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2021 Honda Ridgeline First Drive Review | Less friendly by design

It looks tougher and truckier, but retains its unique features and functionality

CANTIL, Calif. — Ever since jumping into the U.S. market in the 1950s with the tagline “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” the company’s corporate image has been one of extreme friendliness.  Even as its Si and Type R coupes spawned an army of young brand loyalists other carmakers would’ve killed for, it treated them like a dropout stepson, shunning them to embrace the wholesome, khaki-shod Helpful Honda Dealer. Hell, even their best-selling cars are named for good citizenship and agreement.

That unyielding desire to be congenial was the Achilles’ heel of the current-generation Honda Ridgeline when it debuted in 2017. We had almost unanimous praise for our long-termer’s function and features notwithstanding its gentle mug. It was supposed to be the friendly neighborhood pickup, with a car-like unibody construction and a look that was more conventional than the vaguely avant garde original Ridgeline.

CANTIL, Calif. — Ever since jumping into the U.S. market in the 1950s with the tagline “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” the company’s corporate image has been one of extreme friendliness.  Even as its Si and Type R coupes spawned an army of young brand loyalists other carmakers would’ve killed for, it treated them like a dropout stepson, shunning them to embrace the wholesome, khaki-shod Helpful Honda Dealer. Hell, even their best-selling cars are named for good citizenship and agreement.

That unyielding desire to be congenial was the Achilles’ heel of the current-generation Honda Ridgeline when it debuted in 2017. We had almost unanimous praise for our long-termer’s function and features notwithstanding its gentle mug. It was supposed to be the friendly neighborhood pickup, with a car-like unibody construction and a look that was more conventional than the vaguely avant garde original Ridgeline.

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Ram introduces 5th and final ‘Built to Serve’ edition

The Coast Guard rounds out the set

Ram introduced the fifth and final variant of its “Built to Serve” pickup series Tuesday. Finished in Spitfire (orange) or Bright White, this final version honors the Coast Guard.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our armed forces and the brave men and women who serve them. These ‘Built to Serve’ models are just one way we honor those who have selflessly served our country,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “Whether civilian or militaryRam truck owners are very familiar with this adage as it’s something we strive to build into every truck and van we produce.”

The trucks were originally slated to roll out in increments between Veterans Day 2019 and 2020, but it appears the release cadence may have been interrupted slightly by the many calamities of the past year. Each of the five comes in one of two special colors chosen to “evoke the spirit, the mission and history of that service,” and a limited build number.

These are the final of 10,000 (1,000 more than Ram initially planned) “Built to Serve” editions divvied up so that each branch gets two appropriate color choices out of 10 total: Gator (1,000 units) and Diamond Black (1,000); Ceramic Gray (1,000) and Patriot Blue (1,000)Anvil (1,250) and Billet Silver (1,500); Tank (1,000) and Flame Red (1,000); and Spitfire (500) and Bright White (750).

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The South Korean’s first pickup truck will be a unibody construction and is expected to feature a starting sticker price of $25,000

Hyundai has a fairly long lineup of sedans and SUVs. With that covered, the company now plans to enter the pickup truck market, too. Back in 2015, Hyundai revealed the Santa Cruz truck concept at the Detroit Auto Show. Not a lot is known about the production model yet, but it will be based on the new Tucson SUV and will have a unibody construction. The truck has been spotted a few times over the years during its test runs, but we’re yet to see it without camouflage. The production is set to begin this year, and Hyundai could debut it sometime next year with deliveries starting soon after.

As noted earlier, the Santa Cruz will be based on the new Tucson. For the 2022 model, the South Korean automaker made huge changes in terms of aesthetics. Since the truck is always spotted under heavy skin, decoding its exterior features is a tough ask. It, however, will be vastly different from the concept unveiled. If Hyundai plans to follow the Tucson design philosophy, we might have a bold-looking truck at our disposal.

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