Why the Honda Prelude Is an Underrated Modern Classic

1994 Honda Prelude at speed, 2000. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
1994 Honda Prelude at speed, 2000. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images) /

The Honda Prelude is a beloved coupe that often flies under the radar. On the market from 1978 until 2001, the Prelude offers stable performance, an exterior that represents its times, and it’s still a valuable vehicle today. However, it’s not always the most talked about these days because it doesn’t have the same excitement as Honda’s true sports cars.

The Honda Prelude delivers stable performance

People never really regarded the Honda Prelude for its performance. Sure, it’s perfectly fine in this category, but there are much faster coupes on the market. However, the 1997 Honda Prelude is arguably one of the best. According to Edmunds, the most available trims of the car come equipped with a 2.2-liter inline-four engine. It has a maximum output of 195 horsepower. The Prelude is a front-wheel drive vehicle.

One of the most sought after versions of the 1997 Honda Prelude is the Type S. However, it’s pretty rare as the automaker only released it in Japan. Though not a drastic difference, the Type S is more powerful.

The 2001 Honda Prelude is also one of the most iconic models of the car. It holds this status partly because it was the final edition. The 2001 Honda Prelude is almost identical to earlier versions when it comes to performance specifications. Regarding fuel economy, it averages 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The 2001 Honda Prelude accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 7.1 seconds.

The Honda Prelude has a cool for the times exterior

The Honda Prelude is a great looking car. Perhaps less so than other older Honda Cars, but it was perfect for the times. Despite not being an all out sports car, the Prelude has a pretty sporty look that still looks good on the road today. One of the greatest aspects of it being a long running nameplate is that the automaker changed the car with the times. By the end of its run, it was a real looker and had pronounced features such as fairly large and square headlights.

Additionally, the 2001 Honda Prelude is shorter than older versions of the car, which makes it more modern. In truth, the later model years look similar to the two door Honda Civic models. The Prelude is also a popular vehicle to modify and make even more sporty.

The 2001 Honda Prelude is still valuable today

The Prelude is still a valuable coupe on the used car market. The modern classic Honda fetches an average of $14,459 for the fifth generation. For perspective, the highest recent sale on the auction site Classic went for over $36,000, while the lowest sold for under $3,000. Of course, some may want to opt for an older version. However, those may be less drivable than a model from between 1997 and 2001.

Like many discontinued vehicles, there are rumors that the Prelude could return to the market. If the rumblings are true, there will be a new EV version by 2028. The Honda Prelude is a legendary vehicle that isn’t always the most discussed, but is still one of the automaker’s most beloved rides.