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Total production numbers, how many 6spd vs 9spd vehicles (RL) have been produced? Even if the 9spd has more units, does it have more miles driven? 6spd trucks will have higher mileage on average so the rate of failure should be higher.

It seems fair to say the 9spd is probably more durable and less issue prone. However if you have a 6spd, there is no reason to panic. Plenty of them are still driving around with no issues.

If for some reason the OP still needs advice, I would lean more to the 2020 RTL. Not because the 6spd is a deal breaker but because (to me) the difference between the 6 and 9spd is more significant than the difference between RTL and RTL-E.
 

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The issue is the over boosted used market. Pre-Covid, it was possible to find a decent early second gen for $20-30k. This made sense as most first gen trucks were well below 20k and a new ridgelines were in the high 30s. Fast forward to early 2022 and older second gen ridgelines were selling for 30-35k, sometimes higher. When you are only seeing a 5-10k difference from brand new, issues like the older transmission cannot be overlooked.

I would have happily bought a used 2017-2019 rl and even taken a chance on the transmission for the right Price.
 

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The 9 speed is definitely less risky, per the numbers, but a "HUGE" improvement, operationally? I haven't driven one, but I don't get that impression from comments here. Could be wrong about that, but my 6 speed is quick and smooth. Hope I don't have to get a transmission rebuilt, obviously, but if the worst happens I can peel the $ off the wad saved on my Ridgeline in November 2019.
Operationally, no the 9 speed is not hugely better. For just regular driving I actually think the 6 spd is better. But the 9 speed does have the deeper 1st gear, a s-mode and manual paddle controls. So reliability aside, I would still say the zf9 does have an advantage.
 

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It looks like you previously drove a Tacoma before purchasing the '22 Ridgeline.
How much experience do you have with the 6-speed in the Ridgeline? How many miles have you driven in one?

I spent 1.5 yrs and 11K miles in my 6-speed Ridgeline. It was an adequate transmission and an OK overall experience.
After spending the last 18K miles with a 9-speed Ridgeline, I can say it is a far better transmission in virtually every aspect.
6spd RL, never owned one. But I back to back test drove several with 9-speeds. Every time, I thought the same thing. For regular driving I preferred 6-speed. However the difference is small and the other tangibles of the ZF9 make it preferred overall.

If it helps I owned an MDX with a 6AT for years. Although I did not like the way that shifted. It came out of 1st into second way too fast unless you went WOT. It did have paddles and I towed a 4k car trailer with it many times though.
 

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What if the additional costs for servicing the 9-speed were also considered, would this make any difference?
Bill
Not to me no. If I owned a 6spd I would probably half the maintenance schedule just to be safe. More changes, less fluid per change. With the ZF9, less changes, more fluid per change. To me it comes out in the wash.
 
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