The Honda Prelude came out with an imperfect start, and it had its setbacks along the way. But through the years, this sport coupe still managed to build a reputation for comfort, superb quality, and tremendous reliability. That is why even until now it is still considered as one of the best car options.
1979 – 1982: First generation
The first generation of Honda Prelude was welcomed into the industry as a second-generation Civic. It was powered by a 1751 cc engine and a 5-speed manual transmission or a 2-speed automatic, which was called Hondamatic. But quickly after a year from its launch, the 2-speed automatic was modified into a 4-speed model. Not long after, the production of the first generation came to a halt in 1982.
1983 – 1987: Second generation
Honda Prelude was restyled for the launch of its second generation. It was equipped with pop-up headlights that improved the aerodynamics of the car and reduced drag. This model also came with a modified bonnet to fit the bigger engine in the engine bay. The rear lights and the front and rear bumpers were also given a new style, but what made the 1983 Prelude stand out was its standard painted steel wheels. These wheels also had bright trim or alloy rings on them, which added to the appeal of the car. The second-generation model was initially released with an A18A 1.8-liter 12-valve twin carburetor engine, which can generate 110 horsepower. A 2-liter DOHC 16-valve PGM-FI engine became available in Asia and Europe as well.
1988 – 1991: Third generation
The third-generation Prelude shared some similarities in looks with the previous model, but there were recognizable changes in its external design. The hood line was lowered to have better forward visibility for 326 degrees. The roof pillars were crafted from high-strength metal, and they were made slimmer to create clear all-around visibility. Four-wheel steering was also introduced with this model. Car enthusiasts were amazed by the .34 rating of the 1988 model’s drag coefficient, which allowed for lower wind noise, better fuel economy, and high-speed stability. The Prelude was fondly called as “baby NSX” at first, but eventually the fancy name was replaced by “halo car.”
1992 – 1996: Fourth generation
The 1992 Prelude bid goodbye to its pop-up headlights, which were replaced with aggressive-looking headlights. Other changes in the exterior included a rounded rear end, wider front fascia, and glass moonroof. But the most admirable change is the sleek dashboard, which had gauges with light blue back lighting. The 4-wheel steering system was developed some more until it entirely became electronically controlled. The engine was also upgraded from 2.1 liters to 2.2 liters for the base model and 2.3 for the Si model.
1997 – 2002: Fifth generation
The latest model of the Honda Prelude came out bigger, heavier, better, and also more expensive. It entered the scene just when the market for coupes was paling in comparison to the SUV market. The design of the 1997 Prelude was reverted into the style of the third generation, since the fourth-generation models didn’t sell so well. 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels were set on the vehicle. 11.1-inch front brakes and a 5-lug wheel hub can also be found in this model. The fifth generation also boasted of its independent front suspension and the SportShift technology.