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2018 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition Preview & Buyer's Guide

Honda's Ridgeline receives subtle changes for the 2018 model year, while the range-topping Black Edition maintains its superiority as the mid-sized truck segment's most comfortable, luxurious option. It may not offer quite the ruggedness more work-focused offerings from other brands, but its underpinnings—shared with the Pilot crossover—make it a perfectly suitable daily driver with a touch of style, to boot.

Exterior Styling

The Honda Ridgeline's exterior gets a serious step up for the Black Edition. The setup is the Ridgeline's highest factory trim and though it may sound like a special or limited-edition option, it's more of a range-topper that throws every available option at the Honda pickup.

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Exterior details that differentiate the Black Edition from its lower-spec siblings include (of course) black 18-inch wheels, black window surrounds (rather than chrome), black door handles, and a single choice for paint colors: you guessed it, black. The Ridgeline's general dimensions don't change for the Black Edition, with ground clearance of 7.9 inches, a height of 70.8 inches, and a length of 209.5 inches. The passenger compartment still strongly resembles Honda's Pilot crossover, and indeed the two vehicles share many components.

The pickup truck layout may look a bit forced, as the window at the rear of the cab seems to stand fairly tall above low truck-bed sidewalls, and the gap between the cab and the rear fenders has been thrown in strictly as an aesthetic reminder that this is, in fact, a pickup truck. The tailgate features a nifty dual-action mechanism that allows it to either lower or open by swinging sideways—although strangely, it doesn't lock.

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Drivetrain & Mechanicals

The Ridgeline Black Edition comes with standard all-wheel drive, which is also available on every other trim package except the base RT, which is offered strictly in a front-wheel drive configuration. Under the hood, a 3.5-liter V6 produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, a stat that remains level for every single Ridgeline iteration. A six-speed automatic transmission is the only option, as well, which in the Black Edition is complemented by a heavy-duty transmission fluid cooler.

The power figures aren't liable to blow away the competition and point further towards the shared Pilot underpinning, but at least in all-wheel-drive trim, the Ridgeline's towing rating bumps from up from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds (although this is still about 2,000 pounds less than any competitor which is also equipped with a V6). The V6, AWD layout can power the Black Edition to 60 miles per hour in 6.6 seconds, on the way to a quarter mile time of 15.2 seconds at 93 miles per hour.

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At the very least, every iteration of the Ridgeline, including the Black Edition, offers best-in-class fuel economy, rated at 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway, for a combined 22 MPG overall. One major advantage of sharing a platform with the crossover Pilot comes in the form of the Ridgeline's coil-sprung independent rear suspension, which offers much smoother driving characteristics than the more typical solid-axle, leaf-spring setup used in light-duty pickups.

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Interior & Tech

The Ridgeline's interior has received high praise—again, this likely stems from sharing a layout with the passenger-focused Pilot, rather than being designed for more truck-like work duties. The rear seat is the largest among the competition, and despite mathematically having a smaller interior, Honda's stellar ergonomics allow the driver and passengers to enjoy ample room.

Honda has included standard tech for the Ridgeline, although the Black Edition receives red ambient LED lighting. A power sliding sunroof and power rear window are nice details that few other pickup trucks offer, even in higher-priced segments. The HondaLink infotainment system comes with an 8-inch touchscreen for the Black Edition, which adds three inches of screen compared to trims below the mid-level RTL-T package. Steering-wheel controls become crucial, as the system lacks a rotary knob for controlling sound volume.

Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and navigation are all available, while the Black Edition also benefits from a 540-watt sound system that includes truck-bed audio that can turn the cargo box into a speaker. Bluetooth audio and phone come standard, although 4G LTE and mobile Wi-Fi are not available at all.

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Pricing & Buying

The Honda Ridgeline Black Edition starts at $43,420, more than $13,000 above the base, 2-wheel-drive RT package. Four different packages (Sport, RTL, RTL-T, and RTL-E) evenly space out the difference between the lowest and highest-end, while careful consideration of options boxes on lower-spec Ridgelines may be the best value bet rather than jumping all-in on the Black Edition.

Competition

The Ridgeline competes with a range of other domestic and international mid-sized pickup trucks, including the Chevy Colorado Crew Cab, Nissan Frontier King Cab, Toyota Tacoma Double Cab, and the GMC Colorado Crew Cab. Each truck is available in a range of options and trim packages, though the Ridgeline Black Edition is likely the most comfortable, luxurious-focused of the bunch. Sure, the Colorado in ZR2 is more off-road focused, but the Ridgeline is a light-duty truck with a crossover base at heart.

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