NEW FOR 2008:

– Machine-finish alloy wheels on EX-L
– Cloth changed to monotone on LX
– Exterior colours: Aberdeen Green with Olive interior deleted

For 2008, the Honda Ridgeline pickup truck undergoes only trim changes.

Available as the LX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi, the Ridgeline uses a 3.5-litre V6 and five-speed automatic transmission that it shares with the Honda Pilot SUV; the two are built in the same factory, but each has an exclusive body and frame. Unusual for a pickup truck, the Ridgeline is primarily front-wheel drive, with torque sent to the rear wheels on acceleration, or when needed for extra traction.

The Ridgeline features a five-foot bed made of a composite material designed to fend off scrapes and dents, with notches in the front wall so that two dirt bikes can be fitted into it. Thanks to its independent rear suspension, it has a 240-litre waterproof trunk under the bed floor that can be locked. Honda says it will hold three golf bags; a sliding tray holds the spare tire. The tailgate is dual-action, swinging down conventionally or from the side, like a car door, for easy loading.

Features on the LX include 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, tire pressure monitoring system, power sliding rear window, power locks with keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, floor mats, 60/40 fold-up rear seat with under-seat cargo zone, power windows, cruise control, and CD stereo.

The EX-L adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, auto-off headlamps, privacy glass, heated leather-trimmed seats with eight-way power driver’s adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel, compass, and six-CD stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls.

The EX-L Navi adds a power sunroof, stereo auxiliary jack and bilingual voice-activated navigation system.

While it isn’t a true workhorse like a body-on-frame, rear-wheel drive pickup, the Ridgeline is still very capable, and in a market where many people buy trucks solely as big cars, it’s a comfortable performer. There’s a huge amount of room for small-item storage, including the under-bed storage box, a multi-function console with hidden storage areas, and rear seats that provide under-seat storage when down, or can be lifted up for more cargo space.

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