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Without a shadow of a doubt, pickup trucks are dominating the market and have no intention to leave any time soon.
They are great all-around vehicles for the benefits they provide. Pickups can tow and haul heavy loads, transport families, and drive on all terrains.
If you are interested in a mid-size pickup truck, the Toyota Tacoma is the leader of the segment with its old-school rugged and boxy shape. Honda Ridgeline, on the other side, went down a different path toward the pickup truck’s universe.
To help you decide which one is better suited for you, we have highlighted all the key specs and differences, offering a detailed view on which pickup is the best and in what areas.
Main Differences Between Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma
The main differences between Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma are:
- The Ridgeline is available in four trim levels, whereas the Tacoma is available in six trims.
- The Ridgeline is a car-based pickup truck, whereas the Tacoma is a truck-based pickup truck.
- The Ridgeline comes with a V-6 only, whereas the Tacoma comes with a 4-cylinder and a V-6.
- The Ridgeline is more fuel-efficient, whereas the Tacoma tends to be thirsty for gas.
The Tacoma is by far one of the best-selling mid-size pickup trucks and an absolute favorite for many buyers.
Unlike other pickups in the mid-size class, the Tacoma is a truck-based pickup that features a boxed frame at the front with an independent double-wishbone suspension.
The bed sits on top of an open C-channel and leaf springs with rubber bushings. The suspension also features front and back sway bars.
That means the Tacoma is less stiff than its rivals and provides better ride quality and stability on paved roads and off-roads as well.
It is smaller than a full-size pickup, sleek, and easier to live with on a daily basis.
And it is a Toyota, so you know it will probably last longer than you, pun intended.
The 2020 year model rolled out from the factory with substantial upgrades and changes over the previous years.
The interior is simple, reasonable, and functional for the most part. It is difficult to climb into due to the ride height, but it is built with solid and robust materials.
The dashboard is easy to understand and well laid out.
It accommodates a seven-inch touchscreen display as standard with integrated Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and an improved sound system. It consists of six JBL speakers and a subwoofer.
The optional extras vary depending on the trim level you opt for, and the Tacoma comes with six levels of trims.
At the bottom sits the SR with a 34,000$ price tag. It is the entry-level trim, and it comes with basic amenities that Toyota offers, like the new infotainment system. But, in the opinion of pickup enthusiasts, you get a bigger bang for your buck with the SR5.
The SR5 comes with a long-wheelbase version and gets more niceties than the entry trim. It features a larger eight-inch touchscreen display, alloy wheels, and leather trimmings around the cabin.
The coolest feature of the SR5 is probably the option to pick a bigger engine.
TRD Sport vs TRD Off-Road
Above that are the TRD Sport and the TRD Off-road trims. Both of these trims share the same body configuration and powertrain plus keyless entry and ignition as standard.
The differences are more noticeable on the exterior, where the TRD Sport gets a hood scoop, body-colored bumpers, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The TRD Off-road, on the other hand, has chrome rear bumpers and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Near the top is the Limited trim. Unlike the previous trims, the Limited is refined and luxurious. It comes fully loaded with optional extras and comfort amenities like a premium JBL sound system, heated leather seats, power windows, satellite navigation, cruise control, armrests, blind-spot monitoring system, and a wide range of color palates.
Last but not least, the TRD Pro sits on top of the ladder. It gets LED headlights, all-terrain tires, a thicker skid plate, and upgraded exhaust to make it stand out. This range-topper is expected to hit the 50,000$ mark with ease.
The Tacoma is available with Access Cab (extended single cab) or Crew cab (double cab) mated to a 5’ ft or 6.1’ ft bed. Good enough to haul 1,400 lbs. of work materials, and towing capacity maxes out at 6,000 lbs.
Toyota offers the 2020 Tacoma with two engine options. The smallest engine is a 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The biggest engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.
The V-6 is optional on the SR and the SR5, but it comes standard with top trim levels.
From the factory, the Tacoma gets a set of packages like the TRD Off-road package, Blackout package, and Technology package. Of course, packages differ from one trim to the other.
The Tacoma averages 18 miles per gallon in city limits, 22 miles per gallon on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.
Not bad for a pickup.
Tacoma is well dressed on the safe side. The 2020 year model gets Toyota Safety Sense-P that includes an engine immobilizer, four-wheel ABS, emergency braking, and pre-collision safety system.
It drove away from the NHTSA safety test with a score of four out of five stars.
Toyota Tacoma Pros and Cons
- Interior controls are easy to understand
- Great off-road capabilities
- Truck bed has movable tie-down cleats and power outlet
- It comes with a manual option
- High ground clearance
- Too off-road focused
- Brakes are very grabby and can induce a nosedive during emergency braking
Crossover SUVs and pickup trucks are taking over the automotive market thanks to their versatility and performance. Honda took advantage of this revolutionary rise and merged the two segments with the innovative Ridgeline.
The Ridgeline is a mid-size pickup truck that offers the most car-like experience in its segment. Unlike its truck-based rivals, the Ridgeline is built upon a unibody construction with independent suspension.
The 2020 Ridgeline is often criticized by pickup truck purists; however, it manifests a splendid ride quality and exceptional athleticism that makes daily driving joyful.
The 2020 year model receives subtle upgrades over that previous one. These include dropping the RT base trim and the RTL-T and more standard features.
Honda still offers the Ridgeline with a single powertrain option. It comes s standard with a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 262 lb-ft of torque and 280 horsepower.
The V-6 sends the power to the front wheels only, or all four wheels via a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
It is the most fuel-efficient six-cylinder in its class averaging 19 miles per gallon in the city, 21 miles per gallon on the highway, and 21 miles combined. With proper driving, the ridgeline can achieve up to 28 miles per gallon.
The engine feels smooth when driving on the highway, and the throttle responds well if you put the pedal to the metal.
The Ridgeline comes fitted with fully independent suspension with coil springs and a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system that minimizes body roll in the corners and improves stability.
It drives like an SUV or an everyday sedan but with a better traction control system that copes with all weathers and terrains.
Unfortunately, it lacks ground clearance, articulation, and low-range gears for serious off-roading like other class competitors.
It is smooth and composed on a variety of surfaces, and you can barely notice the bumps.
That is something you do not get from the other class competitors.
The mid-size pickups segment became over soaked with body-on-frame trucks. These traditional beasts are made to be workhorses to tow and carry heavy loads and deliver optimal off-road performance.
Who Is The Ridgeline Made For?
The Ridgeline, on the other hand, is a minivan with a truck bed in the back. This pickup is made for buyers who are looking for comfort and practicality.
But at What Cost?
The Ridgeline can tow a max of 5,000 pounds, and it drops to 3,500 pounds with front-wheel drive. The payload maxes out at 1,400 pounds in a 6.4 bed, which is enough to handle daily chores.
Honda offers the Ridgeline with a bundle of competitive warranties:
- Basic 3 years/ 36,000 miles.
- Drivetrain 5 years/ 60,000 miles.
- Roadside 3 years/ 36,000 miles.
- Rust 5 years/ unlimited miles.
Unfortunately, the complimentary scheduled maintenance is off the table.
According to the NHTSA, in the 2020 model year, Ridgeline earned five stars out of five. The truck hosts driver-assistance technology, which comprises of features like:
- Standard forward-collision warning
- Automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
The Ridgeline is lower, so it is easier to climb inside, even for shorter folks. The interior is plush, luxurious, and available in Beige, Black, and Grey.
It is roomy and more comfortable than any other pickup in its class.
The 5-inch touchscreen display was ditched in favor of a larger 8-inch touchscreen with integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The interior is fitted with an eight-speaker sound system and a subwoofer.
Other niceties include:
- Tri-zone climate control
- USB connection
- Rear-view camera
- Front and rear cup holders
- One-touch power windows
The Ridgeline is available in four trim levels: Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition sharing the same V-6 and the new nine-speed transmission.
The entry-level is the base trim, and it comes loaded with the aforementioned features.
It gets front-wheel drive as standard, and all-wheel drive is optional, just like on the RTL. But since the RTL is a step above the Sport, it gets leather trims on the inside, electric heated seats, a sunroof, and a power-sliding rear window.
The RTL-E gets a more powerful sound system, satellite navigation system, truck-bed power outlet, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and LED headlights.
The Black Edition receives the same RTL-E treatment, but it comes in blacked-out exterior trim, wheels, and leather seats with red accents.
Honda offers the Ridgeline with several packages:
Adventure Package: 3,372$ Starting MSRP and it includes:
- Black Roof Rails for Crossbars
- 18 Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels
- Sport Grille
Utility Package II: 1,591$ Starting MSRP, it features:
- Running Board w/Lights
- Rear Splash Guards
- Crossbars for Silver Roof Rails
Cargo Storage Package: 1,194$ Starting MSRP, it comprises of:
- Rear Under Seat Storage System
- In-Bed Trunk Storage Dividers
- Door Sill Protection Film
Honda Ridgeline Pros and Cons
- Great handling and ride quality thanks to the rear independent suspension
- Large lockable in-bed trunk and two-way tailgate
- Spacious and high-quality interior
- Towing capacity maxes out at 3500 lbs. with front-wheel drive and 5000 lbs. with four-wheel drive
- Low ground clearance
- The integrated touchscreen can be laggy and frustrating to use
The closest alternatives to the Ridgeline are the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado.
Before buying a Tacoma, take into consideration these alternatives: Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Ford Ranger.
Question: Does the Tacoma Come with a Warranty?
Answer: Yes, it does. Toyota covers the Tacoma with a basic three years/ 36,000 miles, five years for the drivetrain/ rust, and two years free Maintenance/ roadside. In addition to complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Question: What Colors Does the 2020 Ridgeline Come In?
Answer: Seven exterior colors are available for the 2020 Ridgeline:
• Modern Steel Metallic
• Platinum White Pearl
• Lunar Silver Metallic
• Crystal Black Pearl
• Obsidian Blue Pearl
• Deep Scarlet Pearl
• Pewter Pacific Metallic
Exterior colors availability will vary by trim level.
Question: Is the Honda Ridgeline Expensive to Maintain?
Answer: Overall, the Honda Ridgeline has yearly car maintenance costs total of $502, given that the average vehicle costs $651 annually.
Question: How Often Do You Change the Oil on a Honda Ridgeline?
Answer: An oil change is one of the most vital and vital services for your vehicle. Honda recommends getting your Ridgeline oil & filter changed every 3,000-5,000 miles for conventional oil.
Question: Can You Lift a Toyota Tacoma?
Answer: Yes, there are 6 inches lift kits with FOX shocks that can fit 35-inch tires available online for the Toyota Tacoma.
Unlike the rivals in its class, the Honda Ridgeline does not ride like a pickup truck, but it does the job of one. It is for the buyers who want the utility and flexibility of a truck with the sophistication and comfort of an SUV.
Tacoma, on the other side, is a go anywhere and do anything vehicle. It is aimed to be a workhorse to haul and tow heavy loads. It is a truck-based pickup with unmatched off-road capabilities for adventurous drivers.