Honda’s Ridgeline returns for 2017 with an all-new design that seems conceived to appeal both to buyers who likes the original Ridgeline’s quirkiness, and those who thought it too weird to be taken seriously as a truck.

Like before, Honda has the only unibody pickup on the market, sharing its structure with the Pilot mid-size crossover. The new Ridgeline owes the Pilot a thank-you note for its front-end styling, which strengthens the visual link between the two models. Gone is the flying-buttress transition between the cab and bed, as Honda reaches for a more traditional truck look. But if the appearance plays to a bid for more conservative truck shoppers, Honda’s designers carried forward the in-bed trunk that set the original Ridgeline apart from its competition.

Of equal practicality is a pickup bed 5.4 inches wider and four inches longer that Honda says makes the Ridgeline the only mid-size pickup with a flat 48-inch load surface between the wheel wells, to accommodate full sheets of drywall or plywood. A new dual-action tailgate design opens down, or to the side. Bringing the quirky back is an in-bed audio system that conspires with a 400-watt power inverter to create what Honda calls the “ultimate tailgating vehicle.” Notably, the stereo head unit is connected not to bed-mounted speakers, but “exciters” in the bed walls powered by a 540-watt amplifier.

Other elements shared with the Pilot includes its 3.5-litre V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, and an optional torque-vectoring AWD system with terrain management control. Base models are front-wheel drive.

Inside, there’s available tri-zone climate control, a gauge cluster with central TFT display, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Safety-wise, all trims will get a standard backup camera, while higher trims will be available with more advanced safety kit like lane departure warning, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and blind spot warning.