Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma

Honda takes on the mighty Tacoma

Honda Ridgeline vs Toyota Tacoma

Summary

The biggest difference is that the Toyota Tacoma employs a more traditional body-on-frame truck construction, whereas the Honda Ridgeline has a unibody construction. The Ridgeline's unibody construction makes for a comfier ride and superior safety, but the Tacoma narrowly beats it in pure trucking capability.

Automotive enthusiasts will probably be familiar with the fact that the Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline are currently among the most popular midsize pickup trucks on the market.

Both of them are dependable trucks that offer great value for money in performance, hauling, towing capability, affordability, technology, safety features as well as interior design. Let's explore some of the things that set apart these two trucks.

Traditional Truck vs Unibody Car/Truck

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma, like most other midsize pickup trucks on the market, employs a body-on-frame construction in which its reinforced steel body is pinned onto a high-strength-steel, fully-boxed frame. This type of construction yields significant rigidity which gives the truck an advantage when it is being driven off-road and when it is being used for towing. This truck also comes equipped with double-wishbone coil-spring suspension in the front and a leaf-spring suspension in the rear.

Toyota Tacoma front side
Photo: Toyota
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline, on the other hand, employs a tightly-sealed unitized body construction, which means that its frame and body have been fused into one unit (like those of most cars and crossover SUVs). The advantages of this type of construction are weight savings because of its more compact nature and improved crash safety. For its suspension, the Ridgeline employs fully-independent suspension systems with amplitude reactive dampers in both the front and the rear. This unibody construction and type of suspension make the Ridgeline ride quality similar to that of a Honda Accord and smoother than the Toyota Tacoma.

Honda Ridgeline front side
Photo: Honda
The 2019 Honda Ridgeline

Size

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is only available in a crew cab body-style and with one 64-inch-long cargo bed option, so all its models are 210 inches long, 78.6 inches wide, and 70.2 inches high. The cargo bed is 51 inches wide between the D-pillars and its bed floor has been raised above the wheel wells to avail more space for cargo.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma, on the other hand, is available in access cab (extended cab) and double cab (crew cab) body styles, and it can be had with either a 60.5-inch-long cargo bed or a 73.7-inch-long cargo bed. Therefore, the models of the Tacoma can be of different lengths; the longest model is 225.5 inches long, 75.2 inches wide, and 70.6 inches high. Both of the 2019 Tacoma's truck bed options are 41.5 inches wide.

Exterior

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma has standard projector-beam headlights with daytime running lights but the Limited and TRD Pro models feature LED daytime running lights. The truck also features a large, prominent hexagonal grille that varies in its design depending on the model. It can also be optioned with LED fog lights, a power tilt/slide moonroof, a conventional drop-down tailgate, and 16-inch/17-inch/18-inch alloy wheels.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline features standard multi-reflector halogen headlights with daytime running lights and LED taillights, but the range-topping RTL-E and Black Edition models get LED headlights. Most models of the Ridgeline also feature 18-inch alloy wheels and a unique dual-action tailgate that opens both sideways and downwards. The Ridgeline can also be had with an available one-touch power moonroof.

Interior

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma offers a rugged yet refined cabin with many desirable features. Most of its models feature high-quality upholstery materials, especially its range-topping Limited and TRD Pro models that feature leather-appointed interiors. All models of the 2019 Tacoma also feature an Entune™ Audio infotainment system that comes with a large touchscreen display. Also available with this truck are features like dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a JBL premium sound system.

Toyota Tacoma interior
Photo: Toyota
Toyota Tacoma interior
Honda Ridgeline interior
Photo: Honda
Honda ridgeline interior

Meanwhile, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline offers leather upholstery and heated front seats on more of its models i.e. the RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition. These models also add the convenience of a premium 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat that includes power lumbar adjustment. Like the Tacoma, a touchscreen infotainment system also comes as standard in the Ridgeline.

Performance and Capability

All the models of the 2019 Honda Ridgeline are driven by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. Thanks to this engine, the Ridgeline requires just 7.2 seconds to sprint from zero to 60 mph. This engine pairs with a 6-speed automatic transmission and achieves a fuel economy of up to 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma can be had with either a 159-horsepower 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine or a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 . When the vehicle is equipped with the V6 engine, the 2019 Tacoma is still slower than the V6 Ridgeline, taking 7.8 seconds to sprint from zero to 60 mph. The V6-equipped Tacoma also achieves a slightly poorer fuel economy of 18 mpg city/22 mpg highway.

In terms of capability, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline offers a maximum payload capacity of 1,580 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds . The 2019 Toyota Tacoma, on the other hand, offers a maximum payload capacity of 1,440 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds .

Price

According to U.S. News & World Report website, the base model of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma has an MSRP of $25,700 ; its range-topping TRD Pro model, however, has a much higher MSRP of $42,810. The base RT model of the 2019 Honda Ridgeline, on the other hand, starts at $29,990 while its top-of-the-line Black Edition model starts at $43,420.

Verdict

This is a tough choice. The Toyota Tacoma is a beloved pickup truck in the purest sense. It looks like a truck, drives like a truck, can be heavily customized hauls the bigger trailer. For some, this kind of thoroughbred is exactly what they want from a truck.

However, objectively speaking, the Ridgeline is a better pick for the average driver. It's more comfortable to ride and is considerably more fuel efficient than the Tacoma (and other pickup trucks in general). It's also more than capable enough for all the 'trucking' we typically think of.

Ridgeline owners love their truck, and so do we. Then again, the same can be said for the Toyota. You can't really go wrong with either, so the choice is ultimately yours.

If you're looking for a midsize pickup truck, we highly recommend visiting your nearest Honda and Toyota dealership for a test drive. Other trucks popular in this segment are the Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger.