The Best and Worst Years of the Honda Ridgeline Pickup [StatsRatings]

The Best and Worst Years of the Honda Ridgeline Pickup [Stats/Ratings]

Just when you thought that Honda engineers couldn’t get any more experimental with their tried-and-true formula for cars and SUVs, on comes a pickup truck in the shape of the Honda Ridgeline.

While it’s neither the typical daily Honda you’d expect nor a brute workhorse like the F-150, it’s just the right concoction of “car and truck” for fans who have managed to pick out its best model years.

If that sounds like just the kind of versatility you need, then we’ve got you covered with this guide to the best and worst years of the unorthodox yet “it surprisingly works” Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup truck!

What are the best and worst years of the Honda Ridgeline?

The best Honda Ridgeline model years are 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, whereas the worst years are 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The best and worst Honda Ridgeline model years are chosen based on consumer and expert ratings/reviews, reliability ratings, and complaints.

Since its initial unveiling in 2006, the Honda Ridgeline was and remains the first-ever midsize pickup produced by the Japanese automaker, which is mostly known for making sedans and SUVs throughout the decades.

Now having been out for two generations and 17 model years, the Ridgeline still piques the interest of buyers looking to see how Honda’s take on the modern pickup truck stacks up against rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado.

Among those model years, a lot of them can be considered the best and most reliable of the bunch, although the same thing can be said for its worst years.

The 1st-gen Honda Ridgeline “YK1” model, for instance, had its best model years in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Its worst model years are some of the earlier ones from 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The outgoing 2nd-gen “YK2/YK3” model, however, has some of the best model years between 2020 and 2023, while those from 2017, 2018, and 2019 are considered the worst ones from the generation.

In the next few parts, we’ll be going over the different reasons why these particular Honda Ridgeline model years are the best and the worst in the business! 

What are the best years of the Honda Ridgeline?

The best Honda Ridgeline model years are 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 for the 1st generation, and 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 for the 2nd generation.

These model years have the highest consumer and expert ratings and received the least complaints regarding problems the Honda Ridgeline is known for.

2022/2023 Honda Ridgeline

20222023 Honda Ridgeline

It’s no surprise that some of the best iterations of the Honda Ridgeline happen to be some of the newest model years, namely the 2022 and 2023 models.

These two model years are the go-to picks if you’re in the market for a 2nd-generation Honda Ridgeline with a good reputation for reliability and versatility that you can depend on for a truck of its class.

Powered by a potent 3.5-liter V6, a wide truck bed with convenient features, and a spacious cabin for passengers, the 2022 and 2023 models excel both in the practicality and comfort departments.

There’s nothing much separating these two model years in terms of expert and consumer ratings, with both earning a 4.3/5 on KBB, 4.4/5 on Edmunds, and 9/10 on Car and Driver.

Only J.D. Power consumers rate the 2022 and 2023 models differently at 80/100 and 81/100, respectively. The only other notable thing differentiating the two is the Sonic Grey Pearl paint option added for the latter year.

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline

Another worthy candidate for one of the best model years of the 2nd-gen Ridgeline is the 2021 model.

Chock full of updates throughout the truck combined with reliable build quality Hondas are known for makes the 2021 Honda Ridgeline a top-performing truck worth considering.

New for the 2021 model year is a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, a more handsome and rugged exterior aesthetic, 18-inch wheels wrapped around all-terrain tires, and an updated infotainment system for more ease of use.

Adding to the makeover for the truck is an optional Honda Performance Development (HPD) package, which includes bronze wheels, blacked-out over fenders, bed wall graphics, a sportier blacked grille, and other minor cosmetics.

Overall ratings for the 2021 rendition remain quite high at 4.3/5 on KBB, 4.6/5 on Edmunds, 9/10 on Car and Driver, and 80/100 on J.D. Power.

2020 Honda Ridgeline

2020 Honda Ridgeline

Opting for a slightly cheaper and dated 2nd-gen Honda Ridgeline isn’t a bad idea at all. Just make sure it’s at least a 2020 model to get the best bang for your buck and fewer headaches.

While the 2020 model year doesn’t look as bold or isn’t as generous in features as its 2021 equivalent, it still has every right to make it to this list owing to what it had to offer on release.

Besides having Honda reliability, it’s one of the most fuel-efficient V6-powered trucks in its class, has tons of space both inside the cabin and on the bed, and has a 5-star NHTSA safety rating to flex thanks to top-notch safety and driver-assist features.

Just bear in mind that, unlike the 2021 model, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline only comes with a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system as standard with all-wheel-drive (AWD) being optional. Either way, you’ll barely notice a difference in gas mileage at all.

KBB and Car and Driver experts give the 2021 Honda Ridgeline an overall rating of 4.3/5 and 9/10, respectively, while consumers over at Edmunds and J.D. Power rate it 4.3/5 and 81/100.

2014 Honda Ridgeline

2014 Honda Ridgeline

For those that prefer the more squared-off look that started it all for the Honda pickup truck, the 2014 Honda Ridgeline model year is one of the top picks to get from the 1st generation.

As the last model year before its early 2015 halt in production, the 2014 Ridgeline is essentially as refined as you can get for the 1st-gen model despite being a carryover from 2013 for the most part.

One of its favored features is its durable and dent-resistant truck bed, which is further complemented by its innovative in-bed trunk compartment design as well as a neat two-way tailgate opening feature.

Among all the 1st-gen model years, the 2014 model is a fine-tuned example of the Ridgeline that has the practicality of an SUV and the handling characteristics of a car in truck form, making it really stand out from the pack.

While it slightly lags behind the more powerful 2nd-gen models, the 1st-gen 2014 Honda Ridgeline still has ample amounts of power on tap from its 250-hp 3.5-liter V6, which was also described to be a reliable and smooth-running motor.

Ratings are a bit mixed for the 2014 model since it only gets a 3.8/5 from KBB experts, but this is still easily offset by higher consumer ratings of 4.6/5 on Edmunds and 82/100 on J.D. Power.

2012 Honda Ridgeline

2012 Honda Ridgeline

Another solid year for the 1st-gen Ridgeline comes in the form of the 2012 model backed up by reviews of many satisfied owners, a pedigree for reliability, and several improvements made from the previous years.

Retaining its single crew-cab design and car-like driving dynamics, the 2012 model is further improved by tweaking its engine and aerodynamic features, resulting in a highway fuel economy of 1mpg more than earlier models.

A new “Sport” trim level was also added for this year, granting you access to features like black 18-inch wheels, a new honeycomb grille design, fog lamps, and the list goes on.

Of course, you get the same reliable 3.5-liter V6 found in the 2014 rendition. However, it’s worth noting that towing isn’t exactly this model’s (or any Ridgeline model year’s) strong suit since it’s rated for a capacity lower than that of other V6 competitors.

With that said, the 2012 model is still one of the best examples of the 1st-gen Ridgeline by practicality and reliability, especially since it received slightly fewer complaints compared to the updated 2014 model year.

Not only that, but it also has slightly higher ratings on average from KBB experts (3.9/5), Edmunds consumers (4.7/5), and J.D. Power consumers (83/100), further testifying its viability as one of the best years despite being over a decade old.

2010/2011 Honda Ridgeline

20102011 Honda Ridgeline

Two more notable model years of the 1st-generation “YK1” Honda Ridgeline are 2010 and 2011, with both years being neck-and-neck due to the latter being mostly a carryover. The sole difference is merely a few paint options for the 2011 model.

Bearing the facelift design of the 2009 model year, the 2010 and 2011 Honda Ridgeline models both come with revised bumpers, a new grille design, a trailer hitch, and some power tweaks for its 3.5-liter V6.

In terms of reliability, the 2011 model slightly bests the 2010 model year by having slightly fewer complaints and scoring an 86/100 reliability score from J.D. Power versus the latter’s 83/100.

Even looking at their consumer ratings, the 2011 model fairs a tad bit better than its nearly identical 2010 twin, with Edmunds scoring them 4.7/5 to 4.5/5, and J.D. Power 83/100 to 82/100.

But like any other Ridgeline model, the 2010 and 2011 model years are more suited for those looking for a mix of utilitarian and comfort features for long drives rather than a raw and full-on rock crawler, even if they do all come with a 4WD VTM system.   

What are the worst years of the Honda Ridgeline?

The worst Honda Ridgeline model years are 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Despite having considerably high consumer ratings, these years received the most complaints, thus making their reliability more debatable than others.  

2017/2018/2019 Honda Ridgeline

201720182019 Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline isn’t a perfect midsize truck by any stretch of the imagination, yet it’s still worth taking note of some of its model years that just don’t quite make the cut compared to the rest.

Three different model years, namely 2017, 2018, and 2019, are all considered some of the worst examples of the Honda Ridgeline due to a barrage of issues with their fuel systems and different electronic features.

Owners of 2017 models, in particular, got the short end of the stick with a total of 301 complaints on CarProblemZoo and 31 on CarComplaints. The 2018 and 2019 models, in comparison, total over 160 reported complaints each.

Throughout these three model years, the Honda Ridgeline’s fuel system would give issues such as low fuel rail pressure, the smell of gas fumes, difficulties starting the engine, faulty fuel injectors, and a frozen-shut capless fuel filler during colder conditions.

As for electrical/electronic issues, the 2017 to 2019 Honda Ridgeline is mostly notorious for its faulty backup camera, though problems with the keyless entry feature, radio, interior lights, and tailgate wiring harness are also relatively common.

What’s more concerning is that these model years can also experience malfunctions in their other safety features, such as the anti-collision feature failing or the automatic emergency braking feature inadvertently activating when not needed.

With a double whammy of problems and safety hazards like this, it’s a pretty clear indication to steer clear of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 model years of the 2nd-gen Honda Ridgeline if you value your hard-earned money. 

2007/2008 Honda Ridgeline

20072008 Honda Ridgeline

Moving over to some of the worst of the 1st-gen model years, the 2007 and 2008 Honda Ridgeline models have been on the receiving end of complaints regarding their fair share of flaws.

The 2007 model year alone garnered 222 total complaints on CarProblemZoo and CarComplaints combined, while the 2008 model year received 188 of them.

The overwhelming majority of the complaints for either model year pertain to airbag issues, wherein the Takata airbags have been involved in two recalls (16V061000 and 16V344000) stating that they have defective inflators.

In the event of a crash, such inflators can potentially rupture and eject metal fragments into the cabin, increasing the risk of injury to occupants. 

Since this is part of the big Takata airbag recall that affected 34 different automotive brands and over 67 million vehicles in the US alone, Honda Ridgeline owners have had to wait forever just for replacement parts to become available.

Aside from that, the 2007 and 2008 models are also prone to have paint job issues at the exterior, with owners complaining that the clear coat peels off easily or the paint starts to fade prematurely, most particularly on the roof and hood.

2006 Honda Ridgeline

2006 Honda Ridgeline

If you want a reliable 1st-generation Honda Ridgeline, then stay as far away as you can from the 2006 model, which is considered the worst model year of the generation due to tons of reported problems scattered around the truck.

Being the debut year of the quirky midsize pickup truck, the 2006 Honda Ridgeline ended up not having the durability or longevity expected out of a Honda, as it received the most complaints out of any 1st-gen model at a whopping 372 angry owners.

As with the 2007 and 2008 models, the 2006 Ridgeline also wasn’t spared from the infamous Takata airbag recall to nobody’s surprise. Owners report that the front or side airbags either didn’t deploy during a crash or deployed for no reason.

However, this is only the beginning of the 2006 model’s mishaps, as engine problems are also quite prevalent for this model year, with the most common complaint being the notorious “cylinder #4” going bad.

Usually accompanied by a check engine light (CEL), a VTM light, increased exhaust smoke on startup, and excessive oil consumption, the cylinder #4 issue is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems with the 2006 Honda Ridgeline’s engine.

In addition, you can also potentially deal with other electrical issues including but not limited to a faulty gauge cluster display, a radio light that turns on or off on its own, the A/C not working, and the blower motor catching on fire.

Honda Ridgeline Best and Worst Years Per Generation

Generation/Model YearsBest YearsWorst Years

1st Generation (YK1) (2006 to 2014)
2010 2011 2012 20142006 2007 2008

2nd Generation (YK2/YK3) (2017 to 2024/Present)
2020 2021 2022 20232017 20182019

Consumer/Expert Ratings for Best Honda Ridgeline Years

Honda Ridgeline Model YearKBB Expert RatingEdmunds Consumer RatingCar and Driver RatingJ.D. Power Consumer Rating
20234.3/54.4/5 9/1080/100

What are the common problems of a Honda Ridgeline?

What are the common problems of a Honda Ridgeline

Common problems of the Honda Ridgeline include engine issues such as cylinder problems, excessive oil consumption, and ticking noises. It’s also known to have airbag and paint job issues.

Honda Ridgeline models are also prone to electrical issues like a faulty backup camera and the A/C not working.

Engine Problems

Problems involving the engine are one of the biggest concerns for any vehicle make and model, and, unfortunately, certain model years of the Honda Ridgeline have quite a few of them.

Earlier model years, most especially the 2006 Honda Ridgeline, were well-known for having issues with their #4 cylinder and its rings, which is believed to be caused by blow-by from the other cylinders.

Furthermore, other problems like excessive oil consumption, engine ticking or tapping noises, and a blown head gasket have also been reported.

It’s also worth looking out for other common symptoms such as an illuminated check engine light or VTM light and increased exhaust smoke when first starting the engine, as these can be signs of an engine or cylinder issue.

Airbag Problems

Airbag-related issues are one of the most well-documented problems not just for the Honda Ridgeline, but for millions of other vehicles fitted with the ill-famed Takata airbags.

Across multiple model years of the pickup truck, the Honda Ridgeline has been bombarded with complaints that the airbags either don’t deploy in the event of a crash or deploy randomly while driving.

This issue is known to affect either the driver or passenger airbags installed either on the front or sides of the occupants, which poses a significant amount of risk to safety since they are unable to function when needed.

Numerous recalls on the Takata airbags state that the inflators are the main culprits, describing them as being susceptible to moisture and temperature changes over time. This can cause them to rupture with metal fragments and potentially injure occupants.

Paintjob Problems

While paint chips and fading are to be expected as cars age, it can be quite disappointing to get them prematurely, like in the case of some owners and certain Honda Ridgeline models.

Paint-related complaints have been posted mostly for 1st-gen Honda Ridgeline models from 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2014, such as the clear coat peeling off, the paint getting chipped easily, or the color fading prematurely.

Owners have also reported getting premature corrosion problems, which are most common in the 2006 and 2007 models. 

Electrical Problems

Another big problem area of the Honda Ridgeline is its electrical system. Comprised of many different electronics and features that can go faulty, this is one series of problems you would want to catch as early as possible.

Certain 2nd-gen models from 2017, 2018, and 2019 have had issues with their backup camera not working properly, which can pose a safety hazard for those used to having this driver assist feature.

Moreover, it’s also quite common to hear complaints about the pickup truck’s air conditioning system, gauge cluster, radio, and other interior features not functioning properly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Honda Ridgelines reliable?

The Honda Ridgeline is considered as generally reliable whether you go for a 1st-gen or 2nd-gen model. However, it can still very much depend on the exact model year that you go for as well as its maintenance history.

Some of the most reliable Honda Ridgeline model years include 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 due to having the fewest complaints while also having the highest consumer ratings on average.

As for the unreliable batch, you should avoid the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Honda Ridgeline model years, as these have garnered the most number of complaints for issues with the engine, airbags, and electronics.

What is the most common problem with a Honda Ridgeline?

The most common Honda Ridgeline problem across all model years is “airbag problems”, which has a total of 329 complaints on CarProblemZoo.

Airbag-related problems have been prevalent on 1st-gen Honda Ridgeline models due to the well-known “Takata airbags” recall for defective inflators. However, some 2nd-gen models are also known to have faulty airbags that don’t deploy properly.

On CarComplaints, the number one reported problem category is “engine problems” with a total of 60 complaints. Out of all engine-related issues, the most commonly reported one is the #4 cylinder going bad.

The recurrent cylinder #4 issue is typically traced to blow-by from other cylinders and can also other symptoms such as excess oil consumption, increased exhaust smoke on startup, an illuminated check engine light or VTM light, and engine ticking noises.

How long can a Honda Ridgeline last?

A Honda Ridgeline is known to last for about 200,000 to 250,000 miles (322,000 to 402,000 km) on average with good maintenance, with some models even crossing the 300,000-mile mark.

Like any other vehicle, your Honda Ridgeline’s maximum lifespan can depend on how well you can maintain it, your driving habits, how frequently you drive, and weather or climate conditions in your area.