Honda Motor has officially entered the United States truck market with the 2006 Ridgeline mid-size pickup.

The Associated Press (AP) said an 8.5-cubic-foot trunk under the pickup's bed is one feature that sets the Ridgeline apart from others in its class, including the Dodge Dakota, the Chevrolet Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma - the trunk even has a drain so owners can fill it with ice for 'tailgating' (picnics).

The Ridgeline also has an innovative tailgate that can either open flat or swing open from the side, AP noted, adding that the new truck is powered by a 3.5-litre, 255-horsepower V6 engine and can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., told the Associated Press the Ridgeline also has the best fuel economy in its class, with 21 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 in the city.

Colliver reportedly said he believes the Ridgeline will attract not only pickup owners but owners of sport utility vehicles and cars who are attracted to its cargo capacity and car-like interior. The Ridgeline will be manufactured in Ontario.

According to AP, Colliver estimated that Honda will sell 50,000 Ridgelines this year - the vehicle will go on sale in March and will cost between $US27,000 and $30,000.