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STYLING | 5 out of 10
It'll attract crossover owners who hanker for a cargo bed
There are some problems with the Ridgeline's styling and design
Some slight changes to the gauge shaping and to the choices of type styles for the tachometer and speedometer
The 2009 Honda Ridgeline emerges from Honda's factories with quite a few changes for the latest model year, but don't expect them to be glaringly obvious.
From the outside, the new Honda Ridgeline looks relatively similar to the previous version, though that's not necessarily a good thing. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com continue to indicate a lukewarm reception to the overall styling of this pickup, which Edmunds says is "available in just one four-door body style" that is segmented into "three trim levels: base RT, midlevel RTS and leather-lined RTL." Cars.com is the first to raise issues with the 2009 Honda Ridgeline's looks, noting "some problems with the Ridgeline's styling and design," including the fact that "a traditional bed cap or bed-mounted crossover toolbox won't fit, [and] there's a limited selection of tonneau covers." Reviewers at Automobile Magazine, however, appreciate the changes, remarking that this 2009 Honda's styling "works a lot better" than before. Specifically, updates for the 2009 Honda Ridgeline include "a redesigned front fascia, grille, bumper, and taillight assembly," according to Car and Driver. Motor Trend adds that this 2009 Honda pickup offering is "clearly designed to look more familial with the recently released and redesigned Honda Pilot," although some of the styling cues afford "the new Ridgeline a more masculine look."
On the inside of the Honda Ridgeline, you'll find a few more of the 50 improvements and changes that Honda claims to have made on the latest Ridgeline. Unfortunately, Automobile Magazine still feels that "whoever was in charge of control placement must have flunked human factors design," thanks to awkward elements, like a sunroof switch sitting next to the tachometer and a dome lamp switch that is isolated from all other cabin lighting controls. On the positive side, Car and Driver points out that this 2009 Honda model features "better switchgear throughout," and "it seems like almost everything inside has been revised in some way." Motor Trend delves into the Honda Ridgeline's tiny details to spot "slight changes to the gauge shaping and to the choices of type styles for the tachometer and speedometer." Despite the changes, ConsumerGuide still feels that "some radio adjustments require a stretch."
Honda has demonstrated that it's not afraid to push the styling envelope, but with the 2009 Honda Ridgeline, the company might have been better served by showing a bit more restraint.