Tech-Know: Four Stand-Out Features Of The 2017 Honda Ridgeline

Vehicles come loaded with so much technology these days that it can be difficult to take it all in during a short test drive. Because I test more than 50 cars a year, certain tech features stand out as either positive or negative and on how they compare with other vehicles in their class. Here are four tech features of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition pickup (sticker price $43,770) that caught my attention and deserve yours if you’re considering this vehicle—plus two bonus features that make this truck the ultimate tailgating machine.

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Display Audio Infotainment Interface

Honda’s 8-inch knob-and-button-less touch-only Display Audio infotainment interface isn’t the first to forgo physical controls and has been around for several years in various vehicles. But it’s proven so unpopular that the automaker added a volume knob to the latest version of Display Audio in the best-selling 2017 CR-V. While the touch-only volume adjustment is difficult (and potentially distracting) to operate without looking directly at the screen, at least there were steering-wheel volume controls on the trim I tested. However, two other touch-screen icons, Home and Menu, are especially difficult and frustrating to use since they serve as the gateways to more features.

Truck Bed Audio

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline’s Truck Bed Audio system is tailormade for tailgating. Instead of traditional speakers, it uses actuators to move the bed walls to create sound, similar to Continental’s Ac2ated Sound system I recently wrote about. This way the audio system components can withstand inclement weather and potential damage from cargo. The six actuators are fed 540 watts and crank out impressive volume if not great sound quality.

Two other notable, non-tech bed-based features of the 2017 Ridgeline include a Dual Action Tailgate that allows it to open either down or to the side and a Bed Storage System that features a large and lockable compartment sunken into the back part of the bed that’s convenient for securely storing items such as groceries and also features a drain so that it can be used as an in-bed ice chest.

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