The 2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport Navigates All the Terrains of Life

Though not much has changed mechanically as of late, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport receives a much-needed tech upgrade. Is it enough?

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
Despite its unibody SUV bones, the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport can work and play as hard as any other midsize truck. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

The Honda Ridgeline TrailSport Knows that Family Matters

In September of 2022, after five years of declining health following surgery to remove a blood clot, my grandmother was taken from her home for the final time to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with dementia. From that point on, she has lived in a nursing home minutes away from what was her home.

On the last weekend of October 2022, I moved into the house my mom once shared with her mom. I received help with the move in the form of the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport. The midsize truck handled the move well, though, much like my grandmother, it needed professional attention via a tow to the nearest Honda dealership. Unlike the dementia diagnosis she received, the Ridgeline’s issues were easier to resolve by replacing its dead battery.

Fast-forward to April 2024. My grandmother instructed Mom and me to give away everything in her house that belonged to her. She happens to have a lot of belongings that either need to be donated, recycled, trashed, or sold. To handle all of this, a 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport helped with the start of this process.

Related: I Want the 2024 Honda Pilot Trailsport. Here’s Why

Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is right at home in the Appalachians of Southwest Virginia. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Who Is the Honda Ridgeline TrailSport For?

One of four trim levels of the 2024 Honda Ridgeline, the TrailSport – which replaces the RTL-E trim level for 2024 – is aimed at tackling tougher roads and trails. Yet, there are many consumers who would appreciate what this midsize truck offers, including:

  • Honda and Acura owners looking to keep their garages and driveways Honda/Acura-Only zones
  • Those seeking a truck that isn’t the usual body-on-frame rig most trucks are
  • Those wanting a truck that can do it all and then some

Related: The Honda Ridgeline Gets More Rugged for 2024

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The song remains the same for the second-gen Ridgeline with its enduring V6 under the hood. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

For the 2020 model year, the trim levels were cut from seven to four, Honda’s own six-speed automatic was replaced by a nine-speed automatic, and the Honda Sensing suite was made standard across the entire range along with an 8-inch touchscreen. The following model year, the Ridgeline received a facelift front to back, as well as the Honda Performance Development Package for extra rugged points, and the entire range went all-wheel-drive-only.

No matter which of the four trim levels—Sport, RTL, TrailSport, and Black Edition—you choose for 2024, the powertrain is the same across the board: a 3.5-liter V6 also found in the current Honda Odyssey and Passport. Total output from the V6 comes to 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The TrailSport trim plants its power to the road and trail through all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch alloys.

Related: The 2024 Honda Pilot TrailSport, Our Rebelle Rally Teammate, Conquered Everything

Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The new multimedia system on the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport takes center stage upon a redesigned dashboard. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Sensing the World Around You in 2024

The centerpiece of the 2024 Ridgeline lineup is the new tech occupying the dash. There’s a 9-inch touchscreen display equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus HondaLink and – except for the Sport trim – SiriusXM; you also get a wireless charger on all trims. If you’re a fan of HD Radio, though, you’ll need to upgrade to the Black Edition to get that feature.

The driver also has the same 7-inch display found in the newest Honda models, featuring an analog speedometer on the right and a full TFT display on the left to tell the driver exactly what’s going on. To keep everyone safe on the road, the Honda Sensing suite offers features like collision mitigation, road departure mitigation, lane keeping and departure, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The interior of the 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is comfortable. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

The Trails Get Luxurious

The last time I had a Ridgeline, it had cloth seating for five, which my friends found comfortable on the trek to and from Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, for the NASCAR Cup Series final playoff round before the championship the following week in Phoenix.

This time around, the new TrailSport trim toughs it out with a steel underbody plate to protect the oil pan and an off-road-tuned suspension to handle the toughest of the soft-roading trails. Inside, however, the seating is a mix of luxury and sporty, thanks to the orange TrailSport branding on the front headrests and orange stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and door panels. The seats are durable synthetic leather for that bit of luxury and durability this trim level requires. The front buckets are heated along with the steering wheel to keep the driver and lucky passenger warm, while the updated center console armrest can fit a full-size tablet. Finally, the all-season floor mats also feature the orange TrailSport logo, just to let everyone know they’re in for something special.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The in-bed lockable trunk in the Honda Ridgeline protected more than a few of my grandmother’s old belongings from the rainy skies outside. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Memories Made in the Honda Ridgeline TrailSport

In late 2022, I moved into the house Mom shared with my grandmother to help Mom out. In early 2024, it was time to move as many of my grandmother’s belongings out of the house as I could. In both instances, a Honda Ridgeline was involved.

On one of those days of moving, the rains fell upon my Old Dominion home. Luckily, I could store some of the departing belongings inside the in-bed trunk, which is also lockable should truly precious belongings (or a couple bags of ice and a few 24-packs of beer) need extra security from would-be thieves. Alas, there wasn’t a tonneau cover to protect a few other belongings (clothes, in this case) from the rain; thus, they were put in a plastic bag and dumped into the clothing recycling bin near the Dollar Tree.

Speaking of lost belongings, more than a few of my grandmother’s items had to go to the waste disposal and recycling drop-off in Riner. So, all of it went into the bed of the Ridgeline, for the one-way trip south of my Old Dominion home. The flexible tailgate helped with the unloading of the trash and recycling, though it would be nice if the tailgate opened to the right in addition to dropping it down and swinging out to the left.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
For items that need it, the rear bench in the Honda Ridgeline can fold up for increased cargo space. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

A Few Challenges in the Honda Ridgeline TrailSport

As far as the ride quality, it wasn’t too bad. The adaptive cruise control had one quirk, in that it couldn’t maintain the speed limit when going down or up hills; my 1997 Toyota RAV4’s non-adaptive cruise control is exactly the same in behavior. It also has a threshold of 25 mph before shutting off entirely; other vehicles I’ve reviewed turn off below 20 mph, but do remember the last speed it held so you can get back up to speed. The off-road tuned suspension didn’t get much of a workout off the paved path, but it did handle the mountain curves and two-lane highways of my usual final-day photoshoot loop, just like the 2021 Sport did on its round-trip to Martinsville Speedway on my moving weekend in 2022.

Just don’t ask how much it’ll cost to fill the Ridgeline’s 19.5-gallon fuel tank. Though rated at 18 mpg in town and 23 mpg on the highway for a combined 20 mpg, the best I could do was 17 mpg, as most of my driving was to and from Mom’s workplace in town just before dawn. It’s a good thing, then, that it takes regular instead of higher-grade fuels.

Parking the 210-inch-long midsize truck was also just as challenging now as it was in 2022 due to a lack of a front-facing camera and/or a 360-degree setup. Perhaps a lower hood for the next-gen Ridgeline could improve visibility, too.

2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
Plenty of tailgates can open in lots of ways, but only the Honda Ridgeline’s can open down or swing out to the left. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

What The Honda Ridgeline TrailSport Truck Costs

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is quite the midsize truck when compared to competition like the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Jeep Gladiator, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. As far as price goes, the made-in-Alabama Ridgeline falls into the pricier end of the midsize truck pool.

  • The TrailSport starts at $44,980, $46,830 as-tested with destination and optional Sonic Gray Pearl paint
  • The base Sport starts at $39,750
  • The next trim level up, the RTL, starts at $42,580
  • The top-tier Black Edition starts at $46,350
2024 Honda Ridgeline Trailsport
The Honda Ridgeline TrailSport is also at home doing hard work like trips to the waste disposal and recycling center. Photo: Cameron Aubernon

Memories Fade, but this Truck Will Not

I don’t have a lot of memories with my grandmother, as I was never close with her nor the majority of my family on both sides; living several states away in Kansas with only Mom while growing up didn’t help. And what memories I do have aren’t pleasant ones, especially those from the past few years as her health declined further and further, putting strain on the relationship my mom had with her until she was taken out of her home for the last time.

The 2024 Honda Ridgeline in all trims is built to take the strain of everyday tasks like towing trailers loaded with lawn equipment or hauling bags of mulch from the local lawn and care center. Or, in my case, removing the belongings and debris of my grandmother’s former life from what was once her home. When it comes to doing the right thing, whether it’s helping a friend move into a new home or helping Mom and me move forward with our lives, the Ridgeline is right there, ready to help.

Cameron Aubernon started her journey over a decade ago as an independent fashion blogger. Yet, they knew a bit... More about Cameron Aubernon