Home » The Off-Road-Focused 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport Probably Won’t Actually Be That Great Off-Road, But It Doesn’t Need To Be

The Off-Road-Focused 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport Probably Won’t Actually Be That Great Off-Road, But It Doesn’t Need To Be

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport
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Given the proliferation of soft-roady crossovers with knobbly tires, it’s about damn time Honda beefed up its unibody pickup truck. After all, the Pilot TrailSport is already on sale and making a splash, and the Passport TrailSport is doing the same in two-row form. The 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport probably won’t hold a candle to the Ford Maverick Tremor off-road, but it doesn’t need to. Instead, it’ll make hauling your dirt bikes to the trailhead a little bit easier.

While the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport certainly isn’t a serious off-road rig, it has everything you really need for light off-roading, starting with a steel skid plate protecting the oil pan from getting acquainted with rocks and tree stumps. Mind you, the front end of the Ridgeline is all it protects, which could leave other vital components vulnerable to obstacles. There’s no word on rear differential protection, or a fuel tank skid plate for that matter. Common sense dictates this isn’t a vehicle for Jeep-like rock crawling, but some extra steel could be the difference between making it home and ripping a hole in a necessary component.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

While the TrailSport, like other Ridgelines, comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, it gains the vital enhancement of 245/60R18 General Grabber A/T Sport all-terrain tires. These OEM-fitment all-terrains feature tough-looking sidewall lugs and a chunky tread pattern that should pay serious dividends when the going gets rocky, sandy, or just plain dirty. Curiously, the Ridgeline TrailSport featured in Honda’s press photos isn’t actually rocking these tires, instead sporting a more highway-focused tread pattern and shaved sidewalls for anonymity. Needless to say, this is exceptionally weird, although it’s possible a set just wasn’t ready in time for photography. [Ed Note: Seems unlikely. -DT]. 

2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport

As you’d probably expect, the final piece of the off-road hardware puzzle on the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is a new model-specific suspension package. Don’t expect any new suspension arms, but Honda has changed up the spring rates, damper valving, and anti-roll bars, which is about as complete of a suspension package as most manufacturers go.

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Honda claims the new suspension bits “increase articulation,” which likely means softer anti-roll bars since those are a huge limiting factor for suspension articulation over the rough stuff. Interestingly, Honda makes no claims of increased ground clearance, so it’s possible this truck maintains the stock 7.6 inches of ground clearance, a figure that’s bested by the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Ground clearance like that is a serious handicap on the trails, so maybe don’t take your Ridgeline TrailSport to Moab. [Ed Note: You can actually make 7.6 inches of ground clearance work well off-road, depending upon where that clearance is. If it’s at the bottom of the diffs between the wheels on the same axle, that’s no problem. As a tire climbs an obstacle, it’ll bring that diff up with it. But if the vehicle has low rocker panels, like the Ridgeline does, then you can expect some severe limitations off-road. All of this is to say: It’s not just about the ground clearance figure, it’s about where the ground clearance is. -DT]. 

01 2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport also gets a fantastic shade of blue paint, orange accents, black trim pieces, five-spoke wheels, and a unique grille, but those cosmetic alterations pale in comparison to the updates every Ridgeline gets for 2024. For starters, a new tailgate features an enormous Ridgeline wordmark, a throwback to classic trucks that’s gaining popularity in the market. From the outside, this should be the easiest way to tell a 2024 Honda Ridgeline from a 2023 model, but tailgate swaps may happen for some enthusiastic owners.

05 2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport

Inside, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline gets a seven-inch partially-digital instrument cluster that should be familiar to anyone who’s driven a new Civic. Digital tachometer on the left, digitally-displayed information in the middle, analog speedometer on the right, all with fonts and flourishes that seem far more mature than the cluster on the outgoing model.

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2024 Honda Ridgeline Infotainment

Complementing the big tech upgrade in front of the driver is a nine-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not only does this infotainment system feature a much nicer interface than the all-red tile setup of the outgoing model, it ditches capacitive touch pads for actual physical buttons and gains a rocker switch for track selection. Count this as a win for human design.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Console

Rounding out the interior changes is a redesigned center console featuring a substantially taller storage cubby with an integrated armrest, space for two smartphones, a less concave bezel for the cupholders and electronic shifter, and a USB-C port in addition to the expected USB-A port. Sure, that might not be the most exciting bit of news, but it’s the sort of thing that makes a real livability difference. Mind you, the outgoing model’s individual front armrests haven’t survived the switch to a new console, so captain’s chair enthusiasts might be disappointed.

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is still a unibody truck with a devoted following, just subtly enhanced. It will still have the turning radius of the space shuttle, it will still have the J35Y6 3.5-liter V6 engine that requires valve adjustment and timing belt replacement every 100,000 miles, but it will still also be all the pickup truck most families need, with a five-foot four-inch sheet molded composite bed, a 5,000-pound towing capacity, and plenty of interior space. Sure, it isn’t the best off-road pickup, but a little extra capability for rutted cottage trails never hurt anyone and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the best Ridgeline yet. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but Honda better get it up soon, as this thing goes on sale in early December, slotting conveniently in between the mid-range RTL trim and the fully-loaded Black Edition.

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(Photo credits: Honda)

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Anxious John
Anxious John
7 months ago

These are fine updates but I was hoping for that more aggressive front fascia the Pilot has now. Hopefully that comes in the next model year or so.

Chrisjbuffy
Chrisjbuffy
7 months ago
Reply to  Anxious John

Was hoping for the Pilot’s new dashboard as well; this looks dated.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago

Seems odd it took until a couple years after rolling out the TrailSport line that they added one to this. I like the Ridgeline, but was hoping for at least a new interior by now. The updated displays are welcome though it is odd that the 2024 Passport didn’t get the same; it’s not as “old” based on just model years, but…it is 6 years old, and the Ridgeline 2 years older than that. Not sure what the timeline is for replacements but perhaps it’s a ploy to not get overshadowed by all the new Toyota truck/SUV intros this year and into next.

Beached Wail
Beached Wail
7 months ago

Based on the two immaculate Ford Raptors in my neighborhood, I’d say the Ridgeline is effectively their equal off-road, because none of them are going there.

Accordian
Accordian
7 months ago
  1. Surprised Honda haven’t decided to give this and the Passport the chopped Pilot look or powertrains yet
  2. R I D G E L I N E
Jim Stock
Jim Stock
7 months ago

Everything with even a hint of some kind of package for more “trail and sport” should have hard, accessible tow points on the front and at least a hitch hole on the back. I do not want to be pulling these things off muddy or rutted trails by whatever I can attach a strap to after crawling under. Also full skid plates. I get they will not be going to the off road park (usually, I have pictures of a new Cherokee at an off road park, it got parked after half a trail) but at least give them the ability to be pulled free when they get them stuck.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

To Honda’s credit the 2023 Pilot TrailSport brought most/all those – recovery points front and rear, plus integrated hitch, and skid plates for engine and fuel tank. I’m not sure why they only waited until now to add a TrailSport to the Ridgeline seemingly without them, or why they only added the model to the Ridgeline when it’s been around since the Passport debuted it for 2022. My guess is they maybe thought they would have a new Ridgeline out sooner but now trying to keep some buzz going amid every other midsize pickup being redesigned for ’23-24.

Parsko
Parsko
7 months ago

All the business driveways and mall parking lots in CT are being torn up and left as just dirt and rock to support this demographic. Ken and Karen are now upset they need to wash their SUV’s more. I’m so confused with what everyone wants.

AssMatt
AssMatt
7 months ago

After staring at it for three minutes, I think the topshot says “Mall-Rated.” Probably.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
7 months ago
Reply to  AssMatt

MALL-POTED

JDE
JDE
7 months ago

Not a truck….Truck Gang! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWyjfbS7MMA

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
7 months ago

Check out the YouTube channel JonDZ Adventuring to get an idea of what these are capable of. They aren’t off-road models, per-se, but their hardware is – in my estimation – the best of all single speed crossovers out there. The crawl ratio on these new Honda 10 speed models is a VERY good* 22.25:1, there is at least one good lift kit available as well as skids and sliders. With a lift, bigger tires, proper armor, these are surprisingly capable.

No, they don’t hold a candle to something like a Tacoma, but they aren’t hopeless like a CVT Subaru either.

*My 2nd gear low range crawl ratio with regeared diffs is only 17:1 for example. 1st gear is 32:1. With the Honda 3.5’s extremely broad torque curve there is actually quite a bit of usable power at low speed.

Last edited 7 months ago by Pat Rich
Mike B
Mike B
7 months ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

I enjoy his channel. One of his more recent vids “Do you need low range?” showed the limitations of these when one needed to be towed up a relatively smooth trail due to the steepness of the terrain and the Honda not being able to put enough power down to move the vehicle. To be fair, he did make a valid point that the owner was based on the east coast where that type of elevation and grade is not encountered.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

I was also an older model with a lesser transmission and gearing.

Mikkeli
Mikkeli
7 months ago

It doesn’t seem to have the large chin strap of some mid-size trucks. What is the approach angle?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

It’s not a true off-roader,
But it’s groovy on the old turnpike.
It’s really made for the blacktop
‘Cause on dirt it’s just alright.
And if we ride out on ground
We’ll take it easy so we don’t have to hike.

First gear, it’s alright,
(Honda, Honda it’s no master basher)
Second gear, gettin’ uptight,
(Honda, Honda it’s no master basher)
Third gear, it’s a fright,
(Honda, Honda it’s no master basher)
Basher? It ain’t right.
(Honda, Honda it’s no master basher, Honda, Honda it’s no master basher, Honda, Honda it’s no master basher …)

(apologies to Brian Wilson)

JDE
JDE
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

It will still probably be more effective than a Maverick Tremor. Just a guess though.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
7 months ago

7.6 inches of ground clearance? This thing is going to bottom out on potholes where I am.

A stock Subaru Crosstrek has 8.9″ of clearance and people accuse it of barely being able to make it down a gravel road, I’m sure the Not A *Blank* crowd will be out in force.

None of this will affect sales of the package which will undoubtedly be high

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
7 months ago
Reply to  Usernametaken

IDK that orange trim and blackout package leads me to believe this thing means business…

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
7 months ago

I used to think the Ridgeline was kind of dumb. Then I went on a 10-day camping road trip in one.

We fit five grown-ass adults and a labradoodle into the cabin, and all our camping gear in the bed (with a topper). The ride was quiet and comfortable, fuel economy wasn’t abysmal, and the bed is clearly designed for ease of camping and tailgating.

There’s no harm in adding some underbody protection and cool graphics to one of these. I hope, at this point, the Ridgeline doesn’t carry some silly IT’S NOT A REAL TRUCK stigma. It’s a real truck, and a good truck for a specific subset of outdoorsy truck things.

This gets a “sure, why not” seal of approval from me.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
7 months ago

It really does seem a wonderful throwback to the days where people used the appropriate thing for the appropriate activity, instead of today’s “if it’s not the most overbuilt thing possible – preferably in a way that others can see – I’m not interested” mojo.

Clark B
Clark B
7 months ago

What’s funny is everyone I’ve ever known who had/has a Ridgeline has used it just like a “real truck,” hauling things, getting it dirty and a little scratched up in the process. It’s good at what it sets out to do, which is to combine the comfort and dynamics of a unibody platform with the practicality of a truck. Of course, it doesn’t project the same image that your typical domestic pickup does, which means it’ll never be a top seller.

Drew
Drew
7 months ago

They still need to offer a hybrid. A more efficient Ridgeline could be amazing.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
7 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I would be very interested in a hybrid Ridgeline.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
7 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Ridgeline fuel economy is a real downer. It’s not cheaper than any of the more truck-like midsizers, it’s not more fuel efficient, it’s only more car-like to drive. That and the dual-swing tailgate are the only selling points to me over a Colorado, Tacoma or Ranger.

Drew
Drew
7 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

It’s not even more fuel-efficient than the full-sizers now that some of those offer mild hybrids.

Racingtown
Racingtown
7 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I’d also be interested in a Hybrid Ridgeline if it can tow the same as the regular. I’d like something that can handle a 3000 lb travel trailer.

The full sizers require high trim levels to get the hybrid engine, at least in the Ford…$65k base price.

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