According to Honda’s research, exterior styling and vehicle image matter a lot to the under-40 crowd, and that’s a crowd it would love to sell a whole lot of 2021 Honda Ridgelines to. To sweeten the appeal, Honda’s introduced an HPD appearance package for the refreshed Ridgeline, but at $2,800, is it the best way to spend your money?
HPD stands for Honda Performance Development, the company’s racing division in North America, but we should say right up front the HPD package does not bestow any performance improvements on the Ridgeline. Here’s what you get: those cool bronze wheels, the ridiculous unpainted plastic fender flares, a more aggressive grille, HPD stickers on the sides of the bed, and an HPD badge on the tailgate. It also gets you the blacked-out window trim, door mirror caps, and unibrow grille trim if you’re ordering it on the RTL or RTL-E trim levels, which normally come with chrome (Sport and Black Edition trims come with black trim).
If all that sounds good to you, it’s your money. If you ask us, though, it’s a lot of scratch for some wheels, flares, and stickers. Especially considering Honda will sell you the same wheels in black for $1,800. And honestly, you can buy a set of wheels from a big name brand for less than that. Although it’ll be a hot minute before aftermarket companies develop and roll out new accessories for the 2021 Ridgeline, it’s likely you’ll be able to buy bolt-on fender flares and bed stickers for a lot less than the $1,000 you’d have left over after going with the black wheels from Honda.
In fact, if you can live with the standard wheels, there are other Ridgeline packages available that add a lot more function to your new truck. The Rugged Utility package buys you roof rails and crossbars for hauling more stuff, a divider system for the in-bed trunk, and a rear under-seat storage system for $961. The Function package gets you the trunk dividers, a trunk cargo net, a bed cargo net, and a first-aid kit for $270, and the Function+ package adds a hard tonneau cover for the bed and bumps the price to $1,315. We think running boards are unnecessary on a truck this size, but if you want them, you can get them in the Utility package paired with the roof racks for $1,465.
Point is, there are a lot of good ways to spend more of your money kitting out a new 2021 Honda Ridgeline. Honda offers plenty of factory- and dealer-installed accessories that make the truck even more functional, and some that make it look cooler, too. The Ridgeline’s HPD package is a lot of money for a bit of pizzazz and no additional function. We say spend your money elsewhere.