Honda has big plans for SEMA, ranging from HR-V project vehicles to the refreshed CR-Z, but the most titillating appearance will be an advance look at the 2016 Honda Ridgeline pickup. The Honda Ridgeline Desert Race Truck concept will break cover at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, and the Japanese automaker says that it previews the styling direction of the long-gestating 2016 Honda Ridgeline (seen above in an earlier teaser).
There isn’t any other information available about the Honda Ridgeline Race Truck concept, except that it signals Honda’s reemergence in factory off-road racing under its Honda Performance Development (HPD) banner.
What we know up to this point about the 2016 Honda Ridgeline is scant, but it will share some of its styling with the new Honda Pilot. Earlier spy shots have revealed an angled hood and three-bar chrome grille, also cribbed from the Pilot. A vertically split rear tailgate is expected to add an extra dose of utility, while the new model eschews the dual sloping buttresses that were prominently featured on the last pickup. The 2016 Honda Ridgeline will likely be offered exclusively as a four-door crew cab with four-wheel drive.
The more aerodynamic silhouette is sure to help increase fuel economy, and if the rumors are true, so will the available nine-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed should also be offered) and increased use of high-strength steel. The 2016 Honda Ridgeline is said to use the Pilot’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine, good for 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.
Honda has a chance to stake its claim to a piece of the rejuvenated mid-size truck market, as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, alongside the new Toyota Tacoma are all attracting buyers looking for something a little smaller than a full-size truck.
We’ll know more when we see the Honda Ridgeline Desert Race Truck concept at SEMA, but it’s not unrealistic to expect a special off-road HPD variant could show up when the production truck is introduced next year.