Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Chris Rhodes, of Cumming, Ga., who wrote:
“The abomination shown in this week’s edition of ‘What Is It?’ is the Honda Ridgeline … a truck for folks who don’t really want or need a truck.
“Despite all of their marketing spin, Honda has had limited success in convincing the buying public that the Ridgeline is a real truck. If you analyze the evidence, it is easy to see why.
“Introduced in early 2005 as a 2006 model, the Ridgeline was met with a lukewarm reception that persists to this day. Viewed by many (including myself) as an ‘anti-truck’, the Ridgeline incorporated a hybrid ladder frame/unibody chassis more akin to a passenger car than a truck. Furthermore, the drivetrain consisted of a transversely mounted V-6 and front-wheel drive. And – get this – the bed was plastic!
“Fast-forward to 2012 and not much has changed for the Ridgeline. Though there is now a four-wheel drive system in place, it is still biased toward the front wheels unless traction becomes limited or the differentials are locked.
“The body has changed minimally and the bed is still … plastic. But it does have a built-in cooler, so go figure.
“But perhaps the greatest obstacle of all is the fact that, despite being a unibodied, front-wheel-drive truck, the Ridgeline returns no better fuel economy that a ‘real’ truck. As a matter of fact, full-size, full-framed, V-8-equipped trucks from GM and Dodge are actually rated higher than the Ridgeline. And Ford’s Ecoboost-equipped F-150 has better fuel economy and far more horsepower and available torque.”
Rhodes wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “Introduced in 2005 as a 2006 model, the Ridgeline appears to have been modeled after the Chevrolet Avalanche, which has been around since 2001. Of course the concept has been Honda-ized and is the only truck offered by Honda.
“All trim levels are built on the same 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, five-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive unibody platform with a three-quarter-ton hauling capacity in the bed and a maximum 5,000 pound towing capability, delivering a combined 17 mpg. It’s almost as if they developed this truck just to be able to say, ‘You need a truck? Yep, we got a truck for you!’
“A couple of interesting features are a lockable trunk built into the bed area and a dual-function tailgate that both drops down and swings open like a door. I believe that Ford pioneered that tailgate idea more than 45 years ago, and as for that lockable trunk, it also contains the spare tire. Woe be unto you if you have a flat with say … a ton of sand in the bed.
“In my opinion, this is not a ‘truck guy’s’ truck. This is a truck for those who told their Honda dealer as they were picking up their new Accord or Civic, “Yeah, man, I need a truck. I sure do wish Honda made a truck. I’d buy a truck made by Honda.’ A real truck guy needs a full 8-foot bed and V-8 power. This is not a serious contender in the Great American Truck Wars.”
EVANS: Jerry Paul
MARTINEZ: Jim Muraski and Jeff Miller
NORTH AUGUSTA: Bentley Sim
SHAWANO, WIS.: Karen McKenna