• 2017 Honda Ridgeline: How Does It Tow on the Extreme Super Ike Gauntlet?

    2017 honda ridgeline towing extreme ike gauntlet

    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.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    39 thoughts on “2017 Honda Ridgeline: How Does It Tow on the Extreme Super Ike Gauntlet?

    1. Honda’s transmissions have excellent grade logic which is so transparent you must not have seen it. A tap on the brakes downhill causes the transmission to drop one or more gears. If the cruise control is engaged, the transmission shifts down to hold speed without touching the brakes. Trucks with dedicated tow/haul modes have even better grade logic, but Honda’s is pretty good, sorry you missed it.

    2. Don’t know why everyone is so surprised that the truck tows well at max load. I’m fairly certain the only reason it’s rated for 5000 lbs is because the unibody frame isn’t designed to pull more than that. The engine performance was never going to be the limiting factor in this truck considering its power rating is similar to that of the other midsize trucks which pull 5000lbs just as easily.

      1. If it were near its limit it wouldn’t be anywhere near as stable as Nathan and Andre claimed it was, so I doubt that the unibody itself is holding it to 5000lbs, especially since other unibody like the new Pathfinder and Durango can tow more.
        I would bet it’s a combination of typical Honda conservatism and that they don’t want to much stress on the fancy torque vectoring AWD system

        1. Oh, definitely; the old ridgeline was reported – by consumers – to actually be able to tow around 7,000 lbs reliably, and with the new, stronger, unibody, the new ridgeline should probably be able to do around 100-200 lbs more.

    3. Not bad, but how would it compare to other Mid Sizer’s with the same load. That would be a good Ike Test….

      Also, I wonder if TFL has every tried flooring it on a vehicle with 300,000 mile or more and going up the Ike..??

    4. I was prepared not to like the Ridgeline but for most people this will do the jobs they need to do just fine.
      When I saw the size of that trailer I was thinking it would struggle. This can easily tow my 6X12 enclosed with my racebike and gear in it.
      most of the time it would be back and forth to work and trips to the hardware store.
      I’ll put it on the list to check out along with the Canyon and Tacoma.
      Most Hondas seem to do really well on holding value too so thats a bonus.
      Not really sold on the looks though, I think the Canyon and Tacoma look better.

    5. I think it is a nice actual midsize truck. Would some one agree or disagree to the fact it seems the size of the Ridgeline has gotten smaller while most other midsize have gotten bigger?

      1. Jay – Actually the Ridgeline gained about 3 inches of length and about an inch of width vs the Gen 1. The bed went from 5′ 0″ to 5′ 4″ and gain a few inches of width (it was already a wider bed than ALL other midsizers). For total dimensions inside and out, it is bigger than all the other midsizers in reality. There are song long bed configurations in the competitors that give them longer overall length but in reality, the Ridgeline is the biggest on average.

        1. I’m hoping this will at least calm down some of the naysayers. I had a Gen 1 Ridgeline for years. I towed my 5,000 lb boat fine and was 100% bulletproof. It was totaled and I switched to a RAM 1500 EcoDiesel since the Gen 2 Ridgeline was still a year away. I love the RAM but I’ll going back to the Ridgeline in the next 12-18 months. Too many positives with the Ridgeline for the way I use my truck. I’ll miss the 19-20 mpg TOWING I get with the EcoD but I don’t tow that many miles and the Ridgeline will return nearly 15 mpg with the boat with the terrain I tow on.

          1. I would def swap the Eco for a Ridgeline. I think the angle of the old style of the bed is what makes look a little more stout.

          2. Unfortunately it won’t stop the naysayers because it’s totally different from anything else. The fact that it isn’t body on frame and front wheel drive based seems to make people scream “it’s not a real truck !!! ”
            Maybe it isn’t a truck in the true definition of the word but it seems to be a damn fine vehicle that will suit the needs of many.
            Sure it won’t tow a 40ft fifth wheel but if that’s your goal then you’re not going to be looking at Ridgelines either.
            I’ll definitely test drive one when I ready to buy, I think it will fill my needs perfectly.

      2. I’m hoping this will at least calm down some of the naysayers. I had a Gen 1 Ridgeline for years. I towed my 5,000 lb boat fine and was 100% bulletproof. It was totaled and I switched to a RAM 1500 EcoDiesel since the Gen 2 Ridgeline was still a year away. I love the RAM but I’ll going back to the Ridgeline in the next 12-18 months. Too many positives with the Ridgeline for the way I use my truck. I’ll miss the 19-20 mpg TOWING I get with the EcoD but I don’t tow that many miles and the Ridgeline will return nearly 15 mpg with the boat with the terrain I tow on.

    6. Super nice little truck. Compared to the old model its like night and day. Honda has hit a homerun and just think there is so much room to improve even more. A very big thumbs up Honda!!

    7. The V-6 in the Ridgeline did great. The engine was not even that stressed as MPG shows as well as the ability to get back up to speed.
      This could have towed another 1000 lbs easily. It only dropped down to 2nd at the very end.

    8. Do you have to install the accessory trans and p/s cooler like the Mdx and Piolet.
      Hope the new trans are better than previous years. If an mdx towed 5k very often the trans will crap out and they where plagued with torque conv problems even w/o towing.

    9. The Ridgeline needs a long bed. I just bought a Chevy Colorado crew cab long bed. I didn’t even consider the Ridgeline due to the short bed only. Looks to be a great truck otherwise.

    10. I would damage that low hanging plastic box under the bed. I would wreck the bumpers and I would end up bending the tailgate with just one cable. And the box height is too low for my needs. Otherwise a very nice city truck for a lot of other buyers

      1. Thomas – You are a little basement dwelling troll…That is obvious. Would be nice if Roman et al could block your e-mail. Your BS doesn’t fool real truck guys by the way. For accuracy, the tailgate is still rated for 300 lbs like most trucks and the in bed truck is pretty protected (other suspension and underbody components would make contact first). I’m know, you’d super charge the in bed trunk…PLEASE go away…

        1. Jeff K You need help. Asking TFL for help is definitely being a basement troll on this site. The plastic trunk would break the minute the rear tires come down from an ice snow bank or curb. Forget off roading as protecting this truck from damage will be a complete c*ck block. As for the tailgate I just put two piles of 66-LB bags of concrete mix on my tailgate with 5 bags in each pile overhanging the edge of the tailgate for ease when grabing them plus I step jumped onto the tailgate to get down and I weigh 265 Lbs with my gear on. The impact load from my live load was likely over 350_lbs of average force to slow my weight down from the jump and the tailgate never deflected or so much as squeaked. That’s over 1000-Lbs near the cable support which has a break strength of 2400-Lbs. Safe Load of 600. So yes many of us out there will overload our trucks but they have built in safety factors. The Ridgline is not a traditional tailgate and Murphy will show up and break it should I own it. I know Murphy well but I have enough experience now to stay away from him. Without that cable a sled quad or work situation for me will break it. But like I said it is a nice city truck for a lot of buyers who like to load the odd dresser.

      2. Your comment sounds like what I’m looking at it for. Mostly city driving but we pull a camper and boats around a lot, but it’s all paved and maintained dirt roads. The box height might be an issue sometimes though, with fully packed Duluth packs in the back with a tonneau cover… we’ll see! 🙂

    11. Will it give you transmission temp on a display? That would be useful information to have, particularly given Honda’s history of producing glass transmissions.

    12. I Believe Honda has put a all new 7sp dc trans that was developed in house by Honda. The Mdx is using a 9sp zf trans that the zf engineers told me is bulletproof. Most of the problems on those is software updates.

    13. Wow…a “maxed out” truck towing 4800 lbs. Keep in mind a 1995 Ford Crown Vic was rated to tow the same. Not much of a truck in my book.

      1. It’s not supposed to be a heavy hauler people. Honda is targeting people that usually wouldn’t buy a truck. That’s why it’s so car like. Rides and drives like a car with the benefits of a truck.

    14. Well, setting aside from the issue of whether this vehicle is a “real” truck or not, let’s look at “down-the-road” apiece;
      1) How well will this vehicle hold up when the unibody construction is rusted in a “Salt State” 15 years from now? (15 years is the average time for truck ownership.)
      2) How well will this “truck” deal with the stress and strain of unavoidable overload situations? (Example: I have a 1996 Dodge Ram “1/2-ton” on which I have a 350-lb fiberglass Eagle cap, and into which I put 2400-lbs of wood pellets for my stove. With my 190-lb body weight, that is (wait for it): 2949 LBS!!! (It still did not settle down on the bump stops.) And that also is a 50% overload capability, able to be handled after 20 years of rust!
      3) So, what is the % overload capability that this Ridgeline can handle? And what % overload can it handle after 20 years in WI, MI, PA, or NY?

    15. Hello
      Could you try a comparison with the exact same trailer/load and compare it with the other mid size trucks? It would probably be very interesting.
      Thanks Guys

    16. Honda has repeatedly stated that they looked at how the trucks would be realistically used, and feel that they built a truck to fill that need. Most people do not use trucks as hard as they are designed for. Think of all the people that just want a bit more usable space that a minivan or crossover who live in or near a city where driving a parking are a concern for them. This may be the truck for them. I myself have an F-150 and wouldn’t switch to the Ridgeline, but l can see why some people might switch, or may buy one instead of a van or crossover.

    17. One quick thing I want to point out is that the Ridgelines Transmission overheated on the shoot out with the other mid size trucks and they were not running any of them hard just putting up an old rutted out logging road. So if you plan on going slow on steep old logging roads stay away from the Honda or
      be prepared to purchase a high quality after market tranny cooler. I was particularly shocked when it happened. Roman just shut it down and hopped in with somebody else In another pickup. Also slow towing on steep grades beware. Roman did say it felt like the sportiest of the bunch.

    18. TFLT should have another midsize pull the same trailer and weight. Then we could see how the Ridgeline did. It’s hard to say it did well, with nothing but their expectations to compare it with. They should also get a first gen and redo the run. Then we could see how much, or if the new one has improved.,Personally I really like the Ridgeline. It would fit my needs very well.

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