Although a lot of people like the size and power of a full-size truck, midsize pickups are a much better option for many truck-owners. They’re smaller, of course, which makes them more sensible to own and enjoy in crowded cities – plus they can fit into a garage or parking spot more easily. If you look at the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, then you’ll find one of the most attractive midsize trucks on the market with a bunch of unique features that make it an excellent option. But choosing the right one can be tricky due to the choices available to you.
With four different trim levels available, it’s important that you pick the one that best meets your needs. The good news is that all four trims have the same engine and overall performance, so you don’t have to pay more to get a Ridgeline that can handle what you want. They have the same towing capacity, though there are some relatively minor differences in their payload capacities due to the weight of additional features. The major distinctions between these models really come down to the kinds of luxury and tech options you find inside of them. So, let’s take a look at the 2021 Honda Ridgeline and everything it has to offer.
2021 Honda Ridgeline Overview
Before I take you through the features of each trim level, let’s have a look at what you’ll get no matter which model you choose. As I said before, the Ridgeline is a midsize pickup, so you won’t find the kind of performance or capability that a full-size model has to offer. That being said, every 2021 Honda Ridgeline comes with a standard 3.5L V6 engine that delivers 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, with a 9-speed automatic transmission that includes Shift-by-Wire and paddle shifter functionality. The truck also comes standard with all-wheel drive for ideal traction in all road conditions.
This powertrain gives you up to 5,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity, no matter which model you choose, with a 64-inch bed that offers about 34 cu.ft. of cargo volume. You get a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension, with 18-inch wheels and 18-inch all-season tires. This unique suspension results in a much more comfortable and responsive ride than any other truck on the market. Every Honda Ridgeline comes with active noise cancellation for a quiet ride, along with hill start assist and remote engine start functionality.
You also get the Honda Sensing suite of safety features on any model of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline that you choose. This includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Adaptive Cruise Control. A Lane Keeping Assist System, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning are also included with this package.
2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport
As you can see, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline has great performance and safety features in every model. Now let’s take a look at what you get if you choose the Sport trim, which is the starting option for the Ridgeline. While the Sport does have the fewest features of any Ridgeline trim, that has the side effect of giving it a total payload capacity of up to 1,583 lbs, which is the highest of any trim.
Looking inside the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport, you get push-button start, power door and tailgate locks, and a tilt and telescopic steering column. The Sport has illuminated steering wheel controls, standard map lights, and basic driver’s and front passenger’s vanity mirrors. You get seating for up to five people, which is true of all Ridgeline models, and standard tri-zone automatic climate control, which is unheard of in trucks.
The Ridgeline Sport comes with a 4-inch driver display in the instrument cluster, along with an 8-inch infotainment display and a standard 7-speaker sound system. It features speed-sensitive volume compensation, support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a front USB port with a center console USB charging port. This is a great place to start, and the features will work well for a lot of drivers, but the other models have a number of upgrades.
2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL
If you want a little bit more from your midsize pickup, then the 2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL is a terrific option. With the RTL, you get a Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor, which doesn’t come with the Sport trim. The RTL also features heated exterior side mirrors, with turn indicators and memory functionality, along with an acoustic windshield for a quieter ride, a one-touch power moonroof, and a power sliding rear window. You get up to 1,544 lbs of maximum payload with the RTL, which is slightly less than the Sport.
Inside, the RTL has a lot of the same features as the Sport but has LED front map lights, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic-dimming rearview mirror. The RTL has a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and two-position memory function, as well as a 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat. It has a leather-trimmed interior for added luxury and heated front seats to keep you and your front passenger nice and warm.
2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
With the 2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, you get the ultimate expression of what the Ridgeline has to offer, with a number of additional improvements over the RTL. These include auto high-beam headlights with LED daytime running lights, along with all of the other safety systems of the Sport and RTL. The RTL-E has LED truck-bed lights, a programmable remote entry system, and chrome door handles for an extra touch of sophistication. You also get front and rear parking sensors with the RTL-E and a truck-bed power outlet, but these features come at the cost of a payload capacity of up to 1,509 lbs, which is the lowest of all three models.
Inside, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E really surrounds you with luxury, including the same gorgeous, leather-trimmed interior of the RTL, plus a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. It has courtesy door lights for the front row, illuminated beverage holders up front, and blue LED ambient lighting for a welcoming and luxurious experience. You also get a wireless charging pad and a pair of USB charging ports for the second row of seats.
The RTL-E features HD Radio and a Honda satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition. You also get an 8-speaker premium audio system with a subwoofer and truck-bed audio that makes it easy to enjoy your music while tailgating, camping, or anywhere else the road takes you. If you’re looking for the pinnacle of luxury in the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, then the RTL-E is the way to go.
There’s also a Black Edition of the Ridgeline available, which is essentially the RTL-E in terms of its features and options. The major difference, as its name might suggest, is that this edition comes with a black interior and exterior that really lets you channel your inner Darth Vader. It has Crystal Black Pearl paint with gloss-black exterior moldings, including body-color side mirrors and door handles, with exclusive 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find a black leather interior with red accent stitching throughout. There are even more details, like red LED lighting in the cup holders and red LED ambient lighting – rather than the blue of the standard RTL-E.
Which One is Right for You?
This will really come down to what you’re looking for in your truck. The Sport is the most affordable option, and since it comes with the same engine, fantastic safety features, and much more, it’s a great choice for a lot of people. If you want added luxury, then the RTL and RTL-E don’t increase the price too much and really enhance an already great experience. And if you’re looking to express the Sith Lord within you, then the Black Edition is the way to go.