2017 Honda Ridgeline vs. Toyota Tacoma: New School AWD vs. Old School 4WD [Video]

2017 honda ridgeline awd off-road
2017 Honda Ridgeline

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline features a new i-VTM4 AWD system. It stands for Intelligent Variable Torque Management System and aims to break the old-school paradigm of off-roading prowess. In this video comparison, Roman pits the new Ridgeline AWD against the new Toyota Tacoma 4×4. The two trucks take a very different approach to managing off-road terrain. The Tacoma uses a traditional 4×4 system with a low gear/range transfer case. The Ridgeline relies on a sophisticated AWD system and torque management algorithm.

Granted the Tacoma trucks that Honda provided for comparison at the event were not of the TRD Off-Road variety. These trucks did not have a lockable rear differential that provides an additional traction advantage for off-roading.

The Tacoma uses traditional elements that combine for good off-pavement performance: ample ground clearance, good approach and departure angles, body-on-frame construction, and a solid rear axle for better articulation. All of these elements come together to allow the truck to keep the wheels on the ground as much as possible and using this to propel the vehicle forward.

2017 Honda Ridgeline
2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline has 8 inches of ground clearance (versus 9.4 inches on the Tacoma). It uses unibody construction and independent suspension at all corners (no solid axles). However, it’s not afraid to lift a wheel off the ground. The AWD system with a twin-clutch setup is able to tackle a variety of obstacles and terrain. It also has torque vectoring that overdrives the outside wheel while going through a turn for better control.

Watch how it compares to a Toyota Tacoma 4×4 on an off-road course.