The Toyota Tacoma offers excellent resale value.
The Honda Ridgeline is highly unique, as it’s the only unibody pickup on sale in the US.
The Tacoma offers off-road credibility, while the Ridgeline is meant primarily for on-road use.
Buyers in the market for a midsize pickup are likely to consider both the 2019 Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline. While both are backed by solid reputations for quality, they are inherently different beasts. The Tacoma is a true body-on-frame truck and has legitimate off-road capability. The Ridgeline on the other hand is derived from the Pilot SUV, utilizing a unibody, front-wheel drive based platform, although it does offer optional all-wheel drive. Below, we’ll compare the two vehicles to help you decide which one is better for you.
The Tacoma was fully redesigned for 2016. Despite being heavily modernized, the Tacoma is still a rough and tumble truck, and forgoes comfort items like power seats in favor of extreme simplicity. While this may be frustrating to some, it helps the Tacoma to maintain its industry-leading resale value. See the 2019 Toyota Tacoma models for sale near you
The Ridgeline is built on the same platform as the Honda Pilot, the Odyssey and the Passport, and is the only unibody pickup truck for sale in the U.S. The second-generation Ridgeline was introduced for the 2017 model year. Despite the fact that it’s construction is considerably different than that of all other midsize trucks, the Ridgeline offers fewer drawbacks than one would probably expect, and eliminates many of the compromises midsize truck buyers must make with regard to ride quality and fuel economy. See the 2019 Honda Ridgeline models for sale near you
Both the Ridgeline and the Tacoma are built in the U.S. The Ridgeline is assembled in Lincoln, Alabama, while the Tacoma is built at the Toyota truck plant in San Antonio, Texas.
Two different powertrains are offered on the Tacoma. Entry-level examples come with a lackluster 2.7 liter 4-cylinder putting out 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. Most buyers will want to opt for the 3.5-liter V6, which makes a more respectable 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Most Tacomas will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic, but V6 buyers can also opt for a 6-speed manual.
In the Tacoma’s most popular configuration — V6, automatic, 4-wheel drive — fuel economy figures come in at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving.
The Ridgeline is offered with one engine — a 3.5 liter V6 making 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Buyers only decision when it comes to powertrain is whether to opt for FWD or AWD.
AWD Ridgelines are rated at 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined. Just like in the Tacoma, 2-wheel drive examples see a one mpg improvement all around.
Despite its car-based architecture, the Ridgeline doesn’t lag behind the competition as much as you might think with regard to towing and payload capacities. The Tacoma is rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds, which is right on par with the rest of the midsize pickup segment. The Ridgeline is still capable of towing 5,000 pounds, which is enough to tow a small boat. The Tacoma and the Ridgeline offer similar payload capacities, with the Tacoma capable of hauling up to 1,620 pounds and the Ridgeline rated for up to 1,584 pounds.
In terms of off-road capability, the Tacoma is the clear winner. Thanks to its body-on frame construction, traditional 4WD system with driver-selectable low-range gearing and ample ground clearance, the Tacoma is great for anyone looking to go off-road. Two different off-road trim levels are offered. The TRD Off-Road, which comes with a Bilstein suspension and introduces features like a locking rear differential, Crawl Control, and different selectable terrain modes. The top-of-the-line TRD Pro model adds to the equation a heavier-duty off-road suspension and a front skid plate, along with a number of aesthetic changes.
The Ridgeline offers a more basic, on-road oriented AWD system. Despite the fact that it shares its platform with a family crossover and minivan, it’s still capable of going off the beaten path. When it comes to difficult trails though, the Tacoma is the clear winner.
Toyota and Honda both offer excellent reliability, and Tacoma and Ridgeline buyers should have little to worry about in this regard. If something does go wrong, Toyota and Honda both offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, on par with the rest of the industry.
Both the Tacoma and the Ridgeline earn scores of Good across the board in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the Ridgeline even earns a Top Safety Pick designation.
Both vehicles also offer a good array of active driver-assistance safety features, but the Ridgeline only offers them on its top-of-the-line RTL-E trim level. The Ridgeline’s offering consists of adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and front and rear parking sensors. Available on other trim levels of the Ridgeline is Honda’s unique "LaneWatch" tech, which displays on the center infotainment screen live video from cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle, giving the driver a better view of the traffic behind them to the left and right.
Most of the Tacoma’s array of driver-assistance safety features come standard. Every 2019 Tacoma comes with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control. Upper trim levels add rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist.
Tacoma buyers can choose between extended ("Access Cab") and double cab models. Two different bed lengths are offered. Double cab models can be paired with either a 5-foot or a 6-foot bed, while extended cab models come exclusively with the longer 6-foot bed.
The Ridgeline is sold exclusively in crew cab configuration and have a bed measuring slightly over five feet three inches. The Ridgeline’s unibody construction allows for the inclusion of a lockable trunk under the bed floor that can also be filled with ice and used as a cooler. It even has a plug in the bottom for draining out all of the melted ice when you’re done.
Infotainment and Technology
Neither the Ridgeline’s nor the Tacoma’s infotainment setup is anything special. The Tacoma’s is quite primitive, offering an available 7-in touchscreen running Toyota’s lackluster Entune system. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available. A wireless charging pad and a JBL audio system are also available. The Tacoma offers two 12 volt outlets and only one USB port in the cabin, although an optional bed-mounted 110 volt, 3-pronged outlet is a nice bonus.
Base model Ridgelines come with a simple 5-in screen, while RTL-T and RTL-E models get a nicer 8-in screen. Reviewers often criticize the HondaLink system for being difficult to use, although the presence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make life easier. The Ridgeline’s premium infotainment setup is also criticized for its lack of a physical volume knob. The Ridgeline is far more generous than the Tacoma when it comes to power outlets, with two 12-volt outlets and four USB ports inside of the cabin. In addition to its clever truck bed trunk, the Ridgeline also offers a unique truck bed audio system, great for tailgating.
In double-cab, short-bed configuration, the Tacoma measures 212.3 inches long, 74.4 inches wide and 70.6 inches tall. The Ridgeline, which is only available in double-cab short bed configuration, measures 209.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide and 70.8 inches tall.
The Tacoma offers 9.4 inches of ground clearance, while the Ridgeline offers only 7.9 inches.
Inside, front seat Tacoma passengers are offered 39.7 inches of headroom and 42.9 inches of legroom, but its worth noting that the Tacoma’s seating position is panned for being rather awkward. The Ridgeline offers 40.1 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom up front.
In its second row, the Tacoma Double Cab offers 38.3 inches of headroom and only 32.6 inches of legroom, while the Ridgeline is a little more generous, offering 38.8 inches of headroom and 36.7 inches of legroom in back.
The Tacoma’s 5-foot bed offers 38 cu ft. of cargo space while the 6-foot bed offers 47 cu ft. The Ridgeline’s bed is a bit shallower and offers only 34 cu ft., although its in-bed trunk offers an additional 7.3 cu ft.
The inside of a Ridgeline is a much nicer place to be than the inside of a Tacoma. Given that it’s derived heavily from the Pilot, the Ridgeline offers a crossover-spec interior, with good ergonomics, a comfortable seating position and overall refinement. The Tacoma on the other hand is very truck like, lacking even basic features like power seats. The seating position is also widely panned for being extremely awkward. Nonetheless, both vehicles employ quality materials that should stand the test of time.
While the Toyota Tacoma and the 2019 Honda Ridgeline share a similar philosophy, their execution couldn’t be more different. The Ridgeline is great for anyone who likes their crossover or minivan, but wants the added practicality of a truck bed. It offers a nicer interior than any other midsize truck, along with a better ride and more day-to-day livability. The Tacoma on the other hand is a bona fide truck, and is a great choice for the weekend adventurer. It involves some sacrifices when it comes to refinement and technology, but its off-road capabilities are tough to beat in the segment, and its resale value is among the best in the industry. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale or Find a Honda Ridgeline for sale