Our 2019 Honda Ridgeline Becomes a Victim of a Distracted Driver but Keeps On Truckin’

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WHAT WE LIKE: The truck’s versatility. We’ve used the Honda Ridgeline to camp, tow (as covered in our previous update), haul stuff, and commute, enjoying it equally no matter the task. Praise continues to roll in for the Ridgeline’s un-pickup-truck-like smooth and secure ride and handling as well as for its numerous interior storage cubbies, flexible rear-seat folding options, and the handy weatherproof trunk hidden beneath the pickup bed’s floor. Mileage accumulation has continued to be strong, barring a few stints on the disabled list related to a repair-more on that below.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: Since our last report on the Ridgeline, we have affixed a bed cap to its tail. This probably should have been put to a wider vote before happening, because the non-factory cap has garnered largely negative reviews. On one hand, the cap keeps anything placed in the bed dry and sheltered; on the other hand, it severely limits what can fit back there, and many dissenters have complained that they weren’t able to move tall furniture or bulky items. Visibility to the rear also is greatly compromised. We’re leaving the cap on for now for two reasons: It’s difficult to remove, having been sealed against the top of the bed sides, and winter is upon us, so the additional dry storage is welcome.

Our Long-Term Honda Ridgeline Takes a Hit but Keep

As for issues attributable to the Ridgeline itself, there are few. The lower-spec radio head unit that came with our RTL trim was initially viewed as preferable to the uplevel touchscreen on fancier models but has since lost advocates. In spite of its easy-to-use volume and tuning knobs-and preset buttons!-the non-touch unit looks old, and performing tasks such as pairing a Bluetooth device are harder than they should be. Some drivers have complained that low-speed shift quality from the six-speed automatic transmission can be balky.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The Ridgeline was hit from behind while returning south from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. An inattentive driver slammed into the Ridgeline as traffic ahead on Michigan’s I-75 freeway slowed to gawk at a pair of military helicopters strafing the highway (why the choppers were doing this, we’ll never know). The other car, driver hunched over his steering wheel and peering up through his windshield at the Blackhawk helicopters above, hit the Honda-which was slowing through 60 mph-at about 80 mph.

Our Long-Term Honda Ridgeline Takes a Hit but Keep

The responding Michigan State patrolman was impressed by the Ridgeline’s lack of damage compared to the Pontiac G6 that hit us-the sedan’s engine was wearing its pummeled radiator like a form-fitting cocktail dress. Having barfed its coolant, the Pontiac let out a death rattle and joined GM’s excitement division in that great automotive graveyard in the sky. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt, and the Ridgeline was able to continue on its journey to Ann Arbor.

Back home, the body shop assuaged our initial fears that the unibody had been tweaked (since the other car went partly underneath the Ridgeline’s tail). Repairs were confined to the rear bumper and some trim; the shop also melted shut a crack in the plastic lining of the trunk beneath the Ridgeline’s bed floor. The right-side doors and fenders also required a light repaint because we clipped a metal roadside reflector when dodging another car after the initial impact. Final damage bill: $3541.

Our Long-Term Honda Ridgeline Takes a Hit but Keep

Our only other financial outlay beyond gas has been $349 for the “B16” service at 17,146 miles, a hefty sum that included an oil change, tire rotation, cabin and engine air-filter replacement, rear differential service, and an inspection. New wiper blades set us back a further $15.

WHERE WE WENT: Beyond its everyday life here in Michigan, the Ridgeline has traveled deep into Ohio and gone to Tennessee and across the border into Canada.

Months in Fleet: 8 months Current Mileage: 22,669 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 20 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 19.5 gal Observed Fuel Range: 390 miles
Service: $424 Normal Wear: $15 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $3540

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