2017 Honda Ridgeline – Chassis

May 9th, 2016 by

2017 Honda Ridgeline – Chassis

The 2017 Ridgeline’s chassis provides excellent ride and handling qualities, regardless of whether the vehicle is empty or fully loaded, making Ridgeline equally adept and accommodating as a people and cargo hauler. Working in conjunction with the new Ridgeline’s more rigid, lightweight and sound-insulating body structure (see Body section), the chassis features major improvements to the suspension and steering systems, wheels, wheel bearings, tires and brakes. Also contributing to the dynamic improvements are the Ridgeline’s lower weight, improved aerodynamics, lower center of mass, and improved horsepower and torque (see Body section and Powertrain section).

The stiffer body structure allows for more flexibility in optimizing the suspension tuning to help deliver significant gains in both dynamic handling performance and better isolation of road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), as well as improved cargo-carrying capabilities. The new suspension includes the first use of Amplitude Reactive Dampers on the Ridgeline, further enhancing Ridgeline’s comfortable ride while sharpening cornering performance. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels further improve steering response and overall agility. All of these qualities ideally position the 2017 Ridgeline to satisfy customers who want both a high-level of utility and high levels of comfort, cabin quietness and driving confidence.

Key Chassis Features

  • 4-wheel independent suspension
  • Amplitude Reactive Dampers*
  • Vibration-damping subframes
  • Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS)*
  • 4-wheel disc brakes with EBD
  • ABS with Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)2 with Traction Control
  • Trailer Stability Assist*
  • Agile Handling Assist*
  • 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
  • 18-inch light truck all-season tires*
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)3 with Tire Fill Assist*
  • Class III trailer hitch

*First for Ridgeline

Four-Wheel Independent Suspension
The Ridgeline independent front and rear suspension systems are engineered to provide top-of-class ride and handling performance. Its long wheel travel and excellent compliance contribute to the comfortable ride, while carefully tuned damping and spring rates ensure excellent handling and a sporty driving feel.

Front Suspension
At the front is a strut-type system with steel hub carriers (knuckles), forged-aluminum lower control arms, hydraulic bushings, coil springs and a solid stabilizer bar. This setup uses moderate spring rates, relatively firm damping (see Amplitude Reactive Dampers below), and specially tuned bushings that provide the best overall combination of ride and handling, regardless of whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. The upper front damper mounts provide a “triple path” load-bearing system that helps absorb road vibration and harshness. Larger front hubs and bearings increase load capacity.


Rear Suspension
At the rear is a compact multi-link design with a tubular stabilizer bar. This multi-link system allows a generous amount of wheel travel and excellent compliance for a supple ride, together with confident cornering and handling – regardless of whether the Ridgeline is loaded or unloaded. Compared to the previous Ridgeline, the new 2017 Ridgeline has re-engineered heavy-duty dampers (see Amplitude Reactive Dampers below), lower arms, and control arms. All rear suspension control arms are steel and the upper and lower control arms are constructed of high-strength steel. A redesigned upper arm and knuckle increase load capacity.

Amplitude Reactive Dampers
An exclusive feature in the midsize pickup segment, Amplitude Reactive Dampers provide superior ride comfort and handling in all driving conditions. The dampers have two separate hydraulic circuits—one tuned to optimize the ride quality on smooth roads with relatively small irregularities, and the other tuned to handle large inputs resulting from rough roads or large steering and braking inputs. As a result, the Ridgeline remains smooth and comfortable when cruising, and secure and stable in corners, with reduced body roll rate.

The primary Amplitude Reactive Damper technology consists of two separate damping pistons: a main piston and a second piston. To improve overall ride comfort, when smaller inputs occur during normal driving conditions, only the main piston works to provide the ideal damping characteristics. To improve the Ridgeline’s ride and handling on rougher surfaces and during more aggressive driving, the second piston operates to provide additional damping force.

The Amplitude Reactive Dampers utilize a purely mechanical system that does not require electronic controls. Altogether, they provide a much wider range of effective damping performance than offered by the previous Ridgeline.

Vibration-Damping Subframes
The Ridgeline’s engine, transmission, and front and rear suspension systems are mounted on rigid steel subframes. These subframes attach to the unit body at rubber-isolated mounting points that help keep powertrain and road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) out of the passenger cabin. Two of the rear subframe mounts are filled with specially tuned hydraulic fluid for maximum effectiveness. Permanently sealed, they require no scheduled maintenance. The rear subframe is particularly sophisticated, with hydroformed side elements for maximum strength and minimal weight.

Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS)
Standard on all 2017 Ridgeline trims, Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS) initiates steering inputs that prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction during cornering and in slippery road conditions. The system works with Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) and Electric Power Steering, helping to stabilize the vehicle under braking and also help mitigate understeer and oversteer. For further information see the Safety and Driver Assistance section.

The 2017 Ridgeline utilizes a 15.95:1 steering ratio, approximately 15-percent quicker than the previous Ridgeline model’s steering. This offers increased agility in all types of driving, while also complimenting the functionality of the torque-vectoring rear axle on AWD models. (See the Powertrain section.) With 3.0 turns lock to lock (reduced from 3.4 turns on previous Ridgeline) and a 40.8-foot (12.44 meters) curb-to-curb turning diameter (a 1.6-foot, or 0.49 meters) reduction from the previous model), the new Ridgeline is responsive to steering commands and maneuverable in tight spaces.

The steering column is located by a new cast magnesium steering hanger beam. Rigid and lightweight, the steering hanger beam is a structural member that directly contributes to improved handling and NVH performance. See the Body section for more information.

Four-Wheel Disc Braking System with Electronic Brake Distribution
The 2017 Ridgeline has 4-wheel disc brakes with a 4-channel anti-lock braking system for a powerful and linear brake feel and confident stops in a wide range of driving conditions, including dry and wet asphalt, and snow. The ventilated front discs are 12.6 inches (320 mm) in diameter and use 2-piston calipers, while the solid rear discs are 13.0 inches (330 mm) in diameter and have single-piston calipers. Improved ventilation, including a second airflow pathway, improves cooling and reduces the thermal deflection that can cause hot and cold judder. The calipers utilize a spring-loaded mechanism to maintain separation between the brake pads and rotor to reduce brake drag when not in use, reducing rolling resistance and improving fuel efficiency in the process.

For optimum performance with widely varying loads, Ridgeline has Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) technology. EBD monitors braking force and adjusts front-to-rear brake effort to achieve maximum braking performance and stability. At the rear, a select-low braking strategy is used to help maintain directional stability in slippery driving. In the event one rear wheel verges on lock-up, triggering a pressure modulation at that wheel, brake pressure is also diminished at the adjoining wheel to help preserve the rear axle’s lateral stability. The parking brake is set and released by stepping on a pedal located on the left side of the driver’s foot well, freeing space in the center console area.  

ABS with Brake Assist
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) independently modulates braking power at each wheel to help the driver retain steering control during heavy braking. The Brake Assist system recognizes hard and emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies full braking force when appropriate to help shorten braking distance. See the Safety and Driver Assistance section for more information.

Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Ridgeline’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the driving wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. The driver can reduce the traction control effectiveness to allow more wheel slip should the vehicle become stuck by pressing the VSA button. Even when VSA is disabled, the ABS remains fully operational at all times. For further information see the Safety and Driver Assistance section.

Trailer Stability Assist
Standard on all Ridgeline models, Trailer Stability Assist helps enhance vehicle stability while a trailer is being towed. An integral part of Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Trailer Stability Assist detects trailer oscillations that can result from improper loading, excessive speed, adverse road conditions, crosswinds or emergency-avoidance maneuvers.

When such oscillations are detected, Trailer Stability Assist uses existing VSA sensors to judge trailer oscillation and dampen it automatically using asymmetric and symmetric brake activation to stabilize and if necessary, slow the vehicle out of the critical speed range using engine control.

Wheels and Tires
The 2017 Ridgeline comes standard with 8.0 x 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, one size up from the previous Ridgeline’s 17-inch wheels. Five unique 5-and 6-spoke wheel designs are offered.

Wheels RT RTS Sport RTL RTL-T RTL-E Black Edition
Painted 5-spoke
Machine Finish paired 5-spoke
Shark Gray paired 5-spoke
Machine Finish 6-spoke
Berlina Black finish 6-spoke

All Ridgeline trims come standard with 245/60 R18 light truck all-season tires, which were exclusively designed to help the Ridgeline provide the best handling and performance in all weather conditions.

All 2017 Ridgeline models include a T165/90R17 temporary spare tire on a 4.0 x 17-inch steel wheel that is stored in the trunk under the bed.

Low Running Resistance
Total mechanical and aerodynamic running resistance is reduced 18 percent versus the previous Ridgeline model. In addition to improvements in powertrain efficiency and vehicle aerodynamics, key engineering features contributing to reduced running resistance include:

  • Brake calipers are designed to reduce drag when not in use, achieving a 23 percent reduction compared to the previous Ridgeline braking system.
  • A new lightweight, low-drag wheel bearing design further improves overall driving efficiency.

Additional aerodynamic gains are found in the computer-aided engineering (CAE) optimized exterior shape. See the Body section more information.

Agile Handling Assist
Standard on all Ridgeline trims, Agile Handling Assist selectively uses the vehicle’s brakes to improve initial turning response and overall cornering ability. Agile Handling Assist utilizes brake vectoring to improve corner traceability and confident handling feel. By applying braking force to the inside wheels during cornering at high lateral G, the system creates a yaw moment, thus generating more turning force and reducing understeer.

Off-Road Capability
Honda engineers took thorough measures to ensure the off-road capabilities of the new Ridgeline, including off-road testing in snow, mud and sand in locations as disparate and challenging as Silver Lake, Mich.; Moscow, Russia; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Death Valley, Calif.; and Imperial Sand Dunes (“Glamis”) in California.
This research was the foundation for specific minimum performance criteria for the new Ridgeline, including off-road friendly approach and departure angles, and ample ground clearance.

Ground Clearance

Clearance 2017 Ridgeline AWD 2017 Ridgeline 2WD
Ground clearance (in) 7.9 7.3
Approach angle (deg) 20.1 19.2
Breakover angle (deg) 19.6 18.5
Departure angle (deg) 22.1 21.4

The available computer-controlled i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system helps the Ridgeline meet typical off-road challenges without the need for low-range gears. (See the Powertrain section for a full description.) Unlike traditional 4WD systems that require the user to manually select 4WD, the Ridgeline system is always active, continuously sensing driving conditions and power demands and dynamically distributing engine torque between the front and rear wheel and left and right rear wheels to maximize traction and stability while maintaining a high degree of efficiency.

The 2017 Ridgeline comes standard with a Class III hitch and AWD models include a 7-pin wiring connector, allowing AWD models to tow up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) and 2WD models to tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg). These ratings apply to all grades and include two passengers and 110 lbs. (49.9 kg) of cargo. Typical trailers/boats that are within the Ridgeline’s 5,000-pound (2,268 kg) towing limit include a 16- to 18-foot box trailer, a 22- to 26-foot boat, and a 22- to 24-foot camping trailer. When not being used for towing, the hitch can double as an attachment point for a genuine Honda accessory bicycle rack. See the Accessories section for more information.

A high-capacity engine radiator with dual high-power fans, a heavy-duty transmission cooler (AWD models), and large 12.6-inch (320 mm) front and 13.0-inch (330 mm) rear disc brakes with improved cooling airflow all help enhance towing performance. Add to that the increased wheelbase, multi-link rear suspension and Trailer Stability Assist, and the Ridgeline is a confidence-inspiring tow vehicle.

Honda engineers established dedicated test protocols for proving the Ridgeline in some of the toughest towing conditions found in America. Tests included hauling a large boat up a steep 14-degree launch ramp in in temperatures over 100º Fahrenheit for over a half mile and climbing the steepest mountain grades pulling the maximum trailer weight (5,000 pounds, or 2,268 kg).

Key Chassis Features & Specifications

  RT RTS Sport RTL RTL-T RTL-E Black Edition
MacPherson Strut Front Suspension
Multi-Link Rear Suspension
Stabilizer Bar (mm, front/rear) 2WD (AWD) 25/25.4
? ? ? ? ? ?
Amplitude Reactive Dampers
Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS)
Steering Wheel Turns, Lock-to-Lock 3.0 ? ? ? ? ? ?
Steering Ratio 15.95:1 ? ? ? ? ? ?
Turning Diameter, Curb-to-Curb 2WD/AWD – ft. (meters) 40.8 (12.44) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Power-Assisted Ventilated Front Disc/Rear Solid Disc Brakes – in. (mm) front/rear 12.6 (320) /13.0 (330) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Wheels 18″ alloy, 5-spoke ? ? 18″ alloy, 6-spoke ? ? ?
Light truck all-season tires 245/60 R18 105H ? ? ? ? ? ?
Spare Tire T165/90R17 ? ? ? ? ? ?
Towing capability – lbs. (kg)  


? ? ? ? ? ?
AWD 5,000 (2,268)
2WD 3,500 (1,588)

2 Includes: All Season Floor Mats-High Wall, Wheel Locks and In Bed Trunk Carpet

3 Includes: In Bed Trunk Carpet, Splash Guards-Front, Splash Guards-Rear and Wheel Locks

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2017 Honda Ridgeline – Chassis

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