Used Honda Prelude Coupe 1997 - 2001 review

Category: Coupé

Buy a well maintained Prelude, and you'll never regret it

Used Honda Prelude Coupe 1997 - 2001
  • Used Honda Prelude Coupe 1997 - 2001
  • Used Honda Prelude Coupe 1997 - 2001
Used Honda Prelude Coupe 1997 - 2001 review
Star rating

What's the used Honda Prelude coupe like?

We're going to let you into a little secret - under the rather bland styling of the Honda Prelude lies a great coupe. It should put a smile on your face every time you drive it and, because it's a Honda, it'll be a cold day in hell before anything goes wrong with it.

Hondas don't make too many demands on their drivers, and this Prelude is no exception. Like the previous model, it combines an excellent ride with razor-sharp handling and loads of grip. In its most potent guise, it had 197bhp, and could go from 0-60mph in 7.5sec.


Buy a well maintained Prelude, and you'll never regret it

  • The Prelude has screaming engines, pin-sharp handling and bags of grip
  • It's got bland American styling, and the cabin is especially boring

The build quality cannot be faulted, and although the cabin is not the most exciting place to be, it should remain rattle- and squeak-free. The back seats are only just big enough for adults, so it's really a 2+2, but the boot is a fair size for a car of this type.

Ownership cost

What used Honda Prelude coupe will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Honda Prelude coupe?

Many cars have a complete main dealer service history. If you want to keep that up to date, you shouldn't have to pay more than going to an independent garage. This will help protect resale value if you plan to sell the car on later. You also need to budget for minor services every 6000 miles.

Insuring a Prelude is also not going to be cheap. All have a group 17 rating, apart from the more powerful 2.2-litre, which is in group 18.

Official fuel consumption is 28.5mpg which, given the performance on offer, isn't bad. It's easy to see that figure drop dramatically if you consistently push the car very hard, but it's quite possible to achieve the official figure, so your fuel bills should be bearable.

Due to its somewhat boring image, the Prelude is generally better value for money than its rivals such as the Fiat Coupe, Ford Cougar and Nissan 200SX.

Our recommendations

Which used Honda Prelude coupe should I buy?

The smaller engine option was a 2.0-litre with 132bhp, while the top-of-the-range unit was a 2.2 VTi producing up to 197bhp. The 2.0 is refined, but a little too sedate, while the 2.2 is a typical Honda screamer - similar to the fantastic Civic Type-R engine.

There was an optional four-speed automatic gearbox available, but this was found to be potentially unreliable on the 2.2-litre version, so avoid it. Both models came well equipped, but the top-of-the-range car - our favourite - came with additional technology, such as an Active Torque Transfer system and four-wheel steering.

A Motegi edition was introduced for both engines, adding a bodykit, lowered suspension, bigger alloy wheels and better cabin trim, and is worth tracking down if you can find one.

Due to the age of these cars, you're most likely to find them in the hands of private owners. There are some with private dealers, but they charge a premium. Light-coloured metallic cars are generally more popular than darker shades.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Honda Prelude coupe?