Retro Cars Wiki

The sleek Prelude coupe was derived from Honda's Accord sedan. The Prelude was in a tough market, competing against the Ford Probe, Mazda MX-6, Nissan 240SX, Toyota Celica and, at a comparable price, the larger, faster Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. The Prelude succeeded by a combination of beautiful styling, exquisite road manners, good power, a comfortable cockpit and Honda's famous quality. In addition, the Prelude offered options, like the electronically controlled rear-wheel steering on the 4WS, which weren't available on other cars of this type.[1]

Year-to-year changes[]


Before the 1990s, the Honda Prelude was still in its third generation, and up to the 1991 model year, it had three trims: Si, Si 2.0 and Si 4WS.


Six inches were chopped out of the Accord's wheelbase, but its racing style upper and lower A-arm suspension, front-wheel-drive transaxle and 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine remained. The base engine was the same sohc powerplant used in the Accord, slightly upgraded to 135 hp. The sportier Si and unusual 4-wheel-steer 4WS were fitted with a 160-hp 2.3-liter version with a dohc cylinder head. The top-line VTEC added Honda's patented variable valve-timing and lift electronic control to extract 190 hp from a 2.2-liter dohc engine.

Like all Hondas, the Prelude was fitted with a wide range of features as standard equipment. The midlevel Si had the power windows, cruise control and adjustable steering column of the base S model, but added a/c, power locks, a fancy sound system, alloy wheels, a front airdam and ABS brakes. The only significant option was a 4-speed automatic to replace the standard 5-speed manual. The top-line VTEC not only had great performance, but leather-trimmed upholstery and a map light for the passenger/navigator.


The 4WS was discontinued in early 1995, and on sale since then for a limited time was the SE.


Totally unchanged for 1996, Honda's sleek Prelude continued as one of the most desirable sporty coupes on the market. It now came in three models: base S, midlevel Si and top-of-the-line VTEC.

Prelude shares chassis components with Honda's Accord Sedan. Honda engineers cut 6 1/2 in. from the Accord wheelbase to make the Prelude, but otherwise it's mechanically identical. The sportier Prelude Si is fitted with a 160-hp version of the base 2.2-liter 4-cylinder that's been upgraded with a double-overhead-camshaft cylinder head, so the engine can make more power at higher rpm. The top-of-the-line Prelude uses Honda's patented variable valve timing and lift electronic control—VTEC—to produce 190 horsepower, which it uses effectively.

Statistics show that the Prelude retains 78% of its value after four years.


The Honda Prelude was upgraded to 200 horsepower for this model year. The car remained unchanged through the third quarter of 2000.

Retail prices[]

  • $18,450 (1994 Honda Prelude S)
  • $21,850 (1994 Honda Prelude Si)
  • $24,650 (1994 Honda Prelude 4WS)
  • $25,000 (1994 Honda Prelude VTEC)

As of April 17, 1995:

  • $19,760 (1995 Honda Prelude S)
  • $22,430 (1995 Honda Prelude Si)
  • $23,650 (1995 Honda Prelude SE)
  • $25,620 (1995 Honda Prelude VTEC)

As of October 16, 1995:

  • $19,960 (1996 Honda Prelude S)
  • $22,655 (1996 Honda Prelude Si)
  • $25,880 (1996 Honda Prelude VTEC)