First introduced in 1979, the Honda Prelude was a two-door sport coupe. Economical and reliable, the Prelude was nonetheless equipped with an engine that was relatively powerful. At one time, the Prelude was the primary performance model in Honda's vehicle lineup. The Prelude reached the height of its popularity during the 1980s. However, in the following decade, the car's popularity went into decline along with its sales figures. As the 1990s wore on, the Prelude's sticker price became increasingly at odds with what the car offered. For a car that was relatively pricey, the Prelude just didn't deliver enough of a return when it came to sports car looks, performance, or a premium feel. One year into the new millennium, Honda elected to discontinue production of the Prelude without introducing a replacement.
More on the Honda Prelude
About the Honda Prelude
Although the Prelude was a sport coupe that produced respectable amounts of power, it was never what a consumer would consider a muscle car. The Prelude's status as a performance vehicle stemmed instead from the car's agile handling capability. During a run of production that lasted for more than two decades, the Prelude was frequently used by Honda to introduce new vehicle technologies. These included fuel injection, four-wheel steering, and Honda's unique Active Torque Transfer System. The Prelude was also the first vehicle to be equipped with Honda's variable valve timing engine technology, more commonly known as VTEC.Honda Prelude Features
2001 was the final year that Honda produced the Prelude. In this final year, the Prelude was available in two trim levels, both of which came equipped with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine. When matched to a manual transmission, the Prelude's power plant was capable of generating an impressive 200 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Models that were equipped with an automatic transmission were slightly less powerful, with 195 horsepower but the same torque rating.
The base model of the 2001 Honda Prelude offered drivers the choice of manual or automatic transmissions. The Prelude's four-speed automatic transmission was equipped with a sequential SportShift that provided drivers with the option of selecting their own gears. The base model and the more upmarket SH model were both equipped with standard four-wheel ABS. This feature helped the car to slow down smoothly and quickly.
Even the base model of the 2001 Prelude offered a generous array of standard features including a power moonroof, a six-speaker sound system, adjustable steering column and a height-adjustable driver seat. There was also an anti-theft system, considered state-of-the-art at the time.
While Honda had come under fire for the offbeat interior of the fourth generation Prelude, the company took a more conservative route for the final generation of the car's lifespan. Unfortunately, this approach did little to distinguish the 2001 Prelude's interior from that of the Honda Accords of a decade earlier. However, the pluses outweighed the minuses for the 2001 Prelude. In retrospect, the 2001 Prelude was a capable sport coupe that was reasonably priced and offered technological features that were cutting edge at the time.Honda Prelude Evolution
The fifth and final generation of the Honda Prelude was produced from 1997 until the model was discontinued in 2001. In the final years the Prelude was produced, Honda made it bigger and heavier than it had been in previous generations. Like the 2001 model, Preludes from this generation were available in two trim levels: base and SH. Models from this era were powered by the same 2.2-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine that powered the 2001 model. Standard transmission for the fifth generation of the Prelude was a five-speed manual. There was also an option available for a five-speed manual.
Standard features for the fifth generation of the Prelude included 16-inch alloy wheels, ABS, sunroofs, cruise control, power accessories, and air conditioning. The SH model also featured the addition of the Active Torque Transfer System, which helped to distribute torque to the outside drive wheel when the vehicle was cornering. This served to help minimize understeer.
Models from the fourth generation of the Honda Prelude are also worth consideration. Produced between 1992 and 1996, fourth-generation Preludes were completely overhauled and redesigned from the generation that preceded them. Preludes from this era were shorter and wider. This helped to facilitate better handling.
During this period, the Prelude was available in two trim levels: S and Si. The S model boasted a 2.2-liter DOHC four-cylinder that was rated at 135-hp. Stepping up to the Si got you a 2.3-liter DOHC four-cylinder that provided 160 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. Fourth generation models produced after 1993 were also available in the Si VTEC trim level. Preludes in this top-of-the-line trim level came equipped with a 2.2-liter DOHC four-cylinder that was equipped with Honda's electronic VTEC system. Reviews indicate that fourth generation models of the Prelude offered good drivability and a respectable amount of power. However, there were some criticisms in regard to the car's interior design, which was considered to be rather odd and dysfunctional.