Up Close: The 2024 Honda Ridgeline now has a TrailSport model.
For the 2024 model year, Honda is giving its Ridgeline mid-size pickup truck a minor makeover along with the addition of an off-road-focused grade level. The Ridgeline will get an upgraded TrailSport trim level with unique trim elements and fortifications for managing tough terrain, just like its SUV siblings, the Pilot and Passport, already have. Ahead of the anticipated 2024 Ridgeline’s debut in Honda dealerships this winter, I had the opportunity to get a close-up look at a Ridgeline TrailSport.
Related: The Black and Outdoor Edition of the 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport
In the world of conventional pickup trucks, the Ridgeline has stood out ever since it was introduced for the 2006 model year. Instead of using a rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame truck architecture like the competing Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma, the Ridgeline is constructed on a front-wheel drive, unibody SUV chassis shared with the Passport and Pilot.
This layout has the advantage of giving the Ridgeline an on-road ride, handling quality, and overall refinement that no traditional truck can match; on the other hand, although it’s sturdy enough for most people’s needs, the Ridgeline isn’t as capable in extremely rough off-road terrain as its rivals. Honda has worked to give the current Ridgeline a more “trucky” appearance since it made its debut in 2017. Although most of the changes were cosmetic, they included a more robust front end, standard all-wheel drive, and a Honda Performance Development Package.
Sport Ridgeline Trail
With the introduction of the TrailSport variant for the Ridgeline in 2024, Honda is going beyond simple aesthetics. A unique suspension with off-road tuning includes spring rates, stabilizer bars, and damper valve tuning. According to Honda, these changes improve the off-road ride quality and articulation without noticeably altering the handling or on-road ride. The engine’s oil pan is shielded from jagged pebbles and other off-road hazards by a steel underbody skid plate. Although some off-road tires can be quite noisy when driving on the street, Honda claims that the General Grabber A/T Sport tires on the TrailSport offer significantly better traction in off-road conditions while still being quiet and pleasant for on-road travel. Another common feature is power-folding rearview mirrors, which come in handy when navigating tight off-road tracks.
Honda, of course, did not overlook the TrailSport’s aesthetics. There’s a distinctive grille up front with a blacked-out upper grille bar, a lower-bumper skid garnish painted Pewter Gray, and a beefier-looking mesh design with a TrailSport emblem. The new eighteen-inch, five-spoke wheels are finished in the same Pewter Gray as the front skid garnish; the tailgate is adorned with a TrailSport emblem; the rearview mirrors and door-pillar trim are likewise blacked out. Diffused Sky Blue is a unique blue-gray hue that is only available on the TrailSport and Ridgeline TrailSport. To all 2024 Ridgelines, one upgrade that is suitable for TrailSport is distributed: Blocky Ridgeline writing is now stamped into the steel of the tailgate, giving it a more vintage pickup appearance.
Additional TrailSport-specific features in the cabin include all-weather rubber floormats with TrailSport emblems, orange ambient lighting, orange contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and door panels, and embroidered TrailSport badges on the front head restraints.
The TrailSport I checked out appeared appropriately adventure-ready, and its Diffused Sky Blue color definitely made a statement. However, the TrailSport won’t become a true rock crawler like a Colorado ZR2 or Tacoma TRD Pro thanks to this unique hardware. In comparison to other Ridgelines, there is no discernible lift ride height, therefore the approach, departure, and breakover angles aren’t any better.
Although it can send up to 70% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels and continually distribute up to 100% of that torque between the rear wheels depending on the driving circumstances at each wheel, Honda’s torque-vectoring AWD system is nevertheless competent in off-road driving. For instance, the system can direct power to the wheel in contact with the ground to keep the pickup moving even if one of the back wheels is off the ground.
All Interior Updates
New dashboard screens and some well-considered center-console adjustments are coming to all 2024 Ridgelines. The old gauge panel is replaced with a new 7-inch digital instrument display that features an analog speedometer on the right and a digital tachometer on the left. Using a thumbwheel on the steering wheel, the digital panel’s user-selectable displays may be used to view information about the car and adjust the Honda Sensing safety system. The infotainment touchscreen has been significantly recessed and enlarged from 8 to 9 inches, providing a ledge beneath the screen for the user to steady their hand while making decisions. This does, in fact, make it simpler for your finger to land on the target area on the screen. Honda claims that the integrated navigation system has been streamlined with new graphics and fewer menus, and that a faster processor offers faster, lag-free touchscreen operation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connectivity is now commonplace.
Better than the strange rollback-cover bin and narrow seat-mounted armrests of earlier Ridgelines, the center console has been redesigned with a big integrated armrest and an extended storage bin beneath that can hold a full-size tablet. The storage tray ahead of the push-button shifter has been broadened to accommodate two large smartphones side by side, and it also contains a Qi wireless charger on the driver’s side. The dual cupholders have been enlarged to accommodate larger beverages.
Our top Ridgeline features remain, too: a large, lockable trunk integrated into the back of the bed floor; 60/40 split flip-up backseat cushions that allow you to carry tall cargo inside the cab; and a dual-hinged rear tailgate that opens from both the driver’s side and the bottom.
Cost and Date of Release
The 2024 Honda Ridgeline series, which includes the TrailSport model, is expected to debut on sale this winter. Check back for updates on price and other details as they become available.
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