The Honda Ridgeline will be discontinued this summer, but its return has already been promised with a big redesign and a more "traditional" truck shape. That might indicate a step-up in capability; could Honda be sharpening swords to battle the Chevy Colorado?

Rumor has it a second-gen Ridgeline was initially slated for 2012, but tough times and slow truck sales stuck a pin in that one and pushed it back until "at least early 2016" (another rumor).

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The Ridgeline gets a lot of grief for sharing underpinnings with a minivan; but with a 5,000 pound towing capacity, enough room in the bed for an ATV or motorcycles, and an interior comfort level that makes the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma feel like cave dwellings... the Honda Subaru Baja has a lot going for it.

Honda's main value-add with the Ridgeline has always been "car-like comfort" with the enough capability for plenty of customers. It was a tight niche, but one Honda has basically been able to hold down since the first Ridgelines were sold in '06.

But now that GM's just delivered small(ish)-wheelbase convenience, pleasant road manners, and a modern interior with substantial cargo capability with their new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, Honda's going to have to up their game hard.

You'd think the "reliability and practicality" shtick they trade on to sell Accords and Odysseys would play well in the truck scene, but I have a feeling their biggest marketing challenge will actually be separating the Ridgeline from their nice beigemobiles if they want to break down pickup buyers.

What's the next Honda Ridgeline going to need to stand out and be successful?

Image: Honda