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post #1 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Exclamation Honda Ridgeline Redux

About two years ago I expressed an interest in the then-new second generation Honda Ridgeline, speculating about a single-vehicle replacement for my Escape and F150 as a 'personal fleet simplification move'. I did a G2 Ridgeline first-look and test drive at a dealer in San Marcos, TX (east of Austin). That was a 'stereotypical' car dealer experience - less than informed salesman with moderate high-pressure pitch. I concluded it wasn't a good move for me at that time.
______

I've recently been drawn back to the notion of 'fleet simplification'. Passage of time, my routines in retirement are comfortably settling-in, vehicles have evolved, trends in the direction Ford is taking are clearer, the new Ranger is out, the G2 Ridgeline has had a few years of 'proving up', etc, etc.

After lots of lurking and research on the very helpful Ridgeline Owners Club Forum (happens to be another active and well-moderated AutoGuide site) I made an appointment for another test drive at the nearest Austin, TX dealer, now much better informed myself and focused on the RTL-E Ridgeline model trim (top-line, standard features include: AWD, 5k# trailer rating, 7-pin trailer connector and receiver hitch, pre-wired for trailer brake controller, all the driver assist, audio, Nav [Garmin system with 5 years free DIY updates via internet], etc, etc).

I had a nice no-pressure visit, '19 RTL-E detailed walkthrough & test-drive at that Austin dealer this morning. Must say the salesman was very well informed on the RL and readily said "I don't know the answer to that - I'll get back to you" when I asked if the in-console USB port could be used for playing music on a flash drive (the full-capability CarPlay etc phone USB port is on the lower dashboard). I'm always encouraged when a car salesman admits they don't know the answer to a question (rather than 'winging it' or 'dancing').

The long test drive on a route of my choosing from highway to some nasty bumpy roads was very positive - I liked driving the vehicle a lot; it's an impressive blend / compromise between a mid-size truck and a very quiet and comfortable car.

Very good IIHS safety ratings and interestingly one of the highest 'USA content' vehicles we can get here - engine build, tranny build, and final assembly are all in the USA - the only place Ridgelines are made for Honda globally.

The non-turbo V6 engine still has "VCM" (shuts down 3/6 cylinders under certain conditions to gain mileage) but I now know that can be defeated safely with a small mileage penalty. It does not use auto start/stop. The AWD system is very sophisticated, proven reliable, and gets very good reviews. Same positive reviews for trailer towing within the rated 5,000# limits which is all I now need (my Casita 17' RV is 3,500# loaded; more than a few G2 RL owners on the Casita forum reporting great satisfaction with the match-up).

The two-way tailgate (drop or swing) and the watertight in-bed trunk that will swallow both of my Honda Eu2000i generators are still two of the niftiest features on any pickup, IMO. And it'll allow a 4' wide sheet of plywood/drywall to lay flat in the bed between the wheel wells unlike any other mid-size pickup competitor.
____

Buying a Honda is much different from buying a Ford - sales incentives are much less the norm, especially on the 'niche' Ridgeline. 'Options' and 'options bundles' are non-existent - you just shop among the trim-level and that's what you get.

Visiting with the salesman I shared my intended strategy of waiting for release of the '20 in hope of some incentive on a '19. While not yet formally announced, the '20 RL is not expected to be a major change, at most perhaps incorporating some things from the 'refreshed' '19 Pilot, the biggest substantive item maybe being the offering of the 9-speed ZF auto as a replacement or option for the long-proven 6-speed.

FWIW I was told ....
  • After checking with the dealer 'inventory manager' they are still ordering '19s through June, have no hint of order opening for 20s, therefore would not expect 'em till August at the earliest
  • Looking to last year I was told there was no RL incentive on '18s when the '19s were released; all readily agreed that's no indication of what might happen on 19s when 20s are released
______

Separately the sales manager dropped in to visit and I mentioned seeing lots of '19 RTL-E's advertised in Dallas at below the Dallas region Edmunds TMV (which runs meaningfully lower than Austin TMV where we are located). I said I'd be buying with no trade, selling the Escape and F150 myself, and would politely decline all offers of dealer extras. He just smiled and said "I'm confident we can do a quick and straightforward deal on those terms and keep you from driving to Dallas when you're ready to buy."

Sales Mgr. offered that he understands my 'no trade' approach but would like to opportunity to surprise me with an offer on my very clean '14 Escape, politely reminding me to factor-in the effect of the trade on the sales tax for the new vehicle (trades in Texas come off the bottom line before vehicle sales tax is calculated).

All-and-all a pleasant experience for a car dealer visit. Between two test drives at two different dealers with lots of research in between, this long-time Ford owner is now 99.9% certain that my next vehicle will be a Honda Ridgeline.

The only question now is how long I wait looking for the most advantageous financing.

None of this anything bad to do with my '14 Escape or '05 F150 experience - both vehicles have been superb for me and I've absolutely zero regrets; I've no doubt that both will continue to provide good and reliable service. I suppose it is a comment on where Ford is today when it comes to the small group of buyers that share my needs and tastes.

'14 Escape SE 2.0 FWD (25 Sep 13 build); SYNC 2 w/8" MFT screen; 201A SE Convenience Package; Power Liftgate; Leather Comfort Package; Oxford White on Med Light Stone.
I love my hard-working '05 F-150 XLT 5.4 V8 trailer-towing truck, too !

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post #2 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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I have only had my 2015 FE for a couple of months and just found this site about a week ago. I have been reading a ton of posts and feel I can safely say that loosing you to Honda will be a hit to the forums here.
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post #3 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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I too have noticed the Honda Ridgeline. I like that there is no space between the cab and box looks cool.

2017 Escape SE 1.5 AWD
Born in Louisville Ky. on Jan. 11 2017
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post #4 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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A big positive of the Ridgeline over the Escape is resale value. I really like the way the current Ridgeline looks, but just have no need for a truck. If I did, it would definitely be high on my list.
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post #5 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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Wow, just noticed this thread. Good luck with the new ride. You and your very informative, detailed posts will be missed here.

Bob
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2014 Ingot Silver Escape SE FWD, 2.0L, panorama roof, no roof rails
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post #6 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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@BobP , it hasn't happened yet and may well be many months 'till it does as I (try to) patiently wait for the rare but hoped-for Honda incentive.

Rest assured you'll see pics when it does eventually happen

So, y'all aren't rid of me yet, but thanks for the kind words.
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'14 Escape SE 2.0 FWD (25 Sep 13 build); SYNC 2 w/8" MFT screen; 201A SE Convenience Package; Power Liftgate; Leather Comfort Package; Oxford White on Med Light Stone.
I love my hard-working '05 F-150 XLT 5.4 V8 trailer-towing truck, too !

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post #7 of 8 Old 6 Days Ago
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@centex I've seen a few new Ridgelines on the road lately too. They are lower than standard pickups (I think 3 wheel independent suspension), but they are nice for what they are. The give a pickup more utility for families that would not necessarily drive a pickup truck with storage cubbies in the bed, etc... I remember the first Ridgeline version out there having trouble in rear glass replacement. Some of the bedliner needed to be removed to get the glass out...a 1/2 day job at a glass shop. That may not be the case with the new one...but still, make sure you keep you glass coverage at 100% if you get one and be careful (as always) loading stuff so you don't damage your vehicle!


I've never had much much with the older Ford Rangers I've owned. Aside from the transmission woes I had earlier this year, the Escape has been very good to me and made me like Ford more. As for me and the non-stop repairs and check engine light issues on my old Chevy Colorado, I'll never own a GM again. I've had good luck with Nissans. Hopefully Honda will be good for you too. People that own them seem to like them and are loyal to them. The new Passport sounded interesting, but it is just another competitor to the low Ford Edge/Chevy Blazer with low ground clearance...definitely not the original Isuzu Rodeo offshoot with capability!



Good luck with whatever you do and thanks for your technical expertise. I guess it pays to buy and read the repair manual for any vehicle we own, right?!?!

2014 Ford Escape SE 4WD in Sunset Orange with the 2.0 Liter Ecoboost Engine & Leather
2" Front & 1.25" Rear Lift Kit by Phat Matt's Custom Fabrication
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post #8 of 8 Old 6 Days Ago Thread Starter
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@needliftnow FYI the Ridgeline unladen ground clearance is 0.2" (~1/4") less than my 2WD F150. It will be a bit lower if loaded since it has all-independent suspension unlike the Ford with a beam rear axle (but the RL rides and handles oh so much better day-to-day). I haven't been on an unpaved track my stock Escape didn't manage in so long I can't remember, so not a worry for me.

If I haul a heavy or potentially bed-damaging load nowadays it goes in one of my 2 utility trailers (8' / 16') - if for no other reason than it's usually so much easier to get things in and out of a low trailer and they're meant to be 'abused'.

Gotta chuckle a bit about the glass / insurance warning - I've never replaced any glass other than a windshield (2 IIRC, one on the Escape) on any vehicle in my life (though I have a few 'epoxy repairs' that State Farm fully covers); I've self insured everything up to $1k for many decades and it's long payed-back for me.

Gonna have to stick with my own 50-year loss-history for guidance, knock-on-wood. YMMV

I had a 2WD V6 automatic supercab Ranger back in the mid 80's. That thing was a trusty workhorse, towed a 2-horse trailer like a happy fool; finally traded it for an F250 gas supercab when the wife and I got a 2-horse + living quarters gooseneck trailer (and traded the F250 for an F350 crew cab dually diesel after only 18 months to get more cab-space for friends & dogs and more towing ease on the highway). Gotta say I never owned a Ford truck I didn't like or that didn't treat me well. I briefly (2 years?) had a half-ton Chevy with the throttle-body 305 V8 that didn't like towing a load it turned out (and guzzled gas) - that's what the little Ranger replaced, lesson learned.

But I've changed, my needs have changed, and my wants have changed. The Ridgeline, unquestionably unique in the market for a variety of reasons, seems to coincide with me now.

I'm glad Honda makes it, I'm willing to take a chance on that brand. It'd be a lot harder for me to do that if, for example, FCA made it (heaven forbid!)
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'14 Escape SE 2.0 FWD (25 Sep 13 build); SYNC 2 w/8" MFT screen; 201A SE Convenience Package; Power Liftgate; Leather Comfort Package; Oxford White on Med Light Stone.
I love my hard-working '05 F-150 XLT 5.4 V8 trailer-towing truck, too !

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