Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A 2021 Honda Ridgeline is parked in the snow in front of mountains after leaving a Honda Ridgeline Dealership.

Tips For Buying the Right Honda Ridgeline

Mid-sized pickup trucks usually don’t receive as much attention as their larger half-ton and ¾ ton relatives, but the compact vehicle has cornered the market for truck shoppers looking for an affordable alternative to some of the more expensive and larger pickups on the market. With great performance and handling, Honda’s Ridgeline pickup makes for a perfect, economic truck whether you’re looking for something fun to drive or something to tow a few recreational vehicles around. But when you head to a Honda Ridgeline dealership, which trim and model year do you go with? Some car shoppers assume that every new model year is the one they should go with, but there’s more to shopping for a new (or used) vehicle than simply grabbing whatever you look at first on the lot. Some alternative model years, trims, or configurations may be better suited for what you’re looking for.

Should I Buy a 2021 Honda Ridgeline?

If what you’re looking for is the latest that Honda has to offer, then sure. The MSRP starts at $36,490 and comes in four different trims, including the base Sport trim, the RTL, the RTL-E, and the Black Edition. All four trims are available in all-wheel drive, so if off-road traversal is what you’re looking for then, every trim variation has you covered.

The Ridgeline seats five and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as a standard feature for the model year. This truck is outfitted with the Honda Sensing technology safety and driver assist features, including the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, the Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and the Road Departure Mitigation system. There are other features included in the higher trims, such as the Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor.

Each trim offers up something a little bit extra compared to the one before it. The RTL, for instance, comes with a one-touch power moonroof, leather-appointed seating, and the availability of a heavy-duty transmission cooler. The RTL-E sports a premium audio system that’s also included in the truck bed, wireless phone charging, and the inclusion of the Honda Satellite navigation system. The Black Edition features leather upholstery, special black trim, and black alloy wheels. If you want the absolute best that Honda has to offer in the mid-size category and are willing to pay top dollar for it, then the 2021 Ridgeline is a good way to go.

The interior of a 2021 Honda Ridgeline shows two rows of seating, the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

Should I Buy a Used Honda Ridgeline?

If you like the features of the Ridgeline, but you’re working on a strict enough budget that limits you from buying brand new, then it might be best to look into buying used. You can find a number of used Ridgeline pickup trucks for several thousands of dollars lower than the MSRP if you decided to go with a model year before the most current one. The price will vary significantly based on the trim you’re most interested in. Since the used price is a fraction of the original new price, lower trims will still be cheaper than comparable upper trims, but you can also use this to find a higher trim for a more affordable price than buying it new. If you want just the base Sport trim Ridgeline, then you can knock a couple of thousand off the MSRP when buying used.

The price continues to drop the older the model year is, so going back two or three years can bring the price down significantly. However, you can lose out on the newest standard features depending on the model year you are looking at. For example, some older Ridgeline models, like the 2017 model, had a 6-speed automatic transmission, and the later models like the 2021 have a 9-speed automatic. You may also need to look at higher trims for the inclusion of features such as Apple Carplay and Android auto.

There are some give-and-take scenarios when it comes to buying used, so the closer to the most current model year you get, the more features you have access to. You can certainly save some money by going with an older model year that doesn’t have as many standard infotainment and luxury features, assuming you don’t need to have all the latest tech features in your vehicle. Buying used is merely a game of price vs features, and a lot of times, you can win that game by getting a used higher trim model that will have the features you want at a price you can afford.

Should I Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Honda Ridgeline?

What if you can’t afford a brand new Ridgeline, but you don’t want to lose out on the features, quality, and warranties that come with a new one? Well, the middle-ground for such a scenario is going the certified pre-owned route. While you can easily find some used pickups from a Honda Ridgeline dealership for well under the MSRP, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best quality iteration of the truck that money (or your budget) can buy.

With certified pre-owned, you still get the benefits of a Ridgeline that’s much cheaper than the MSRP, and you can still shop for model years close to the current model year that contains many of the standard features you want. However, certified pre-owned models also come with a powertrain warranty, including a limited powertrain coverage for up to 7 years or 100,000 miles worth of travel. The warranties also cover roadside assistance, Honda Care service, and concierge service. So you’re buying used with a few safety net guarantees.

Buying a Honda Ridgeline for Longevity

If you are looking for a compact pickup truck that will serve you well on and off the road, then the Honda Ridgeline is an excellent choice for you. The midsize pickup is known for lasting quite a while, which some truck shoppers might find surprising given its penchant for being built for off-road use. Taking your vehicle off-road brings with it an entirely different set of maintenance requirements and needs, and it can easily wear down the reliability of the truck. However, Ridgeline pickups are known to go the distance, and most consumer maintenance reports indicate that the truck functions perfectly even after putting more than 100,000 miles on it. Most repairs and service needs are about standard to what you would expect from a midsize pickup, including regular intervals of getting the oil changed, rotating the tires, having the suspension inspected, getting the battery charged, and flushing the coolant.

A silver 2021 Honda Ridgeline drives through a puddle.

New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned, the Ridgeline Is the Truck for You

If you want all of the amenities that come with the newest generation Ridgeline, then you can buy brand new. If you wanted a midsize pickup with some flair and panache, you can go with a higher-level trim that comes with leather-appointed seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a moonroof. If all you wanted was a reliable midsize pickup while working with a tight budget, you can go with a used model for a fraction of the cost of a new model. If you wanted performance guarantees while also working with a limited budget, seek out a trim that comes with the features you want and buy certified pre-owned.

For the most part, if you opt to go with a Honda Ridgeline, you’re buying into a dependable, long-lasting truck brand. Many pickup owners cite in their reviews that the Ridgeline has lasted them for more than a decade, so that’s something to consider as well. If you plan on making a quick turnaround purchase, then maybe you can go with an older Ridgeline and then trade it in toward something new, but if you plan on keeping the truck for a while, buying new might be the better bet. Whatever way you choose to go, the Ridgeline is sure to be an excellent truck for you.