New Honda Prelude edges closer to reality with updated concept at Goodwood

Published Jul 9, 2024


With the debut of the new Prelude Concept at the Tokyo Auto Show in October, Honda strongly hinted that its long-running coupé nameplate was making a comeback.

But now the Japanese carmaker has all but confirmed its return, with the European debut of the Prelude Concept scheduled for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England later this week.

Although not visibly too different from last year’s show car, the Goodwood model sports a bright red exterior paint hue that’s perhaps more fitting of its heritage and positioning.

Honda has also confirmed that the upcoming two-door will feature a hybrid power train.

“The original Prelude made its debut in 1978 and over the next 20 years, and five generations, served as a showcase for Honda’s cutting-edge design and technology,” Honda said.

“The sixth generation will be a fitting return for the Prelude name and will deliver a blend of original style and sophistication coupled with Honda’s advanced hybrid powertrain. A winning combination that we call ‘the joy of driving’.”

The original Prelude (right) made its debut back in 1978. Picture: Supplied

Further details have not been released as yet, but Autocar understands that its powertrain will be based on that fitted to the current Honda Civic e:HEV, which pairs a 2.0-litre normally aspirated petrol engine with two electric motors. Fans will however be hoping that the version in the new Prelude produces more than the 135kW offered by the Civic hybrid.

Honda says the new Prelude will deliver a “compelling blend of style and sophistication” as well as a “perfect balance of driving pleasure and outstanding efficiency”, meaning potential buyers can look forward to a more mature sports car rather than a boy-racer special.

Granted, the Prelude has never been an outrageously powerful or overly sporty car. When the fifth generation model was retired in 2001, its flagship Type S version offered just 164kW from a 2.2-litre VTEC engine.

Like its predecessors, the new Prelude is expected to retain its front-wheel drive architecture, making it the only FWD sports car in its class, and thus it won’t be a direct rival to the Toyota GT86.

This year marks Honda’s 25th year of offering petrol-electric hybrid cars, something the carmaker will be celebrating at Goodwood when it presents the new Prelude concept.

Honda’s first hybrid model was the Insight of 1999, which became Europe’s first mass-produced hybrid model. It was followed up by the Civic IMA in 2003 and then the CR-Z in 2010.

Hybrid technology is something of a stepping stone for the company however, as it remains committed to its 2040 goal of selling exclusively fully-electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles by that year.

IOL Motoring