I have had the same tow and haul and daily sling wheels V8 Dakota truck for 12 years! The 08 Dakota has served us incredibly well to six figures of mileage without a single thing needed beyond the basics like fluids and brake pads. But Dakota is not currently in production, rumors are that it will be back soon as a Baby Ram, but it was time to get our next midsize truck that fits down my long narrow driveway (none of the full size trucks fit) ...and yet can tow aluminum open trailer with Miata to events.
Thought about the Ranger with gutsy 2.3 EcoBoot, but wanted something less truck-ish this time that can still do the job. Tim and Tom from Grassroots MotorSports have long preached their love for the Ridgeline, as have many Miata racing buddies. Don't have room down my driveway for a fullsize so that meant sticking to something no bigger than Ridgeline or Ranger. Love the stereo speakers in the bed and the trunk under the bed. Might do our own Wilwood caliper conversion for this platform, it's otherwise a great midsize that rides and handles much better than trucks in this size thanks to fully independent suspension.
The Ridgeline is sort of the 'miata of trucks', not big on power or towing numbers but far more nimble with fully independent suspension, it handles a lot better than body on frame traditional trucks. Power is rather like miata, peak numbers rather untruck-ish with peak Hp way up at 6000 rpms!
First load of mufflers delivered and unloaded at the shop from the Ridgeline. It's pretty 'light on it's feet' for a truck, so far enjoying it. Would like some better brakes, we can do something about that....
Time to Get Started With RIDGELINE FUN. Today just measuring clearances around the brakes. I really didn't believe it had only 12.6 inch front brakes, same size as a 2005 Miata, and smaller than most our faster Miatas that weigh half what the Ridgeline does.
Going camping in the new Ridgeline. Love that the trunk will hold ALL our camping gear. This is before I added second sleeping bag but the tent is under the first sleeping bag, the air mattress is in there, two tripods, tarp, etc.
I believe you don't know what a new vehicle looks like with your eyes, just cannot 'see' all the details with the naked eye that your hands can help you see. Thus, hand wash before the 500+ mile trip tomorrow.
Over 560 Miles in the new Ridgeline yesterday, great little truck. Did this same drive a month ago in our old shop truck, a 2008 Dakota V8 and averaged just 16 mpg so 22.6 is a awesome improvement and we averaged almost 80mph.