The question was posed to me well before I drove the 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition: Is it Truck or Car? I’m here to say, it should matter because this pickup is brilliant. But just to assure you, it’s all truck.

The exterior looks on the Ridgeline Black Edition are aggressive and… well, black. Big surprise from the “Black Edition” coated in Crystal Black Pearl paint.

It comes with a Black Chrome bar in the front grille surround and gloss black in the pillars. The 18 x 8 alloy wheels are black and covered in 245/60 R18 all-season tires that were more than enough to get traction on the snow Seattle has been received as of late.

The aggressive LED headlights have an automatic high beam function that is excessively handy when we city-folk decide to head out into the rural areas at night (and forget to turn off the high beams when passing oncoming vehicles).

Honda gave the 2017 Ridgeline a very truck look and capable truck capacity. The bed of the truck is accessible by the conventional drop down tailgate that also swings out of the way for quicker access to the in-bed trunk. Yes, it has a lockable trunk in the bed.

During our time with the Honda Ridgeline, we had to go do manly things – cut up a tree and move it via human power. The two chainsaws fit easily into the trunk with space all around and on top for tarps or other needed construction equipment. And, it’s safer than being stuck in the bed or under a truck top; the trunk is a true barrier to thieves.

The in-bed trunk was, quite possibly, our favorite aspect of the Ridgeline. It’s just too handy.

The bed of the truck has another fun feature: In-bed audio. It only works while in park so that you can’t troll your neighborhood with Rick Astley. It has 6 exciters in the wall of the bed pushing out 540-watts so you can listen to your tunes while tailgating.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition also comes with an integrated class III tow hitch with a trailer harness. While we didn’t have anything to tow out of Lake Washington, the Ridgeline has a 5,000-lb. towing capacity.

Inside the 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition one finds more black… What else were you expecting?

It’s not overly dark, though. The Honda Ridgeline has red under materials within the seats and red accents stitched into the door panels. There’s also glossy materials to accentuate the interior environment.

When it’s snowing outside, the interior was nice and cozy thanks to the heated seats, heated steering wheel, and the tri-zone heater that gives rear-seat passengers their own comfort zone. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable with two memory settings, whereas the front passenger has a 4-way adjustable seat.

It comes with an 8-inch touchscreen display hosting the HondaLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Pandora and SiriusXM capabilities, navigation with traffic updates, and more. Connected to the system are 8 speakers and a subwoofer which belt out a good sound. It also houses the connection to the in-bed audio system.

The Ridgeline Black Edition comes with standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a new 280 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The new engine has an 11.5:1 compression ratio and a high-tensile strength steel crankshaft.

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The i-VTM4 (intelligent Variable Torque Management 4 ) AWD system features modes for normal driving, soft sand, mud, and snow (which works well in the light dusting Seattle received). The system can send more power to the rear wheels which makes it more nimble and sporty.

This truck may be the first self-driving pickup truck, too. It’s not actually autonomous, but it has advanced cruise control with stop/start and smart lane-keep assistant. When used together, the Honda Ridgeline can pre-steer you into a corner while it uses cruise control to keep you at the right speed.

Other aspects of Honda Sensing include collision mitigating braking, road departure mitigation and forward collision warning.

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In the first month of the year, more than 2,600 Honda Ridgelines were sold in the US. Of the newly redesigned 2017 Ridgeline, Honda has sold more than 25,000 units since it became available for sale in June 2016. Obviously, people are keen on this pickup enough to purchase one for themselves. And we see why.

Overall, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is a truck for people that just want a serious utility pickup. It’s not a 4×4 beast and it’s not a huge hauler, and that’s ok because not everyone needs that in a pickup. Instead, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is the Utility Pickup Truck for all.

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