Home » The New Honda Prelude Is Actually A Hybrid And That Rules

The New Honda Prelude Is Actually A Hybrid And That Rules

Honda Prelude Hybrid Ts2
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We got a lot of traffic and engagement yesterday over the new Honda Prelude Concept that just debuted in Tokyo. I wrote the piece and assumed, based on Honda’s own press release, that the vehicle was an electric car. It’s not. In what is one of the strangest corrections/clarifications in recent history, Honda PR had to tell everyone the car is actually a hybrid. That’s actually better news.

First, a little on how we got here. Here’s the only press info we had from Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe’s press conference:

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At the automobile electrification business briefing we held last year, I talked about future sports models. Today, to conclude my presentation, I would like to show you one of them – the specialty sports model.

Everyone, this is the Prelude Concept.

Honda has always been committed to creating sporty vehicles. And the word “prelude” means an “introductory or preceding performance.” This model will become the prelude for our future models which will inherit the “joy of driving” into the full-fledged electrified future and embody Honda’s unalterable sports mindset. The Prelude Concept is a specialty sports model that will offer exhilarating experience that makes you want to keep going forever and extraordinary excitement you never felt before.

I suppose Mibe doesn’t explicitly say the vehicle will be an electric car, but rather it will “become the prelude for our future models which will inherit the ‘joy of driving’ into the full-fledged electrified future…”

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A hybrid is an “electrified” car but not a fully electric car, semantically. That’s super confusing and many people missed it, leading to this social media exchange between Honda’s Andrew Quillin and some car people online, including journalist/blue car enthusiast Joel Feder:

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Lol.

I’ve known Andrew for years and he’s always been a straight-up guy, and I appreciate that there was no mincing of words, just an admission that we weren’t all taking crazy pills and that it was actually unclear. Also, the text came from the CEO’s speech and not from American Honda Motor Company, the arm that Andrew works for.

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Also, I didn’t see any exhaust in the shots of the car, but it’s just a concept so that’s not always a given.

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Photo: Honda

Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, I think this is excellent news! I love hybrids, and almost all of the hybrid sports cars have been on the extremely expensive side (McLaren Artura, Porsche 918 Spyder, Lexus LC500h). [Ed Note: I’m also pumped about a hybrid Prelude! Hybrids are palatable for lots of folks not ready to go all-EV; they delete range anxiety, and they still can save you a ton on gas. I’m hoping for a plug-in with over 35 miles of range, but the battery packaging to pull off that range could be tricky (and it could add too much cost). -DT].

The Prelude has always been a way for Honda to either preview technology for the company’s more expensive cars OR democratize some of the features from vehicles like the Acura NSX. Given that the outgoing NSX was a hybrid, some combination of the Civic SI’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder combined with two of the rear motors from the NSX would make for an AWD car that produces around 280 horsepower and probably returns good mileage.

I love it. Build it tomorrow, please.

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John Metcalf
John Metcalf
7 months ago

If this were available as a 6 speed manual, I might postpone my notion that my next car is going to be a full BEV.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
8 months ago

Take the Clarity PHEV’s powertrain, add the turbocharger from the Accord Sport’s 1.5T engine to the 1.5 liter normally aspirated engine that’s already there. Then take away two doors.

Those are the only changes required to make the Clarity into a PHEV sports car. A turbocharger that already fits, and a 2 door body style.

Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
8 months ago

See! What did I say yesterday in the comments? It ought to be a hybrid. There.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
8 months ago

It’s a hybrid? Wonderful! Now I can allow myself to like it.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
8 months ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

Yep… HEV/PHEV is where it needs to be I think too.

AGA
AGA
8 months ago

Unconvinced that this won’t be an underperforming compromised car that was the CR-Z, the last time Honda tried making an affordable sporty hybrid coupe.

Monolithic Juggernaut
Monolithic Juggernaut
8 months ago
Reply to  AGA

We can only hope that they have learned. They did manage to at least get the economy part right on their first attempt.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
8 months ago

This makes much more sense. I don’t think this will be CR-Z pt. 2 – hybrid tech has evolved quite a bit since then and had other compromises at least for the time.
Seems like this could serve as something of a halo for their hybrid tech, perhaps a next-gen of it or something for more vehicles, since it’s just the same hybrid powertrain is used in multiple Hondas currently as others mentioned.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
8 months ago

I couldn’t be happier that it’s at least a hybrid. IMO any new thing needs to be an HEV/PHEV/BEV at this point. Yes, I love manuals, but that’s not what the world needs now and I can buy a used manual if I’m that desparate. What I hope, and what I think is sensible, is that it comes in right around, the Nissan 400z in price and maybe just a tic faster here and there. Maybe that’s not fair as the Preludes of the past were never quite like that, but we are in 2023/4 now, so. If it were a hybrid, no manual, similar price, and gave that car a run for its money when you’d have options. Is it too much to dream?

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
8 months ago
Reply to  Ok_Im_here

Is think it would be aimed further down the ladder than that, more Miata/FR-S than Nissan Z car. Historically anyway it was much closer to the Silvia in price, performance, and market position, plus the 400Z seems a bit on the expensive side given it’s performance (vs competitors like the Mustang, Camaro, M2, Supra etc) and the size of the coupe market, not where I’d aim another sporty coupe to be.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
8 months ago

When this was last around, the Z was not much better. …just thinking out loud. There’s are Z’s near MSRP around where I live, and at the bottom trim, so that’s what I was thinking…. slide it in above the Civic Type-R for a fast but more civilized ride. Keep it below Supra territory.

Dingus
Dingus
8 months ago
Reply to  Ok_Im_here

I like the idea of the Z, but I cannot understand who would buy one given the competition. Once you start cross shopping in its price bracket, it makes very little sense unless you are just really nostalgic for a Z. I think Nissan burned off any sense of loyalty years ago when they decided to go all-in on Big Altima Energy and CVTs. Hard to go that far downmarket and then think anyone is going to seriously consider your product as a competitor to anything good.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
8 months ago
Reply to  Dingus

I think it only makes some sense at the lowest price you can get a manual. Once you break a higher trim level there are much better options.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
8 months ago

Wake me up when you can buy one of these for MSRP.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
8 months ago

So… never?

MrLM002
MrLM002
8 months ago

Wow, not even hybrids can escape the stupid electric only door handle fad…

Truly a sad day.

Bite Me
Bite Me
8 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Hopefully that gets nixed for the real thing

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
8 months ago

*Wallet slowly and cautiously opens*

Ricki
Ricki
8 months ago

Well heck, I’d take one in either package, but since I have zero dollars for a car, new or otherwise, especially in this market, I’ll just have to put a poster of it on my wall.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

Is this like expecting to get an Oreo cookie, but being handed Hydrox instead?

Historical note: Hydrox (which is a mashup of hydrogen and oxygen, the elements in water, supposed to denote “purity”) is actually four years older than Oreo.

Gubbin
Gubbin
8 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Exactly like that, since Hydrox is better.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago
Reply to  Gubbin

Agree.

Thevenin
Thevenin
8 months ago

In my opinion, Honda makes the best hybrids right now. They don’t skimp on the motor power or battery size, so they manage to capture the holy grail of “punchy yet efficient.”

I would love for the Prelude to be a PHEV, but I don’t think it will be. The concept has no charging port, it would be difficult to cram the powertrain into a vehicle with those proportions, and Honda has shown zero interest in PHEVs since the Clarity.

I really think Honda’s just having a second try at making a CR-Z now that hybrid tech has matured a bit.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Toyota begs to differ. Honda only offers the Accord and CR-V, and it’s an identical powertrain. It may be a good one, but it’s only one, and nothing that’s a PHEV. Toyota has tons of options, and while most are more economy based, the crown is powerful, as are the trucks.

Thevenin
Thevenin
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I didn’t say the most, I said the best. Subjectively, of course.

I can’t speak for the Crown and I know jack-all about trucks, but Toyota’s hybrids traditionally have the “rubber-band feel” (despite not using belt CVTs) while Honda’s do not. Toyota also stuffs their vehicles with as many beeps and alarms as possible because they believe driving should be a stressful and irritating experience.

Toyota’s latest generation of Primes are some of the best PHEVs on sale now, but that’s largely due to lack of competition. The Prius Prime wouldn’t be looking so hot if the Chevy Volt was still around.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Yeah I still am not a fan of the one they have. I do agree that Toyotas do feel rubbery though.

Scone Muncher
Scone Muncher
8 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Making a “proper” CR-Z would have me lining up if I were in the market. Not going to replace a perfectly cromluent Goff for it, though. 🙁

Andrew P
Andrew P
8 months ago

If you work in media relations for an automobile company and you’ve written a press release that leaves the media uncertain about whether a newly-announced vehicle has a gasoline engine, then you’re not very good at writing press releases.

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
8 months ago

Hmm, My Si might be traded in if the Prelude gets an SH, hell even Si variant.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago

I’m interested to see how they differentiate it from the Si. Obviously we know it’s a hybrid, but I feel like they will likely be pretty similar in terms of handling and everything. I’m thinking a bit more expensive, better gas mileage while also being faster, and smaller, but we’ll see.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
8 months ago

I assumed it was a hybrid the whole time!

Of course, this is because I am an idiot and mixed up the Prelude and Insight.

JDE
JDE
8 months ago

well it is kind of a 2 door insight.

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