1998 Honda Prelude SH (186)


Let’s take a look at the Honda Prelude this week. It comes in a base and SH models. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the ride, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I think they are great for young singles or newly married couples who want to combine the sports car feel with space for little passengers. Honda cars have always had a good reputation in the construction and reliable categories. So you may want to hold on to it for the kids, which is what my wife and I did, and it worked out great. It gave us an excuse to go out and buy a new car. By the time you give it to your 16 year old you’ll need a car that’s easier to get in and out of and you may need some added space to put your walker anyway.

I was amazed at how many Honda’s are on the road, but then you tend to notice every car on the road like the one you’re driving. Everywhere I looked there was another Honda. And Honda owners are like a cult. They are staunchly loyal and continue to grow in number. The Prelude was introduced in 1979 and contributed to overall company sales with nearly 80,000 units in 1986. Ten years later they dropped to less than one sixth, or about 12,000 units. Buyers have simply gravitated to sedans and sport-utility vehicles as indicated by the growth in sales of the Passport Sport Utility, Odyssey (van) and the Accord which was the number one choice of American consumers, with impressive sales of over 382,000 unit in ’96. Honda experienced record U.S. sales of 803,707 units in 1997 in spite of the decline in Prelude sales. Wow, that’s very impressive, and it represents an all-time record for the company.

Don’t you think the government should set an immigration quota on Honda cars? No, I don’t either, especially since about 90% are produced in North America. Ain’t the free enterprise system great? People vote for things with their dollars and thus provide the best testimony for any product we buy. That doesn’t apply to everything, of course, and just because everybody’s rug rat had to have a Cabbage Patch doll didn’t mean you should have run right out to buy one. Fad’s come and go, but making an investment as large as a car shows that people tend to get smarter in direct proportion to the cost. And it makes good sense to follow the sales volume of cars. You expect the doll to find its way to the bottom of the pile in a short time, but you’ll want your car to stand the test of time. Personally I like to have a lot of company when it comes to buying car number one because then I can justify buying a Ferrari or Poor-sha as car number two.

My father-in-law was pretty conservative and bought a little Honda Civic years ago. It was cute, got great gas mileage and reminded me of the bumper cars at the old Long Beach Pike. My VW at the time wasn’t much bigger. When in Poland recently I was reminded of that old Civic Pop had, because the Fiat 650 looks a lot like the Civic and every other car on their roads is a Fiat.

Good news: 

Honda has a good reputation. There are a lot of them on the road. Front seating is roomy and comfortable. 195 horsepower – powerful. A bunch of standard stuff and a kick to drive.

Bad news: 

Small back seat. Diminishing sales so I predict they will be discontinued soon.

The competition:

Acura Integra $21,600, Chevrolet Camaro $27,450, Dodge Avenger $17,460, Eagle Talon $20,715, Ford Mustang $28,430, Mitsubishi Eclipse $26,660, Nissan 240SX $24,449, Toyota Celica $26,058

Standard Equipment:

2.2 liter 195 horsepower inline 4-cylinder VTEC engine, 5-speed manual transmission, power rack & pinion steering, dual air bags, power windows, mirrors and door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, power moonroof with tilt feature, adjustable steering column, 6-speaker stereo system with CD player, rear spoiler, traction control and alloy wheels.

Gas Stats:

EPA numbers are 23 City and 27 Highway MPG.


MSRP is $25,800.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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