The 2017 Honda Ridgeline joins the expanding and growing midsize pickup truck segment in the United States. It’s going up against the tough competition of the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and GMC Canyon. Every truck has a core of tasks it’s designed to be very good at. While the Ridgeline excels in utility, comfort, and efficiency – maximum towing is not one of its strengths. Or is it?
(Special thanks to Robert for providing his personal truck for this test.)
The 2017 Ridgeline AWD is rated at a maximum of 5,000 lbs of towing, which is significantly less than the competition. The GM turbo-diesel twins (Colorado and Canyon) are the leaders of towing capability at 7,600 lbs in a 4×4 configuration. However, the Ridgeline AWD is very competitive with a maximum payload of 1,499 lbs. With this being said, Honda is very specific in how it rated its trucks. The 5,000 lbs towing maximum assumes two 150 lbs people in the truck. If you have more people or heavier weight in the truck, it affects the maximum towing rating. Of course, the limiting factors are still the GVWR and the GCWR for the truck.
The Super Ike Gauntlet is all about maxing out the truck, and we accomplished the goal with a 4,800 lbs trailer and a combined (Gross Combined Weight) of 9,800 lbs. The GCWR for the truck is actually 9,755 lbs.
How did the Ridgeline do? Robert installed an aftermarket trailer brake controller, which helped a lot on the way down the 7% grade from the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels at 11,158 feet above sea level and down to Dillon, Colorado. The 6-speed transmission did not provide any grade shifting on its own (we did not manually shift it on the way down). However, the truck’s and trailer’s brakes were working properly, and we were able to maintain a safe speed of 60 MPH or less on the way down.
The 3.5-liter V6 with 280 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm performed surprisingly well at this high elevation and at maximum load. It accelerated us to 60 MPH quickly and was able to maintain this speed limit nearly the entire climb back up to the tunnels. We had two brief slow downs due to traffic, but the V6 and the 6-speed transmission worked well together to regain the lost momentum and clocked a final time of 8:16 minutes up the 8-mile stretch. If there was no traffic problems, then this would be an 8-minute truck all the way. *-minute is our benchmark run. The trip computer on the Ridgeline showed 6.4 MPG at the end of the run, which is respectable for running at wide open throttle (WOT) for the majority of the climb.
Check out the Super Ike video for all the details.