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Honda's sporty Prelude still commands a premium

Like many of its competitors, the Honda Prelude gracefully bowed outof the sports car scene after 2001, having become a casualty of lowsales volumes and increasing fuel and insurance costs.

Like many of its competitors, the Honda Prelude gracefully bowed out
of the sports car scene after 2001, having become a casualty of low
sales volumes and increasing fuel and insurance costs.


Interestingly,
even some years later, the last-generation of Honda’s coupe still
commands relatively high premiums in the used market as a reliable and
relevant sports car.


The fifth and last generation of the
Prelude hit the scene in 1997, and all models were two-door, four-seat
front-drive units with four-cylinder power. Said power came from a
2.2-litre VTEC engine with 195 or 200 horsepower, depending on model
year. A manual five-speed transmission was standard, and a four-speed
automatic was available optionally, and featured manual-mode shifting.


Features
included ABS disc brakes, air, a sunroof, leather seating, and a
CD-changer audio system. Exceptional handling and braking were part of
the package. Prelude might not be Honda’s most practical used model,
but many an owner say their machines deliver reliable driving
enjoyment, day in and day out.

What Owners Like
Power,
handling and driving dynamics were among the last-generation Prelude’s
most highly-rated attributes according to owners. Reliability and fuel
mileage are well-rated, too.

What Owners Hate
Prelude’s
most common gripes centre around limited interior and cargo space,
squeaks and rattles over time, and a rough ride on some surfaces.

The Verdict
At
the end of the day, a relatively stock example of a Prelude that’s been
well maintained and loved should give new owners few, if any problems.


Common Issues
Prelude doesn’t seem to suffer
from any glaring or systematic problems, though several checks are
advised. The Prelude’s H22 engine used a timing belt tensioner that
could be a source of grief in the event of a malfunction that allows
too much slack in the timing belt. This could cause skipped belt teeth
and even potentially fatal engine damage.


Be absolutely
sure to ascertain the engine’s timing belt situation. This very
important belt needs to be changed at a prescribed interval before
failure in order to prevent catastrophic engine failure.

Checking
the condition and level of all fluids is also advised, as is a full
check of all interior accessories for proper operation.
 
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