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Discussion Starter #1
In a brief motortrend review, they say:
"Complaints: Although the bed compartment locks, the tailgate does not. The infotainment system features the same horrible
Honda interface, and still no audio-volume knob. You cannot manually select gears in Drive. And its drab, retrograde design and
similarities to its platform-sharing SUV meant we mistook it for our video crew’s Pilot on several occasions."

Is that really true, that you can't manually select gears?
If so, I consider that a bigger issue than no tailgate lock and narrow door opening.
I just can't believe Honda would do that, so hopefully motortrend is wrong?
 

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Sort of true. It is true that you cannot select a specific gear e.g. via paddle shifter or up-down movement of the shift lever. However, there is some control over the range of gears used. A button on the side of the shift knob will lock out 5th and 6th gears, which are the overdrive gears. Moving the shift lever to 'L' will lock out all gears above 2nd, unless the shift to 'L' was done at a speed where 2nd would exceed redline.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Sort of true. It is true that you cannot select a specific gear e.g. via paddle shifter or up-down movement of the shift lever. However, there is some control over the range of gears used. A button on the side of the shift knob will lock out 5th and 6th gears, which are the overdrive gears. Moving the shift lever to 'L' will lock out all gears above 2nd, unless the shift to 'L' was done at a speed where 2nd would exceed redline.
Thanks Salish.

Let me see if I've got this right. It sounds like you are given 3 settings to control 6 gears (D, D4, and L):
In D, the full range of gears 1-6 are available (i.e. default mode)
In D4, gears 1-4 are available.
In L, 1st gear is available.
But it seems like shifting into D4 or L would have different behavior depending on whether (based on current speed and associated rpm in a given gear) you would have to downshift or upshift. In other words, the control system will prevent you from over-revving the engine beyond redline.

Let's say you are going down a hill, which perhaps also has some curves, under a few scenarios (and you don't want to heat up the brakes by constantly applying them):
Scenario 1: you feel like 25 mph is a safe speed.
Scenario 2: you feel like 35 mph is a safe speed.
Scenario 3: you feel like 45 mph is a safe speed.

In scenario 1, you'd first apply your brakes to get down to 25 mph, then shift into L1. That one seems pretty clear. You still need to apply your brakes on a steep curvy hill to maintain 25, but not nearly as much as if you were in D4 or D.

Scenario 2 and 3 I'm not clear about. It seems like an "L2" is really needed, but isn't available, so your only choice is D4. 4th gear allows you to exceed 100 mph, so you'll still be riding the brakes quite a bit to maintain scenario 2's 35 mph or scenario 3's 45 mph. In this case, I'm not clear what value D4 really provides. Can somebody help explain this?

A couple related questions:

On an AWD truck, it seems that the Snow/Mud/Sand modes cause a throttle response and shift point remapping compared to normal mode, but I couldn't find any specific details. Can the use of one of those modes while descending a hill help to emulating the missing "L2" selection?

Is VCM essentially disabled when you shift to D4 or L? You'd think it should be, since you would not get the expected engine braking effect if VCM is active and 3 cylinders are shut off. Anyone have details on this?

Thanks.
 

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The answer to the initial question is "True."

This is a gripe many people have with Honda. Honda is always behind almost everyone with their transmissions. When everyone else was using 5-speed autos, Honda still had 4-speeds. When others had moved on to 6-speeds, Honda was introducing 5-speeds. And so on. They are always playing catch-up.

And not just in speeds, but in selectability. There was a period in the early-mid-2000s when Honda didn't even have an "L" selection on their auto transmissions (which is why many of their vehicles were banned from the Mt. Washington Auto Road.) Today, the [Ridgeline has] "L", but still [doesn't] have paddle shifters or a gate shifter to allow us to over-ride the standard selections and choose the exact gear we want for the circumstances. That might be okay if they offered a tow-haul mode on the transmission, but they don't do that either.

Honda doesn't have a very large engineering department. So they don't have a lot of resources to throw at improvements, which tend to come too slowly and very gradually. They also have a corporate philosophy of "one size fits all", take-it-or-leave-it. They figure they will just keep it simple because most buyers won't understand how to use those gear selections properly anyway.

You even see this in the latest AWD technology on the Ridgeline. They have now eliminated the ability to manually lock-up the rear diff, using the VTM4-lock button that the previous generation had. Now you have to allow a "mode" to do that as the computer sees fit. You probably wouldn't use it properly if you had it available, so we'll take it away.

As to your follow-up post, D4 will actually get you some decent engine braking. Yes, it may be theoretically possible to go 100 mph in 4th, but only if you redline it. If you let up on the accelerator, it will provide good braking at cruising speeds, and in off-ramp cornering, etc.

The problem isn't that D4 is available, the problem is that you can't select D5 for heavy towing/hauling out on the highway, or D3 for some better engine braking on a steep mountain road (although technically you can, by selecting "L" and being at a speed that is too fast for 2nd gear.)
 

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L allows both 1st and 2nd gears - its only if you are above a speed when you switch to L and you would exceed redline that higher gears are allowed. Once you cross the threshold, you can't go higher. In other words, you are doing 70 and switch to L, it will probably go to 4th, then 3rd, then 2nd as your speed decreases. If you floor the throttle at that point, you will redline 2nd gear but you wont upshift to third.

D4 is so you do not go into overdrive gears, which, especially if you are in ECON, the transmission is quick to do for fuel economy. Many of us will switch to D4 around town for more responsiveness, or obviously if you are towing and you don't want the transmission constantly shifting to maintain momentum.

My impression of VCM is that it is controlled by the computer and is not necessarily locked out in any mode - there is a product called VCM muzzler that will deactivate it permanently if you prefer it that way.

I have never seen a towing video on the G2 that complained of brakes overheating, including the TFL Ike Gauntlet video and the kid that towed an overloaded trailer with a Mustang on it over the Appalachians from Michigan to Virginia. Most note that D4 is not adequate to maintain engine braking on its own, but afaik no one has said that D4 in combination with brakes were not up to the job. And likely the trailer would have brakes as well (the RL2 AWD is prewired for a brake controller).

There is no technical reason whyHonda couldn't have put manual shifting modes in there - other Honda products using the 6AT have had them. On the Pilot you do not get paddle shifters until you get to the higher levels with the ZF 9-speed, so it may be Honda's thinking that since the RL isn't available with the ZF it shouldn't get manual shifting either. For me personally, I would rather have the 6AT as it is then the crap ZF with the paddle shifters.

At some point the Honda 6AT and ZF 9AT will be replaced by the new Honda 10AT - hopefully that will come with a manual select as well. Until then, if for some reason you have strict scenarios that require specific speeds to be maintained with engine braking alone, the RL is probably not the truck for you.
 

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I use D4 as a passing "set up". It runs at a higher rpm (I think around 3k) at rest, and is much quicker to downshift for passing on rural highways.
 

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And to top it off... there is no indicator that will tell you what gear it is actively shifting through, either.
 

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Does seem like an obvious over-site, especially for a truck.

I love seeing all the gears displayed on my F150. Seems like a little thing, but it's really handy when you want to control the AT. I also have 3 drive modes (normal, tow/haul, & sport) along with full manual control in any mode, at any time, with a simple +/- button on the shifter. It even goes so far as to remove the gear that you've locked out, from the display. Unique features like this tells me someone really put some thought into it, especially from a truck-user frame of mind. :smile:
 

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Does seem like an obvious over-site, especially for a truck....
And what makes it even more remarkable is, for all my grumbling about Honda being slow to engineer solutions, get this: They already have paddle shifters available for the same engine/transmission combo on the Acura MDX!!

Good grief. Slap those babies into the Ridgeline for crying out loud.
 

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And what makes it even more remarkable is, for all my grumbling about Honda being slow to engineer solutions, get this: They already have paddle shifters available for the same engine/transmission combo on the Acura MDX!!

Good grief. Slap those babies into the Ridgeline for crying out loud.
Ridgeline would probably have a lot more and nicer features if Acura didn't exist. Honda has to reserve their best stuff for Acura. That is why so many of us have been hoping for an Acura Ridgeline (aka Canada Edition).

My brother's 1986 Honda Nighthawk told him which gear he was in...too bad Honda's motorcycle division doesn't share tech with their auto division.
 

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And what makes it even more remarkable is, for all my grumbling about Honda being slow to engineer solutions, get this: They already have paddle shifters available for the same engine/transmission combo on the Acura MDX!!

Good grief. Slap those babies into the Ridgeline for crying out loud.
Even more ridiculous, the Fit has paddle shifters, and I believe the upcoming new Odyssey has them as well! :surprise:

But for a truck, I would not want paddle shifters. For me, the ability to lock out upper gears, and hold gears, with a simple button, is ideal for a truck application. If I need to "get my HotRod on", I just click into Sport Mode! :grin:
 

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Would I be wrong in guessing that this entire gear selection issue, right down to showing numerically what gear the transmission is in up on the dash, could probably be rectified with a bit of computer code? The hardware in the G2 is generally pretty good (with the exception of the stupid omission of a lighted gear pointer on the floor shift :act051: ). One would think the CPU in these trucks is pretty sophisticated and should be capable of learning new code.
Most of the things we [the buyers] would like to have our transmissions do rely on our vehicles CPU. The CPU needs to give permission to the mechanical bits before any of our commands get acknowledged. Welcome to drive by wire :wink:.
I bet that even the hamster brain that thought it would be cool to get rid of the volume knob on the top line audio system could write a small bit of code, inputted through the OBDII port, that would then allow our transmissions to do exactly what a truck transmission should do - even if Honda left a few of the 'shift nannies' active to keep an eye on us (Honda doesn't want us taking to much personal responsibility for our actions because like all car companies today they know that most of the buying public is made up of idiots :surprise: ).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Would I be wrong in guessing that this entire gear selection issue, right down to showing numerically what gear the transmission is in up on the dash, could probably be rectified with a bit of computer code? The hardware in the G2 is generally pretty good (with the exception of the stupid omission of a lighted gear pointer on the floor shift :act051: ). One would think the CPU in these trucks is pretty sophisticated and should be capable of learning new code.
Most of the things we [the buyers] would like to have our transmissions do rely on our vehicles CPU. The CPU needs to give permission to the mechanical bits before any of our commands get acknowledged. Welcome to drive by wire :wink:.
I bet that even the hamster brain that thought it would be cool to get rid of the volume knob on the top line audio system could write a small bit of code, inputted through the OBDII port, that would then allow our transmissions to do exactly what a truck transmission should do - even if Honda left a few of the 'shift nannies' active to keep an eye on us (Honda doesn't want us taking to much personal responsibility for our actions because like all car companies today they know that most of the buying public is made up of idiots :surprise: ).
It's even possible that the capabilities to display various things are already there, but are just not enabled. I had an Audi where you could buy a 3rd party code reader/writer from a company called Ross-Tech where you could set certain bits in internal registers (including long codings), and wha-lah! you had a display of oil temperature, a lap/trip timer, current gear, and various other things, in the main built-in display. I take it there's no such 3rd party product for Honda?
 

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....But for a truck, I would not want paddle shifters. For me, the ability to lock out upper gears, and hold gears, with a simple button, is ideal for a truck application. ...:grin:
We're in agreement. I only mentioned paddle shifters because they show Honda does have th eability to allow operators to select their own gears with an auto transmission.

Like you, I just want to be able to select a gear that I prefer for the situation, and be able to see which gear is selected (an indicator.)


Ridgeline would probably have a lot more and nicer features if Acura didn't exist. Honda has to reserve their best stuff for Acura. That is why so many of us have been hoping for an Acura Ridgeline (aka Canada Edition).....
I'm going to part with you there, Longboat. See, I don't want a fancier "Acura" version of the Ridgeline. I just want a more functional version, and a selectable transmission would be part of that.

All the hi-tech and fancy interior acoutrements hold no appeal to me. That's a big part of why I ended up with a G1 instead of a G2. More function less fancy is my mantra. I'll take high quality fabric seats, no sunroof, rear opening window, and a selectable transmission, please.

Of course, for those who want a fancy designer truck, sure go ahead, Honda can produce an Acura version. As long as they put a selectable tranny in the Honda versions too!
 
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The other day in my G2. Light hit the dash in such a way that I could see all the gear numbers. 1-6 are there. :wink: Tom
 

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Was seriously considering purchasing the Ridgeline to replace my diesel VW Touareg and have been reading this forum quite awhile now. Hope someone from Honda is also reading this forum. I can live with the unlockable, tailgate, no radio knobs, digital speedometer and many other shortcomings. I live close to the border and was even considering buying the Canadian version for obvious reasons.
However I tow a 3500-4000# travel trailer and the ability to downshift is a requirement I cannot do without. I have driven a 2015 RDX and it has paddle shifters. Sure hope Honda will see the light and make some upgrades to this 2nd gen Ridgeline soon. Being able to select what gear you want to be in is one mandatory in my opinion.
 

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d4 doesnt do much at all to slow you on any hills or exit ramps that have any slope. You can shift to L but the revs go up to 5K and I just cant stand the sound.

I have been driving on jeep trails daily for the last month or so and can say the one thing I miss the most from my Tacoma is not being able to select the lowest gear and have it stay there! The truck will climb anything I have tried with sand mode selected (max slope angle of about 23 degrees) and has gone down the same but I keep worrying about having only the brakes to slow me up!

If the brakes overheat and fail I dont think you can even use parking brake to slow down.

On a moderate slope L will easily allow truck to get up to 25+ mph so you really have to keep on the brakes on these trails.

To be fair, didnt take 2wd Tacoma out on these trails and doubt its low gear would keep speed down without braking but it did a far better job of trying. With a real 4wd my trail partner doesnt even touch brakes.

Other than that I am loving trucks offroad manners!
 

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I'm going to part with you there, Longboat. See, I don't want a fancier "Acura" version of the Ridgeline. I just want a more functional version, and a selectable transmission would be part of that.

...
OH, don't get me wrong...I'd be looking at the RTS if it was just me. Maybe even a G1. But the wife will be driving it, too, so she gets her say. She wants the memory seats mostly, and the sunroof.

My daily driver now is pretty darn basic and I'm happy with it. But I'm good with the tech gadgets, too, so it's a wash for me.

Anyway, my main point was that if Acura didn't exist, we might have individual gear selectors in the Ridgeline, and who knows what else.
 

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If the brakes overheat and fail I dont think you can even use parking brake to slow down.

On a moderate slope L will easily allow truck to get up to 25+ mph so you really have to keep on the brakes on these trails.
,,,
That's one reason why the Ridgeline has disc brakes and the Taco doesn't! :p

All joking aside, the Ridgeline shares a lot in common with the Pilot, so that may be one reason for the odd options it has, such as lack of shift options. But it does have better brakes than the Pilot, once you bleed them! :)
 
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