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The Honda Ridgeline
The Toyota Tacoma

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

Car and Driver recently put these two midsized trucks head-to-head to see which would triumph in cargo, comfort, and overall capability. Learn how the Honda Ridgeline outperformed the Toyota Tacoma in nearly every test.

Honda Ridgeline VS Toyota Tacoma

Anatomy, Power, & Pricing

Despite both being midsized pickup trucks, the Tacoma and Ridgeline are fundamentally different in their anatomy. The Toyota Tacoma is considered a body-on-frame truck, whereas the Ridgeline is a unibody vehicle.

Truck Anatomy: Advantages & Drawback

Unibody (EX: Honda Ridgeline)
The body and chassis of the vehicle are manufactured as one piece.

Body-on-Frame (EX: Toyota Tacoma)
The body of the vehicle is mounted on a chassis that carries the powertrain.

  • Lighter weight
  • Superior fuel economy
  • Generally better crash test ratings & passenger safety
  • Better handling and road grip
  • Lower center of gravity/fewer rollovers
  • Less common than Unibody vehicles
  • Typically heavier in weight
  • Lower fuel economy
  • Sits higher, more ground clearance
  • Greater tolerance for torsional flexing
  • Larger towing and payload capabilities

2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport, HPD Package

Ridgeline VS Tacoma : Comparable Trims & Pricing

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport VS 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

For the sake of comparing ‘apples to apples’, we have selected two near-equivalent trim levels/options for the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma. While the 2021 Tacoma does have a lower overall starting MSRP, keep in mind that this is for a 4 cylinder, (2-door) access cab truck without 4WD. Since all Ridgelines come standard with a V6 engine, (4-door) crew cab, and all wheel drive, we have compared to a similarly equipped Tacoma.

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport

Starting MSRP* : $36,490

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

Starting MSRP* : $37,530

  • 280 HP 3.5 liter V6
  • 9 speed automatic AWD
  • 18/24 MPG City/Hwy
  • Dual function tailgate & Trunk-in-Bed
  • 5.33-ft. truck bed
  • 5,000 lb towing capacity
  • 18-in., grey alloy wheels
  • Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto®
  • Intelligent Traction Management
  • Display Audio Touch-Screen
  • Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Guidelines
  • Push Button Start
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,175 destination charge and accessories.
Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 charge for premium colors.
  • 278 HP 3.5 liter V6
  • 6 speed automatic AWD
  • 18/22 MPG City/Hwy
  • 5-ft. Truck bed (Short bed option)
  • 6,400 lb towing capacity
  • 17-in. alloy wheels
  • Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto®, Amazon Alexa
  • Skidplates on front suspension/engine
  • Display Audio Touch-Screen
  • Toyota Safety Sense ™
  • Complimentary maintenance plan
  • Push Button Start
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,175 destination charge and accessories.
Dealer prices may vary. Fees may differ in certain states, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands

Honda Ridgeline VS Toyota Tacoma

Truck Bed & Cab Options

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

When it comes to the battle of the trucks’ passenger and cargo options, there are some key differences in convenience and capabilities to note between the Honda Ridgeline and the Toyota Tacoma.

Tacoma VS Ridgeline: Truck Cab & Bed Differences

• Since the Toyota Tacoma is a body-on-frame style vehicle (separate frame and body), it is able to offer several available options for the cab and bed size- including a 2-door access cab with a standard 6-ft. bed OR a 4-door crew cab with the option of a standard 5-ft. short bed standard or 6-ft. bed.

• The Honda Ridgeline is manufactured as a unibody vehicle (one piece) and sticks to one versatile and well-tested recipe for the cab and bed: a spacious 4-door, crew cab with a standard 5.3-ft. bed.

The Ridgeline offers thoughtful design & extras not found in the Tacoma:

• As seen below, the Honda Ridgeline’s bed anatomy differs from a traditional truck bed like the Tacoma’s, because the Ridgeline’s flat bed is not interrupted by wheel wells. This makes the Ridgeline ideal for hauling flat construction materials, such as plywood, or larger furniture pieces that need to lay flat.

• The Ridgeline also offers an additional 7.3 cubic feet of lockable storage in it’s unique truck-in-bed feature. The truck-in-bed is an additional cargo space hidden under the flat truck bed that offers securable, watertight space for valuables or even a drain in case you want to use it as a cooler for fishing, tailgating, or more! In contrast, the Tacoma offers a few small storage bins for bungee cords and hand tools as well as a few cargo tie-downs.

• The Ridgeline’s tailgate extends the bed room from approximately 5-ft. to 7-ft., and can support up to 300 lbs of weight. Its real versatility for loading and hauling lies in its dual-open cababilities. The tailgate can be opened top-down, like any traditional truck OR the tailgate can swing open from the side, providing easy access to the trunk-in-bed feature.

Honda Ridgeline VS Toyota Tacoma

Safety Ratings and Tech

NHTSA*5-Star Safety Rating

National highway traffic safety Administration(NHTSA)

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline and 2021 Toyota Tacoma are both excellent picks for safety in the midsized truck market! The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) gave both vehicle matching crashworthiness ratings

The NHTSA* ratings give the 2021 Honda Ridgeline a bit of an edge when it comes to safety. Despite being awarded five stars in it’s side crash rating, the 2021 Tacoma only recieved four stars in its overall, frontal, and rollover scores. Meanwhile, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline scored 5 stars across the board from the NHTSA*

When it comes to peace-of-mind safety tech, both trucks include features like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. The Tacoma has auto high beams on more trim levels than the 2021 Honda Ridgeline, but the 2021 Ridgeline offers Lane Keeping Assist which is unavailable on the Tacoma.

"Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov)."

Honda Ridgeline VS Toyota Tacoma

Payload, Towing, & Off Roading

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, HPD Package

Payload Towing Capacity Ground Clearance Off-Roading Features
Honda Ridgeline 1509-1583 pounds (Depending on Trim) 5,000 pounds (All Trims) 7.6 inches Standard AWD
Toyota Tacoma 1,120 pounds (V-6) 1,620 Pounds (4 Cyl.) 3,500 pounds (Standard 4 Cylinder) 6,800 pounds (Tow package 6 Cylinder) 9.4 inches Locking rear differential, Underbody skid plate, Lighter all terrain tires
Watch the Car and Driver Hauling Strength Test : Ridgeline VS Tacoma