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Sunday Drive: 2024 Honda Ridgeline AWD Trailsport – the adventurer’s truck

By Staff | Jul 8, 2024
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The new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport.
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Inside the new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport.
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The new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport.
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Inside the new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport.
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The new 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport.

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline AWD Trailsport is a testament to Honda’s commitment to blending rugged capability with refined comfort. As the mid-size truck segment continues to evolve, the Ridgeline sets itself apart as a unique choice in this engaging market.

With an array of enhancements aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, the 2024 Trailsport version promises to elevate the Ridgeline’s appeal. So just what is it that would get someone to choose the Honda over the completion?

Aesthetic appeal and build quality

From the moment we encountered the new Ridgeline Trailsport, it was clear that the truck meant business, with Honda giving the Ridgeline a more aggressive and adventurous appearance, featuring a bold front grille, rugged bumper designs and distinctive Trailsport badging.

The addition of skid plates, unique 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires and a higher ground clearance enhanced both its look and functionality, ensuring that it would be ready for rough terrains.

The build quality is typical Honda — exceptional. The exterior materials felt robust, and the panel gaps were impressively tight, reflecting the meticulous engineering standards Honda is known for.

The bed, with its lockable in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate, remains one of the most innovative features, providing practical solutions for hauling gear and storing valuables securely, and allowing for the occasional use as a mobile cooler.

Performance and handling

Under the hood, the 2024 Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produced a solid 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This engine was mated to a smooth-shifting, nine-speed automatic transmission.

While these figures might not set the world on fire, they proved to be more than adequate for a truck of this size, ensuring we’d have brisk acceleration and ample power for towing and hauling.

The standout feature of the Trailsport model is its enhanced all-wheel-drive system, which included intelligent traction management with multiple modes — normal, snow, mud and sand.

This system showed that the Ridgeline Trailsport could handle various off-road conditions with ease. Additionally, the revised suspension setup offered a fine balance between comfort and off-road capability.

On city streets and highways, the ride is impressively smooth, absorbing bumps and imperfections, effortlessly making for a great everyday driver. Off the beaten path, the Trailsport demonstrated remarkable stability and grip, inspiring confidence in challenging conditions.

Interior comfort and technology

Getting inside the Ridgeline, we were greeted by a cabin that blended utility with comfort. The interior materials were of high quality, with soft-touch surfaces and durable fabrics designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor activities.

The seats were very accommodating, with Trailsport-specific stitching adding a touch of uniqueness.

Honda had not skimped on technology, either. The 8-inch touch screen infotainment system was user friendly, featuring wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation.

The audio system, crafted by Honda’s audio engineers, delivered a crisp and immersive sound, making long journeys quite enjoyable.

The Ridgeline also excelled in terms of practicality. The rear seat offered ample legroom, making it comfortable for passengers of all sizes, especially when we had the grandkids in tow.

Safety and driver assistance

We have always found that safety has been a priority for Honda, and the 2024 Ridgeline was no exception. It came equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance technologies as standard.

This included adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation and collision mitigation braking. These features not only enhanced our safety but are so nice to have on an extended drive.

Moreover, the Ridgeline featured a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines that made parking and maneuvering in tight spaces a breeze. The blind-spot information system and rear cross-traffic monitor also added an extra layer of security.

Practicality and utility

One of the key strengths of the Ridgeline has always been its practicality, and the Trailsport model took this to another level. The truck bed is one of the most versatile in the segment.

It featured a dual-action tailgate that could swing open sideways or drop down like a traditional tailgate, providing easy access to the cargo area. The Trailsport also boasts a respectable towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, making it suitable for towing boats, trailers or other recreational vehicles.

Real-world usability

Driving the 2024 Honda Ridgeline AWD Trailsport in real-world conditions showcased its versatility. In urban settings, it felt more like a crossover than a traditional truck. The steering was responsive, and the ride quality is more sedan-like than that of a truck, making daily commutes and grocery runs remarkably comfortable.

When the pavement ends, the Trailsport truly shines. Its off-road capabilities, while not as extreme as some dedicated off-road trucks, were more than sufficient for most outdoor adventures. The intelligent traction management system adjusted the power distribution to maximize grip, while the increased ground clearance prevented underbody damage on uneven terrain.

Fuel efficiency and economy

Despite its rugged capabilities, the Ridgeline offered commendable fuel efficiency for a mid-size truck. The V-6 engine, combined with the nine-speed automatic transmission, delivers 21.2 mpg combined for our week out and about.

At the end of trail

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline AWD Trailsport is a well-rounded package that caters to a wide range of needs, blending the versatility and practicality of a truck with the comfort and refinement of an SUV.

For those who enjoy outdoor adventures but also need a reliable vehicle for daily use, the Trailsport offered the best of both worlds. Its rugged looks, enhanced off-road capabilities and thoughtful features make it a standout choice in the mid-size truck segment.

Base price: $44,960

Destination charge: $1,395

Price as driven: $48,830

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