The Honda Ridgeline defies convention in so many ways, we'd almost like to give it a pass when it comes to grading its unconventional exterior styling.
It's difficult, given the Ridgeline's ungainly proportions and its obvious debt owed to the SUV pieces under its skin. Honda touched up the sheetmetal for the 2009 model year...and it didn't help matters much. The new headlights and taillights made it seem a bit more luxurious--but the angles of the rear pillars, their thickness and the height of the rear fenders around the pickup bed just don't hit the elusive truck target of ruggedness. The new grille, on loan from the Pilot SUV, is probably the design's biggest offense.
The cabin's a much more pleasant place. The conventional dash stacks controls in a rectangular bin, and big knobs for the climate and audio controls are cued up for easy operation with a gloved hand. The Ridgeline feels like the last-generation Pilot SUV in many ways inside, and that's a compliment. If only the awkwardly shaped door handles were as easy to grab with the hands, as they are to catch your eyes.