2001 Honda Prelude

  • 2001 Honda Prelude Base Coupe

    Base Coupe

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.2L I4
    • MSRP
  • 2001 Honda Prelude SH Coupe

    SH Coupe

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.2L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

2001 Honda Prelude Review

The 2001 Honda Prelude has a slightly outdated look, but it's still a serviceable sport coupe worthy of consideration.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2001 Honda Prelude has a lot going for it. It offers excellent handling and makes wonderful use of Active Torque Transfer System technology. Buyers also get a decent range of standard features, including safety features that will help drivers avoid accidents. For example, the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) helps you stop on a dime, even at high speeds.

Despite these positive traits, the Prelude's sales have fallen substantially in recent years, and it's easy to see why. Honda has not done the car any favors by sticking to some timeworn aesthetics. At the same time, the company has tried to avoid criticism by stripping the car of any design choices that would offer it a real personality. What's left is a good coupe that functions well, but has an aesthetic that repels today's buyers.

If you can manage to look beyond the aesthetics and see the car for what it is (a well-built coupe with several good features), then you might enjoy the 2001 Honda Prelude. However, if you're hung up on interior styling and exterior looks, then this is not the right car for you.

The Range

  • Body Styles: coupe
  • Engines: 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Transmissions: five-speed manual transmission, four-speed automatic transmission
  • Models: Honda Prelude, Honda Prelude SH

What's New

The Prelude sees very few changes this model year. Honda added rear child seat-tether anchors and an emergency trunk opener. Floor mats now come standard. Two new colors (Satin Silver and Electron Blue) are now available. Other than these minor changes, this is essentially the same Prelude as last year's model.


Unfortunately, the 2001 Honda Prelude's exterior is nothing special. Honda has been producing Preludes with the same aesthetic for years. Quite frankly, it's hard to tell them apart. You'd think that they would spend some time updating the exterior, since it plays such an important role in attracting buyers. Honda must assume that the Prelude's target market has enough sense to look at the mechanical features instead of concentrating on aesthetics.


Once upon a time, Honda caught a lot of criticism for the Prelude's funky interior style. In response to the negative feedback they received, they decided to swing the other way, resulting in an interior that looks much too conservative. A leather steering wheel helps improve the car's design, but not enough to make up for the bland style.

Again, you can't get hung up on aesthetics when you're test driving a 2001 Prelude. It comes standard with several impressive features, including a six-speaker stereo system, a high-tech anti-theft system, a power moon roof, and an adjustable steering column. Air-conditioning, interior air filtration, and dual vanity mirrors also come standard.

The Prelude offers comfortable seating that passengers will appreciate. However, taller occupants might feel that the car lacks headroom.

Performance & Handling

The 2001 Honda Prelude comes with a 2.20-liter, four-cylinder, VTEC engine. When coupled with the manual transmission, the engine offers 200 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. When paired with the automatic transmission, horsepower decreases slightly – five hp, to be exact. The torque remains the same regardless of which transmission is fitted in the vehicle. The SH model only comes with a manual transmission.

Losing five hp isn't a deal-breaker for most drivers, especially if they prefer automatic transmissions. As far as automatics go, this one is pretty useful and fun. Drivers who are used to manual transmissions get to choose their own gears, thanks to sequential SportShift.

Honda added a lot of excitement to the Prelude's handling when it installed the Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS). It essentially makes the front-wheel-drive coupe feel like it has rear-wheel drive. Find a tight curve and the Prelude can hug it closely due to the ATTS's ability to counter understeer. When driving during wet and rainy conditions, you'll appreciate the front-wheel drive. It's this kind of approach that helps Honda stand out from the competition.


The 2001 Honda Prelude comes with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, child seat anchors, and an engine immobilizer. Ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes also come standard.

Unfortunately, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed crash tests for the 2001 Prelude. Given the impressive list of safety features, though, it is unlikely that the average driver will encounter any substantial problems with this coupe. Plus, the Prelude has been around long enough that buyers would be well aware if it had any major safety issues.

EPA Fuel Economy

Honda Prelude: 20/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good handling
  • ATTS technology
  • Wonderful build quality
  • Excellent refinement

You Won't Like

  • Interior design is a bit conservative
  • Low torque compared to V-6 competitors
  • Cramped headroom

Sum Up

The 2001 Honda Prelude has a slightly outdated look, but it's still a serviceable sport coupe worthy of consideration.

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