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2021 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which Is Better?


While both have a sterling reputation for reliability, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a grizzled veteran while the 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a pretty new face.  Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Toyota Tacoma: Reliability; Resale; Renown
  • Honda Ridgeline: New look; increased capability

2021 Toyota Tacoma

2021 Toyota Tacoma2021 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab starting price: $28,155 / Read our 2021 Toyota Tacoma Review

What we like: Customizable for almost every need; durable construction; available V6; excellent resale value; TRD Pro off-road capability.

What we would change: Average fuel economy; cabin comfort; very ready for a re-do.

Overview: A best-seller for many years, the Toyota Tacoma carries on its reputation for high-quality, reliability, and resale value. The competition is fierce all of a sudden, but following a 2020 refresh, the Tacoma continues on. Newer tech is on-board, in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and all models receive the Toyota safety suite with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Tacoma’s standard power comes from a 2.7-liter inline-4 making 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The available 3.5-liter V6 makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque which almost gets the same mileage. Tow capable up to 6,800 pounds.

What’s new for 2021: Minor changes following a 2020 refresh. They include dual-zone climate on V6 models. New Trail Edition based on SR5 Double Cab includes built-in bins in the bed, while Nightshade features darkened accouterments.

Features and technology: There are around 33 different ways you can order your Tacoma. There is literally something to cater to everyone’s needs. For off-road enthusiasts, the TRD Pro offers tremendous capabilities.

What does the future hold: Rumors are worth what you pay for them, but we hear of a possible redesign for the 2024 model year. See 2021 Toyota Tacoma models for sale near you.

2021 Honda Ridgeline:

2021 Honda Ridgeline2021 Honda Ridgeline Standard Crew Cab starting price: $36,000 EST / Read our 2021 Honda Ridgeline Review

What we like:  Smooth V6 power; quick acceleration; roomy standard crew cab; refined ride; in-bed trunk; multifunction tailgate 

What we would change: Not for deep-woods off-roading; FWD tows 3,500 pounds; AWD is 5,000-pound tow-capable

Overview: With probably the smoothest, car-like ride in the segment, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline oozes comfort. Some capabilities are less than others in the segment, but it is a fuel-efficiency leader. It’s a truck we would constantly be worrying about getting dirty. 

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Ridgeline features a fresh new design from the A-pillars forward. A new Honda Performance Development (HPD) package toughens up the appearance a bit, with flared fenders, a blacked-out grille, and new 18-inch wheels. Small changes inside include a revised infotainment system.

Features and technology: The Honda Ridgeline has undergone a restyling for 2021. Power is from an award-winning 3.5-liter 280-hp V6 producing 262 lb-ft of torque. The standard 9-speed automatic transmission delivers power to the front-wheel-drive system, while AWD is an available option. It moves off the line quickly and scores a similar mileage rating to mid-size trucks that get their power from a diesel powerplant.

The Ridgeline rides well thanks to its unibody construction with coil spring independent rear suspension. This helps it behave more like a car or SUV rather than a body-on-frame truck. That’s also one of the reasons this Honda is less robust than some of its heartier competitors.

Inside there is an 8-inch touchscreen display along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Specific models can be ordered with an in-bed audio system which will liven up any tailgate party.

What the future holds: Unconfirmed rumors suggest a Ridgeline Hybrid might appear later in 2021 as a 2022 model.

Ridgeline vs Tacoma: Strengths Comparison

Toyota Tacoma benefits: Reliability; substantial resale value; impressive capabilities.

Honda Ridgeline benefits: Car-like ride; very comfortable interior; decent fuel efficiency.

2021 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which is better?

The Toyota Tacoma provides a wide variety of vehicles for most users and outstanding reliability and resale value as does the Honda Ridgeline. While the Toyota is more adept at off-road running, if you have no plans to get your truck dirty, and prefer driving on-road to off-road, the Honda Ridgeline is our pick. Find a 2021 Honda Ridgeline for sale or Find a 2021 Toyota Tacoma for sale

2021 Toyota Tacoma 2021 Honda Ridgeline
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.7-liter I4 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 159 hp @ 5,200 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic 9-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 21 mpg (20 city/23 highway) 22 mpg (19 city/26 highway)
Also Available 3.5-liter V6; 6 M/T; AWD; Cabs & Beds  AWD
Specs
Warranty 3years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4 star 5-star
Max Seating Capacity 4 5
Wheelbase 127.4 inches 125.2 inches
Overall Length 212.3 inches 210.0 inches
Width 75.2 inches 78.6 inches
Height 70.6 inches 70.2 inches
Turning Diameter 40.6 feet 44.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.7 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 34.9 inches 38.8 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 24.6 inches 36.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.3 inches 62 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.5 inches 61.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 100.1 cubic feet 109.7 cubic feet
Payload Capacity 1,620 pounds 1,465 pounds

Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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