Home » The New Honda Prelude Is What The New Integra Should Have Been

The New Honda Prelude Is What The New Integra Should Have Been

Honda Prelude Integra Ts
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For a while there, it felt like Japanese automakers had abandoned car enthusiasts, but recent years have blessed us with an embarrassment of hot metal. Not to be left out, Honda is getting in on the action too. It’s joyously announced that the Prelude name is coming back on a svelte new coupe, and boy howdy. It’s a looker.

We first got a glimpse of the Prelude concept last year, and it looked good in white. Honda has now refined the design, and it looks even better in red. The traditional coupe proportions are paired with distinctive styling elements that make it instantly recognizable. Chief among them are the deep front air dam and the trapezoidal beak on the front bumper. Visually, it gives the Prelude a pointed, sporting edge. It demands you get in and wring the engine for every last rev it’s worth.

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The new Prelude is already slated for production and will be based on the Civic platform. The red one will make a public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

481972 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of
The rear end is giving serious Porsche vibes with that lighting and script.

Full details on the power train aren’t yet available, but we know it’s going to be a hybrid unit. The smart money says that Honda will use something like the 2.0-liter hybrid drivetrain from the current Honda Civic, which would put power in the 200 hp range.

The UK and Europe will be getting the Prelude by the “mid-2020s,” we know that much. It will be a global model, be built in left- and right-hand-drive configurations. Will it come to the US, though? We’ve checked with Honda, but the vibes are: yeah.481249 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of

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481983 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of
The new model lined up with some other classic Hondas for family photos.

The Prelude looks like an out-and-out sport compact, but it’s not going to be too hardcore. Speaking to CarsGuide last year, Honda’s Large Project Chief Engineer  Tomoyuki Yamagami noted that it won’t be on the bleeding edge. “This isn’t going to be the sportiest, zippiest car that’s going to be tossed into the circuits, so that’s one thing,” he said.

Yamagami also hinted that the Prelude has an important role to play. “The other one is, this is going to be the ‘prelude’ for all of the electric vehicles that Honda is going to be launching,” said Yamagami. Hence the name. Perfect, right?

481242 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of

481243 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of (1)

Given the history of the Prelude nameplate, going with this angle makes sense in a way. Jump back a few decades, and Honda had a rich and varied lineup of front-wheel-drive vehicles. You could get the Civic as a basic grocery-getter, or you could upgrade to the quicker Civic Si or the racier Type R. If you wanted something with a sportier body style, the Integra was happy to serve, the dowdy sedan versions notwithstanding. Meanwhile, the Prelude sat a cut above in the luxury stakes, more a GT car than a boy racer. Think of it this way: the Integra was for the stop light drags outside KFC, while the Prelude was for picking up your date on the way to a cocktail bar.

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1999 Honda Prelude Sh
Earlier Preludes exuded taste and a touch of luxury. They were cut from a different cloth than models like the Integra.

Mixed ‘Em Up

It’s at this point I have to question if Honda has mixed up its nameplates in recent years. 2022 saw the launch of the new Acura Integra, with enthusiasts cheering the return of the famous name. If you’d just watched Fast and the Furious, you might have been expecting a low-slung two-door coupe with good power and razor-sharp handling. But that’s not what you got.

Instead, the new Acura Integra was a chunky reskin of the existing Honda Civic, with more luxury appointments and a heavier curb weight. Its saving grace was the 320-horsepower Type S engine which at least made it competitive with the contemporary Civic Type R.

33 2023 Acura Integra
This is what the current Acura Integra looks like. It combines the style of a Toyota Camry with the bones of a Honda Civic.

Somehow, the Integra name ended up on a bloated compact luxury car with four doors. Forget driving a stripped-out Integra with a fart-can exhaust to your pizza delivery job. The new Integra was perfect for throwing in a couple of car seats and hauling the kids to daycare before you rocked up to the office with Janine’s birthday cake.

Here we are, two years later, and Honda’s showing us this delicate weapon of a coupe. It looks like it wants to run, baby. The proportions are the perfect spiritual successor to the legendary Integra DC2. Seriously, compare the vehicles below. Tell me which one looks more like a new Integra.

04 2023 Acura Integra A Spec

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481974 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of

Honda Integra 1998 Images 1
There’s a resemblance here—and it’s not between the two cars badged Integra.

Of course, the new concept could still easily live under the Prelude name. Previous Preludes were sleek two-doors with plenty of style, after all. However, the Preludes always had a longer hood and a more luxurious design. This new concept is so tight and so sporty that it’s hard to understand why Honda didn’t save the Integra name for this one – even if it has more of a GT bent!

481964 Honda Marks 25 Years Of Pioneering Hybrid Success With European Debut Of
Honestly, Prelude is a great nameplate, too. My gripe is more that the current Integra doesn’t deserve that badge, more than anything.

Ultimately, the new Prelude should be a winner. Honda knows how to make a front-wheel-drive car exciting and useable in equal measure. Design-wise, it’s already a hit, too. I’ll just be left wondering why we got a whale of an Integra when this lithe little dancer was waiting in the wings.

In any case, I can’t wait to drive one. Here’s hoping the Prelude hits markets the world over. Pester your local dealer today.

Image credits: Honda, Acura

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John Metcalf
John Metcalf
1 day ago

They should offer this in a manual like they did the CRZ. If they did that, I’d almost forgive them for not making this a hatchback (yes I know that previous Preludes had a trunk.)

BBecker
BBecker
1 day ago

It resembles the 4th gen ’91-’96 Prelude. I don’t see Integra here.

A “prelude” to electric—how silly. FYI, Honda, EVs are already fully out there, and this should be one.

I want a car that’s gas or hybrid so I can easily travel all day, but for daily use an EV sports/GT is ideal. For daily commutes less seating and less cargo space are less of a concern. Many buy a small coupe as a second car, and with electric’s existing limitations an electric Prelude would be a great option.

Note to Honda: I’ve never experienced more uncomfortable seats than in your cars (’21 Accord.) Why is there no infinite rake for the seatback, why the predefined notches? And I need a $20 Amazon cushion just so I can sit in the car for more than 20 minutes.

Not entirely altruistic
Not entirely altruistic
2 days ago

Shouldn’t car enthusiasts just be happy that a manufacturer like Acura came out with a manual car in a relatively inexpensive and overall nice car? If Acura made the Integra a 2 -door, I doubt my dealership would have sold more than maybe one or two. We have seen a lot of success with the Integra and particularly with the manual variant, owners that had Integra’s back in the day but had to grow their cars for their growing family can now go back to a fun little car to drive. It was a great marketing move, a good product and they really nailed the Type S

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
2 days ago

Yes. They should. And as someone who bought one (and never buys a first year car) I was voting with my money. I bought an ASpec with the manual, and it’s a terrific car. I don’t want to be rude to Lewin, but they’re parroting what all the morons who say a car that can do 0-60 in 6 seconds are saying, and they’re wrong too. It’s a really fun car, and it’s a great daily driver, which is what I was looking for.
I don’t need a track car, I want something that’s comfortable and has a hatchback that I can load full of servers to drive out to a data center, and has good tech (android auto, in my case) that gets me an enjoyable driving experience and that I want to get into every day, and every day, I look forward to driving it.

So, suck it, anyone who says Acura/Honda were wrong. You were looking for the wrong car. The Integra was the car I was looking for, and it delivers. (Also, the Type S is overkill, honestly. That MPG hit in daily driving is not worth the minimal extra HP.)

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 days ago

I am not sure what happened to the roof line but it appears to be designed in a separate room than the rest of the car.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
2 days ago

Yay that the Prelude name is coming back; I’m just not interested in getting one- it just makes me want a 3rd gen even more…that’s what I actually really want. The first glance at this one’s shape reminded me of a Porsche 911 a little bit…I’m not saying it looks like one; it’s just similar but especially not from the side view…maybe it’s because of the nose

Shinynugget
Shinynugget
2 days ago

Please let it be just a little fun to drive. A manual would be nice too. The CR-Z was such a let down.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 days ago

If they offer it with a manual like the CR-Z, I’ll do everything in my power to buy one.

Last edited 2 days ago by Ricardo Mercio
Aaronaut
Aaronaut
2 days ago

“…and boy howdy. It’s a looker.” Um, is it??
The overall shape is nice, I’ll grant you, but it’s so awkward in both the front and rear. Maybe the aftermarket can body-kit the hell out of this and clean it up?

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
2 days ago

I would love to have one of these along my Honda Insight Gen 1, just like the picture. This is the closest we can get similar to the original Insight but adapted to modern times. Give it a manual you cowards lol

SoWontLetMeKeepMyManual
SoWontLetMeKeepMyManual
2 days ago

This whole discourse feels like nobody has actually driven a new Integra. It’s a delight.
Granted, I didn’t drive the automatic, only the stick, but it comes with a stick like we all whine about constantly. The throw is short and pleasingly stiff ;), the clutch engagement is intuitive, the revs are revvy, it makes the poor Acura salesman grunt and grab the O.S. handle when you hit the onramp. The ride is planted, but still doesnt crush you when you get to a pothole. The act of driving feels really good. Oh, but while you are driving you get to be in a modern low-lux cabin with great seats. It also comes in actual colors that look good and you can get a red interior, which is pretty dope.

You may now take all that with a large grain of salt because I didn’t buy it. I did really like it though.

Micah Cameron
Micah Cameron
2 days ago

What did you end up buying?

SoWontLetMeKeepMyManual
SoWontLetMeKeepMyManual
2 days ago
Reply to  Micah Cameron

Mazda 3 Turbo Premium Plus. As my username implies, my significant other wouldnt sign off on me getting another manual.

Apples to automatic apples: the 3 in its Turbo guise has quite a bit more power, is a couple bucks cheaper, in Premium Plus trim it has a really similar level of fit and finish to the Acura. It also has a red leather interior. Beyond that everything else is preference. Like, i strongly preferred the infotainment controls of the 3 (no touchscreen at all), although the Integra has plenty of physical buttons. The Turbo PP vs a standard 3 has a more aggressive style that’s also very nice, but I think the Integra is a really good looking car too so that’s kind of a toss up for me.

Also, the Type S didnt exist when i was shopping and i wouldnt have been able to afford it anyway. So the comparison is an A-Spec + Tech package.

Anoos
Anoos
2 days ago

I was recently considering an Integra also. Seems like a great package, but I ended up with an EV instead.

Dealbreaker for me was the styling. I hate the Integra’s face.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
2 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Honestly that’s the only fair criticism I’ve seen. Acura keeps sticking with the beak thing, and while it’s gotten “less bad” … it’s still not good.

Anoos
Anoos
2 days ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

I liked the Civic, but I think there was a feature you couldn’t get until stepping up to the Si. But the Si was a sedan and we were inflexible on the hatch. Type R was a hatch but way beyond how this car would be used.

That left us with the Integra. I liked that the manual only came with the higher trim – the opposite of some manuals I’ve bought before.

The face, though. It’s trying so hard (yet somehow failing twice as hard).

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
2 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Yeah, I can’t argue there. My feeling, however, is, “I don’t look at it, so that’s someone else’s problem.” I only see the interior, and the proboscis isn’t so terrible that it takes away the fact that it’s literally the only reliable 4 door sedan I can buy with a manual transmission. (And the hatch is a huge bonus, which truly rules out any other complaints.) Would I prefer it had the 2.4 that was in the ILX? Yes…. that was a much better engine….. but it’s a much better car overall than the ILX was… and it’s literally the only game that checks all my boxes. (Which, honestly, are not that complex. 4 doors, manual transmission, fun to drive, and fits my 6’3″ frame comfortably with a decent ride.)

Lightning
Lightning
2 days ago

Sorry, strong disagree on all counts. I drove around a 5-door Integra in the ’80s and ’90s (in California Bay Area at the time as Alexander Moore suggests) and the new Integra reminds me of that. I didn’t watch the Fast and the Furious until recent years, and though I like that generation Integra, it just doesn’t stick in my mind. Plus I think the new Integra looks pretty good in the production colors (though it looked bad in the yellow it was announced with).

This new Prelude kind of got hit by the ugly stick, with an uglier version of the new Prius nose, and the roofline that I don’t like from the last two Z cars. That lavender-colored Prelude, as well as some of the other Preludes are a good looking cars, but not this new one.

Last edited 2 days ago by Lightning
No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
2 days ago

Remember when the Altima came in a coupe version? This kinda gives that.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
2 days ago

“Pepperidge Farm Remembers”

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
3 days ago

Why? Four-door Integras were all you ever saw in the Bay Area in the ’00s. I didn’t even know we got the Type-R here until fifteen years later. It was the ultimate yuppie mom car with its frameless doors and ‘fancy Civic’ looks. I genuinely don’t understand why everyone is tripping over themselves to act like the Integra four-door wasn’t a massive seller and the main form of the ‘Integra’ that most normal consumers remember. Even the last two-door Integra here got a different name—RSX. If anything it was the two-door models that weren’t ‘true Integras’.

Do note that I am specifically talking about the Acura Integra. I understand the Honda Integra has a slightly different history, but that’s not what’s being sold here.

Last edited 3 days ago by Alexander Moore
Lightning
Lightning
2 days ago

Yup, my family’s first gen ’87 5(4)-door Acura Integra 5-speed manual became my daily driver in the San Jose in the ’90s. I don’t know which sold better, the 2-door or the 5-door, but the 5-door was absolutely a popular car.

Epochellipse
Epochellipse
3 days ago

I would have been happier if Acura had recycled the Legend nameplate for the new Integra.

I’d also be happier if there was a Prelude Si already on the way.

Yukonelele
Yukonelele
3 days ago

Lewin is British right? I think for myself as a corn-fed Midwesterner, these nameplates make more sense. Here the integra was always an Acura, and so I equate it more with the leather seats and gussied up models. I’ve always thought of Hondas as the fun cars, so the sport coupe being a Honda checks out for me.

Anoos
Anoos
2 days ago
Reply to  Yukonelele

I don’t even think of leather seats with an Integra. I’m pretty sure most of the ones I or rode in had cloth interiors.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
2 days ago
Reply to  Yukonelele

Oh! Is that what this is all about? Is it a british vs american confusion thing? That would explain a whole lot…… because the tone-deafness in the article is insane from an american angle.

05LGT
05LGT
3 days ago

I sadly believe this is a Prelude based on pricing. Based on the old days and current Integra prices they’ll make a couple dozen in the mid 50s but most will be 75-80. Just like the old days, it will cost more than far better cars.

Fredzy
Fredzy
3 days ago
Reply to  05LGT

It’s based on the Civic, likely with its 200hp hybrid drivetrain. The Civic hybrid starts around $29k with the top trim under $33k. Hard to imagine why what is pretty much a Civic coupe would cost double the sedan.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
3 days ago
Reply to  Fredzy

Yea, this isn’t GM with the volt vs Cadillac elr here!

05LGT
05LGT
2 days ago
Reply to  Fredzy

Check Integra prices.

Bucko
Bucko
3 days ago

I had to go back and look at the original Integra just to ensure I wasn’t losing my mind. Sure enough, the original had two and four door variants. It also was a hatchback. The new one lacks a two-door option, but otherwise adheres to the original much more closely than the Prelude.

When I was much younger, my automotive choice was between an Acura Integra or a GTI 16V. I ended up with the Volkswagen, but these two cars were finalists in large part because they were hatchbacks. Try throwing a bicycle in the back of that Prelude and let me know how it goes.

Ironically, 37 years later, a Golf R and Acura Integra would still be on my short list. This time, I would probably choose the Acura simply because of the interior controls on the Golf.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
3 days ago

I wonder if the maker of Quaalude would license the name to Honda?

I have fond memories of ’90s hot Hondas, and this car looks the business but rumors point to it being a vanilla civic under the sexy skin. No thanks, I’ll take a GR86 or Miata if I’m giving up the practicality of backdoors.

So, seriously who’s buying this? I predict a small handful of retirees who still have memories deep in their subconscious of 2 door “personal cars” and don’t want to get into a german car. They’ll probably sell a decent handful the first year or two and then it will drastically taper off as the handful of older folks who still pine for a reliable, practical, vaguely sporty 2 door car have bought one. And if it’s meant to be sporty it needs to have at least the Si drivetrain if not the Type R drivetrain otherwise I don’t see what the point is.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
2 days ago
Reply to  Steve P

lol fucking amazing

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
2 days ago

Welp, when they die, there will be cheap Honda’s to buy at estate sales. What’s not to like?

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
2 days ago
Reply to  Gilbert Wham

Fair enough I suppose, immaculately maintained and low mileage but with terrible sun fading.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
3 days ago

I like it, but it’s not an enthusiast car. For all the heat they took for the Integra at least they had the good sense to offer a manual. This one won’t have one because of the powertrain.

I didn’t see a top level comment complaining about the lack of a manual option so I had to be that guy.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
3 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Which is made all the more frustrating by the fact that Honda has built manual hybrids before.

Jatco Xtronic CVT
Jatco Xtronic CVT
3 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

It’s an even bigger shame it’s missing the correct transmission, none other than the Jatco CVT. Why bother with three pedals and a stick shift if you can allow the superior choice in comfort, smoothness, efficiency, and power delivery do the work for you? I’ll never get why enthusiasts opt for the primitive manual transmission over such a sophisticated marvel of engineering.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 days ago

Jatco claims 90% efficiency which IMO kinda sucks compared to 96% efficiency for a modern manual transmission. Its better than the 87% efficiency of a regular auto though.

“The newly developed CVT-XS is an evolution of our Jatco CVT-X, which boasts 90% transmission efficiency”

https://www.jatco.co.jp/english/release/2023/20231012_1452.html

“Manual transmissions have the highest efficiency due to their inherently low parasitic losses. Because they are usually splash-lubricated from gears spinning in the oil sump, manual transmissions usually do not require the oil pump or forced cooling that most automatic transmissions require. These factors contribute to a manual transmission’s ability to transfer torque with only about 4 percent energy loss of the engine’s gross output, compared to 13 percent loss for conventional automatic transmissions.”

https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/21744/chapter/7#172

Plus rowing your own is fun.

Last edited 2 days ago by Cheap Bastard
TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
2 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I feel like if you check the username, you’ll see this is a fruitless argument, my friend.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 days ago

Noted.

Eric Gonzalez
Eric Gonzalez
3 days ago

That first gen Prelude is such as badass car. Wish it was a bit larger in real life, but still

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