AD #1776 – New Ridgeline Gets FWD, Renault-Nissan Fights Car Sharing, Dodge Caravan to Live on… For Now

January 13th, 2016 at 11:20am

Runtime: 5:41

- Kia Shows Full-Size SUV Concept
- Honda Reveals New Ridgeline Pickup
- Renault-Nissan to Fight Car Sharing
- Garmin Nav Unit w/ Baby Monitor
- Fate of Dodge Grand Caravan
- Eyes on Design Award Winners

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40 Comments to “AD #1776 – New Ridgeline Gets FWD, Renault-Nissan Fights Car Sharing, Dodge Caravan to Live on… For Now”

  1. GM Veteran Says:

    So, with the rare opportunity to totally revise their truck and address all of its shortcomings to make it more of a success in the market, Honda chose to torpedo the opportunity by making the Ridgeline front wheel drive! This guarantees that it will not appeal to anyone that wants to do any kind of work or towing with this vehicle, arguably making it LESS appealing than it was before. Mileage may end up being its strong point, but unless you frequently haul very tall and very light cargo, why wouldn’t you just buy a Pilot?

  2. Bradley Says:


    There are many rugged midsize trucks on the market.

    I like the contrast Honda is offering and it as my attention. I had and loved a true-compact Tacoma, but the Tacoma is too much truck for me and my wallet. However, I still need to haul stuff and my wife would love the FWD/AWD option.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    New Ridgeline=CUV with a bed (not that there’s anything wrong with that; or is there?). I’m with you GM Vet.

    The Garmin Nav unit with camera: good idea (but I thinking they are overcharging for a relatively cheap, to incorporate, camera). I predict prices, after initial introduction, go down.

  4. Albemarle Says:

    In Canada, the Dodge Minivan and Journey are very popular. For the last few years they are highlighted in full page ads for under $20,000.
    I can see where FCA are desperate to move customers upmarket. When our daughter was looking for a minivan, they selected a Toyota. For them, the Dodge was a cheap van that got expensive with options. They felt more comfortable with a basic Sienna.
    Good idea for FCA to introduce a totally different vehicle to hit this market. Now, what can they do about the Journey?

  5. GM Veteran Says:

    Does anyone else find the new Acadia underwhelming? With all of the changes, they were only able to eke out 4 more mpg on the highway! Cut the length, cut the weight by 700 lbs, make a 4 cyl engine available as the base engine and restyle the entire vehicle and you only get 4 more mpg? To make it worse, the 300+ hp 3.6L V6 only gets 3 mpg less on the highway. So, why would anyone buy the 4 cyl model? If you are shopping on price alone, you probably aren’t shopping at a GMC dealership anyway. Abandoning the full size crossover segment it invented seems very ill advised for GMC. Perhaps they should have made an Acadia and an Acadia XL to protect their market position as they begin to compete in the midsize segment. To see how well this works they only need look at their full size SUV’s where GM commands a dominant 70% market share. I don’t see many former Acadia buyers signing up for an Enclave next time around; too much of a soccer mom image attached to that model. I think in two years time they will look back and see that this move was a mistake.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Ridgeline will be a very good choice, for what most people actually do with pickup trucks. Few people tow or carry heavy loads in their pickups, so if the Honda drives well and gets good mpg, and is priced competitively, it should do well. It even looks more “normal,” which should help.

  7. BobD Says:

    Interesting Honda is putting a V6 in the Ridgeline. One would have thought they would also offer an L4 like the other mid-size PUs… perhaps that is coming later. When they say “segment-leading EPA fuel economy ratings”, does that mean at least 31 mpg highway as you can obtain with the GM diesels? Or is the Ridgeline “segment” defined as “uni-body pickups” of which it is the only one?

  8. HtG Says:

    Acadia mileage

    I’d offer that an increase of 4mpg is 17% more. Isn’t highway mileage mostly an air resistance matter? That thing is still a brick, just smaller.

    It makes a bigger difference for the auto fleet if the low mileage units improve their nominal mileage; as in getting a 40mpg car to 44 doesn’t save as much gas overall. Doesn’t the Acadia also get start/stop which will make a bigger difference in suburban and city circulation?

    I also really like the looks of the 2017. Those more rounded wheel arches may also be less polarizing. So $.

  9. HtG Says:

    Is there another FWD truck like this Ridgeline? Maybe an argument for FWD here is that most miles will happen with an empty bed.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5 To me, a ~15% improvement in highway fuel economy is pretty good. The improvement in city mpg will probably be even greater.

    People would buy the 4 cylinder to save money in purchase price. Also, the city mpg of the 4 cylinder will probably be 4-5 mpg better than the 6, which is more than 20% Many people who buy these vehicles don’t care how fast they are.

    Won’t people who want a big SUV with the “macho” GMC badge, rather than a Buick badge, just buy a Yukon? Yeah, they are different vehicles, but people I know cross shop them.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 I’m guessing their definition of “segment” is mid-size pickups with 6 cylinder gas engines. We will see.

  12. dcars Says:

    The problem with the old Ridgeline is that it didn’t have good towing capacity, small bed, high price and poor gas mileage.Honda is improving the bed size yet they are not addressing the other issues. For the same money you can buy a Chevy or Ford Truck and get all the stuff truck buyers want.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Wasn’t the Omni-based Rampage the last FWD truck sold in the U.S.? It, and the Rabbit pickup are tiny compared to the Ridgeline, but were FWD. The VW trucks seem to be hot with collectors these days.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 Do we know the price and mpg of the new Ridgeline yet?

  15. Lex Says:

    The New Honda Ridgeline is basically a Honda Pilot cut behind the second row seats with a pickup truck bed bolted on. The Marketplace will determine whether is survives.

    Hey that Garmin Baby Cam sounds interesting but what about doing something similar with a Backup Camera for those of us with older vehicles who do not want to splice wires and would like to move it from vehicle to vehicle.

  16. LVcurious Says:

    15: there are numerous battery-powered wireless back up camera systems available.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    A FWD truck is just un-American. I would not be surprised if it got referred to as a “girly-truck”

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 Yep, Americans like “trucky” trucks, never mind that the Ridgeline may be the best one out there for the type of use most pickups actually see.

    We’ll soon know how well the new Ridgeline works, but no matter how good it is, a lot of people will dismiss it, just because it is not a “real truck.”

  19. HtG Says:

    17.18 +1

    Though I’d rather have FWD in the cold states when my bed is empty. (that doesn’t sound right) Which is most of the time. (sounds even worse) :)

    See? The jokes write themselves.

  20. Rob Says:

    The problem with a FWD pickup is maybe it helps bring the price down but people will buy it expecting to use it like a full size pickup. Load it up, hook up the camper and wonder why its sluggish and the transmission goes out in two years. I’d say the market for this truck will be about as fruitful as the last Ridgeline.

    Sean! The Garmin Nav system offers a nice feature but unless it includes HUD I would say you still need to take your eyes off the road to check on the kids. Just dont have to turn around. Which can be accomplished with the $1 mirror that was put in many minivans. I’m with lex and if that camera is waterproof and can be used as a back up camera then it may be worth the extra money.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG, an electric blanket will keep you just as warm and YOU can take it to the cleaners and not vice versa.

  22. GM Veteran Says:

    Remember, people will buy a truck for their “worst case” scenarios. So, they will buy enough hauling or towing capability for the heaviest duty work they will do. The front wheel drive setup will give most buyers pause, which is why no one else makes a truck with that setup. The AWD option makes it a little better, but not much. If it only works well for really light duty projects, then why not buy the Pilot? Then you can carry 7 other people when you aren’t bringing pushbrooms home from Lowes.

  23. Rob Says:

    #18 Your right kit many truck owners drive around with empty beds probably more than 80% of the time. But when they want to help someone move, tow a boat or camper or head down to Lowes and get a 1200lbs of landscape bricks they will use their truck like a truck and I dont see them being happy with the results using a FWD Ridgeline.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 But MOST pickup drivers never tow anything, and never put anything heavy in the box. Yes, people who tow big campers should not, and will not buy Ridgelines.

    19,21 Great bits of humor today!!

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 But the Ridgeline would be better than the Pilot for bringing a load of horse mature from the stable to fertilize the flower garden.

  26. Rob Says:

    “Should not, and will not” is expecting a lot out of the general public. I have seen many of 1/2 ton pickups loaded up with much more than the recommended GVW, even to the point of bending the frame. I’ve watched people upgrade to a bigger boat but cant upgrade the tow vehicle and soon they are running down the road pulling a 8000lb boat with a ford escape. It happens.

  27. Greg Says:

    I would submit that the previous gen Ridgeline was in FWD 95% of the time anyway so unless you’re in deep snow or light off-roading, what’s the difference. I’m quite sure fuel economy is gained with this option.

  28. MJB Says:

    So, Gohn says Nissan will compete with ride-sharing by making cars that are “much more sexy…”?

    Naaaaaa, I think not Mr. Gohn. Firsts of all, if Nissan had any ‘sexy’ in them, they’d have played that card by now. Secondly, doesn’t matter how sexy you make a low to mid-priced vehicle. Once everyone else on your block has one (cough, cough – Hyundai Sonata – throat clear) it’s sexiness falls flat.

    No, Mr. Gohn, just give in to the dark side of the force and yield the floor. Ride sharing is about to take a slice out of everybody’s pie.

  29. Jame Says:

    Re: Ridgeline. If you need to get to your spare tire, you still have to empty your load out of the bed. Poor design.

  30. Ziggy Says:

    I would have thought Honda would have gotten rid of stowing the spare tire under the flip up bed if they were serious about wanting people to use it like a real truck. Good luck getting that spare out when your bed is full of mulch, brick, or whatever else real trucks haul in their beds when used as designed. This is why no other truck stows the spare like the Ridgeline does.

  31. Ziggy Says:


    I don’t understand your statement that “Currently the Caravan and Town&Country do not overlap at all”… Aren’t they both basically the same minivan except for trim and options, or am I missing something?

  32. Drew Says:

    Two comment – 1. California Highway Patrol will frown on the Garmin baby monitor. CHP had interpreted California law as not permitting any driver video display. At one point in time, they threatened to ticket fleet operators with backup camera displays, even though California law explicitly permitted them on another page of the law. When federal law mandated backup cameras, CHP acquiesced. Bottom line – use the Garmin baby monitor in California at your own legal and financial risk.

    2. Mr. Ghosn is ignoring one of the key benefits of car sharing. Fewer cars means less congestion in parking lots. And more urban centers are restricting car usage in Europe. It is a matter of time before such anti-personal transportation initiates come to “liberal” centers like NYC, Chicago, Boston, DC, SF, and LA.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 I suspect Honda will be marketing the Ridgeline to the 90 per cent of pickup owners who don’t use them as “real trucks.” Most pickup trucks have a total cargo of one person most of the time. I suspect Honda realizes that pickup buyers wanting a “real truck” will buy something else, regardless of spare tire location.

    As far as spare tires, it’s been 30 years since I have used one. I’ve had a couple punctures since then, but they leaked slowly enough that I could drive somewhere to have them fixed, without using the spare.

  34. HtG Says:

    The spares in the Civic and Versa are also under the cargo floor. It would be a pain there too if I had to fix a flat when fully loaded, but what are the odds? For how many people will the Ridge’s spare location be the deal breaker?

  35. Bob Aubertin Says:

    I guess that almost 75% of the comments were about the WANT TO BE A REAL Truck.Is America’s new definition of A TRUCK would be to drive a Tonka.If you are to comment on a Truck make it a Real Truck!!!

    Ever try and tow a Travel trailer with a Tonka Toy? Well this WANT TO BE A TRUCK IS TOTALLY BOGUS.

  36. Brett Says:

    Reading the comments about the new Ridgeline, I am reminded of the words of the cartoonist/philosopher B.Kliban, who wrote, “One man’s mate is another man’s person.” :)

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Does this mean that the era of NOT putting a spare tire in the trunk is over? The pump and the fix-a-flat just don’t cut it. I have experienced that first hand. I will not remove the donut spare from my trunk at all.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Most pickup trucks have spare tires hung under the back of the vehicle, accessable without removing the horse manure, or whatever, from the bed. It seems that more and more cars are coming without spare tires. A lot of run-flat tires are used, like on many BMW’s, and some sealer/inflator things are used.

  39. Lex Says:

    @16 LVCurious

    You are missing the point. One product that can easily switch between GSP and Backup camera without any special wiring would be a easier sell than one that is a Nanny Cam. The Nanny Cam in a vehicles is ridiculous. That is why OEMs put conversation mirrors into the overhead panel.

    This reminds me of the story were NASA spent 3 million dollars to develop a pen that writes in space. Ink pens use gravity to feed the ink to the ball point tip. The scientists gas filled the ink cartridge to feed the ink to the ball point. The US Scientists show off the Space Pen to the Russian Scientists who say we developed our own outer space writing tools for only 3 cents! It is called a PENCIL!

  40. Dave Foley Says:

    @31. The T&C and Caravan don’t overlap in price, but you are right. They are identical vehicles otherwise. Differences in base equipment, and finishing touches are what keep them priced to not overlap much.

    I have no idea how Kuniskis’ idea can have any other outcome than to quickly kill the Caravan. When Canadians say they still want a Caravan, (Caravan’/s outsell T&C by a multiple here) they mean they want an updated one too, with the option of moving upmarket to a T&C – now Pacifica. Selling the old one right beside the new Pacifica with comparable price points will gut Caravan sales.

    If that is what they are doing, why pretend to care about the Caravan or the history of the model with the company? Just kill it, and move on.

    BTW, I’m not encouraging them to do this. Iconic long lasting nameplates only happen when the names DON’T change. Right now, the oldest continuously used nameplate in the entire company is Caravan. I can see dumping a model name if there is too much bad press associated with it, but that isn’t really the case with the Caravan. I don’t see the need to end that legacy.