Is the 2017 Honda Ridgeline a Truck? Pontiac’s return and Ford Fiesta ST vs Fiat 500 Abarth [Ask Nathan]


In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Should the 2017 Honda Ridgeline be considered a truck?
  • Will Pontiac come back?
  • Which is the better daily driver – Ford Fiesta ST or Fiat 500 Abarth?

Today’s first question comes from a viewer who feels the 2017 Honda Ridgeline belongs on our car channel and not on The Fast Lane Truck.


How can you idiots back up Honda? I can’t believe all of the attention you’re giving the Honda Ridgeline on your truck channel. In no way does this glorified crossover belong on your truck page or channel! It doesn’t have a frame, it can’t tow, it has an independent rear suspension and it has no capacity!

How much did Honda pay you to flaunt the Honda Ridgeline?

Credibility in the toilette.


Richard. M

A: Angry much?

Look, we’re not here to sell you anything. If you dislike a vehicle, so be it. Just because your opinion and bias against a vehicle is so extreme, it doesn’t mean that vehicle is without merit. In fact, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has the makings of a sweet ride for the right customer.

We’re pretty sure it has a payload capacity is about 1,600 pounds and a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds (or, perhaps, more). That’s not too shabby. Now, if the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is as comfy and swift as the Honda Pilot it’s based on, it will be an excellent alternative for people who want utility with crossover comfort.

You want hardcore off-road ability? Get the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

You want towing ability? Maybe the Chevrolet Colorado Diesel will suit you.

Here’s the important part: this “truck” WILL be cross-shopped against the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon and other soon-to-be-revealed competitors. Given its competition and the fact is has a functional, usable bed (along with the widest bed in its class) why not call it a truck? Why can’t we do comparative towing, hauling and off-road test with it?

I’m not about to quote Gertrude Stein saying a “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” but the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has a bed, has capacity, has utility, (should be) rugged and will be compared to other trucks.

It’s that simple; the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has every right to be on The Fast Lane Truck channel and the website.

Oh, I should mention this: Honda payed us exactly what other automakers paid you for your comments.



This next question is from a fan who really wants Pontiac to return.

Q:Hi Nathan!

I was wondering if you heard any rumors about General Motors resurrecting Pontiac. I overheard a few guys at the NAIAS saying that GM is considering a splinter performance brand that would only feature high performance cars mixing Cadillac, Buick and Chevy cars most powerful power plants. If they do this, do you think Pontiac will return? I sure hope so!

Danny. 14

Ann Arbor, MI

A: Hi Danny,

I’m sorry pal. As far as I know, the Pontiac brand is history. I miss it, and I miss Oldsmobile too. I know that a lot of people are saddened by the loss of a brand. Hell, despite our stronger economy, Toyota has opted to fold Scion.

Sometimes, every once in a while, an old automaker’s name is resurrected. Usually, these names are exotic automakers from the past (think Bugatti), names that garner instant recognition and buzz. I suspect GM has its hands full as-is, but I could be wrong.

Anyone out there hear grumblings about Pontiac?

I’ll keep my ears open!

Thanks for the email.


2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Convertible First Drive & Review

The last question comes from a fan who is caught between the Fiat 500 Abarth and the Ford Fiesta ST for a daily driver.

Q: Greetings and salutations Nathan and crew!

I am about to trade in my trusty 2004 Mini Cooper S for one of two cars. I was just about to buy the Fiat 500 Abarth, but a friend took me for a ride in his Fiesta ST and I fell in love. It’s been two weeks and I need to make a decision. I began to think about the things I wanted from my new car and thought you guys could weigh in.

One thing I disliked about the Mini was its ridiculous pricing for service and parts. The older it gets, the more expensive it gets. Another problem, driving on crap roads is punishing on both me and my car. I drove the Fiat 500 Abarth on the same roads and it’s much more comfortable. I’m guessing the Ford Fiesta ST is too.

I don’t need cargo space or utility. I want fun, action and speed, just like my old Mini. But, I want a better ride and less overhead expense. I think the Fiat is better looking and sounding than the Fiesta ST. I also like the Fiat’s interior over the Ford.

I like the way they both handle too. Can you guys help a brother with this decision? What would you choose?



A: Great question Simon!

After driving both on the street and track, I like the Ford Fiesta ST. The Fiat 500 Abarth definitely has more swagger and style, but the Ford Fiesta ST has a better ride, feels tighter and has more communicative steering. It is the driver’s car out of the two.

Roman likes the Abarth quite a bit. The convertible is his favorite and it offers something unique in this class.

Either way, you are going to have a fun ride!


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:

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. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.