The 2012 Honda Ridgeline will feature a sporty new trim level when it goes on sale in November. Aptly dubbed the Ridgeline Sport, the new model includes several exterior upgrades over the standard Ridgeline, which is also slated to be revised for 2012.

Derived from the base-level Ridgeline RT, the Ridgeline Sport features a host of black-themed exterior revisions. Honda says the Ridgeline Sport gets black headlight, fog light and taillight bezels, as well as black door handles and a unique black honeycomb grille, which includes a "SPORT" badge in red lettering. Rounding out the list of upgrades to the Ridgeline Sport are distinctive 18-inch five-spoke wheels, which give the pickup a more performance-oriented appearance.

Not to be forgotten, the rest of the Ridgeline range also receives minor updates for 2012. According to Honda, the pickup gains a new grille, likely similar to the one featured on the recently-announced 2012 Pilot, and what Honda calls "improvements for fuel efficiency." While the automaker hasn't detailed these improvements, we'd count on a new six-speed automatic transmission to replace the current model's five-speed.

On sale since 2006, the Ridgeline's popularity has waned in recent years, due to an aging design and the general decline of the midsize pickup segment. In its first year on the market, the Ridgeline sold more than 50,000 units, a figure which decreased to just over 16,000 sales in 2010, and barely over 5,000 through the first six months of 2011. But despite slowing sales, Honda says it has no plans to discontinue the truck, even after cancelling the slow-selling Element SUV earlier this year.

While Honda has yet to announce pricing for the 2012 Ridgeline, it's likely pricing for each model will increase a few hundred dollars over last year. We expect the Ridgeline Sport will start at around $30,500, or about $1,500 more than the base RT model.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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