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2021 Honda Ridgeline Driveway Test | Is the HPD Package worth it?

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Support vehicles aren’t supposed to get your attention, but that’s exactly what a 2021 Honda Ridgeline did when I joined Honda for a local drive of the 2022 Civic Sedan. Painted in a bright white, accented by striking bronze wheels and tattooed with cool graphics, the Ridgeline made a lasting impression for more reasons than just serving up icy beverages from its under-bed cooler.

I’ve been a fan of the nameplate since one spent a year in the Autoblog long-term garage, and in particular since a memorable road trip with an Airstream trailer in tow. Our long-termer might have been handsome as well, but between the cosmetic updates made for every 2021 Ridgeline and this particular truck’s new HPD package, there was now even more to appreciate. That support vehicle stuck with me, which is why I was so delighted to see a Ridgeline AWD Sport with the HPD package arrive in the driveway for a longer look.

What exactly is the HPD Package? Despite the “P” standing for “Performance,” there actually are no powertrain or chassis upgrades. This is strictly an appearance package. With it you get a number of interesting aesthetic touches.

The wheels are the most noticeable feature. Ours came in an eye-catching bronze, but you can instead opt for black if you like. These 18-inch alloy rims feature a thick-and-chunky, almost snowflake-ish pattern. At the outer end of each of the 10 spokes are machined divots that reveal the silver color of the metal beneath. I couldn’t help but stick my fingers in those little depressions any time I walked around the truck. Follow those spokes inward to where they meet, and you’ll find a glossy center cap with the letters “HPD” on it.

Surrounding each wheel is a black plastic fender flare, providing a more rugged look. Up in the front of the pickup is a unique grille, black with a wide mesh pattern as opposed to the usual horizontal slats. Moving back to the bed of the truck, on each side you get thick black and thin bronze horizontal stripes, interrupted by the big “HPD” lettering. Look a little closer, and below those letters you’ll find the words “Honda Performance Development” in bronze across the black stripe. Finally, on the top right corner of the tailgate is an HPD badge that terminates in a checkered flag pattern.

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And that’s it. That’s the entire HPD Package. There are no interior changes nor, like I mentioned earlier, are there any performance upgrades.

Of course, you’re wondering what this cool look will run you. Regardless of trim, the HPD package is a $2,800 option, which seems to be on the steep side.

If you like the wheels you can get the black 18-inch alloys — but not the bronze — as a standalone option at a price of $1,836, or as part of the $4,296 Adventure Package. Yes, by deduction, that suggests the HPD Package’s grille, decals and rear badge are valued at $964, but those are only available as part of the package deal.

So, is it worth it? I love those bronze wheels, and am a sucker for decals, but I have a hard time envisioning myself screaming “Take my money!” for these looks. That said, I could picture myself at the time of order saying, “Screw it, I don’t want my truck to look like the rest,” and biting the bullet. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t regret it, either. I’d just have to change the subject whenever someone asked me about actual performance upgrades.

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