WE haven’t seen one in Australia yet, but Honda makes a ute – and it’s a cracker.
Called the Ridgeline, it has just won a top US auto website’s ‘Best Pickup Truck to Buy in 2018’ award.
It’s a good-looking, civilised machine that comfortably seats four adults, drives smoothly and quietly and claims best in class fuel economy.
It comes in front and all-wheel drive and has 210kW/355Nm of 3.5litre Honda V6 under its bonnet, driving through a six-speed automatic.
Naturally the Ridgeline, originally built by Honda Canada, but now a product of Honda’s new facility in Alabama, can perform most tasks expected of a ute, but it adds polish.
Not everyone wants a tradie-style workhorse or a big boofhead ute in their driveway, or a machine that gobbles up fuel faster than dragster or has the turning circle of a footy oval.
The Ridgeline, sold only as a four-door ute, or SUT (sports utlity truck in US parlance) shares a unibody structure with the Pilot crossover, also missing from Honda’s local line-up, and is said to be as maneuverable as its family cars, with which it shares its roots.
It’s one of the best handling utes, uses 12.7litres/100km round town and 9.0 on the highway and seems to do everything most folks want from such a vehicle.
Its reinforced tray is lined with a UV-treated plastic material that’s durable and washable.
Eight tie-downs offer flexibility to secure myriad kinds of gear, and there’s a seven-pin connector on the tow hitch in case you need to tow your Titanic to the ocean.
It has Macstrut front and multi-link rear suspension, runs on 18-inch wheels and has all the interior stuff that today’s society demands.
Like, (take a deep breath) AM/FM/MP3 radio, Navigation system 225W audio system, 8″ display audio w/high-resolution WVGA electrostatic touch-screen and customisable feature settings, 7 speakers including subwoofer, Bluetooth streaming audio, auxiliary input jack, Radio Data System, 1.5-amp port in front/1.0-amp port in console, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HondaLink, SMS text message function, HD radio and Pandora compatibility.
So yes, this is the ute of sensible suburbia.
Good to see it’s a hit in the US, which, with luck, will eventually find its way to Oz.