• Midsize Pickup Adventure Review: 2017 Honda Ridgeline vs. Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier vs. GMC Canyon

    What is the way to get a good measure of a pickup truck? It has to do many jobs well. We completed the Ike Gauntlet extreme towing reviews of each one of these trucks. You can find them all under the Ike Gauntlet section. How do these trucks handle the daily grind of the city and highway driving? This may be a bit boring, so we decided to use the Rocky Mountains to our advantage for a comprehensive off-road adventure review that included all of the latest midsize pickups. While we were not able to include a Chevy Colorado in this comparison, the GMC Canyon crew cab 4×4 is the GM midsize truck representative.

    There is another very important question we wanted to answer with this grand comparison. How does the second generation 2017 Honda Ridgeline stack up against the rest of the field in its on-road and off-road prowess? We already know that the Ridgeline can beat the Tacoma and the Frontier in a drag race. We wanted to learn more.

    The route took us from Boulder, CO to Golden, CO and then on to the top of the Montezuma off-road trail. We chose the Montezuma off-road trail because it is a medium difficulty route to above tree-line and to the top of the Rocky Mountains. We wanted to give each truck a chance to reach the top, hence the medium difficulty.

    This adventure review includes the following trucks. See the “Logistics” section at the end of this post for more details.

    2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 2016 Nissan Frontier 4×4 2016 GMC Canyon 4×4
    3.5L V6 3.5L V6 4.0L V6 3.6L V6
    Max Power 280 hp 278 hp 261 hp 305 hp
    Max Torque 262 lb-ft 265 lb-ft 281 lb-ft 269 lb-ft
    Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 5-speed 6-speed

    The 2017 Ridgeline came out as the top choice for on-road handling, comfort, and acceleration performance. Not surprisingly, it was not the best choice for the off-road adventure. The Ridgeline has the lowest ground clearance in this group and street-biased all-season tires. Its sophisticated AWD system offers torque vectoring for better corner handling and several algorithms for handling low traction conditions, such as this off-road trail. The system will allocated power to the wheel(s) with most traction. The Ridgeline struggled more the steeper and rockier the trail got. Finally, Roman received a “Transmission overheating” warning message in the gauge cluster, just as Kent “Mr Truck” Sundling started to have clearance problems. Given a chance to cool down, the Ridgeline had no damage or ill effects on the way down the mountain and for the rest of the week in our custody.

    The off-road performance of the 2016 GMC Canyon was inhibited by the low front chin spoiler. We all know that this front air deflector is removable, and thus would greatly improve the trail capability of the truck. However, we consider this a modification of an otherwise fully stock vehicle. If we were to remove this air deflector, what other modifications should be consider for the other trucks? The point is, all of these trucks are being evaluated the way that they are sold at the dealership, and they way you purchase them. Other than the limiting air dam, the Canyon has the hardware to make the SLE grade truck a competent off-road performer. While the All-Terrain version of the truck will do even better.

    It’s no surprise that the Tacoma 4×4 TRD Off-Road and the Frontier 4×4 PRO-4X are the off-road midsizers of this bunch. These two models represent the top of the off-road technology from their respective companies for this segment.

    The Toyota Tacoma is the segment leader in sales. It’s known for reliability and off-road focused design. However, it’s not the most comfortable truck on the day-to-day basis. We find that the front two seats are a little too close to the floor for everyday comfort. Of course, this design has been part of the Tacoma for several generations and it’s done in the name of higher clearance for off-roading. We explored this topic in more details in a recent TFLtruck: By the Numbers segment.

    The Nissan Frontier is by far the oldest design in this group. Nonetheless, it’s still a capable and competitive midsize truck, as you see in the off-road portion of this mashup. The noticeable reminder of the truck’s older design is its fuel economy which is now several MPG less than the competition’s. Nissan is likely to bring a redesigned Frontier for the 2018 model year, although the company has not made any official announcement to this effect.

    2017 honda ridgeline tacoma frontier canyon gmc nissan toyota comparison review


    We sent out a call to all five midsize pickup manufacturers (Chevrolet, GMC, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) to submit their off-road prepared crew cab 4x4s. We had a tight time constraint. We wanted to take the trucks to the top of the Rocky Mountains, but these high elevations can see snowfall at the end of September which can potentially close the gorgeous mountain trails. Middle of September is also a great time for fall colors in the Rockies, as aspens burst into many hues of yellow and orange. General Motors did not have their trucks in the regional fleet, as they are switching from 2016 to 2017 model year.

    A large comparison requires a great team, and we are fortunate to have some of the best in the industry. Roman Mica took the 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD Black Edition, Nathan Adlen grabbed the 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 TRD Off-Road, Kent Sundling jumped into the 2016 GMC Canyon 4×4 SLE, and yours truly piloted the 2016 Nissan Frontier 4×4 PRO-4X. A video review of this scale must have the best video crew. Once again, we are very fortunate to have Ian Chisholm and Tommy Mica as videographers and editors.

    As a side note, the 2017 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon with the upgraded 3.6L V6 and the 8-speed automatic transmission are not in circulation yet. We will thoroughly test these as soon as they are available.

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

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    77 thoughts on “Midsize Pickup Adventure Review: 2017 Honda Ridgeline vs. Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier vs. GMC Canyon

    1. “You’d pick the Ridgeline if you don’t need to haul, go off road or tow”? Well what’s the point then? I would be in a Hell Cat if that were the case.

      1. Lots of people are happy towing “only” 5000 pounds and most people don’t drive their trucks up a mountain. The Ridgeline lives in the sweet spot for many truck buyers. It hauls their stuff in comfort and it is good in the snow and ice. That’s what many buyers a looking for in their soft roader pickup.

          1. The AWD models have a “Heavy-duty transmission cooler” according to Honda and ALL Ridgelines have a “High-Capacity Radiator with High-Power Fans (2).” All RTL-E and Black Editions are AWD. I’d also like to know more details on this over heating ATF issue.

    2. Tremendous review, TFL!

      The Nissan did fine, but I’d also take the Tacoma. Just looks more modern and nice. I also believe the Canyon would have been fine sans the chin spoiler. The Ridgeline lived up to it’s reputation of not being a truck.

      1. Troverman – – –

        Is it just me or is the Nissan Frontier the best kept secret in America? I bought one in 2010, and it does all the right “trucky” things just right. Why would anyone want to buy a truck, then list as a virtue that “it drives like a car”? I DON’T want a truck to drive like a car. I want a truck that feels, smells, sounds, looks, and drives like truck! A good old-fashioned dinosaur truck, if you must…(^_^)…


    3. Awesome mashup guys! I really appreciate your “real world reviews” away from just manufacturer media displays. Also nice work getting the GM truck included. For me I’d choose the Ridgeline as I don’t drive on mountain trails. With the resale value it’s a no brainer. I like the Taco but it rides like a hay wagon in comparison.

    4. Great review. I side with Roman except I’m on the fence with going to the Frontier as the best pick because of throttle response. The new Tacoma engine is too much of an annoyance for me. You guys don’t mention the throttle lag in the new Tacoma but that is my reason to stay away from them. I drove them and my 2015 4.0 Tacoma is a way better drivetrain for performance. The Frontier is not very exciting though in the looks department. The actual American truck here is the Honda. Unfortunate to some but it is not the Canyon as stated. The mentality is still out there but not true. The Frontier is the shortest as well making it a better pick for those who get into a midsize because they want smaller. Ridgline is close but man I have seen some bad quality reviews on this truck and the transmission overheating without a trailer with one person in the truck at low speeds is absolutely a big POS. I don’t know how Roman even suggested it after a tranny overheat like that. As usual the GM was world class when it came out and is now forgotten. At least tradition is holding strong. Maybe that new motor in a ZR2 will breath some life into that low hanging non off road garbage truck line up they sell

      1. Man, you nailed all of them in your comment. I too prefer the 4.0 V6 in my 2012 Tacoma over the new 2016. Though after breaking in some it does seem better than initially.

        1. Agreed, from test drive to 2K miles now the engine has started to break in and no longer seems to be trying to find which gear to be in.

      2. I don’t even like the Ridgeline and I think you’re being harsh. I doubt it was the “transmission ” that overheated but rather the AWD system which is part of the transmission. It looked like the Ridge was spinning its front tires early on, since it’s basically a front wheel drive minivan anyway. This frequent use of the light duty system probably overheated it. Let it cool a few minutes and continue. I strongly dislike that there appears to only be a digital speedometer. This vehicle also looks strange. The other three all look like “trucks” but for some reason the Ridge looks more like a Brat.

        1. I think the tire spinning has more to do with the all season tires as opposed to proper off road tires on the others. The overheaded transmission is more concerning. Although it did perform well during the Ike gauntlet testing.

      1. @Martin,
        Will certainly not get that Ranger in the US. It will be more of a lifestyle vehicle, more comparable to the Canyon in characteristics. Not a 3/4 Ton in 1/4 ton clothing.

    5. Every time I sit in the damn taco I hit my head entering and exiting. I can’t believe they made the cabin just as small as it used to be.
      Ram and Ford, where the hell are your small trucks?!!!

      1. It’s a side effect of having good ground clearance. Toyota has a higher floor then the others, it they made the roof taller it would be taller then a full size so you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      1. Roman has a son who participated in the first “cliff hanger ” episode and I’ve seen some of Mr Truck’s videos where he has a female assistant (not sure of her name) who could drive the extra trucks. The Fiat Dakota probably wouldn’t be worth the bother, though.

          1. @Thomas. Mercedes has more in common with the the Ranger or a F100, it is BOF,not unibody.
            Seems to be a strange story going around the US, that it is coming to the US. It is not. Mercedes will compete with the current Hilux and Ranger, but will be more upmarket with some versions.

    6. One thing not really mentioned is the resale value of Tacomas. I would never have even considered buying new. But in 2014 I purchased a used 2014 Tacoma (4×4, extra cab) with 19k miles for $23,500. When I went to sell it after buying my new 2016 model, I sold it for $26,500 with over 33k miles. There isn’t another truck in the world that holds value like Tacomas. Crazy. I have no problem buying new Tacoma. None of these other trucks even come close, which is a pretty big deal.

    7. Finally – we see these four climb an ungraded BLM or FS road. Long live the old tech Nissan!

      If you aren’t obsessed about resale value, the other advantage that the Nissan has over Toyota and GM is that it can usually be purchased for thousands of dollars below what is shown on the Monroney sticker.

      As Nathan pointed out, sometimes the added self-driving 4×4 bells and whistle become intrusive. By the way, the Tacoma with manual transmission will not do the gear hunting routine that Nathan experienced driving up hills while on the highway.

      Just a rant from an owner of a 2015 Tacoma with a manual transmission. I almost bought a Frontier, but none of the dealers in my area stocked a 4×4 with a manual transmission.

      1. I almost did the same thing. Finally found a CPO 4×4 Frontier with a manual about 150 miles from my home after six months of searching. My ‘local’ dealer didn’t even know they made manual trucks anymore.

    8. I don’t understand how TFL Truck has awarded the canyon/colorado for the last 2 years. First year just the gas powered v6 then in 2016 the diesel. However in this comparison it doesn’t warrant a single vote. How does your two time truck of the year winner get disregarded? Are you that fickle or did the last check from GM bounce? Lol. Just kidding, but seriously how does that happen?

      1. Hi T.J.

        The GMC Canyon won our Gold Hitch awards for towing. It is without doubt, the Canyon (and Colorado) are great towing midsize pickups. Last year the Canyon Duramax also won truck of the year, because we thought it was the most significant out of the other finalists. We loved how the 2.8L Duramax performance on the Ike Gauntlet and on our 100-mile MPG loops.

        This test was weighted toward the off-road capability, and the Canyon 4×4 SLE did not make it to top. This is the reason our votes were focused on the Frontier PRO-4X and the Toyota TRD Off-Road.


        1. Thanks Andre! I wasn’t expecting a response. Honestly just giving you guys a little bit of a hard time. I love the website and all the YouTube vids. I have watched religiously and feel like I know you guys. Either way keep up the good work, and I’ll keep watching. Thanks for all that you do!

      2. Because the col/cany are the best all around truck. They may not excel at much but will do everything well. Like already said in video, remove the the scraping chin, it is at the top (the Ranger was the same way). Nissan wins on price. As far as resale, kbb has a 2% diff over 3 and 5 yrs for 2016 between toyota at gm. What’s the payload of that tacoma vs. the gmc? How many more trips will I make to the scrap yard for 4000 lbs of steel pipe for my free money.

    9. GM needs to cut about two inches off the air dams on their trucks, and it should be deleted on models with the offroad package.

    10. The Nissan and Toyota are top off road packages so of course they are the better two off road. Take the Gmc all terrain package and remove the air dam and it’ll do just as good off road. For everyone that hates the air dam, just remove it. If your incapable of removing it then you should stick to driving cars.

    11. I’ve owned a 2006 Tacoma, 2010 Ridgeline and a 2012 Ridgeline. I would not consider the new Tacoma because of bad owner reviews, check out Edmunds website.
      1st Honda Ridgeline
      2nd Nissan Frontier
      3rd GMC Canyon, maybe

    12. Montana, I had to see it for myself what you meant by bad Tacoma owner reviews on Edmunds, how can they produce something like that and be #1? this reminds me of a similar Camry transmission + oil consumption problem of the past, oh it’s normal, really?

      1. Maybe Toyota spends lots of money on advertising with some Edmunds-owned or associated company. You see that a lot with Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Road and Track, etc. Usually either Mercedes-Benz or BMW vehicles get the very best reviews, depending on who advertises more in that particular magazine.

    13. The toyota off-road and nissan pro 4x compete directly as do the ridgeline and gmc but they do not compete all together. Maybe tfl couldn’t get a toyota sr5 4×4 or a nissan base 4×4 for this test. This would have been a better mash up.

    14. get rid off that ridgeline. does not belong in there.

      Toyota is my only choice. For life.

      Nissan felt like shit when I drove it.

    15. WHY didn’t Nissan integrate the 8 speed auto they tested in the Cummins Diesel concept truck into their production line? That is really ALL the Frontier must have to be the King of the Mid Size Trucks! WAKE UP NISSAN! YOU COULD OWN THE MID SIZE CLASS!

      1. @Tbird,
        The Cummins was not as effective as they thought, so they have dropped it.
        What they are going to replace it with is a good question.

    16. well let me give you real life view. Traded my 15 tundra crew 4×4 tss in on a 16 Tacoma crew 4×4 sport in quicksand color. I love Toyota and the new 16 interior and exterior was great. Took test ride and although seats awould not adjust p or down or tilt it thought it was still ok. I commute 80 miles a day rt to work all hyw and the Tacoma was so much better than the older tacomas which was rough. To me it was quite inside loved the interior and still due but the seats after 1 month hurt my back so much due to seat position I think is what is mostly was and wife also was uncomfortable. We put on another 300 miles a weekend running around. I found I truly didn’t need full sixe truck and love the driving fun of this truck. After not being able to get seat to work I sold it 2 months in and as much as I live that truck and want another Tacoma if they can just fix the seat is all I need. Not a GM fan I didn’t want to go full size after having this truck so I test drove the 16 Colorado gas and diesel and then ordered the diesel z71 and I got it end of March. Now with little over 18000 miles already the comfort in the seats is much better. Again I think seat adjustment and seat position. Truck is averaging 29.1. If on hwy at 70 miles an hour it will get 33 no problem. I still like the looks and off road capability of the Tacoma better but have no complaints and this truck tows a bass boat compared to the Tacoma and is much better. I think Toyota seats are not as hard but just not positioned and adjustable and it was major effect for us. I hope they come out soon with more adjustable seats and if they can fix that for me I will buy another Tacoma and have one of each and split the miles if they can do that. I am also waiting to see if the zr2 comes out and I will trade mine on that truck. But I still love the Tacoma looks better and I want another but the seat position for me has to be fixed to make it work. Then ill have one of each.

      1. I can see you are not a fan of acceleration; not mentioning the 2016 throttle lag in the Tacoma and for buying into a diesel. However, if a ZR2 comes out with 4 doors and a 6-1/2 foot useable box with bumper clearance then that would cripple Tacoma sales. It would likely be my choice as well. But I need a full sized truck now for 2017, so I’m kinda of glad there’s nothing but shit out there in the midsize market, well nothing even close to perfect for my needs.

    17. Trucklett, not a truck, ugly, minivan with a box … Sound more like you all drive “Bumper Sticker Slogans” instead of vehicles. You add up all the tasks you need your ride to tackle, prioritize and reason out what percentage of your time you do each. If you need serious off road ability “DON’T BUY a RIDGELINE” and you don’t need Roman or TFL to tell you that.
      If you Tow over 5k more than a time or three a year the same applies. For anyone else the Ridgeline is just another option that may or may not appeal to you.

      I have a 1st gen (2007 139K) and it has met every need I have with no breakdown or other issues (airbag recall aside).

      I like the handling, road manners and versatility. I spend 80% of my time transporting family and farm supplies (hay, feed, brick, mulch, building materials etc) with no issues (excellent paylod that embarrases the Toyota). THe ability to lay 4×8 sheets flat is a God send. The weather tight trunk is joy when I travel with the family towing the Kayaks or our 4000lb 26 foot sailboat.

      On the rare occasion the John Deere 3320 Tractor with Cab, F.E.L. and bush hog (6200 lbs w/trailer) has to go to the shop it does just fine. Yeah that is well over the tow limit but tow limits are measured on 6% grades and 100 degree days and there are no any percent grades in Florida and the max speed limit between here and the dealer is 55.

      Having driven all the competition the Ridge is more comfortable, more versatile for my needs, more reliable and just an all round better fit.

      That said, I repeat if your needs differ they so might your choice.

      One thing I know for sure after owning a Ridge is that essentially zero of its detractors have ever driven one or even ever been in one. 9 years later I still truck owners come up who are surprised when they see the swing gate, composite bed or trunk for the first time. Just last month I picked up a load of sheetrock and plywood and a jealous Taco driver beside me with the same need was swearing at the wheel wells in his truck. We helped each other load and he commented that he had no idea the Honda was so well thought out. BTY he solved his wheel well problem by going back in to buy a sheet of plywood just to support the sheet rock on top of the wheel wells.

      My point isn’t to diss anyone else’s truck choice but to question why other truck owner’s feel the need to did the Honda. It’s just a car people … um I mean Truck…

      1. Richard L,
        The tranny Overheated…JFC That’s bad, any way you want to downsize it, its bad.

        The wheel wells being wide enough is a great concept. I load drywall sideways all the time on the wheel well and nothing happens to it. You don’t need a plywood for support. Now it would be better to lay it flat but the problem is you lose bed depth. I load a lot of totes that are of regular size and hold a lot of items in which I can throw totes and other things under my trifold bed cover and everything stays dry. So you gain a flat spot but you lose bed depth. Bed depth is another important factor that you did not mention. Too much like on the GM and it makes it hard on the sightlines. The Tacoma and Frontier is the sweet spot for a lot of buyers imo. The Ridgeline is too low for a lot of busy bodies that need a working truck bed. But the flat spot is nice for typical sheetrock and plywood, its just shallow.

        And I overload my truck as well with the same philosophy but just understand that the officer will not agree with your logic and many buyers are not comfortable with that.

    18. @Robert Ryan,
      All I want is the 8 speed transmission in the Frontier, from the Cummins Diesel project, they can keep the diesel engine. The EPA has made light duty diesels too expensive, and Ford ala ‘Ecoboost’ has proven that they are not necessary.

    19. Really to make a fair test all the Trucks should be that brands “Off Road” version. Your comparing two street versions to Off Road versions. I would expect them to do better going up a mountain!

    20. We should really talk about the ridgeline over heating problem. Pin point what caused it and discuss any viable solutions to fix it. If it is something that can’t be fixed, then maybe Honda needs to address it.

      1. Bobby is completely correct. TFL folks, can you help get to the bottom of this? what did the Honda dealer say when you returned the truck? I am shopping for a midsize truck and am frequently on this type of FS road. Having an overheated vehicle is a show stopper. I know what some will say, “buy the Tacoma Off Road”, agreed that it’s one of the best when off pavement, but since I have lots of freeway miles to drive to get to fishing and hunting locations, the amenities of the Honda are a strong influence in my decision. So… what about the overheated tranny Roman, Andre?
        Thanks for all your great reviews guys. Keep it up.

        1. The dealer likely forgot to top the transmission reservoir with a tube of bengay. The ass kicking it took just got to be too much without the proper lubricant and relief cream

      1. Accord with big wheels? Look up how 75% of the Ridg’s suspension has been beefed up big time over the already tuff and reliable Pilot. I don’t tow anything more than a 20ft boat or trailer with tractor/supplies and my Ridge performs superbly. The bed is über functional and scratch resistant.
        As for the over heat, honda as always (i.e. pay load, towing) protects your investment and shuts things down at a safe level. This keeps your vehicle in good functioning condition for many extra years over the competition… Let’s call it what it is… SMART. Not to mention the road tires (which perform quite well for all my off roading like camping, back yard driving, normal stuff that anything beyond belongs to the duty of an old jeep,ready for a beating). And unfortunately Roman did not use a terrain selection of the AWD system; if he had the AWD/4wd would have been locked in… Yes it does lock, thus the AWD would not have kept hunting for the best traction and spinning the road tires. I’ll bet my truck that with the JSport Honda approved lift/level kit some AT tires and a driver who would utilize the terrain selector that the ridgeline would have made it to the top easily. I’m not leveling my Ridge or changing the tires because I love my 24 mpg and sedan handling, oh and I’m not taking my daily sporty drive up a rocky trail above the tree line. That’s for your toy off roader people come on lol.

    21. I think the Nissan is the best of the bunch but the new one is coming and since it will be based on the international truck of the year ,well I’ll wait it out for the new one.

    22. I like this mashup. I need a truck to haul frequently, tow occasionally, and be fun to drive. My personal opinion fwiw:
      The Ridgeline is a city dweller and does not have the options I am looking for in a truck. It’s our minivan with a bed…
      The Canyon, though a true truck in design, still feels like a tooling around town type of vehicle that may have a few potted plants in the bed every so often. I can’t stand the way the spare tire hangs so low either. We have a Colorado at work and the V6 feels like a 4 cylinder unless you rev it out.
      The Tacoma is a nice looking and well performing truck. I don’t need the off-road chops the tester has, but I like the options provided. Almost bought one.
      I may be biased as I own one, but the Frontier has all the things I need in a truck. True 4×4, manual with the V6, the Utili-Track system is priceless for my needs, and the big V6 with torque. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but those all trump the ‘ancient’ design and lack of the latest tech. It took 6 months of shopping to find the one I wanted, but I am glad I waited for the right truck.
      BTW, I am anxious to hear any info on the Ranger and NP300 based Frontier for the US; rumor or fact.

    23. To Gunner, I have to Agree, The new Tacoma is like driving a 4cylinder now as well. Maybe the new V6 motor in the ZR2 will be a better option than all of them based on your comments but likely will be overpriced. Anything that is not geared towards their majority crappy lineup gets a hefty price tag with big and hefty finance rates with 0 discounts and then the dealer complains that the vehicle doesn’t sell well, and goes back to selling garbage. This is why the old Tacoma and Old Frontier sell well Capable fun midsize trucks that had good prices with good financing rates. The new Tacoma is losing Market share because of the shitty motor and they have overpriced the Pro models and stuck buyers with hefty finance rates with no discounts. When you try to breath life into an off road market the dealers sure know how to kill it. Brain dead buffoons.

    24. For the most part, each of these trucks serve different needs. The ridgeline is great for someone that doesn’t haul or tow much but has a need for the bed and wants a comfortable ride with some tech. The GM twins are great for towing and tooling around town. The taco for all around use, depending on the trim. I’m not a fan of Nissan as a company but the frontier impressed me off road. I wasn’t expecting that result. For my needs the ridgeline is perfect. I dont off road or tow anything but need it for the occasional trips to the dump, or get lumber, mulch, plants, etc while also commuting to work and around town. The price is a bit high for the trim levels which may push me to a Colorado or Taco. Can’t wait to see an official announcement about the Ranger.

    25. Andre,

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but regarding the Ridgeline, didn’t Nathan Adlen take the new Ridgeline up “Gold Mine Hill” which he described as the FLT’s Gold Standard off road trail for trucks just one week after this mashup / video you are referring to and had NO problems whatsoever? No Transmission overheating? I know this to be true because I watched both videos and once you actually “watch it” as opposed to reading about it, it’s clear that the problem with the Ridgeline on Montezuma Trail was not the street tires or the AWD system, but the driver, Roman Mica. He drove the truck foolishly, stopping and then jumping on the gas making the tires spin for the camera as if deliberately trying to make this truck fail, and he did. When Nathan took it up the tougher “Gold Mine Hill” a week later ( Same Exact Truck, same tires ), there was no tire spinning, no overheating, nothing. The Ridgeline made it to the top with no difficulty. I really don’t understand all the hate out there for this Truck. and yes it is a truck. I’ve driven them all and no doubt the Tacoma and the Frontier are the best of the bunch off road, but for a guy like me who also needs it to be a daily driver, you are omitting some major details which should be of interest to your viewers:

      Neither the Frontier nor the Tacoma are very comfortable to live with day to day and when 95% of your driving is ON road ( which I dare say is the case for most people ) that’s not fun. Ridgeline is better for this.

      Payload: The Frontier Pro 4X is one of the most expensive trims, but it’s payload is 300lbs LESS than the base trim or the SV, and they are only 1340lbs to begin with. The Pro 4X is 1030 lbs in the manual, 1040lbs in the auto. Forgetting the fact that although it technically seats 3 in the back ( you’d never want to be there with two other guys ) the best the truck can do is hold 4 people. Ok so even at 4 guys instead of 5, at 175lbs per person, ( 700lbs ) and 21 gallons of fuel ( 147lbs ) is 847lbs, leaving 183lbs to spare. So we have a go anywhere truck that can carry you and three of your friends, but little if any of the equipment you’ll need when you get there. Not good. So I would say the Tacoma is the better off road choice because it is equally capable and can carry more in the way of people and cargo.

      The Ridgeline’s payload is close to 1600lbs. and it actually CAN fit three adults in the rear comfortably. I have sat in ALL of the midsize trucks and this is the only one that can actually fit three grown men comfortably. So it can carry 875lbs of people and 137lbs of fuel and still has 500 plus pounds of cargo capacity left over.

      CRASH TESTS: No contest here. The Ridgeline wins hands down. The rest fold up like cheap cameras is a crash. It seems many people don’t truly understand unibody construction. While a traditional truck’s “body bolted to frame” construction may give it the ability to haul and tow more cargo, it hampers it in a crash. The Ridgeline believe it or not has a fully boxed frame that is an integral part of the body, welded in. This limits it in towing to some degree, but this design is exactly why the Ridgeline is so stiff and sturdy in a crash. When you couple this with the fact that the Ridgeline’s sophisticated AWD system ( lifted from ACURA , their SH AWD ) provides the best traction and handling in bad weather ON pavement of any of these trucks, the Ridgeline starts looking damn good and is clearly the safest of the bunch for those who need to drive it everyday.

      These are facts, and they seem to be facts that no one spells out when talking about and comparing these trucks. Maybe you should.

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