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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
These guys aren't my favorite reviewers in the world, but it was a good showing for the Frontier. Really displays the strengths of the platform. If you can get over the dated interior, it's still competitive especially when price is a factor.


Video - Midsize Pickup Adventure Review: 2017 Honda Ridgeline vs. Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier vs. GMC Canyon - The Fast Lane Truck

Article:
What is the way to get a good measure of a pickup truck? It has to do many jobs well. We completed the Ike Gauntlet extreme towing reviews of each one of these trucks. You can find them all under the Ike Gauntlet section. How do these trucks handle the daily grind of the city and highway driving? This may be a bit boring, so we decided to use the Rocky Mountains to our advantage for a comprehensive off-road adventure review that included all of the latest midsize pickups. While we were not able to include a Chevy Colorado in this comparison, the GMC Canyon crew cab 4×4 is the GM midsize truck representative.

There is another very important question we wanted to answer with this grand comparison. How does the second generation 2017 Honda Ridgeline stack up against the rest of the field in its on-road and off-road prowess? We already know that the Ridgeline can beat the Tacoma and the Frontier in a drag race. We wanted to learn more.

The route took us from Boulder, CO to Golden, CO and then on to the top of the Montezuma off-road trail. We chose the Montezuma off-road trail because it is a medium difficulty route to above tree-line and to the top of the Rocky Mountains. We wanted to give each truck a chance to reach the top, hence the medium difficulty.

This adventure review includes the following trucks. See the “Logistics” section at the end of this post for more details.

Engine/Power Chart

The 2017 Ridgeline came out as the top choice for on-road handling, comfort, and acceleration performance. Not surprisingly, it was not the best choice for the off-road adventure. The Ridgeline has the lowest ground clearance in this group and street-biased all-season tires. Its sophisticated AWD system offers torque vectoring for better corner handling and several algorithms for handling low traction conditions, such as this off-road trail. The system will allocated power to the wheel(s) with most traction. The Ridgeline struggled more the steeper and rockier the trail got. Finally, Roman received a “Transmission overheating” warning message in the gauge cluster, just as Kent “Mr Truck” Sundling started to have clearance problems. Given a chance to cool down, the Ridgeline had no damage or ill effects on the way down the mountain and for the rest of the week in our custody.

The off-road performance of the 2016 GMC Canyon was inhibited by the low front chin spoiler. We all know that this front air deflector is removable, and thus would greatly improve the trail capability of the truck. However, we consider this a modification of an otherwise fully stock vehicle. If we were to remove this air deflector, what other modifications should be consider for the other trucks? The point is, all of these trucks are being evaluated the way that they are sold at the dealership, and they way you purchase them. Other than the limiting air dam, the Canyon has the hardware to make the SLE grade truck a competent off-road performer. While the All-Terrain version of the truck will do even better.

It’s no surprise that the Tacoma 4×4 TRD Off-Road and the Frontier 4×4 PRO-4X are the off-road midsizers of this bunch. These two models represent the top of the off-road technology from their respective companies for this segment.

The Toyota Tacoma is the segment leader in sales. It’s known for reliability and off-road focused design. However, it’s not the most comfortable truck on the day-to-day basis. We find that the front two seats are a little too close to the floor for everyday comfort. Of course, this design has been part of the Tacoma for several generations and it’s done in the name of higher clearance for off-roading. We explored this topic in more details in a recent TFLtruck: By the Numbers segment.

The Nissan Frontier is by far the oldest design in this group. Nonetheless, it’s still a capable and competitive midsize truck, as you see in the off-road portion of this mashup. The noticeable reminder of the truck’s older design is its fuel economy which is now several MPG less than the competition’s. Nissan is likely to bring a redesigned Frontier for the 2018 model year, although the company has not made any official announcement to this effect.

2017 honda ridgeline tacoma frontier canyon gmc nissan toyota comparison review

Logistics

We sent out a call to all five midsize pickup manufacturers (Chevrolet, GMC, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) to submit their off-road prepared crew cab 4x4s. We had a tight time constraint. We wanted to take the trucks to the top of the Rocky Mountains, but these high elevations can see snowfall at the end of September which can potentially close the gorgeous mountain trails. Middle of September is also a great time for fall colors in the Rockies, as aspens burst into many hues of yellow and orange. General Motors did not have their trucks in the regional fleet, as they are switching from 2016 to 2017 model year.

A large comparison requires a great team, and we are fortunate to have some of the best in the industry. Roman Mica took the 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD Black Edition, Nathan Adlen grabbed the 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 TRD Off-Road, Kent Sundling jumped into the 2016 GMC Canyon 4×4 SLE, and yours truly piloted the 2016 Nissan Frontier 4×4 PRO-4X. A video review of this scale must have the best video crew. Once again, we are very fortunate to have Ian Chisholm and Tommy Mica as videographers and editors.

As a side note, the 2017 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon with the upgraded 3.6L V6 and the 8-speed automatic transmission are not in circulation yet. We will thoroughly test these as soon as they are available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's the engine chart

- 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 2016 Nissan Frontier 4×4 2016 GMC Canyon 4×4
- 3.5L V6 3.5L V6 4.0L V6 3.6L V6
Max Power 280 hp 278 hp 261 hp 305 hp
Max Torque 262 lb-ft 265 lb-ft 281 lb-ft 269 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 5-speed 6-speed


Frontier has the most torque (at a lower peak RPM too), no surprise it feels like a stronger motor. VQ40 really is a great engine, but the auto transmission is getting old for sure. I bet Nissan's 7-speed would match well and close the mpg gap too.
 

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I still feel many trucks get a bad rap for the tires the OEM puts on them. Many "off road" packaged trucks are limited by junk tires.

And I agree about the air dam on the Chev/GMC twins. Super low to the ground. Though, that's what we will start to see as MPG gains are required by the OEM's.
 

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I like the fact that the Frontier is a little "old school". The Colorado/Canyon and Tacoma are nice but overpriced. I've never viewed the Ridgeline as a real pickup, it's basically just a Honda Pilot with the rear roof section removed in favor of a cargo bed.
 

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So, someone correct me if I am wrong, but the Ridgeline has no low range in the transfer case?
I couldnt find an exact answer, however honda lists it as an intelligent AWD system rather than 4wd. Which is different as we know. So I'd imagine you don't get much choice when to engage all 4 wheels. My old college roomate had the previous generation ridgeline and it would only engage all 4 wheels until 20mph and all the other time it was fwd only. It was weak.
 

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I couldnt find an exact answer, however honda lists it as an intelligent AWD system rather than 4wd. Which is different as we know. So I'd imagine you don't get much choice when to engage all 4 wheels. My old college roomate had the previous generation ridgeline and it would only engage all 4 wheels until 20mph and all the other time it was fwd only. It was weak.
That actually puts in in a whole different class than the others then if you ask me. At that point, we are talking apples to oranges.
 

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Would have been nice if they had given their reasons for their pics more than "it didnt get stuck". Esp for the guys who didnt drive the truck they picked.
 

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its easy to win when doing nothing at all is better than failing innovation...

all the brand new modern trucks suck a huge bag of *** compared to the frontier. im not saying that cause i own 2 and have owned 4 total. we all know that already thats why we are here.
it is nice to see the truck finally getting some good recognition over the taco.
 

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Honestly the only major "fault" with our trucks is the fuel economy. Which if you keep your foot out of it isn't really that bad. Everything else is top notch.
 

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designers are limited with what they can do to get better mpg out of a 5k lb brick. All the fullsize mpg stickers are shown to be dreams when the real use begins. GDI can get better mileage but at a cost of maint. Turbos get better mileage (& power) but only till you stand on it. Vehicle weight is the only thing they can do without taking away cylinders and adding firmware that kills turbo output (in the pursuit of mpg).
 

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If I wanted a new truck today I'd buy exactly what I have now, a king cab Pro-4x 6spd. Says a lot considering I've owned nothing but Toyota trucks up until last year.

Second choice would grudgingly be a Tacoma TRD OR Access cab 6spd. My 2006 SR5 was an expensive disappointment. Knowing the 3rd gen has the same chassis/steering/brakes is enough to keep me away.
 

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So, someone correct me if I am wrong, but the Ridgeline has no low range in the transfer case?
from a video i saw, if i remember correctly the honda has some sort of torque vectoring awd system that doesnt have a traditional transfer case. The honda rep was a real sensitive fellow trying to make their mini van without a rear hatch sound super sweet.

My problem is the ridgeline basically takes all the aspects that make a truck a truck and gets rid of them. I have come from low 2wd vehicles my whole life. I want a body on frame truck with real 4x4, not a crossover with a bed.
 

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Lol...love it...I had a 2006 nismo 6sp 4x4 and when I found out I was having a son...traded it for a 2016 4x4 auto cc VTP...love it. When I looked at the other trucks...I knew I was getting another Fronty.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

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Nice write-up on the new Ridgeline in the latest Car&Driver.
IIRC: Black Edition AWD/4x4/whatever, ~4400 lbs, just shy of ~$43.5k price as tested. 44.4' turning cirlce. Shod w/ 245/60-18 Firestone Destination LE2. 0-60 in 6.6 sec // 15.2 1/4 mile.
 

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Honestly the only major "fault" with our trucks is the fuel economy. Which if you keep your foot out of it isn't really that bad. Everything else is top notch.
I'll disagree. Sit in a Canyon/Colorado or Ridgeline and the difference is huge. The materials used in those trucks are WAY better than the Frontier. The rear seats of the ridgeline in particular are more comfortable, despite folding into a slimmer position upright. All the competition are quieter on the road and have better turning circles as well. The tech in those trucks is, at this point, generations ahead of the Frontier.

I mean, it is fine to pooh pooh that and say "but it's a truck!" but that simply doesn't cut it anymore which is why the Frontier is the cheapest midsize and also the worst on MPG. I really like my truck but if I was buying new and comparing everything I would probably not consider the Frontier over the other offerings.
 

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I'll disagree. Sit in a Canyon/Colorado or Ridgeline and the difference is huge. The materials used in those trucks are WAY better than the Frontier. The rear seats of the ridgeline in particular are more comfortable, despite folding into a slimmer position upright. All the competition are quieter on the road and have better turning circles as well. The tech in those trucks is, at this point, generations ahead of the Frontier.

I mean, it is fine to pooh pooh that and say "but it's a truck!" but that simply doesn't cut it anymore which is why the Frontier is the cheapest midsize and also the worst on MPG. I really like my truck but if I was buying new and comparing everything I would probably not consider the Frontier over the other offerings.
I'll disagree on a few points.
The The Honda RL does not have a tighter turn circle compared to the Frontier. The RL has the largest turn diameter of the mid size.

The new tech in the trucks don't impress me. I don't want or need the majority of the tech items being offered. Just look into the complaints regarding the sync with smart phones that Toyota and GM are dealing with.

The Toyota , Chevy/GM and Honda pickups are all having issues. (shifting transmission, drive line vibration, etc).
Buy what you want. But for a good pickup, the Frontier has a lot to offer for the money.
 

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I'll disagree. Sit in a Canyon/Colorado or Ridgeline and the difference is huge. The materials used in those trucks are WAY better than the Frontier. The rear seats of the ridgeline in particular are more comfortable, despite folding into a slimmer position upright. All the competition are quieter on the road and have better turning circles as well. The tech in those trucks is, at this point, generations ahead of the Frontier.

I mean, it is fine to pooh pooh that and say "but it's a truck!" but that simply doesn't cut it anymore which is why the Frontier is the cheapest midsize and also the worst on MPG. I really like my truck but if I was buying new and comparing everything I would probably not consider the Frontier over the other offerings.
When I test drove the other trucks I did not find the Colorado to be quieter, although its seats were slightly better. The Tacoma was off the list a block from the dealership, and the Ridgeline does not handle offroad well at all. In the test they did the AWD/Transmission overheated. For those that don't know how Hondas intelligent AWD system works, here is a quick runs down. The front and rear diffs have hydraulic pumps in them, the pump in the rear is 25% smaller then the front. So you have a front wheel drive until the front wheel the front wheels over drive the rear by 25% once that happens the pressure from the pumps engages the centre differential and engages the clutch pack. When it is being used to often the fluid overheats
 

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Honda will sell a ton of their new Ridgelines, it just won't be to typical truck folks. It looks to be the perfect urban AWD pickup for family folks who need a good around town car, and they occasionally need to haul something.

For the rest of the truck world it may pick up a few converts from the triditional truck folks with its far better styling than its predecessor, but most truck folks will stick with real trucks.


It was great the Frontier won, but it was a screwed up comparission from the start. Just the fact that the Taco had well worn tires should have made the guys embarrassed to even post their results.
 
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