Power Bulge! Honda Butches Up Ridgeline Unibody Pickup for 2021.

Honda’s Ridgeline, currently the market’s only mid-size unibody pickup (that’ll change soon), has sometimes been maligned by the off-road and overlanding communities. But, from where I sit, it’s only been knocked by those who haven’t driven it. The thing is supremely comfortable and equally capable.

For 2021, the rig’s exterior styling finally reflects its tough underpinnings. It has received totally new sheet metal from the A-pillars forward, including a new hood complete with a power bulge. Yes, I know the power bulge isn’t unique to Honda or the Ridgeline. However, I find it fun that Honda designers butched this truck up enough to include one. If you look closely, you’ll notice the LED headlights have been improved, too, and the lower front skid plate is prominent as well.

Underneath the bulge is the standard V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque. When optioned with the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive, up to 70% of that power can be routed to the rear wheels and the differential can then split power — up to 100% — between left and right wheels to ensure traction and grip.

Despite being a unibody truck, the Ridgeline is capable of holding a 1,580-pound payload and towing 5,000 pounds. What’s more, it’s bed is four feet wide — large enough to accommodate a piece of plywood, which is not something most mid-size trucks can claim.

The interior has been improved, too. The new infotainment screen, for example, has higher resolution graphics than before.

Maybe most intriguing is the new HPD package. This adds a special meatier-looking grille, black fender flares, bronze-colored wheels, and HPD graphics on the bed sides.

And let’s not forget all the standard safety and driver assistant technologies that Honda packs into every vehicle it makes, too.

For those of you who want an overland rig with truck capabilities and impressive off-road competence without sacrificing daily driving refinement, the Ridgeline is a great option. I mean, let’s not forget the overland-ready Ridgeline Honda brought to Overland Expo in 2019.


Header image: Honda

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