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Detroit show: Honda's Ridgeline not for Aus

Left out: Honda's new-gen Ridgeline will not make it Down Under due to left-hand-drive production only.

Honda Ridgeline and a two wild pick-up concepts from Nissan and Ford star at Detroit


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14 Jan 2016

HONDA Australia is no closer to having a pick-up in its line-up, with confirmation that the freshly revealed second-generation Ridgeline will remain a left-hand-drive-market-only proposition.

The all-new workhorse was unveiled at this week's Detroit motor show and replaces the original version that went on sale in the United States in early 2005, soldiering on with a number of updates before Honda stopped production in mid-2014.

Speaking with GoAuto, Honda Australia public relations manager Melissa Cross confirmed that the new Ridgeline is solely for left-hand-drive markets and will not be making an appearance Down Under.

The car-maker's Australian director Stephen Collins told GoAuto at last year's Tokyo motor show that Honda Australia was “always pushing” for right-hand-drive production of vehicles such as a pick-up and a large SUV, but added that it was unlikely in the medium term.

“It is very, very tough,” he said. “But I have got to say when there is an opportunity we will definitely put our hand up for it. The obvious issue is trying to get another right-hand-drive market where we can amortise the cost is the issue. So the short answer is we never give up but it is pretty difficult.

“There is nothing on the short-term or mid-term horizon that we could say we can get that out of the US and in right-hand drive and share the cost but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop trying.”

Developed by Honda R&D Americas and built at the Lincoln, Alabama plant, the new Ridgeline carries a more traditional-looking mid-size pick-up design than its predecessor, ditching the high-walled cargo bed and featuring a car-like front-end design.

Honda says the new cargo bed is 137mm wider and 102mm longer than the model it replaces and has the only four-foot wide flat bed space in its class.

The tray features a dual-action tailgate hinged at the bottom and along the left side, 400-watt AC power inverter and it even has a unique external audio system that Honda says is a first for a pick-up.

The system uses six exciters – an audio signal processing technique – housed in the bed walls, rather than normal speakers, pumping out sound from the pick-up's head unit.

A lockable 'in-bed trunk' provides a secure storage space, a fully flat floor and a drain plug for easier cleaning.

Under the Ridgline bonnet is a 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6 engine matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the large truck will be offered in front- or four-wheel drive guise. Honda says it is targeting best-in-class acceleration and segment leading fuel economy figures.

Inside, the four-door pick-up has tri-zone climate control, push-button start, a full-colour TFT display and an 8.0-inch Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio capability, as well as optional leather trim.

A 60/40 split-fold second row seat allows the transportation of tall or chunky items and the Ridgeline has room for five adults.

In the united States the Ridgeline competes with Chevrolet's Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier, which was sold in Australia as the previous-generation Navara.

A pair of slightly wilder pick-ups were uncovered at the Detroit motor show this year, including Nissan's Titan Warrior concept and Ford's F-150 Raptor SuperCrew.

Nissan describes the Titan Warrior as a “super-sized, off-road modified design study” and the exterior styling was made more aggressive by lifting the ride height by 76mm in order to fit the massive 37-inch off-road tyres.

The Titan Warrior gains custom LED head and tail-lights, rear units are designed with a T logo motif, and the big rig has quad-tipped exhausts, a unique grille and massive front guards for a more muscular look.

Under the extra-chunky bonnet is a 5.0-litre Cummins turbo-diesel V8.

Meanwhile, Ford's F-150 Raptor SuperCrew made its debut at the show, with the Blue Oval confirming an extra long wheelbase of 3683mm, or 305mm longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab.

The big pick-up has benefited from weight-loss measures including the use of high-strength steel and high-strength military-grade aluminium alloy, resulting in an overall reduction of 227kg.

Power comes from a 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine that, according to Ford, produces more power, but with better fuel efficiency than the current 306kW 6.2-litre V8.

Neither the Raptor, nor the Titan Warrior are expected to be rolling into Australian Ford and Nissan dealerships any time soon.

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