Best & Worst Honda Ridgeline Years

We have ranked all Honda Ridgeline models for each generation so you can avoid picking the worst Honda Ridgeline years and pick the best year.

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Honda Ridgeline generations, spotlighting the best years for the Honda Ridgeline to buy and the worst years to avoid.

I’ve scrutinized every aspect of Ridgeline’s journey by leveraging extensive data from authoritative sources like NHTSA and Edmunds, ensuring our assessments are thorough and trustworthy.

In this deep dive, I’ll focus on the reliability scores, safety ratings, common owner-reported problems, and recall history to guide potential buyers and enthusiasts to make informed decisions.

Let’s jump right into it.

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Table of ContentsShow

Honda Ridgeline Generations

The Honda Ridgeline, introduced in 2006, redefined the midsize pickup truck category with its unique unibody construction and innovative features.

Unlike traditional trucks, the first Ridgeline model offered a smooth car-like ride, a dual-action tailgate, and a lockable in-bed trunk, setting new standards in versatility and comfort in its segment.

Here are all the Honda Ridgeline generations from 2004.

1st Generation (YK1)2006-2014
2nd Generation (YK2/YK3)2017-Present

Understanding the generational shifts is vital, as they often reflect significant advancements and can be a critical factor in making an informed decision.

Honda Ridgeline Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When analyzing the Honda Ridgeline across its years, we consider a multitude of factors to determine the best, neutral, and worst model years:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Next, I present a graph that amalgamates all these ratings, offering a comprehensive view of the Honda Ridgeline’s performance over its lifespan.

Honda Ridgeline Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Following this, based on our extensive research and analysis, I have categorized each model year of the Honda Ridgeline into best, neutral, and worst years.

GenerationBest YearsWorst Years
1st Generation (YK1)2009
2nd Generation (YK2/YK3)2020

“Neutral Years” are absent in this case, but they typically demonstrate average performance, reliability, and owner satisfaction, falling between best and worst years.

Some factors, such as NHTSA recalls, can significantly impact a vehicle’s reliability rating. The more complaints and recalls a car has, the lower its reliability.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst Honda Ridgeline years.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Ridgeline 1st Generation (2006-2014)

Honda Ridgeline 1st generation 2006 model
The 2006 Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline’s first generation, launched in 2006, broke new ground in the pickup truck segment with its unibody frame, offering a blend of comfort and utility uncommon in its class.

The top first-generation Honda Ridgeline years span between 2009 and 2014, while models from 2006 to 2008 are the poorest years to avoid.

The Best Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Considering fewer owner complaints and good Consumer Reports reliability and owner satisfaction scores, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 are the best Honda Ridgeline years to buy in its first generation.

During these years, the Ridgeline was powered by a 3.5L J35Z5 V6 engine, delivering a balance of power and efficiency, with an output of around 250 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque.

Paired with a 5-speed H5 PSFA automatic transmission, it offered a smooth driving experience typical of Honda vehicles. Fuel efficiency was reasonable for its class, averaging about 15 city mpg/20 highway mpg.

Trim levels included the RT, RTS, and RTL, with the higher trims offering luxury features like leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a premium audio system.

Safety was also a strong point, with features like stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side-curtain airbags contributing to its solid safety record.

The Worst Years: 2006, 2007, 2008

2006, 2007, and 2008 are the worst first-generation Honda Ridgeline years to avoid due to many recalls and owner-reported issues on NHTSA. Here are some of them:

The most notable problems were related to the electrical system and transmission.

Owners frequently faced air conditioning failures and severe corrosion in the transmission cooling line’s fitting, leading to coolant mixing with the transmission fluid.

This could cause significant transmission damage, leading to costly repairs.

These models also faced a series of recalls, including airbag issues, HVAC system short circuits, fuel leaks, and fuel pump failures.

The combination of these problems, particularly the transmission issue, significantly undermined the reliability of these early models, making them less desirable for potential buyers.

See NHTSA 2006, 2007, 2008 Honda Ridgeline recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Ridgeline 2nd Generation (2017-Present)

Honda Ridgeline 2nd generation 2017 model
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline

The second iteration of the Honda Ridgeline, introduced in 2017, brought significant improvements over its predecessor, with enhanced capabilities and modern features.

2017-2019 models are the worst Honda Ridgeline years to avoid, while the best years for the second-generation Honda Ridgeline are 2020 onwards.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Our research concludes that the best years for the second-generation Ridgeline are 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

These models are powered by a robust 3.5L J35Y6 V6 engine, delivering 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and a 9-speed ZF 9HP automatic transmission.

The Ridgeline’s fuel efficiency is commendable for a midsize truck, with an estimated 19 city/24 highway mpg for the AWD variant.

These years introduced various trim levels, including the Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition, progressively adding more luxury and technological features.

For instance, the RTL-E and Black Edition have advanced amenities like a truck-bed audio system, Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies, and premium audio systems.

Safety is a key focus, with features like collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist contributing to its high safety ratings.

The Worst Years: 2017, 2018, 2019

Why not buy a 2017, 2018, or 2019 Honda Ridgeline? Backed by our investigation, I can confirm that 2017, 2018, and 2019 are the worst second-gen Honda Ridgeline years you should avoid at all costs. Here is why:

These models were plagued with electrical system problems, including flickering instrument clusters, infotainment glitches, and transmission concerns such as shuddering and braking issues.

The “Emissions System Problem” warning light was also a common issue, often triggered by fuel injector failures.

These models were subject to recalls on rearview camera failures, unexpected vehicle stability assist activation due to water leakage into the rear wiring harness, engine damage from connecting rod bearing wear, cracked fuel pump feed port leaks, and hood latch failures.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline added recalls for potential timing belt and fuel pump failures.

See NHTSA 2017, 2018, 2019 Honda Ridgeline recalls and complaints.

Honda Ridgeline Resale Values

See the graph below, which shows the Honda Ridgeline’s resale values. It helps you get an idea of its market value over different model years.

Honda Ridgeline Average List Price


To sum up our detailed guide, the best Honda Ridgeline model years to consider getting are the 2009-2014 and 2020-2023 models, as they offer very good reliability and advanced features.

Similarly, the 2006-2008 and 2017-2019 Honda Ridgeline model years are advisable to avoid due to their noted issues.

Have you owned a Honda Ridgeline? How was your experience with it?

Share your experiences below in the comments!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.