new vehicle at the time and made me a good offer. He drove very little so no sense in him buying a new vehicle. Anyway, if you are happy with your current Tacoma and it's still in good shape which it sounds like it is, there is no harm in just hanging on to it. Especially now when we expect at least 2 new midsized offerings to come out fairly soon.
 

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I traded in my 2004 Tacoma Prerunner for a good deal on a used 2019 AWD RTL-T. My Taco was my daily driver for 13 years - I was the second owner. Besides regular maintenance and the water pump going out at 145k (known Taco issue), it ran like a tank. Had 218K miles on it and the A/C compressor seized. Had some other maintenance items coming due, so I took it to dealer at let them know about the A/C - they still wanted my Taco and gave me $4,500 for it.

I thought I would regret selling my Taco and would miss it badly. I was dead wrong. I love my Ridgeline and havent given it a second thought. The combination of comfort, capability, and features are tough to beat for a daily driver. The driving experience on road is unreal from a pickup perspective. Plus the seats are so much better. As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate this. Infotainment could be better, but I've gotten used to it.

My Taco to Ridgeline experience for what it is worth.


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Discussion Starter #9
C-130, 17Ridgeline, 14v6, Bubba - thank you all for your comments, and thank you for being honest and providing real feedback (I didn't want this to be a "flame fest"). I honestly was disappointed with what I just (2 hrs ago) saw at the dealer. I guess(?) maybe, like happens when you are seeing previews for a movie you can't wait to see, and then are disappointed, sometimes things can't live up to your expectations?

My fear is, and is confirmed by 17RidgeLine, that I'll be as much or more disappointed by the other makers / models I look at. And like I said I was pretty sure I was going to come out of the dealer today and be wanting to move my buy date up, up to like NOW. But.. I really was not too enthusiastic after my 5 minutes with the vehicle. When the dealer said, "hey let's start it up so you..." and I said, "nah, it's ok", I think he could tell I wasn't so excited either.

So... yes I could tell, even in 2 minutes sitting in the drivers seat, that the position was better than my Tacoma (and from what I've read, even the 2020 isn't improved here), so that panned out to be the same as I've read. AND, if you are correct C-130 (current / former AirForce I assume?), that the RTL-E has a interior feel to the interior, then that would be nice. I will of course have to see a 2020 in the model I'm considering. I was able to "build" on-line a Pilot for same or less than a Ridgline BTW. As far as me doing more "research" before coming here for "opinionated information", well I have been doing as much research (this website, other Honda forms, the usual car review sites, Consumer Reports, YouTube video, etc.) as I could short of actually seeing one in person. And, again, here I was surprised that a large Los Angeles Honda dealer only had one on the lot. So, yes I did come here, and yes I realize that pretty much everyone here already owns one... so, they / you might not like hearing that I (so far) was "disappointed", but I was. I was, based on all the praise for the vehicle I had read. And, if this is "better" than anything else out there, well that is really sad.

So... I'll have to hunt around, see if I can find a 2020 RTL-E someplace.

Thanks everyone for the comments thus far.
 

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Everyone here is going to love the Ridgeline. It's too important of a decision and I'd never want to sway someone into an important choice. I think you need to search and find the nearest "E" level trim and drive it. I think you'll know your answer within two minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I traded in my 2004 Tacoma Prerunner for a good deal on a used 2019 AWD RTL-T. My Taco was my daily driver for 13 years - I was the second owner. Besides regular maintenance and the water pump going out at 145k (known Taco issue), it ran like a tank. Had 218K miles on it and the A/C compressor seized. Had some other maintenance items coming due, so I took it to dealer at let them know about the A/C - they still wanted my Taco and gave me $4,500 for it.

I thought I would regret selling my Taco and would miss it badly. I was dead wrong. I love my Ridgeline and havent given it a second thought. The combination of comfort, capability, and features are tough to beat for a daily driver. The driving experience on road is unreal from a pickup perspective. Plus the seats are so much better. As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate this. Infotainment could be better, but I've gotten used to it.

My Taco to Ridgeline experience for what it is worth.


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Smuook - Thank you for your comments. (ha! I had the bushing on my waterpump leaking at 25K, and replaced the pump then.) Pretty much ALL of my friends (none of them Taco owners BTW) tell me "just keep your truck, you've got less than 90K on it, it'll run another 100k!!!" Well, yes, but to be honest, I just want something new. AND, there is milage and there is time (years). Rubber, plastic, etc. doesn't last forever. I really want the RL (I think) to be my next truck. I like what I've read, but was just disappointed by like I said, one of the things, the plastic around ALL THE WAY around the rear window. I "tapped" on it, below the 3rd brake light, and it responded with a "click click / tap tap". This is a BRAND NEW sitting on the lot vehicle. I'd have that thing back at the dealer ever day, and be looking for a Lemon Law replacement if that thing stated rattling going over every crack in the road - trust me. The Plastic "bed liner", the way it sits on the (paint) on the bed rails, also a plastic that seems like the plastic that won't be "too good" after sitting in the sun, 7, 10 years down the road. That "troubles me" too.

I guss I was more "surprised" than disappointed? But like I say, I'll need to see one in the model / trim level I'm really interested in.

Here is my Taco, about a two years ago now. I little paint "fade" on the Tonneau Cover now, but otherwise just about the same. Should be worth a few bucks with 90k mi on it?
399507


And here is it about 3 weeks ago - this is a 17 year old truck.

399509
 

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Just out of curiosity, was there a particular part of the ridgelines interior that struck you as cheap plasticky? I ask because I’m wondering if the lack of pass through and the console and gear shift that is more reminiscent of an suv than a truck part of what’s throwing you. That’s a lot of stuff up in the cockpit that isn’t usually in the cab. I can see how that would seem like a ton of plastic right off the bat. Personally, I think any trim that offers leather seats helps the appearance considerably. I also prefer the beige interior. The beige seats and black floor and dash break up the monotony and tie it all together better in my mind. Good luck in your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Everyone here is going to love the Ridgeline. It's too important of a decision and I'd never want to sway someone into an important choice. I think you need to search and find the nearest "E" level trim and drive it. I think you'll know your answer within two minutes.
Thank you Ron.... I agree. I will have to "see" the current Taco, and perhaps the Chevy, that also get very good reviews (better than the Taco on some review sites), but they are, every OTHER truck (as we all know) very different than the RL.
 

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The Headlights on the E are so much better, so much so that IMO it invalidates the lower trims at least form an O.E. perspective. Also, manufacturers save money in different ways. Mazda for example is out of date for the infotainment and it's 6 speed transmission although it is one of the best. Your truck is gorgeous, our neighbor had that truck a limited I think a similar year. It even had the frame replaced had over 200k when he got rid of it. Still see someone else driving it around town. In fact, when he showed up at my house to pick up snow tires for his Odyssey I knew that I had to go back to having a pickup.
 

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Here is my Taco, about a two years ago now. I little paint "fade" on the Tonneau Cover now, but otherwise just about the same. Should be worth a few bucks with 90k mi on it? View attachment 399507

And here is it about 3 weeks ago - this is a 17 year old truck.

View attachment 399509
That is a clean looking truck indeed. It looks like you took great care of it.

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited by Moderator)
Just out of curiosity, was there a particular part of the ridgelines interior that struck you as cheap plasticky? I ask because I’m wondering if the lack of pass through and the console and gear shift that is more reminiscent of an suv than a truck part of what’s throwing you. That’s a lot of stuff up in the cockpit that isn’t usually in the cab. I can see how that would seem like a ton of plastic right off the bat. Personally, I think any trim that offers leather seats helps the appearance considerably. I also prefer the beige interior. The beige seats and black floor and dash break up the monotony and tie it all together better in my mind. Good luck in your search.
Tatonka - Thank you for your reply and your question. Well the door panel to start with. The lip or "edge" of the little pocket (down at the bottom, where you might put a paper, or map, etc.) the "mold marks / lines" were just pretty obvious. More than my 17 y/o Taco, and WAY more than my wife new Mazda CX-5. (I have to say, if you are NOT looking for a truck, and are open to something other than a Honda, you should see these cars.). Ummmm.... the "silver" plastic around the "touch screen" and the AC vents (this is the smaller screen, as it is a '19 "Sport). The plastic around the center console, also a "not too luxurious" silver (I can see this getting scratch very easily, exposing the "not silver" plastic under it????). This model did NOT have leather, which is something I WOULD be getting. So... as others (C-130) have said, (perhaps?) the higher model levels might have a better (to me) "feel"???

The Headlights on the E are so much better, so much so that IMO it invalidates the lower trims at least form an O.E. perspective. Also, manufacturers save money in different ways. Mazda for example is out of date for the infotainment and it's 6 speed transmission although it is one of the best. Your truck is gorgeous, our neighbor had that truck a limited I think a similar year. It even had the frame replaced had over 200k when he got rid of it. Still see someone else driving it around town. In fact, when he showed up at my house to pick up snow tires for his Odyssey I knew that I had to go back to having a pickup.

14v6 - "Mazda for example is out of date for the infotainment..." Ahhh, but I've read some reviews saying that about the Honda RL? And yes... we did read that when we (my wife) were researching the CX-5. She was coming from an older Toy RAV4, and was looking at those (the '19/'20), the Honda CRV and the Mazda. The Mazda (and I realize we are on a Honda site) won hands down over the Honda and Toy.

Thank you for the comments on my Taco. Like I say, it's been "mostly good" mechanically, though a few things that "because it's a Toyota" I was a bit surprised by over its life. And, as I said, I have friends that think I'm crazy (considering a new anything, truck wise, will be 50k or more once I'm out the door), for not just keeping the Taco. But... It's 17 y/o, has low miles, but you know I like to occasionally take a 2000mi trips (we are mountain bikers and do UT or CO trips from SoCal), so I just feel like 17+ years even with low mi is time for something new).
 

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First, that is one well preserved Taco! Bravo!

Second, I would get a look at the RTL-E level trim before making a decision (as others have suggested)

Third, I am a Toyota fan boy. I have owned nothing in my household, other than Toyotas and Lexuses, since 1991. My last car before that string was a Honda Civic.

I originally wanted a Tacoma and drove many, but I just could not get a comfortable seating position for me. As I have to drive 4 hours to check in on an ailing father, I was not up for that!

I get what you are saying on the interior. My 2017 RTL-E has a better interior than you are describing, BUT it also has a seat heater switch that would never find its way into a Toyota. It does not have a solid feel.

Still, a vehicle with a pickup bed is what I wanted, and the Ridgeline gets me that in a package with decent electronics and a good ride. That is why I shelved my Tacoma dream.

As always you have to evaluate what is most important to you. I would survey the Taco, the Ridgeline and the Ford alternatives. I don’t trust the Fiat/Chrysler or the GM mechanicals.

Happy Hunting!
 

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I'm not a fan of the Tacoma, but I really like yours. There is something special about an older, low mileage, pampered vehicle. I do like my 2019 Ridgeline RTL, but sometimes still miss the 1998 Ford Ranger that it replaced.
 

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I wasn’t so keen on the silver borders around the electronics either when I bought mine and I thought it would bother me, but honestly after a week, I never even noticed. There are people that have wrapped the dash pieces in vinyl, and I thought I may go this route, but as I said. The silver just faded away from my mind. I was also concerned about the plastic piece around the cup holders getting scuffed or scratched. To my surprise, it’s much more durable than it looks. I made walnut cupholders for mine that add more function for me and I think punch up the class some too. The plastic in the bed remarkably tough, I swear that stuff is bulletproof. I park outside 100% of the time and have yet to see signs of UV fading the color since 2017. I figured that was inevitble, and maybe it is, just hasn’t happened yet.

Anecdotally, when I bought my RL, I shopped between a taco Andrew the RL. I really tried to convince myself the taco was a contended because I preferred the exterior styling. For me and my lifestyle, there’s no amount of compromise I could bring myself to that didn’t put the RL on top every time. After 3 years, the exterior styling is now my preference too. Funny how functionality influences taste. Most importantly to me though, is the safety feature. If you browse around this site and find my contributions, you’ll see that just last month I was t boned on the highway in the drivers side door and totaled my RL. With a lot of luck and excellent safety features, I walked away from unscathed from an accident that may very well have killed me 20 years ago. That experience demolished any doubts or nitpicks I ever had about my truck. So much so, that within 2 weeks I replaced it with another 2017 with a few more safety features.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited by Moderator)
If you dig a little deeper, you're going to find that the RTL-E is loaded with comfort, safety and convenience features that the Sport lacks. It all depends on whether or not you want those features and are willing to fork out the bucks for them.

The 9-sp transmission is probably the most significant change for the 2020 model. Honda also gave the rear doors a wider opening angle, but there's an easy hack to do nearly the same thing on 2017-2019 RLs. There are some minor upgrades like 3-level seat heaters and an electronic tailgate lock.

You can find several threads and a video posted on this forum that describe and discuss the 2020 changes. As for the abundance of plastic on the RL, I can't comment on that but think you should do your comparison with other midsize pickups. You can drive an RL on many fire roads but you're going to have to be much more careful than with your old Taco due to significantly less ground clearance, lower angle of approach and an unprotected oil pan.
Thank you Dog for the thoughtful reply. Yes, well you can see (see pix below) that I tend to keep (too long really, better re-sale if I were to get out sooner?) my vehicles a long time. So... I'm always tempted to go higher on the build / model because of that. If I'm going to be driving it 10+ years I should be happy? Yes... the ground clearance... Well, the percentage of time I'm "off road" is really small, and most of that time is graded fire road - BUT, that is one thing I wish the RL had, just a couple more inches. AND, yes the oil pan... I've seen, in my research, some aftermarket skid plates, something I'm 99% sure I would do.

So... as I've said too many times now, I just wish the plastic I did experience today ('19 "Sport" model) felt better. My "old" taco has plastic too, the trim around the wheel wells, and the TOP of the rear bumper, the mirror housings, but other than that none. Not like the RL has. I opted for a spray in bed liner, NOT from the dealer, just days after picking up my Taco. And yes, it often has the tonneau cover on it, but after 17 years of sun, on and off, it is STILL like new too. Why is it I don't get that same feeling for the plastic I saw on the RL today? I guess (?) plastics are better today? AND I guess there is more and more used in cars today vs. 17 years ago. But... will my RL look like my Taco, my 2003 Taco, does in 2037?

I wasn’t so keen on the silver borders around the electronics either when I bought mine and I thought it would bother me, but honestly after a week, I never even noticed. There are people that have wrapped the dash pieces in vinyl, and I thought I may go this route, but as I said. The silver just faded away from my mind. I was also concerned about the plastic piece around the cup holders getting scuffed or scratched. To my surprise, it’s much more durable than it looks. I made walnut cupholders for mine that add more function for me and I think punch up the class some too. The plastic in the bed remarkably tough, I swear that stuff is bulletproof. I park outside 100% of the time and have yet to see signs of UV fading the color since 2017. I figured that was inevitble, and maybe it is, just hasn’t happened yet.

Anecdotally, when I bought my RL, I shopped between a taco Andrew the RL. I really tried to convince myself the taco was a contended because I preferred the exterior styling. For me and my lifestyle, there’s no amount of compromise I could bring myself to that didn’t put the RL on top every time. After 3 years, the exterior styling is now my preference too. Funny how functionality influences taste. Most importantly to me though, is the safety feature. If you browse around this site and find my contributions, you’ll see that just last month I was t boned on the highway in the drivers side door and totaled my RL. With a lot of luck and excellent safety features, I walked away from unscathed from an accident that may very well have killed me 20 years ago. That experience demolished any doubts or nitpicks I ever had about my truck. So much so, that within 2 weeks I replaced it with another 2017 with a few more safety features.
Tatonka - I'm glad to hear you are ok after such an accident. WOW! Regardless of what you drive, that is the best news! Ahhh, yes my Taco 2003. Drive and passenger Airbags (not recalled ones BTW) and... ummmm seatbelts. That's the "safety features" I have!

So, yep... I just need to find an RTL-E, the model I think I'd want before I rule IN or OUT the RL. And... I have to sit in a new 2020 Taco, because not to do so would be just silly.

Thank you, and everyone for the thoughtful comments.
 
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