2006 Honda Ridgeline Review – SUV – CNET Reviews

9 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Honda Ridgeline Review – SUV – CNET Reviews
Honda Ridgeline

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The good: The 2006 Honda Ridgeline offers Honda’s exceptional voice-command system, XM Satellite Radio, a ULEV-2 emissions rating, and a clever design that maximizes cargo space.

The bad: The simplest tech feature is available with only the priciest Ridgeline trim package, and Bluetooth isn’t offered at all. For a truck this size with such limited visibility, a rear-obstacle warning system should be standard.

The bottom line: The 2006 Honda Ridgeline is garnering accolades from many sources, and deservedly so. Thoughtful and rugged design, relative drivability, and a few good tech options make this an easy truck to like.

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline is the venerable Japanese manufacturer’s first pickup design, and it has been very well received by the automotive press. Its cargo versatility ranges from a spacious, configurable interior in the vein of the Honda Element we tested previously, to the pickup bed, which has a large trunk underneath.

Also like the Element, the Ridgeline has chunky styling that will polarize opinions as surely as will its country of origin. With a deliberately bold face and an Escalade EXT-esque buttress treatment between the cabin and the bed, the Ridgeline’s distinctive exterior design cues may seem overwrought to America’s dyed-in-the-wool pickup buyers.

But Honda has given the Ridgeline some heavy-duty bona fides, and while its towing and hauling capacity aren’t eye-popping by any means, its combination of interior space and comfort, as well as innovative cargo options make it a viable family workhorse.

Buyers may be a little baffled by the Ridgeline’s trim packages, which tie together unrelated features such as the moonroof and XM Satellite Radio. Our test car had the highest trim level, which includes moonroof and navigation options. Including destination charge, our 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL has an suggested price of $35,190.

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline comes well equipped with tech options when outfitted at the highest trim level: RTL with moonroof and GPS navigation. This package also adds XM Satellite Radio (including three months of service) and a convenient auxiliary input jack for an MP3 player. No provision for Bluetooth cell phone interaction is offered.

The list of other available (sometimes dealer-installed) accessories is extensive, although our test car included none of them. They include an iPod interface ($199), a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with video-in RCA jacks ($2,028), a tailgate-mounted rearview camera (only when navigation-equipped, $497), and a lockable tonneau cover ($1,199). While we appreciated our car’s inclusion of the auxiliary audio input, it’s available with only the highest trim level.

Likewise, ordering the moonroof is the sole way to get XM Satellite Radio.

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline‘s navigation and audio systems can be controlled with voice commands, which work much better than the joystick/button combo.

Once you’ve hashed out these decisions, however, the Ridgeline’s interior impresses in most regards. The RTL package includes heated leather seats with eight-way power adjustment, including lumbar support for the driver, heated side mirrors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Legroom is vast in front and ample in the backseat, which splits 60/40 with each part folding up and clicking into position against the rear cabin wall with a simple pull of a lever.

Even with the rear seats down, a good amount of storage space is available underneath them.

The huge center-console storage area also permits simple configuration. A pinch latch lets the cup holder area slide forward, exposing the CD storage on the cabin floor beneath. This lower area has movable dividers and a sliding, rubber-topped shelf that can cover the front or back half. The center armrest slides forward to an extended position for cruising and tilts rearward to open yet another storage area.

Two 12-volt jacks are mounted on the lower dashboard next to the seat-heater switches, and there’s a third in the rear cabin. The middle third of the rear window is power-sliding.

The Ridgeline’s cabin electronics are similar to what we’ve seen lately on other navigation-equipped Hondas and Acuras. They include a good-size touch screen and a row of hard buttons, including an easily touch-recognizable zoom rocker on the edge nearest the driver. A joystick button is also present, though happily we managed to avoid it completely; the steering wheel controls for cruise control, audio mode, channel up/down, and volume were part of the reason.

Cabin occupants can set climate control with two large knobs and a few large buttons.

But the best input method of all is the voice-recognition system, which accepts spoken street names. Entering intersections for urban destinations is a very rapid process: click the steering wheel button, say the street name, and touch the name on the screen (assuming it’s in the first five returned–a good bet when you’ve narrowed down the possibilities to a city). Repeat for the other street and touch the screen once more: the system calculates the route.

The male- or female-voiced routing instructions are helpful but don’t include street names, which seems curious given the system’s ability to recognize them aurally. The current street is displayed visually at the bottom of the map.

The 160-watt audio system consists of an in-dash six-CD changer that loads from behind the main screen. The screen’s power-tilting movement has a nice initial wow factor but conjures visions of 10-year-old Ridgelines with screens stuck permanently open or closed. Help is already on hand in the form of aftermarket dash kits for clean conversion to a single- or double-DIN installation. Seven speakers, including a subwoofer, deliver solid sound.

You can adjust the sound through the main screen, which also displays satellite-radio song information.

Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline
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