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2022 Honda Ridgeline Review: A Black Sheep That’s Meek as a Lamb

2022 Honda Ridgeline | Photo: V.Aubé
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Vincent Aubé
Honda's only cargo bed-equipped vehicle, the Ridgeline this year gets its first notable changes since 2017
2022 Honda Ridgeline, profile
2022 Honda Ridgeline, profile | Photo: V.Aubé

Auto123 reviews the redesigned 2022 Honda Ridgeline.

Is there anyone who still doubts the popularity of pickup trucks in 2022? While it's clear that by and large, most truck buyers prefer their pickups full-size, there's still a solid minority that wants them smaller. What’s more, the mid-size players have seen new upstarts show up below them, as two compact-sized pickups join the fray.

Those would be the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, models aimed at outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want/need to go big. They’re made from a recipe that borrows from another, much older truck: the Honda Ridgeline. And that truck, in 2022, has received its first notable changes following a complete redesign in 2017.

Since it first debuted in 2006 (as a 2007 model), Honda's curious pickup has been an oddity on the market, a model that doesn't follow all the conventions prescribed by the category its fits uneasily into. The question for 2022 was, how much would Honda fiddle with its formula for the Ridgeline?

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2022 Honda Ridgeline, front end
2022 Honda Ridgeline, front end | Photo: V.Aubé

Too much restraint
Take a look at the Ridgeline and the first thing you’re likely to notice is the model's very modest design. That was the case when it was redesigned in 2017, and it’s sadly still the case in 2022. Designers may have grafted a more "rugged" front end onto the truck, but the rest of the midsize pickup is as stylish as – meaning no more and no less than - any Honda-branded SUV! I think the new grille adds a bit of aggression to the front end, but these days, utility vehicles almost have to look ready for adventure.

That's right, the Ridgeline can now be outfitted with the HPD (for Honda Performance Department) package, which swaps the stock wheels for more serious-looking bronze units, 18-inch jobs that are wrapped in off-road tires. Black plastic fender flares, an exclusive front grille and HPD badges/stickers complete the visual package. The trouble with this accessory option is that it costs $3,500, which is a pretty steep price to pay to dress up the Ridgeline in Indiana Jones garb.

2022 Honda Ridgeline, tailgate door open
2022 Honda Ridgeline, tailgate door open | Photo: V.Aubé

The aces up the Ridgeline's sleeve
Since the model's introduction in 2006, the Ridgeline has been one of the most flexible models on the market, what with its locked, waterproof compartment under the cargo box floor. This opening, which was inaccessible on the first few days of my test drive due to a layer of snow and ice covering the bed floor, still amazes me today and it’s clear that Hyundai's designers thought this storage solution a pretty good idea, as the Santa Cruz has a similar compartment, though its’ is quite a bit smaller.

Also, the bed’s tailgate can be opened in two ways: downwards like any other pickup, or from right to left, which allows better access to that under-floor compartment.

There’s one more ace up the Ridgeline’s sleeve that I should mention, and that’s the second row of seats, which can be folded up, allowing for the storage of a bulky, vertical object that needs to be protected from the elements.

2022 Honda Ridgeline, second row, with one seat folded up
2022 Honda Ridgeline, second row, with one seat folded up | Photo: V.Aubé

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Vincent Aubé
Vincent Aubé
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 60 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists