2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport Review: The Midsize Truck You Probably Want (Hear Me Out)

The TrailSport is a notable addition to Honda's midsize truck lineup

Comfortable ride TrailSport is not a hardcore off-roader
Well-appointed, logical interior 3.5-liter V6 is your only engine option
Lockable under-bed storage Lower towing capacity than midsize rivals
Practical use of space inside and out Pricing starts over $41,000

Overview: The new Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is adds a more capable option, but is that enough?

While the Toyota Tacoma is the undisputed sales king in the midsize truck segment, the Honda Ridgeline continues to exhibit a remarkably consistent fan base, and sales actually picked up by more than 20% last year. For 2024, though, Honda broadened their competitive offering by adding a more off-road focused TrailSport trim, similar to what it’s done with the Passport and Pilot SUVs. After taking a closer look at the trim-specific changes back in November, we finally have the latest TrailSport to test here in Colorado. Now, we can answer the question as to whether adding a more rugged option (at least on paper) really changes the game for prospective midsize truck buyers.

Before we dig into those details, it’s worth noting the rest of the 2024 Honda Ridgeline lineup is broadly the same as before. The TrailSport trim sits above the base Sport and mid-range RTL, while there’s still a Black Edition for those who want a more luxurious option. Honda enlarged the center console and front cupholders for 2024 models, while the tailgate now has the Ridgeline name stamped across it. Up front, all Ridgelines also get a new grille design.

A 9.0-inch infotainment screen is standard fare as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, wireless smartphone charging, three-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, the dual-action tailgate and lockable underbed trunk. All Ridgelines also come with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance features, including the Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation (lane keep assist), blind-spot monitoring, a multi-angle rearview camera and adaptive cruise control.

The TrailSport brings its own list of extras, as you’d expect for an off-road-focused model. Up front, out back and on the front seats, you get orange logos to let folks know this is a cut above your basic Ridgeline. Honda fits a small metal skid plate up front to protect the oil pan, though that’s where the extra underbody protection ends. Wrapped around pewter gray 18-inch alloy wheels, you get 245/60-R18 General Grabber A/T Sport all-terrain tires, off-road tuned suspension and all-weather floor mats.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trim and Price Walk

Pricing for the 2024 Honda Ridgeline starts at $41,145 for the Sport model, increasing to $47,745 for the Black Edition, before extra-cost color options and accessory packages.

The RTL kicks off at $43,975, and adds some desirable features on top of the base truck’s options like heated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a power-sliding rear window.

The TrailSport adds the off-road kit I mentioned above as well as orange ambient interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, built-in navigation and parking sensors, and starts at $46,375.

At the top of the range, the Black Edition model comes in at $47,745. As the name implies, the top-spec model gets blacked out trim including gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels, red ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, LED bed lighting and a more powerful 540-watt premium sound system with 8 speakers (to the lesser trucks’ 215-watt, 7-speaker setup).

Performance and Capability

Under the hood, every 2024 Honda Ridgeline still gets a 280-horsepower, naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine with 262 lb-ft of torque. Power makes its way to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is the default across the entire lineup. On-road, the Ridgeline actually has some aces up its sleeve, as the engine is surprisingly rev-happy and smooth, while the ride (even with the TrailSport’s “off-road tuned suspension”) is supremely comfortable. Thanks in part to its crossover roots, the Ridgeline sports a car-like ride quality that is a complete 180 from the bouncy and choppy experience when you’re daily driving leaf-sprung, solid-axle trucks around.

Get it off the beaten track on dirt or snow, and again the Ridgeline is a surprisingly capable rig. The TrailSport’s all-terrain tires helps its case here, but the real star of the show is Honda’s exceptional i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system. You don’t get any locking differentials or electronic sway bar disconnects here, but the Ridgeline does get Snow, Sand and Mud driving modes as part of Honda’s “Intelligent Traction Management” system that ensured I never slipped a wheel. That’s a good sign if you’re looking at a Ridgeline as a solid all-around option for heading out on a camping excursion or a winter getaway.

Now, even with the TrailSport’s ostensibly dirt-worthy upgrades, there’s no hiding the fact that it is absolutely not a hardcore off-roader. This is not an alternative to something like a Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road, Chevy Colorado ZR2 or Ford Ranger Raptor, but it’s not meant to me either. This truck aims for the meat of the adventure-minded market that wants to get out into the great outdoors every now and then, but doesn’t need to cart around the insane amount of engineering that your Baja-running, dune-jumping Raptor needs to survive a full send without breaking into a million pieces. If that’s the sort of truck you want, then you’re probably not cross-shopping a Ridgeline in the first place, and Honda seems to be perfectly fine with that.

Payload and fuel efficiency are good. Towing? Not as much.

Even with its lack of major off-road cred, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline is still a solidly useful midsize truck. And for those who cringe at that descriptor and shout at your screen, “It’s not a real truck!”, take a second and calm down — then consider some of the nuances and the numbers around which Honda’s engineers developed this model.

While it’s true the Ridgeline still rides on the same unibody platform as the Pilot and Passport crossovers, there’s more going on under the skin. From the front to the back, the Ridgeline does actually have boxed framerails to which various sections of the vehicle are welded. Instead of your traditional body-on-frame construction where the body is bolted to the frame structure, however, Honda uses a “three-bone” configuration under the body. That integrates floor pan above the rails beneath the cabin, while there is a truss-like structure in the bed and a piece of high-strength steel at the back of the cabin come together to make one rigid box.

To that end, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline still manages up to 1,583 pounds of payload capacity, which puts it more or less in line with the midsize competition. The TrailSport, for its part, only sees a slight drop to 1,521 pounds. Those figures aren’t class-leading (the new Ranger can still haul more, for example), but it is a respectable level of capability for its class.

The Ridgeline’s unique construction does cut both ways, that said. The truck’s rigid construction and suspension tuning do make for a comfortable and solid-feeling ride. However, the relative lack of flexibility in not having a conventional frame in the same sense as its competition means its towing capacity is just 5,000 pounds (exactly the same as Honda’s midsize SUVs). That’s between 2,000 and 2,700-ish pounds less than rivals in the segment. So if you’re taking an absolutist approach to your truck shopping and need a midsize truck that can tow, you are indeed still better off looking elsewhere.

On the fuel economy front, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline manages 18 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined mpg according to EPA ratings. In mixed driving, I saw around 21-22 mpg, which is an okay figure among midsize trucks. With nearly all the competition moving toward small-displacement, turbocharged engines or even hybrid powertrains, though, the Ridgeline and its aging V6 go from pretty good to just decent in its class.

Interior, Comfort and Technology

If you want a comfy and spacious cabin, then the 2024 Honda Ridgeline should definitely be near or at the top of your list. Even considering the massive ergonomic improvements Toyota made with the new Tacoma, Honda still has practicality and ease-of-use on lock here. It partially comes back to the Ridgeline’s unique family tree again, but the truck’s top marks in the interior department also boil down to just having a well-executed layout.

All of the switchgear is within easy reach, while Honda updated the infotainment system to house fewer menus so all the most common features are within easy reach. The latest system also houses a faster processor, so each screen feels a bit snappier as you move around. With a 7-inch display in front of the driver and an analog speedometer, it’s not as flashy as some of the latest trucks in the class, but it’s functional and (more importantly) easy to navigate. It’s the same story with the drive modes and the transmission: You simply push a button, and you’re good to go.

As I noted in the sections above, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline gets a healthy amount of tech, including multiple drive modes, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. TrailSport and Black Edition models get power-folding mirrors for a little bit of extra convenience, while you even get paddle shifters to work your way through the 9-speed transmission (although you can argue they’re a necessity, since the push-button transmission doesn’t cycle through the gears like a lever does).

You do get USB-C ports in the front, but rear passengers are pretty much out of luck for the most convenient forms of connectivity. There is one 12-volt power outlet in the back like there is in the front, but that’s all you get. The Ridgeline does win some convenience points back with the rear seats, though, which can flip up to offer more storage space in the cabin. If you fold up both sides, you can actually fit a bicycle in the second-row, leaving that space open for whatever gear you’d need to toss in the bed, or the other way around.

Under the bed floor, the Honda Ridgeline gets another useful trick: a 7.9-cubic-foot trunk. Not only is it only accessible when the tailgate is swung open, but the trunk itself is lockable.

This truck’s only major downside from a practicality standpoint is the single, 5.3-feet (64-inch) box configuration. You can’t get it with a shorter cab and a longer bed, for example, so that does limit the size of items you can haul a bit. The Ridgeline still offers far more practicality than an equivalent-sized SUV, though, and that’s the sort of group Honda’s aiming for here.

Verdict: The 2024 Honda Ridgeline is still worth it for a specific buyer.

In the week I had to test it, I came away with a familiar impression of the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport: I like it a lot.

For the 4,000-or-so people who buy this truck every month, this truck is too sensible an option to pass up. It’s just a good, solid all-rounder, and that’s what a certain segment of folks are looking for. It doesn’t utterly dominate the market, but Honda’s midsize offering has always been a remarkably consistent seller, and the changes on tap for 2024 (including the TrailSport) certainly won’t drive people away. In most metrics, the Ridgeline is a sensible choice.

Here’s the moment where the other shoe drops, though: It’s still a niche option. This year’s updates are incremental rather than earth-shattering. While the new trim offers a convenient option to get all-terrain tires — and it gives Honda a new nameplate to market — its capability isn’t on a radically new level than what any other Ridgeline can achieve. Depending on your use case, the Ridgeline may also just not work for your needs, but that’s okay: That’s why more competition is a good thing.

Another consideration: The 2024 Honda Ridgeline’s entry price does start off significantly higher than its rivals. You get a good deal of standard equipment for the money, of course, but you still have to pay over $41,000 to even get a Ridgeline in the first place. On that basis, your best option may be to stick closer to that price point and opt for the Sport, or opt for the RTL if you want a few more features.

2024 Honda Ridgeline models come with an industry-standard 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, as well as a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. To add to the value prospect a bit, Honda’s Service Pass complimentary maintenance program covers its new vehicles for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Check out more of the Ridgeline against its midsize competition on TFLtruck below: