The Future Honda Ridgeline, Buick Station Wagon and 2WD Motorcycles? [Ask Nathan]

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    • Is that SEMA UTV the next Honda Ridgeline?
    • How about that Buick station wagon?
    • 2WD motorcycles?

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept for 2018 SEMA Show

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding, what one fan hopes, the next Honda Ridgeline.

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) Did you see that Honda concept (“Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept“) at SEMA.

Someone said it’s a Honda Ridgeline. Is that true? They would sell a —- ton if that were true!

Beck JJ

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept for 2018 SEMA Show

Howdy Beck!

What you saw was indeed a Honda Ridgeline, it’s called the Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept and it’s fully functional. You can read about the details (here). Unfortunately, Honda has been rather hush-hush regarding the technical details; however, we do know it has exterior components from the Honda Pioneer 1000 side-by-side and a totally custom bed built by Honda. The interior has Honda Civic Type R seats and additional components (like the steering wheel) from the Pioneer.

We have no information on any of the running gear. However, we are pretty sure that Honda kept the Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter V6 and running gear stock.

The bottom line is: could this be the next Honda Ridgeline? In 2017, Honda sold about 40,000 Ridgelines in North America. To put that in to perspective, Toyota sold over 200,000 Tacomas in North America at the same time. Honda could use a bump and, as far as I can tell, they have the know-how to turn this concept into something real. With that being said, I sincerely doubt that will happen.

As much as you and I totally dig this Ridgeline-based concept, it would take a miracle to see anything remotely close to it enter production.

Sorry pal.

N

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept for 2018 SEMA Show

The next question comes from a longtime fan who’s interested in a station wagon.

2018 Buick Regal TourX
[Photo: Arv Voss]
Hi Nathan 

You know me pretty good. Its Auturo from New Mexico and I watch every video on every one of your channels. I was looking at the Subaru Outback, based on what I saw on your videos and I am not happy with the interior and I think they are kind of ugly. The Impreza is too small and I am not into tall cross overs.

I saw your Buick video and I really like what I saw. The wagon (2019 Buick Regal TourX) I looked at and priced a 2019 with the preferred package and the sights and sound package and towing package and it came out to about $36,000. My local dealer says he can beat that price by a considerable margin.

I already like the price, but the additional discount sounds pretty good! What do you think about the vehicle? Would you buy one considering what else is out there? I don’t see as much snow as you do but I do go north several times a year.

Cheers my friend!

Auturo

A: Hi Auturo!

Yes, I am a big fan of the Buick Regal TourX. To me, it’s a bargain – especially if you get the base model and stay away from too many options. Dealerships appear to be discounting them, in some markets. The Buick Regal sells about 1,000 units per month in North America (an approximate average), and that covers all the Regals. The TourX makes up a small part of that number.

Honestly, given its excellent road manners, inexpensive sticker, AWD system, interior space and (somewhat) luxurious vibe, I’m surprised Buick isn’t selling more. Yes, if I were in the market for a vehicle like this, I would definitely consider it.

True story: I wanted to have my spouse “She-who-must-be-obeyed” take one for a test drive. I neglected to mention it was a Buick. She liked it quite a bit, but when she found out it was a Buick, she considered herself too young to own a Buick.

Perhaps that’s an issue, the whole age thing. Still, my sister and cousin (both born in the late 1960s) own Encores and love them. Perceptions aside, I think it’s a very utilitarian vehicle that I would proudly own.

Hope that helps!

N

 


 

Rokon Trail-Breaker

The last question comes from a youngster who wants to know about two-wheel drive 2WD motorcycles. Normally, I avoid motorcycles as that’s Roman and Arv’s domain; however, I do have a bit of experience with a 2WD motorcycle.

Yamaha WR450F 2-TRAC

 

Hi Nathan. My name is Bill and I live in Harlem in New York.
I’m a big fan of your shows and I love cars. I am in the 5th grade and I have a question about motorcycles.
Ural 2WD Patrol T
Was there ever a two wheel drive motorcycle? Is there a motorcycle built now that has power going to the front wheel? My mom drives a car with four wheel drive and it has no problem getting to 125th street from my place even when its snowing. I know other cars have a hard time and it made me wonder about motorcycles.
Can you tell me about it if you can?
Thank you!
Russian-built Taurus 2X2

A:  Hi Bill, thanks for your email!

That’s an excellent question and I actually have experience with one type of two-wheel drive motorcycle. There are several on the market including one that has a side-car which has both rear wheels (the one on the motorcycle and the one on the side-car) powered.

Other 2WD motorcycles like the Rokon off-road motorcycle, (which I have the good luck to ride a few years back), has a chain leading to the front wheel. Dirt bikes like the Yamaha WR450F 2-TRAC uses hydraulics to spin a small hydraulic motor on the front hub.

Ubco 2×2-electric motorcycle

Electric motorcycles and scooters are beginning to hit the market with an electric motor in each wheel like the New Zealand company Ubco (pictured above).

While having both wheels propel you down the road has its advantages, especially on challenging terrain, some say it messes up the balance of the bike. While I’m unsure of the balance issue, I know that there were a few Rally motorcycles that used 2WD with various degrees of success.

My experience on the Rokon was a delight. It can climb a tree and it’s slow enough and wide enough to be a very easy bike to balance on. By the way, the giant wheels are water-tight and can hold extra gas or water.

Thanks for the question my friend!

N
Speaking of off-road vehicles, check out this crazy, zany off-road race!

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference. From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.

Nathan Adlen
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.