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Honda Prelude (1997 on)

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  • insurance can be pricey
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    7 Reviews
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      22.06.2010 22:26
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      Well worth looking for as these were underated

      During the 1990s I travelled out to Japan on business alot,staying for 4 weeks here and there,staying with friends,touring round,having a good time.I noticed how cheap the cars were and with the strong pound on my side is wasn't long before I started buying cars to use back home,why not? When the Honda Prelude was on sale in the UK,it was marketed as quite an expensive upmarket car well above £20K+ I quite liked it,some prefered the older model with the XJS type rear lights and futuristic cabin so maybe this was a step backward in style? To me it was more grown up,not such a kids car and may suite my girlfriend as she had sold on her old Audi.
      I looked around a few places,I think this was back around 1999/2000 and found a reliable dealer I had bought from before.She located a one year old car that was as new,only 6000 miles, in Black, a Japanese type "S" I think with manual 5 speed transmission,smart 16" alloys,2.2 Vtec 16V engine that had around 190 BHP and had more than enough oomph.I considered this against a Honda Intergra type-R for similar money but the Japanese spec car was quite different from the UK model having a different front end,wrap around style lights instead of round so thought this may be a problem getting parts etc.The Integra-R was a quick car indeed,nothing ordinary about this ones performance!
      Best to pick something close to UK spec or you may find it hard to service and sell on when youre finished.Key to this,do your reaserch,looking the "same" is not always true for the mechanicals and electronics (try reading some of my other reviews!)
      This car was very smart looking,gleaming black,red pinstripes,alloys,black cloth interior,a great sound system,all for less than half price of a UK car,so yes buy!
      After paying the shipping,import duty/tax,getting the car SVA tested (SVA is an MOT for imports to check it complies with UK regulations)and registered it worked out thousands cheaper than buying from a UK main dealer.The strong pound at the time helped alot,not so sure you would do so well today!
      We used that car for about 18 months,my girlfriends car before we were married actually,a good allrounder.I was used to more powerful metal at the time,300 BHP or more so this felt a bit ordinary to me but my girlfriend loved it,more than quick enough.The Vtec engine has to be thrashed though to get the best performance out of it,very high reving little 4 cylinder engine but powerful for a non turbo and we found it ultra reliable.We sold it eventually but it was not a very popular car so it had to go cheap,somebody bagged a bargain off me!
      These cars sold poorly in the UK,partly because it was not that great looking,wasn't really a sports car and was overpriced.It was trying to be all things to all people,but I liked it,nice big boot,comfortable seats and it didn't breakdown unlike some,what more do you want?

      I hope you found my review interesting and take the time to rate it,much appreciated.I have posted reviews about this and other items on CIAO website so hope you will take a look,many thanks!

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      21.06.2003 00:52
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      I have owned a Prelude 2.2VTi from new, since end 1999. The car is one of the latter models, with 197BHP (the older 2.2 VTi had 183BHP). Standard equipment includes electric windows, electric sunroof, electric, heated mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, heated seats. This model came with 17" 5-spoke alloys, a boot spoiler and the very unusual active four wheel steering. Life with the Prelude has been mostly good. The performance is very impressive and like other hot Hondas, it can see off many more expensive cars. 0 - 60 time is probably not much over 7 seconds (most figures in the press are for the older engine). Top speed is a largely academic 143MPH. Handling is very tidy - the car sits low and flat, grips well and will ultimately understeer in a bend if you really overdo it. This is easily corrected by backing off on the throttle. The engine is twin cam VTEC and for those not familiar with the system, it means that normally the powerplant is quite docile but at a certain point high in the rev band, it alters cam profiles, which is accompanied by a sudden increase in engine noise and a big surge in the power output. On the Prelude VTi, these histrionics kick in at 5500RPM and the engine will rev to around 7500. This is where you want to be for overtaking, or outdragging that pesky hot hatch in the next lane. Four wheel steering is impressive and genuinely useful, though maybe not worth the development expenditure required to create it - but that's not your problem. At slow speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front, though not as much. Above 20mph or so, they turn in the same direction as the front wheels. As a result of the 4WS, the car, though quite long, turns on a sixpence. Fast lane changes are quite impressive too. The Prelude is a slightly strange mix of some of the rawness of something like an Impreza with some of the comfort and
      refinement of a more luxury-orientated car. Cruise control and heated seats are creature comforts not always found in performance cars. The former is rarely useful in the traffic-strewn UK - the latter is great on a very cold morning. It's also unusual to get an electric sunroof and aircon as well. The car has yielded the usual Honda reliability except for a clutch fluid leak which was due to a component failure and was fixed under warranty. The vehicle never actually broke down - it just got increasingly difficult to change gear. Servicing costs have been very reasonable and the interval is 9000 miles. It does use up front tyres quite enthusiastically and these can be expensive, but not as much as they used to be. One disadvantage is space - the rear seats are cramped and the boot is not what you'd call cavernous - it's too shallow, and the suspension turrets intrude. This is despite the car being quite long, but that's the price you pay for coupe styling. And speaking of styling, this incarnation of the Prelude generated quite a lot of criticism, but I like it. It does look much more impressive with the 17" alloys and the body kit and spoiler - the less endowed examples are a bit plain. If you're looking for a performance bargain, the depreciation on this model has been heavy - which is bad for me, but good for SH buyers. And if you are going to buy a SH performance car, you'll be pushed to find anything with this kind of dependability.

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        30.06.2002 17:57
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        • "insurance can be pricey"

        Okay - this is a review for a 1984 Prelude, and it is in the Dooyoo section for 1997-onwards models. Well, I couldn't find the right section to put it in, and I noticed someone else had done the same thing. Plus, I felt moved to write a review on what was possibly my favourite car, so far (plus I've written reviews for all the others!) This car came about as a result of a lifestyle change, i.e. as a single 21 year old I felt faintly ridiculous driving around in a Nissan Bluebird. That is not to denigrate that fine car, however. So, I decided sporty was the way to go. A word of warning though - if you are of tender age, as I was then (some three years ago), Mr Insurance Broker will be rubbing his hands with glee, thinking "his premium will pay for my new Jag!". A flick through Parker's Guide brings up the following insurance groups for popular coupes - Ford Capri 2.0 (11), Toyota Celica GT (15), Opel Manta GT/E (11), VW Scirocco GTI (14), Volvo 480ES (12). All appreciably higher than the saloons or hatchbacks on which they are based (except for the Scirocco, based on the Golf GTI). The Prelude is group 11 for the 1.8 twin-carb version that I had. Originally I was quite tempted by a Mazda 626 Coupe of 1985 vintage (more a two-door saloon, but quite stylish nonetheless) but was let down by the owner describing it in the ad as "immaculate", when in the metal it was anything but. Grrr, the dooyoo opinion you could write about people who do that! Once again through my favourite method, the local freeads paper (this was before the advent of internet auctions!) I turned up a Honda Prelude in the nearby (and very posh) village of Twyford. I proceeded to turn up to a very large country house, complete with a Bentley Turbo R outside. The seller had bought the car from a friend as a runaround while the Bentley was being fettled. I kid you not. Good grounds for haggling here, thinks I.
        To cut a long story short I got this EX model, with 93k on the clock backed up by a full service history, original owner's handbook, a four-inch stack of receipts, resplendent in bright red coachwork with the only faults I could find being some fading on the bonnet and a tear in the side of the drivers' seat, for £925. I didn't think this was too bad back in March 1999. I owned the car for the next 18 months, added 30,000 miles to it, tried to replace it - twice (you can see my reviews for my Volvo 440 and Rover 214 elsewhere on this site), and loved every minute. It let me down just once, but that was my fault - the battery light stayed on for a couple of days, then the car died. Of course, the alternator (the original) had given out. In terms of servicing, it didn't cost me much either, as the most important component (cambelt) had been changed at 90k, so I didn't need to get that sorted. It chewed a couple of exhaust manifold gaskets, and I think needed some welding of the front chassis rail for an MOT, but otherwise that was it. I didn't even need to get new tyres. I didn't work on it myself as I couldn't get a Haynes manual (I toyed with getting one that covered the US model, but the engines are different - anyway, the hilarious Japanese-English owner's manual covered basics like changing bulbs and fuses). I may be wrong, but the engine appears to be mounted upon its' side - certainly the air filter for the carb is at the back of the engine bay, against the bulkhead. In terms of living with the car, I personally think it was one of the nicest-looking Japanese cars of the mid-1980s (notable others being the Mazda 626, 2nd generation RX-7 and the first front-wheel drive Toyota Celica). Everyone loved the pop-up lights, which never failed to work (how many TR7 owners can say that?). The only thing that spoiled the styling, to my eyes, were the big, blocky door mirrors. The boot spoiler was
        made of very spongy material which would cause people to slap it and shout "Booooooooooiiiinnng!" at the tops of their voices. Hmm. Inside was quite futuristic for it's time, with air ducts in the tops of the door trims so the side windows could be demisted. Also, the heating/ventilation system had push-button control, and the instruments featured a top-down graphic of the car with various warning lights to show doors open and light failure. The front seats were of a high-back design, and were very comfortable. The previous owner supplied some cloth to fix the tear, which I repaired after a fashion - this was before I knew of a local seat-trimming genius who would have made the repair invisible. The rear bench was of no real use to man or beast, the legroom and headroom back there was appaling. You get someone in sideways (laid across the bench) for short trips but that was about it. Having said that the rear seat would fold, and the boot was wide and long, if shallow. On a couple of occassions I actually slept in there, it was fine until you tried to roll over! Having had a Nissan Bluebird convert me from the spartan equipment levels of regular European cars, I was not disappointed with the Prelude's specification. Electric front windows, electric glass sunroof (which would only slide and not tilt), remote release for fuel filler cap and boot (which was fine as I later found my key didn't work the glovebox or boot locks!), dinky little 13" alloy wheels, and power steering. No central locking but there were only two doors anyway. It even had the original National-Panasonic stereo, with manual tuning (hmm). In the manner of Japanese cars of the period (do they still do this now?) there were no symbols for functions, everything was labelled in English. Very straightforward. Of course, the indicator stalk was on the wrong side of the column, which took some adjustment. It did have a cool single win
        dscreen wiper, in the manner of Mercedes-Benz, though. The driving experience was also good fun. I had come from a Bluebird with about 80bhp, so a move up to the lighter Prelude, with 106bhp from a similar-sized engine (with 12 valves, no less) was quite a laugh, as it would wheelspin in second gear around tight corners, over humpback bridges or in the wet. The power steering wasn't as light as most Japanese cars of the period but still lacked a bit of feel. All the other controls were nice and light though. It would run on unleaded, as apparently nearly all Japanese cars from about 1978 will, and returned about 35mpg in mixed driving. One thing that Japanese cars were famed for, up until the late 1980's, was a propensity for rust. I could tell that this particular model had received a partial respray to rectify earlier rot (under streetlamps parts of the car would look like different shades). In my ownership it didn't really get any worse, but the rust bug did start chomping at the lower corners of the wheelarches and around the sunroof. It still looked very presentable at the end though, although the paintwork on the bonnet had faded very badly. After 18 months and 30,000 miles, I discovered the main problem with the Prelude, and the only major one - you can't sell them easily. I put my car up at £595 and the phone didn't ring once in 2 months ?(this despite Parker's Guide saying it was worth more). In the end I traded it in for a nearly-new Civic at the local Honda dealership, and got £300 for it. Where are you now B541 AMD? Probably in a landfill site, poor thing. Still, the plastic kit manufacturer Tamiya do a nice 1/24th scale model of the Prelude, and a red replica of my car graces the top of my computer monitor. Excellent cars!

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          18.01.2001 12:36
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          I've had my 1998 2.0i Prelude 2 weeks now and I am still thinking of excuses to give the missus why I want to go out...all the time! This is my first automatic and I find there is a lag in acceleration, around 2 secs, but once it picks up and the noise from the exhaust turns from a rumble into a growl at around 4.5k rpm, you can forgive anything! I paricularly like the Sports Sequential Shift, useful when overtaking as you don't seem to get the lag that is experienced when you use "kick-down". This is something I'm still experimenting with. The interior at the front is roomy and very comfortable. The powered steering is light and precise. Braking is provided courtesy of 4 disks which although ABS, still allow feel of the road surface. I didn't think there was much room in the back, untill my mates girlfriend fell asleep no problem at all, and she's 8 months pregnant! While I'm on about the back of the car, my one critisism, I can't see the boot when reversing, leaving my judgement to guesswork, and when the bumpers are colour coded, guesswork is not something I'm comfortable with! Overall build quality and attention to detail are typical Honda...excellent (apart from the lack of heated wing mirrors)the ride is smooth, probably the smoothest car I've ever driven. We love our Honda to bits!

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            23.10.2000 17:34

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            I am not a very mechanically minded person, and have now learnt to put petrol, oil and water in your car regularly to prevent the engine from blowing up. (It happened to my Astra) Anyway, I am now the proud owner of a Honda Prelude, C registration. I was lucky enough to get one with manual gear as I am not so keen on automatic. It's got five gears, electric windows & sunroof, just enough space in the boot for shopping and suitcases and I reackon it's just absolutely wonderful. The Prelude hasn't had any problems at passing it's MOT, or any breakdowns etc, (touch wood) which is more than I can say for the Astra as it seemed to be breaking down every month. Over the past year, the change of car has saved me money and I am absolutely delighted with it, I would like to keep it forever but unfortunately people do tend to tell me that it's getting on a bit... unfortunately not everyone can afford brand new cars.. Everytime, I look outside and see my sexy Honda Prelude, I grin... as I've always wanted one and it's an absolute dream to drive!

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            03.09.2000 18:42
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            It comes packing a 200 horsepower engine (195 for automatic-laden models) from a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine. This means no turbocharger, no supercharger, and no nitrous -- just plain Honda technology blasting you from 0 to 60 in 6.7 seconds. I have only driven this car for about 30 mins at a Test drive open day where I live, but I must say it was the smoothest, ride I have every taken. The test drive was on a field yet I could not feel one single bump or deep in the grass, thanks to the super shocks on this car. The power steering is brill, you only have to decide for yourself which way you wont to go then the car almost drives itself for you, all this car needs is a little voice system and it is straight from the future. All Preludes come packed with options such as air conditioning, power sunroof, windows, door locks, and mirrors. This car is a lot of Money but if you have decided that you are going to spend this amount then spending your money on a new prelude will be the best move you have every made.

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            07.07.2000 19:15
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            I've only one word for this car, absafantastic! Since the purchase of the car on Friday, I don't think I'll look at any other car in the same way again. Compared to my old Rover 400, the steering is fantastic, it holds to the corners like it was using glue and the speed is outrageously great. My model is the 2.0i and it has automatic and 4-speed gearbox. The performance has been much better than I anticipated. I got it as a company car, and have been extremely pleased with it. It does use a fair amount of petrol, but I think it’s worth it. It's probably also worth mentioning that when you really put pedal to the metal there is a slight lag before it gets going, but I think it's ok considering the sheer performance of the vehicle.

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