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The new 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E in Regina Honda's showroom. The box of the truck comes with many features specific to the Ridgeline, most notably the new Honda Truck Bed Audio System. Photo by Josh Diaz.

Have you ever been to a tailgate party and your cheap $10 radio just isn’t good enough to keep the party going? Lucky for you, Honda has the perfect solution to your problem, and it only costs $50,000.   

Back from a three-year hiatus, the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck has already made it to the showroom floor at Regina Honda on North Broad Street. While the truck boasts many unique features such as independent rear suspension, unibody construction, and a front-wheel drive option, there is one feature that stands out among the rest. That is Honda’s new Truck Bed Audio System.

The Truck Bed Audio System is comprised of six small electronic units called “exciters,” located in pairs behind the side and back box panels. Much like how a speaker vibrates a cone to create sound, the exciters in this system do the exact same thing, only instead of vibrating a cone, they vibrate the bed of the truck to create sound. The result is a system that produces a clear, crisp sound out of the bed of the truck, all while being waterproof and completely out of the way, tucked behind the bed lining.

“This is the ultimate luxury tailgating truck,” said Regina Honda representative Hailey Clark. “People have a tendency to associate the domestic truck brands with tailgating. We’re hoping this feature changes that, especially with the truck’s new redesign.”

“I can see this really catching on, especially in Saskatchewan,” said truck enthusiast Nikki Lablanc. “I just wish this technology was available to buy by itself, so you don’t have to buy a whole new truck for one cool feature. “

While Honda’s Truck Bed Audio System is an interesting feature, it does come at a price potentially out of the reach of some would-be tailgaters. A base model 2017 Honda Ridgeline cost $36,590, with the Truck Bed Audio System only being available on the RTL-E and Black Edition, priced at $47,090 and $48,590 respectively. While the price may be high for some, Regina Honda has done well with their Ridgeline lineup so far, selling all three they ordered within the first few weeks of their arrival.   

The audio exciter, or tactile transducer, has been around almost as long as the speaker, over a century. While certain companies such as Dayton have utilized the audio exciter for household and home theatre applications, Honda is the first auto maker to make it a feature on a vehicle. Currently, there are no companies that have announced plans to offer an aftermarket automotive tactile transducer-based audio system. This is most likely because of the amount of engineering it takes to get an exciter to function effectively, and to produce clear sound in a given space.

To prevent the Ridgeline from becoming a noise violation on wheels, the system can only be initiated when in park, and shuts off when the vehicle reaches 16 kilometers per hour. This is to allow owners to move the truck short distances without having to constantly re-initiate the system, but prevents the truck from being driven down the streets while blasting music.

Honda’s Truck Bed Audio System has a three-hour battery life before the truck warns the owner that the sound either needs to be turned off, or the truck needs to be turned on to charge the battery. The Truck Bed Audio System also comes with an AC power outlet in the bed of the truck. When the truck is off, the outlet can deliver up to 150 watts, enough to power a TV. When the truck is on the outlet can deliver up to 400 watts, enough to power a blender.