2006 Honda Ridgeline - Body

Overview: New Generation Pickup Truck Packaging with Safety and Rigidity

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline represents a new generation of pickup truck designed to be strong and intelligently adaptable to the needs of its users with features not available anywhere else. Honda's approach to body construction incorporates a heavy-duty unibody design for sophisticated packaging and safety with a lower ladder frame for truck toughness. Benefits to this approach have resulted in a first-ever in-bed cargo well; a spacious interior; a large pickup bed with minimal wheel well intrusions; and handling, safety and NVH qualities that outperform conventional pickup truck designs.

Body Summary

  • Athletic stance styling with new truck proportions and one-piece cab-to-bed design
  • Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction has reinforced deep channel construction with a closed box ladder frame
  • 5-foot long bed (6 1/2 - foot with tailgate down) with 4-feet, 1-inch of space between the wheel wells
  • Secure In-Bed Trunk with a volume of 8.5 cubic feet
  • Dual-Action Tailgate swings down or to the side and can support heavy loads
  • Anticipated five star front and side impact safety ratings for NHTSA NCAP and SINCAP tests
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility and pedestrian safety designs

Athletic Stance with New Truck Proportions and One-Piece Billet Design

The exterior styling of the Ridgeline is built to convey a modern and strong appearance with honesty toward the vehicle's performance while introducing Honda's unique 21st century pickup truck style. As if carved out of a single block of steel, the billet construction styling concept emphasizes a new kind of pickup "strength" and is evident in the seamless one-piece construction from the cab to the bed (most trucks have separate cabs and beds with a large gap between each section). Details like the integrated bumpers, window shapes and body panel indents blend with the general trajectory of the vehicle's lines to further build on symmetry associated with billet construction. The end result is a pickup truck with proportions built around an athletic stance with short front and rear overhangs, a dominating grille connected to a long and expansive hood with details like large door handles and large side mirrors delivering on traditional truck-functional styling cues.

Advanced Body Structure with Integrated Closed Box Frame with Unibody Construction

The Ridgeline rides on a ladder frame with unibody construction that is 93 percent unique to any Honda vehicle. Major components consist of a fully boxed ladder frame with reinforced deep channel construction and a full unibody structure integrated above the ladder frame. Supplemental components include a robust rear cabin panel and a bed with high strength steel cross members. This approach balances the rugged and durable traits of a traditional pickup truck with the excellent packaging, safety and performance advantages of a unibody frame. From a torsional and bending rigidity standpoint (an overall rating of a frame's performance), the Ridgeline's frame technology delivers impressively with a structure that has bending rigidity 2.5 times stiffer than the best performing body-on-frame compact truck, and rear torsional rigidity that is more than 20 times stiffer. Frame rails and seven fully boxed cross supports with deep channel construction combined with the extensive use of high strength steel contribute to the frame's surprising toughness and performance. Benefits of a rigid body also include better NVH, better ride and handling, a more solid feeling, improved fit and finish, and less potential for squeaks and rattles.

Deep Channel Construction with Internal High Strength Steel Reinforcements

Designed to be pickup-truck-tough from the inside out, the Ridgeline's deep channel frame rails are up to 70 percent taller compared to similar (but not the same) components used on a Honda Pilot and are internally reinforced with high-strength steel for incredible rigidity and reduced bending under heavy pickup truck loads such as towing.
Fully Boxed Ladder Frame
A ladder frame gives the Ridgeline true truck DNA and provides a strong and rigid foundation for the its mission of 5,000-pound trailer towing, 1,550-pound payload hauling and off-road driving. The ladder frame consists of seven fully boxed cross members that connect to the deep channel high strength steel reinforced frame rails.

Unibody Structure

Unibody structures (also commonly referred to as a unit body) are generally regarded by engineers as a design that delivers superior rigidity, crash safety, a refined ride and sporty handling compared to body-on-frame vehicles. Virtually every modern car uses some sort of unibody construction, yet trucks have maintained the older style body-on-frame construction for hauling, towing and cargo applications typical of commercial use (and for production flexibility with multiple vehicle variations on same platforms, i.e. long and short wheelbases, pickups and SUVs, etc.) The Ridgeline design incorporates the best parts of a body-on-frame structure (ladder frame) with the sophistication of a unibody structure to deliver capabilities more in-tune with mainstream consumer applications.

Honda's unibody design disseminates load-bearing structural elements throughout the entire body of the vehicle. This results in a relatively lightweight, high-energy absorption body with approximately 44 percent of the structure made from high strength steel. The structure is above the ladder frame and wraps around the cab to create a safety cage. Additionally, the pickup bed area incorporates extensive use of high strength steel with three heavy-duty crossmembers to support heavy loads on the SMC composite floor, which also benefits torsional rigidity. Since heavy cargo can be hauled in the pickup bed and could be forced forward in a collision, careful consideration was given to the rear cab construction with a strong rear cabin panel with cross members positioned to prevent intrusion from cargo.

Like all Hondas, the Ridgeline's unibody is designed with the primary goal of channeling collision forces away from the passenger compartment. The Ridgeline's overall safety concept, which includes dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags as standard equipment, is anticipated to meet the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's 5-star ratings for both front and side impacts.

Exterior Dimensions

The Ridgeline is the widest midsize truck on the market with a width that approaches a full size truck. Through clever packaging, the Ridgeline also has one of the shortest overall lengths in the compact pickup segment for a vehicle with a 5-foot bed. This makes parking in garages and parking lots easier while maintaining a competitive amount of cargo space.

Ridgeline Exterior Dimensions vs. Other Pickup Trucks

. 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS 2005 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Doublecab V-6 AT Short Bed 2005 Dodge Dakota 4D Quad Cab SLT 4WD V-6 AT 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT 4x4 2005 Ford F-150 SuperCab 4x4 5.5-ft. Styleside
Type Compact Truck Compact Truck Compact Truck Compact SUT Full-Size Truck
Overall Length
206.8 208.1 218.8 205.9 223.8
Overall Width (in.) 76.3 74.6 72.0 71.8 78.9

Pickup Bed

The Ridgeline's highly durable pickup bed is engineered to conveniently transport a wide variety of modules from motorcycles or ATVs to gravel or 4x8 sheets of plywood in its 5-foot long bed (6 _ feet with the tailgate down). The bed width measures 4-feet, 1-inch between the wheel wells, which only intrude into the cargo bay by a few inches - much less than the wheel well intrusions on traditional body-on-frame trucks. Bed width from wall to wall just above the small wheel wells measures 4 feet, 6 inches. The most innovative feature on the Ridgeline, however, is the weather-tight In-Bed Trunk that provides 8.5 cubic feet of secure and lockable storage (about two-thirds the volume of an Accord Coupe trunk with dimensions large enough for three golf bags). The Ridgeline is the first and only truck to offer this type of high-volume storage feature.

Ridgeline Pickup Bed Dimensions vs. Other Pickup trucks

2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS
2005 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Doublecab V-6 AT Short Bed
2005 Dodge Dakota 4D Quad Cab Laramie 4WD V-6 AT
2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT 4x4
2005 Ford F-150 SuperCab 4x4 5.5-ft. Styleside
Compact Truck
Compact Truck
Compact Truck
Compact SUT
Full-Size Truck
Bed Length
Bed Width - wheel well to well (in.)
Bed Height (in.)

The pickup bed features a payload rating of 1,100 pounds and has a floor constructed of SMC (sheet molding composite) that is dent resistant, corrosion resistant and comes with a durable non-slip coating. Under-floor construction is also heavy duty with three high strength steel cross members that add strength and durability to the bed.

As the leading manufacturer of motorcycles and ATVs in the world, Honda knows how riders use those products. Therefore, the Ridgeline has been designed to transport those vehicles with the most accommodating features possible. The bed has been optimized for hauling motorcycles with three sets of wheel supports in the front bed wall for hauling one or two motorcycles. Six heavy-duty tie-down cleats capable of holding 350 pounds each are strategically positioned for motorcycles and help to confidently secure heavy loads like ATVs and other large cargo. The tailgate features a dynamic load rating of 300 pounds - more than enough to carry the largest ATV Honda makes. Four courtesy lights are positioned in the front and rear of the bed to make loading and unloading easier at night, and are activated by a switch or when the tailgate swings open to the side. Plus, the secure In-Bed Trunk is the perfect place to store the gear and equipment that often accompany those vehicles. An accessory motorcycle ramp and wheel guides are available.

Dual-Action Tailgate

The Ridgeline's innovative dual-action tailgate offers industry-leading tailgate strength, durability and toughness with unparalleled flexibility, user friendliness and integration with the pickup bed and In-Bed Trunk. In swing mode, the tailgate opens at a 30-degree increment to allow for access in tight spaces and fully opens to 80 degrees to allow for easy access to the in-bed cargo well and lifting objects into the bed. The swing mode also allows for easy debris removal (like gravel and dirt) from the space between the bumper and the tailgate opening (an issue with some tailgate designs). The pickup bed courtesy lights are activated when the tailgate is opened in swing mode. If the vehicle is put in drive with tailgate opened in swing mode, a warning chime and indicator light is activated inside the vehicle.

While driving, the tailgate's dynamic load capacity is rated at 300 pounds in consideration of forces that may be magnified by hitting bumps. The tailgate is designed to close even with contaminates like sand, snow or mud in the crack between the bumper and the tailgate. An accessory tubular bed extender is available to increase the enclosed bed area.

Steel-Reinforced Composite (SRC) Cargo Bed

The Ridgeline's Steel Reinforced Composite (SRC) Cargo Bed uses Sheet Molding Composite (SMC) for the bed floor construction and is supported by three high strength steel crossmembers. SMC is a mixture of structural fiberglass and polyvinyl ester resin that is coated with a high grip additive that has non-slip qualities like a high-quality bed liner. The entire bed area, including the steel-constructed sidewalls and tailgate, is also coated in the same high grip finish. Advantages to SMC compared with traditional steel include greater resistance to dents with higher impact strength and 100 percent resistance to corrosion. Additional features include seamless integration of bag hooks and storage divider molding in the In-Bed Trunk. No bedliner is necessary or recommended. The SMC bed survives a severe rock drop test with only minimal scratching.

Secure In-Bed Trunk

The Ridgeline is the first and only pickup truck to offer a secure and high volume In-Bed Trunk area that can be accessed from the top like a traditional trunk. This significant feature is made possible by the space savings afforded by unibody construction and addresses a major drawback to traditional pickup truck designs - there is no or very little secure and integrated storage outside of the cab. The weather resistant and secure In-Bed Trunk area measures 8.5 cubic feet and is large enough to accommodate three golf bags or a large 72-quart insulated cooler. The secure In-Bed Trunk is also ideal for hauling motorcycle, ATV or boating gear that might be considered too dirty to put in the cab, yet too nice to leave in the open if away from the vehicle or exposed to the weather, i.e. protective clothing, helmets, toolboxes, etc. Bag hooks are molded into the storage well lip, and there are three divider slots molded into the well sides for accessory dividers.

The load supporting secure In-Bed Trunk lid opens from the rear of the vehicle and is hinged about midway in the pickup bed floor. The secure In-Bed Trunk well features SMC construction with weather stripping around the perimeter of the lid. There is a drain hole for cleaning the inside of the trunk. The lid can be opened by the handle, the key cylinder, an electronic switch inside the glove box (which has a valet switch is in the glove box for security) or by an emergency safety release inside the lid.

The spare tire is stored inside the secure In-Bed Trunk compartment in a secure, clean and dry environment (all other pickup trucks have exposed spare tire storage underneath the rear of the vehicle that is relatively inconvenient and dirty). The spare tire fits in a sliding tray just forward of the cargo area along with a jack and related tools for changing the tire. The temporary spare tire size is 17x4T. A full size spare tire is available as an accessory. The spare tire storage area is designed to hold a full sized tire in the event of flat or if the full size spare tire is utilized. An alternate temporary spare tire location is positioned on the side of the bed.

Off-Road Geometry

The Ridgline's off-road ground clearance meets medium duty off-road standards and is competitive with the four-door pickup truck segment. The clearance of the Ridgeline allows for good performance in a variety of environments including steep hill climbs, water fording, sand dunes, rock-strewn terrain and un-maintained/rutty trails.

Ground Clearance (in.)
Approach Angle (degrees)
Break Over Angle (degrees)
Departure Angle (degrees)

Heavy Duty Front and RearTow Hooks

The Ridgeline features two heavy-duty tow hooks, one each in the front and rear of the vehicle. Each tow hook is strong enough to pull the vehicle's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The design of the hook accommodates chains or nylon recovery straps with and without metal hooks on the end.

Large Folding Side Mirrors

Large side mirrors suitable for towing duties are standard equipment. All trim levels feature power mirrors, and models equipped with a leather interior are also heated. The mirrors fold to allow for parking in tight spaces. The mirrors' aerodynamic shape helps minimize wind noise.

Refined Fit and Finish

Attention to detail is one trait that helps set the Ridgeline apart from the competition. Highly engineered fit and finish details result in minimal gaps between body panels and exterior features. The end result is a refined, tight appearance that speaks to the overall quality of the vehicle with the smallest gaps between body panels in the pickup truck segment. For example, the gap between the hood and the bumper is 5.0 mm and the gap between the headlights and fender is 1.0 mm.


A large factory-installed moonroof that measures 36 inches by 18 inches is available on Ridgelines equipped with the leather interior. Since wind noise can be annoying when the sunroof is open, a wind deflector is provided that automatically rises into the air stream when the glass moonroof is opened. An aluminum blade and composite end pieces are used to save weight. As a result of the wind deflector, the Ridgeline is one of the quietest trucks on the market with the moonroof in either the open or closed position.

Fuel System

The fuel tank is positioned in front of the rear axle and can hold 22 gallons of fuel.
The fuel tank is molded of high-density polyethylene for low weight, freedom from corrosion and impact resistance. It is positioned immediately ahead of the rear wheels to help guard against collision damage. A high-efficiency fuel pump is housed inside the fuel tank. The fuel-filter is a lifetime design that never needs replacement. The Ridgeline complies with all evaporative emissions, on-board diagnostics, and refueling vapor recovery requirements. The fuel vapor canister is protected against rock and debris damage by a deflection shield.


The Ridgeline headlamps have an aggressive single projector beam-style design with halogen lamps for bright and refined lighting. The lamp assemblies feature a tinted outer lens that wraps around the edge of the vehicle. The running lamps and front turn signals are housed inside. The headlights have an auto-off feature.

Exterior Courtesy Lighting

Exterior courtesy lighting includes pickup bed lights and entry lights mounted on the inside of the door panels. Four courtesy lights illuminate the pickup bed. Two are located at the front of the bed in the C-pillar for illumination from above, and two are located near the rear of the bed to spread light onto the tailgate and into the depths of the secure In-Bed Trunk.

Windshield Wipers

All Ridgelines feature variable speed intermittent wipers. The wipers rest on an automatic heated wiper zone that helps prevent the wipers from getting stuck when the temperature drops below freezing (see the interior section for more information regarding the automatic heated wiper zone). The standard windshield washer has a large reservoir for the additional demands of long haul and off-highway travel.

Hidden Roof-Mounted Antenna

A hidden antenna runs along the rear section of the roof (behind the third brake light) that eliminates the need for a conventional pole-type antenna or glass-integrated antenna. Stretching horizontally from C-pillar to C-pillar, the antenna resides inside the bodywork with no external indication of its existence whatsoever. The antenna features an electronic amplifier and receives AM/FM signals.

Safety Construction

Omni-Directional Safety Structure

A passenger compartment safety shell design is used to protect occupants with structural "rings" at the A, B and C pillars that run continuously around the circumference of the vehicle to help minimize intrusion during side impacts. High tensile-strength steel tubular beams inside the door structure at wheel height provide additional intrusion resistance. A single-piece side-ring design is used to assure tight and consistent fit and finish in the critical closure areas (doors and windows), and the doors are made using laser-welded tailored blanks. This innovative door design uses higher-gauge steel in high-stress areas and lighter gauge steel in other areas to save weight yet maintain structural integrity for durability and safety. About 44-percent of the Ridgeline's steel body parts are high-tensile steel. Longitudinal rails, floor cross members, and pillar reinforcements that carry heavy loads are made of the stronger heavier gauge steel.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Compatibility

The Ridgeline has a front bumper system that helps to improve compatibility between vehicles of different sizes with significantly enhanced occupant protection and reduced aggressivity toward other vehicles in a collision. This body structure employs a front-end frame structure that helps reduce the potential for misalignment with the frame of the opposing vehicle whether it's small or large.

Pedestrian Safety

Honda's commitment to safety extends to pedestrians as well as vehicle occupants. To help reduce pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision, the Ridgeline's hood and fender areas were designed to deform if contacted by the head of an adult or child pedestrian. Energy-absorbing collapsible hood supports and fender mounts allow substantial deformation in an impact, allowing the engineering team to meet its target for pedestrian safety.