The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Is No. 1 on U.S. News but Definitely Not in Sales

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Truck buyers who are looking for something different are in luck. There is a compact truck that is both highly rated and less frequently purchased: the Honda Ridgeline. This truck is rated No. 1 for 2021, but it’s definitely not No. 1 in sales. Here’s a look at what the 2021 Honda Ridgeline has to offer.

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the No. 1 compact pickup truck

U.S. News rates the 2021 Honda Ridgeline as the No. 1 compact pickup truck. It beats out the 2021 Ford Ranger (coming in second) and the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and 2021 GMC Canyon (which tie for third). The 2021 Toyota Tacoma comes in fifth, while the 2021 Jeep Gladiator and 2021 Nissan Frontier weren’t rated.

Consumer Reports picks the 2021 Honda Ridgeline as its No. 1 compact pickup truck as well. The Ridgeline beats the Gladiator, Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado, and then Canyon in order on this list.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

RELATED: Consumer Reports Only Recommends 2 Pickup Trucks For 2021

Despite being highly regarded, the Honda Ridgeline doesn’t have high sales. While it’s gotten high marks since it first appeared for model year 2006, it is a unique truck. The first generation, from 2006 to 2014, had an unusual look.

After a two-year gap, the second generation appeared in 2017 with a more conventional truck style. Consumer Reports points out that the Ridgeline continues to stand out for its unibody construction and fully independent suspension.

Its uniqueness may have translated into lower sales for the Ridgeline. According to GoodCarBadCar, the Ridgeline had its top sales year in 2006, with 50,193 trucks sold in the U.S. Top sales for the second generation were in 2017, with 34,749 trucks sold.

These sales figures don’t come close to the Ford Ranger’s, which ranks second behind the Ridgeline on U.S. News’ rankings. The Ranger has been around since 1983, but in 2005, the first year the Ridgeline was available, the Ranger sold 120,958 trucks in the U.S., says GoodCarBadCar. While Ranger sales have dropped down around 55,000 in some years, 2020 saw 101,485 trucks sold in the U.S.

There’s a lot to like here

RELATED: The Real Reason the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Should Be More Popular

It isn’t reflected in its sales numbers, but the Honda Ridgeline has a lot to offer. U.S. News points out that the Ridgeline has a “robust engine,” a nice ride, a high-quality interior, and spacious rear seats. It doesn’t haul or tow as much as other compact pickup trucks, though. It also doesn’t have long bed lengths like some other trucks, but it does have extra cabin storage and an in-bed trunk.

The exterior got a refreshed design for 2021. The Ridgeline still has one cab style, the Crew Cab for five people. It also has one bed length, which is 5 feet, 4 inches long.

The Ridgeline continues to have unibody construction, while most other trucks have body-on-frame construction. This gives the Ridgeline a great ride, and it feels more like an SUV than like a truck. All-wheel drive is standard, a new addition for 2021.

The 2021 Ridgeline has a 3.5-liter V6 engine, generating 280 hp. It’s matched with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The payload capacity depends on the trim, ranging from 1,509 to 1,544 to 1,583 pounds.

The interior of the Ridgeline has a high-quality feel, with nice materials and silver accents. It does have some hard plastics though. The base trim has cloth upholstery, but the other three trim levels provide leather upholstery. Also available are a heated steering wheel and power-adjustable and heated front seats.

The Ridgeline has an 8-inch touchscreen that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes standard with a seven-speaker stereo, two USB ports, and Bluetooth. Available tech features include navigation, wireless device charging, HD Radio, satellite radio, an eight-speaker stereo, two additional USB ports, and an in-bed audio system.

The Ridgeline boasts one of the highest safety ratings of its class from U.S. News, with a 9.6 out of 10. It comes standard with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and road departure mitigation. Also available are automatic high-beam headlights, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

You might not see the Honda Ridgeline out on the road as often as the Ford Ranger, but buyers looking for a new compact pickup truck should consider the Ridgeline since it is highly rated. Given its upscale interior, great ride, and excellent safety, it should be more popular than it actually is.

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