What kind of car is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline? What does it compare to?
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a mid-size pickup that splits the difference between crossover SUVs and utilitarian trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Ford Ranger.
Is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline a good car?
Review continues below
Sold in Sport, RTL, and RTL-E trim levels, the 2021 Ridgeline scores a 7.0 out of 10 in our ratings, an excellent score for a pickup thanks to its crossover-like driving attributes and interior as well as its impressive utility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline? Honda tweaked the Ridgeline’s looks this year, giving it more conventional styling to look less like a soft crossover and more like a rugged truck. Its bones remain the same, though.
Additionally, a new Honda Performance Development model—that’s HPD, in Honda-speak—tosses in different styling with nifty bronze wheels.
Otherwise, the Ridgeline is largely the same today as it was when the current model debuted for the 2017 model year. That’s no bad thing. Underhood, you’ll find 280 horsepower from a 3.5-liter V-6, shuffled to either the front or all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The optional all-wheel-drive system lacks the mud-plugging low range found in rivals, but most buyers won’t miss it. Tow ratings rise to 5,000 pounds.
The Ridgeline shares its structure with the Honda Pilot, which is one of our favorite SUVs. You’ll find a similarly spacious passenger compartment, with convenient controls and a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen that now incorporates an actual volume knob rather than a distracting slider. Five people fit easily and comfortably.
As for cargo, the Ridgeline has a composite bed that won’t rust and is exceptionally difficult to dent. Locking storage under the bed is convenient for parking lots, while the tailgate can be flopped downward like a conventional pickup or can swing to the side to make loading heavy items a little easier.
The Ridgeline has standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. Crash-test results have been impressive, too.
How much does the 2021 Honda Ridgeline cost?
Honda hasn’t said how much the refreshed Ridgeline will cost, but we expect pricing to be similar to the roughly $35,000 the automaker charged for the outgoing model. The loaded-up HPD is likely to crest $45,000.
The Polestar 2 has arrived in the U.S., where it has two strikes against it.
First of all, it’s an electric car — a sharp-looking fastback, but undeniably a sedan in a market that shows ever-declining interest in such vehicles.
In addition, it’s made in China, so it faces a 27.5 percent tariff — a five-digit penalty that more than offsets the federal $7,500 tax credit for EVs.
So maybe this car in 2020 America is not the perfect test of Polestar as a challenger to Tesla. Fair enough: The plan is to sell only 1,000 to 10,000 in the U.S.
Polestar, as you may recall, is the joint venture between Sweden’s Volvo and China’s Geely, which are both owned by Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire who started with a refrigerator parts company and parlayed it into a sprawling empire that now includes Volvo trucks, flying-car company Terrafugia and a large stake in Daimler.
Li has just about ended the illusion that Volvo and Geely are separate, having planned (then postponed during the pandemic) an outright merger of the two, which already share platforms, powertrains and sometimes executives.
The Polestar name itself uses a little sleight of hand. It comes from Volvo’s performance subbrand, but it presents itself as a new brand — a new type of brand, if you will, like Tesla, that prefers high-end mall space to a showroom floor and that takes orders online, with options selected as easily as toppings on a pizza.
I had the opportunity to drive a Polestar 2 last week. It’s a fine car with more than enough range for daily driving. It isn’t large, but the panoramic glass roof gives an open feel. The styling is simple and sharp — the yellow seat belts on the slate gray seats evoke a premium airline. You get the instant acceleration and noticeable quietness common to all EVs, and a Google Android OS that makes it easy to do cool stuff with streaming media. (At least mostly. Two efforts to verbally order up classic pop songs on Spotify came back with the correct artist, but the wrong tune.)
Comparisons to Tesla’s Model 3 are inevitable and intentional. If you don’t choose to speak your wishes, you control just about everything through a large vertical touch screen. The design feels legitimately Scandinavian, but its primary impression is the iPhone-like minimalism that is a hallmark of Tesla’s interiors.
This is probably the spot where I should make a joke about Tesla’s shoddy workmanship, particularly in its early years. While mismatched door panels are grotesquely unprofessional, Tesla’s customers routinely forgave the company’s errors because they had such strong positive feelings about the car, the company and its leader.
The Polestar 2 I drove seemed very well built, without gaps, rattles, squeaks or undue wind noise. It speaks to the brand’s strategy that aims to be the best of both worlds: the excitement of a new “startup” EV brand, but one that is backed by decades of engineering and manufacturing experience — and enjoys economies of scale from being part of a larger group. The Polestar 2’s platform, for instance, is also used for Volvo’s XC40.
But in a market where it seems that the only sedans that sell are to returning loyalists or wearing a Tesla badge, selling an electric car for $60,000 or so is not for the faint of heart.
While Tesla might seem to have the disadvantage of being smallish and making it up as it goes, it all feeds the Elon Musk mythology that his shareholders and customers gobble up. The Musk mystique is central to the brand’s appeal.
He laid out ambitious plans to clean personal transportation and make humans an interplanetary species. Can he really do all that? Maybe not. But something to believe in, something that inspires people makes them willing to pay more for a Tesla than they will for other cars.
Li, as fascinating as he is, is not so open as the pot-stirring, pot-smoking, pop-artist-dating Musk.
Musk is a master of social media (when he isn’t getting himself sued), and he’s no longer alone out there. Akio Toyoda is active on Instagram. Jim Farley joined Twitter.
Li is more of a man behind the curtain, at least when it comes to the U.S. and Europe.
Maybe it’s time for him to start a blog — start telling his own story and inspiring people with it. I can’t say it will get the tariffs lowered, but it might help move a few sedans.
Suzuki doesn’t sell vehicles in the U.S. anymore, but the adorable Suzuki Jimny has kept the company on America’s radar recently. And the burgeoning relationship (and model sharing) with Toyota is a funny bit of timing. Had the two companies hooked up earlier, it’s very possible that (like Mazda) Suzuki might still be selling cars we wouldn’t otherwise get here rebadged as Toyotas. Recall the Toyota Yaris and Yaris Hatchback—Mazda 2s in Toyota clothing. Meanwhile, in Europe, the new Suzuki Across is a Toyota RAV4 in disguise.
Specifically, it’s a RAV4 Prime—a plug-in hybrid aiming to muscle in on the (relatively) popular PHEV SUV segment that has been dominated lately by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. But, despite some success (the Outlander PHEV alone drove 20 percent of the company’s sales in 2019), Mitsubishi is pulling the plug on Europe, leaving it to corporate partner Renault, and retreating to Asian markets.
That does leave an opportunity for Toyota and Suzuki to make inroads. Toyota already sells the RAV4 Hybrid in the market, and the PHEV is coming. Suzuki will have two rebadged Toyota models on offer, including the Swace—a Corolla Hybrid wagon. The Across closely mirrors the. Toyota’s look inside and out, save for its more aggressive face and bigger grille, which work surprisingly well on the recycled RAV4 body.
Perhaps in an alternate timeline, Suzuki stuck it out in the American market long enough to benefit, selling some Toyota models as Suzukis. Even without a dealer network, the company could conceivably provide Suzuki models for Toyota to sell as their own—an improbable but plausible path for the wonderful Jimny to be sold here. If anything, the Suzuki Across is yet another piece of evidence that Suzuki’s possible return to America isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem.
General Motors deemed it a “moonshot”, and those working on the newest GMC model dubbed it Project Obtainium. We know it as the 2022 GMC Hummer EV and the freshly debuted pickup includes several interesting tech highlights beyond its wild claim of 11,500 lb-ft of torque that’s been much ballyhooed. There’s a lot to dig into on this EV off-roader, but let’s start by dissecting that torque number before we check out the truck’s trick Extract mode, neat CrabWalk feature, and more.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: Put a Torque in It
Let’s start off with that marquee number: 11,500 lb-ft of torque. That is the combined total torque being applied to the wheels, not at the output shafts of the Hummer EV’s three permanent-magnet motors. (Initially, all Hummer EVs will have one front and two rear motors.) GMC is still being coy about the exact power and torque numbers of the individual motors, but chief engineer Al Oppenheiser pegged the individual motor torque outputs at “between 380 and 400 lb-ft,” adding that after multiplying the motor torque by the 13.4:1 front and 10.1:1 rear single-speed transfer-gear ratios, the number actually comes out to well over 11,500 lb-ft (front output, however, must be limited to prevent wheel spin). If each motor produced 380 lb-ft, that would multiply out to 12,768 lb-ft total to the wheels. Torque limiting the front to 340 lb-ft, and the two rear motors to 350 at launch would pencil out to 11,626 lb-ft at the wheels.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: EV Torque Vs. Duramax Diesel Twist
The Hummer EV’s torquiest combustion sibling is the Sierra 4×4 Duramax pickup, which includes a 10-speed automatic transmission. With its 4.70:1 first gear, 3.24:1 axle ratio, and a torque converter multiplication factor conservatively estimated at 1.85:1 when “stalled” at 0 mph, the Duramax diesel’s 460 lb-ft of peak torque (available from 1,500-3,000 rpm) pencils out to almost 13,000 lb-ft. Of course, that torque-converter multiplication disappears when the converter locks up, trimming total wheel torque to just under 7,000 lb-ft. By contrast, Oppenheiser shared that the Hummer EV sustains peak wheel torque from 0 to 40 mph. Presuming you equip your Sierra Duramax with the X31 Off-Road package to get the two-speed transfer case, you could engage low-range and gain a further 2.72:1 multiplication. That would give you nearly 19,000 lb-ft at the wheels, all along the Duramax’s broad peak-torque plateau. That said, using low-range would rev the bejeebers out of the Sierra‘s diesel engine at 40 mph where the Hummer EV’s torque starts to drop off.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: Horsepowerin’ Around
Here again, GMC is only talking in round numbers: 1,000 hp total, measured at the three motor shafts. With more multiplication in the front and a desire to be able to do more torque vectoring at the rear, we’re guessing power and torque ratings will be slightly lower for the front motor than for the two rear motors. Figure somewhere between 330/335/335 and 300/350/350.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: WTF Mode
However the power gets divided among the three motors, GMC notes the Hummer EV accelerates to 60 mph in about four seconds in its default start-up driving mode. But you can shave a second off that number by engaging WTF mode (that’s Watts To Freedom—this is a family truck!). Selecting this mode initiates a procedure of conditioning the battery and power control electronics, lowering the suspension to near access mode, and building excitement in the cabin with sound effects, graphics, and rumbling from the haptic seat to simulate the excitement that builds as a roller coaster prepares for its first death-defying drop. Once conditioned, press the accelerator and brake simultaneously, release the brake, and enjoy the g-forces.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: Suspension of Disbelief
The Hummer EV’s fully independent suspension consists of “short/long-arm” geometry, which is good for 13 inches of wheel travel at the front and rear, plus air springs and continuously adjustable adaptive dampers at all four corners (none of the suspension bits wear branding from any of the independent off-road shock or suspension suppliers). The Extreme Off-Road package, standard on all Hummer EV Edition 1 models, includes 18-inch wheels wearing 35-inch diameter (305/70R18) Goodyear Wrangler All Territory MT tires. Sufficient clearance is provided to upgrade to 37-inch tires, though. The package also includes steel underbody armor, rock rails, and an 18-camera Virtual Spotter package that includes four underbody cameras—two front and two rear, with self-cleaning capability—to monitor what the tires are encountering. Extract mode helps the Hummer EV clear an obstacle if it becomes high centered by extending the wheels an extra four inches above Terrain mode (to full droop). This feature will become standard in 2023 and will be retrofittable to 2022 models via a software update at no charge. On its 35-inch tires with the suspension set to Terrain mode, the Hummer EV’s approach and departure angles are 44 and 34 degrees, respectively, and the truck can ford 2.5 feet of water. Extract mode increases the approach angle to 50 degrees, but speeds are extremely limited in this setting because there is no available rebound travel.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: CrabWalk Diagonal Drive
Another segment exclusive is four-wheel steering that permits up to 10 degrees of rear-wheel steering—well up from the 3-4 degrees most such systems allow. At low speeds, 10 degrees of steering in the opposite direction of the front wheels tightens the truck’s turning circle to a sedan-like 37.1 feet. Smaller rear-steering angles in the same direction as the front tires provide smoother lane changes at highway speeds. Steering up to the full 10 degrees in the same direction at very low speeds—a feature GMC calls CrabWalk—permits a diagonal driving direction and can help the Hummer EV clear off-road obstacles.
The order books are already open for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV that debuted last night. And it looks like the reimagined icon will be quite a bit more expensive than the Tesla Cybertruck—not to mention other emerging electric pickups. Prices will start at $79,995 for the base Hummer EV, on the high end of the full-size pickup market, but we’ll have to wait a long time for that version, which will be the least-expensive Hummer variant.
GMC Hummer EV—Not Exactly Coming Soon
In fact, that base model won’t arrive until spring 2024, packing a two-motor drive system and estimated range of more than 250 miles. These trucks are quite potent, delivering 625 hp and a healthy 7,400 lb-ft of torque. The 2X trim steps up to more than 300 miles of range, as well as extra goodies such as adaptive air suspension, four-wheel steer, and a “CrabWalk” function for additional off-road prowess and will retail for $89,995 when it arrives in spring 2023. Will any tax incentives apply to the GMC Hummer EV? Nope. Since GM surpassed 200,000 electric vehicle sales a while ago, don’t expect a federal tax credit to help offset any of the Hummer’s cost.
On the 3X trim, a three-motor system increases output to 800 hp and 9,500 lb-ft of torque. This model goes for $99,995 and is available in fall 2022. Reservations are already full for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1, which arrives in fall 2021 with a starting price of $112,595. The early birds who managed to snag one of these copies will get a tri-motor system pumping out 1,000 hp and a whopping 11,500 lb-ft of torque. Other goodies include an extreme off-road package, an Infinity Roof with removable transparent panels, and exclusive interior badging.
The Hummer EV will cost a pretty penny when compared to some rivals. The Tesla Cybertruck will supposedly start at $39,900 for the base single-motor configuration (although Tesla isn’t known for achieving its most radical price promises), $49,900 for the dual-motor version, and $69,900 for the tri-motor truck. Meanwhile, the Lordstown Endurance is going for $52,500. The Rivian R1T is priced at $69,000 and up. Finally, we still don’t have pricing details for the upcoming Ford F-150 Electric. We can’t wait to test all these trucks someday to see if they’re worth their weight in gold.