Yeah, torque steer sucks. When cars start braking 200HP, FWD really starts becoming a liability. I experienced this with our old Eclypse GST Spider and now with the Jetta 1.8T. RWD really is superior in all cases except snow. And even then, the right tires can more than make up for it.
As for Ridgelines, I usually pass them, look at the owners, and shake my head. I'd rather go Tacoma. I think it looks ugly. Kinda like a pug version of the Avalanche. I also think they will sell as well as the pontiac Aztek or failed Del Sol, which was also another honda failed attempt that turned out ugly. Honda wanted a convertable, made the del sol, then said whoops, make an S2000 and lets redeem ourselves. This is the whoops for their truck introduction. I don't doubt they will make a good one some day, but not now. The Titan guys look at it like a major joke. One guy with an Accord or something loves to drive up in his Titan when he needs parts and park next to the Ridgeline. Drives the salesmen nuts, more than when we park next to Sequoias or Expeditions. When the ridgeline first came out, they tried to market it as a half ton pickup competing with F150, Ram 1500, Titan, etc. When this failed, they said lets compare it to smaller trucks so we will look awesome. BTW, you know you can buy a new faster bigger Titan for $10k less than the Ridgeline? That's a lot of gas.
Pros: Sporty driving dynamics, versatile and comfortable interior, innovative cargo features, dent-resistant composite bed.
Translation: It drives like a car, has good seats, and the bed isn't steel, its plastic.
Cons: Chunky exterior styling, slablike rear seat, limited engine options (no V8 is available), automatic AWD system doesn't have low range, limited off-road ability.
Translation: Ugly Pug/Avalanche looking thing, back seat feels like a 2x6, NO BALLS, pulls like my grandma :ugogirl: , has problems on gravel roads.
From their long term test:
Executive Editor Rich Homan found fault with the Ridgeline's poor rear visibility, huge turning radius, and automatic door locks that don't easily unlock.
Road Test Editor Dan Kahn agrees, claiming the truck's rear three-quarter blind spot nearly caused an accident
on the freeway.
"There are certain ideas Honda incorporated into the Ridgeline I really like," Kahn says. "Full-time all-wheel drive, lots of storage space and the water-tight trunk in the bed are all excellent. However, I don't care for the way the truck looks; it reminds me of a big silver brick
rolling down the road. The C-pillar sail panels are a huge blind spot
on the road, and I nearly broadsided a guy on the freeway because of them. Also, the auto-locking doors made my passengers uncomfortable, as they don't unlock when you put the truck in park. I consulted the manual for a fix, but nothing seemed to work. I'd also like a bigger bed and a bit more power, which is why I prefer the Toyota Tacoma when Friday rolls around and I'm heading to the lake."
One incident that has called into question our affinity for the Ridgeline is its ability to withstand off-road use. Senior Consumer Advice Editor Phil Reed took the truck on a family campout in Death Valley, California, figuring the Ridgeline was the perfect vehicle to get him, his wife and two sons to a remote campsite. The road was a long, but relatively flat stretch that seemed well within the Ridgeline's capabilities. Its surface was rough washboard but certainly nothing that couldn't be handled at modest speeds by a modern truck.
"I adjusted my speed to minimize vibration and eventually settled between 10 and 15 mph. I held my speed down and steered around the worst of the holes and ruts."
His tame driving wasn't enough apparently, as he returned to L.A. noting that the Ridgeline seemed to be handling a bit strange. A check by the dealer revealed that all four struts were blown out and needed to be replaced
. The dealer initially signaled that it might not replace them under warranty, but in a subsequent phone call agreed to replace them as a "one time good faith" gesture.
At this point, we contacted Honda to explain the situation. The company agreed to look into it and in the meantime, the dealer went ahead and replaced all four struts. A subsequent e-mail from a Honda spokesperson said that after examination of the struts its engineers concluded that they "showed evidence of what appeared to be very severe usage, suggesting the truck was driven at high speeds for a long period of time over fairly rough terrain. Our engineers insist that we have one of the industry's most severe test standards for damper performance and that they would expect our dampers to perform on par or better than competitive vehicles. We would welcome the opportunity to have you test the Ridgeline against other competitor(s) on the same course that you drove."
With that mind we headed out to the same road with our long-term Toyota Tacoma crew cab.
It's equipped with the TRD Sport package designed to give it improved performance on road without degrading its off-road capability. We drove the exact same route at varying speeds and experienced no damage of any kind.
Editor Dan Kahn wasn't so lucky a few weeks later. He was driving the Ridgeline on a narrow street when he swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle breaking the Ridgeline's passenger-side mirror. He brought the truck to Honda of Santa Monica, where the mirror was fixed for $59.50. At the same time we also had the oil changed for $36.68 and a noisy windshield seal was also repaired under warranty.
All four struts rendered inoperable on dirt road, front passenger seatbelt trim broke off, loose security light on driver door and poor windshield seal caused hissing noise at speed. All repaired at no cost under warranty. Passenger-side rearview mirror broke during minor collision on a narrow city street, replaced by dealer.
Sounds like a $30k winner to me.
And here's 14 pages of complaints about the couple month old Ridgeline.
BTW, I have nothing against Honda. Ex. I told my dad to buy an Accord, which he loves. He's on his second one now. Right car for the job, driving a pair of seniors to market safely and trouble free.
If you want high quality interior materials, look at Infiniti, Audi, BMW, Merc, Lexus, etc. All will make the Honda look like a joke. And then drive a ridgeline, then drive a Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado, or other competitor, and put down the pipe man.