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Honda Ridgeline Truck Unveiled at 2005 NAIAS
 Date: January 10, 2005 15:46
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: Honda PR
 Credibility Rating: N/A

The Honda Ridgeline truck made its world debut today at the 2005 North American International Auto Show as American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced plans for the launch of its innovative new truck at Honda dealerships nationwide in March of this year as a 2006 model.

Developed as a next generation truck, the Ridgeline takes advantage of an innovative new truck body construction and a steel reinforced composite bed to deliver true truck capabilities including half-ton hauling and 5,000-pound towing, along with next-generation truck styling, performance and packaging. The Ridgeline boasts the pickup truck segment's first four-wheel, fully independent suspension system combined with an advanced fully automatic four-wheel drive system to deliver superior ride and handling versus traditional truck designs, and a number of exclusive new features including a Dual-Action tailgate and the industry's first In-Bed Trunk(TM).

"The truck market is evolving and we think Ridgeline is at the leading edge of the trend," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Honda Ridgeline delivers all the capabilities of a truck with none of the traditional truck trade-offs. It combines Honda innovation, Honda engineering and Honda's commitment to environmental and safety leadership in a next generation truck package."

Highlights of the new Ridgeline truck include:

Fully Integrated Closed Box Frame with unit body construction
Next-generation styling with integrated cab and bed
Steel reinforced composite bed with dual action tailgate and In-Bed Trunk
Half-ton (1,100-pound) bed loading capability
255-horsepower 3.5-liter SOHC VTEC V-6 engine
Standard 5,000 lb. towing capability
Independent front and rear suspension
Advanced VTM-4WD four-wheel-drive system
Standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Traction Control
Standard side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, front side airbags and ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
Fully-Integrated Closed Box Frame

Honda engineers developed a new truck body construction, a fully integrated truck frame with two longitudinal frame rails and seven high-strength steel cross members that create a fully boxed, deep channel, ladder frame structure fully integrated into the upper body of the vehicle. Body bending rigidity is more than 2.5 times stiffer than the best performing body-on-frame compact truck competitor and rear torsion rigidity is more than 20 times stiffer. Fully 93 percent of the Ridgeline's frame components are exclusive to this model.

Steel Reinforced Composite Bed with In-Bed Trunk and Dual-Action Tailgate

For hauling, the Ridgeline features a steel reinforced, five-foot, composite truck bed (6.5 feet with the tailgate down) designed to carry up to a half-ton of cargo. An exclusive new Dual Action tailgate features a high-strength steel frame and has the ability to flip down or swing out, providing easier access for loading and unloading of bulky cargo or loose materials such as gravel or mulch. Designed as the hub for Honda motorcycle, marine and power equipment product activity, the Ridgeline can haul a full-size ATV or two of Honda's largest off-road motorcycles. Due to its wide bed and minimal wheel arch intrusion, the Ridgeline can also carry 4-foot wide sheets of building material flat on the floor, something no other compact or mid-size truck can do.

Incorporated into the floor of the bed is one of the Ridgeline's most innovative new features: an In-Bed Trunk. Accessed by lifting up the hinged rear portion of the bed floor, the In-Bed Trunk features 8.5 cu.-ft. of secure, lockable and water resistant storage space. The spare tire is stored in a sliding tray inside the trunk and can accommodate a full-size spare tire.

Next-generation Powertrain

The Ridgeline's powertrain is designed for excellent all-around performance, including towing, with class-leading fuel economy and ultra-low (ULEV) emissions. Its high-output, 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine produces 255 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque. Unique in the class, the Ridgeline provides a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and fully automatic four-wheel drive system.

The Ridgeline's standard Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive System (VTM-4WD) is designed for excellent all-weather handling, traction and off-road ability, and can transfer up to 70 percent of available torque to the rear wheels. The Ridgeline delivers EPA-rated fuel economy of 16/21 for city/highway driving and is the first pickup to meet stringent Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standards in all 50 states.

Honest 5,000-pound Towing

In addition, the Ridgeline was designed to handle the kinds of towing and off-road duties most common to truck users. The Ridgeline has a long list of standard equipment geared for towing duties including transmission and power steering coolers, pre-wiring for trailer connections, a dual fan radiator, heavy-duty brakes and an exclusive fresh air intake system. This gives Ridgeline the ability to tow 5,000-pound loads with two passengers and their cargo, with only the addition of a trailer hitch.

Spacious and Versatile 5-passenger interior

Inside, the Ridgeline boasts a spacious, five-passenger cabin with interior space similar to that of a full-size truck, including the most generous rear seat legroom for a four-door pickup. The versatile second-row bench has storage space under the seat large enough to hold a set of golf clubs or other oversized items, and features a 60/40-split lift-up rear seat allowing for storage of even bulkier items like a full-size mountain bike. With its improved packaging efficiency, Ridgeline delivers all this space and utility in a more maneuverable and garage-friendly mid-size truck package. Other interior highlights include large and easy to manipulate audio and HVAC controls, a steering-column mounted shift lever and an available voice-activated navigation system.

Safety Leadership

In keeping with Honda's industry-leading "Safety for Everyone" initiative, all Ridgeline models come equipped with a long list of standard safety features including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control. Unit body construction allows for dispersion of collision forces through more load bearing channels than a traditional body-on-frame design.

North American Development and Production

Honda R&D Americas' Ohio and Los Angeles Centers were responsible for the design and development of the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline is Honda R&D Americas' fourth light truck development following the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot and Honda Element. Production of the Ridgeline will be done by Honda of Canada Manufacturing. This is the fourth exclusive new light truck model launch by Honda's Alliston, Ontario, plant, beginning with the previous generation Odyssey and followed by the MDX and Pilot.

The Ridgeline will be available in three well-equipped trim levels, the RT, RT-S and RT-L. Standard features on all models will include a 5-speed automatic transmission; VTM-4WD; Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control; side curtain airbags; ABS with EBD; power windows, mirrors and locks; air conditioning; cruise control; lockable In-Bed Trunk; Dual Action tailgate and towing package. Pricing is not yet finalized, but is expected to be in the range of $27,000 to $32,000. Approximately 50,000 trucks are expected to be sold in the first 12 months.
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