What's your opinion of the new Prelude?
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Here are some of the comments we got...
Right off the bat, I'd have to comment on the fact that it's, shall we say, "aesthetically deficient." Not so much the body, but the front end. Ouch! It does bear a strong resemblance to the current Honda styling so prevalant in their product line. It used to be that Honda was on the cutting-edge, on the forefront of beautiful design. No longer. Yet, knowing how Americans are so in love with the Honda nameplate, it should be no surprise that it'll do reasonably well. Just look at the Civic!

-Tinman
Thanks for the scans of the '97 Prelude. What I've seen so far makes me glad I bought a '96.

-Mark
This is just about the most unattractive car Honda has designed!!!!!

-Danny
I had my hopes high for the 97 Lude. I heard conservative in Automobile magazine, but all the artists conceptual drawings still made the car look decent, and with the 220HP, no complaints. But then I saw the pictures on your web site. I am just in shock. What is Honda thinking, do they purposely want to kill the Prelude or what? From the side and the back, looks like an ok coupe. But the front, looks like a Sunfire. It looks like a weird looking Civic. Technologically, it's an incredible car. But, no Mustang is going to be intimidated by this 97 Prelude.

-Tarik
We have a 1994 Prelude. We thought we might trade for a 97, but after viewing these pictures, we think we will stick with the one we have. It is much sportier looking. We are not impressed with the 97 style at all.

-Ken
The 97 Prelude is horrifying to look at! Makes me want to buy the current one before the new one arrives. Well, when the new Prelude comes out, it should boost Acura Integra sales greatly.

-Drew
That's one ugly Prelude if I ever saw one. The '96 model is much better looking. I thought that Honda would stuff in one of the new VTEC-III engines. Guess I was wrong. Makes me glad that no one I know is holding out for a '97 Prelude!

-Dennis
I've been a loyal Honda fan for a long time, and I have NEVER ever seen any Honda this ugly! It looks like they borrowed the headlights from the Pontiac Sunfire, body style from the new Nissan 240SX, and the rear end/back from either a Toyota Camry or Lexus SC400. It doesn't have the styling and look of a real and true Honda. I'm planning to buy a Prelude in the next 3-4 weeks, and I couldn't decide which year I should get. Now it seems the decision and option is loud and clear. 1996 model is the only way to go!!! But thanks to your site though! It's great, and keep up the good work!!!

-ThePunch
I just hope Honda puts a different front end on the US version (as they did with the Integra)! Overall, it looks like they tried to make the new Lude look like the current (and ugly) Nissan 240SX. I think they screwed up, but maybe it'll look better in real life. This new Direct Yaw Control does sound promising...

-Brett
What is the deal with that new headlight design! Honda seems to have gone completely retro to a design similar to the Accords of the latter '80's; simply replace the flip up lights with headlamps and you have yourself a '97 Prelude. The rear is re-designed and I guess is similar to the Legend; that might look alright. I also heard it could fit four adults comfortably, which isn't entirely bad, but it seems like it's turning away from being a driver's car. And the dash design will be more conservative, which isn't entirely bad either, but personally I like the cockpit look of the current generation. Something I do admire about the '97 Prelude is its Type R engine, able to push out 220 hp and its "direct yaw control," hopefully not to end up like the AWS option of old.

-Neil
YUK! I'm sure that Honda has put together a worthy car in terms of performance and reliability, but their body styling has really gone out the window. There are some models that they have introduced that took some getting used to, but this one is going to take more than its fair share. On to specifics. In profile, I think that the hood line is too square in the front. The roof line carries too far back, making the rear window too upright. I'm sure they were stuggling to give an adult headroom in the rear seats, but isn't that what the Accord is for? Prelude owners MAY have to actually put someone back there on occasion, but not enough to damage the looks of the car by accommodating them! The tail of the car is its only "not-so-bad" area. And who is it that has given Honda's marketing department the impression that we like monstrous headlights? In short, I will never buy one. I can get an Integra if I want the performance, an Accord if I want to cart people in the back seat or a TL if I want a luxury ride. Why compromise the good looks of all of those cars for a poor styling attempt to combine the three?

-Zack
Front end SUCKS!!! Looks like a Neon on steroids. Sides/back are not too bad...better be an awesome performer, or sales are gonna be waaay down!

-R. Stoffel
Yuck!! I almost puked when I saw that car!!! Super V-TEC motor, nasty packaging... Whoever is responsible for this at Honda should be removed from the design team! I loved the looks of the 92-96 Preludes much better. It's true that the design needed to be freshened up, but this is going too far. It looks like an 82 Prelude with headlight covers!

-Duy
Not impressed with the styling. I am really sick of the "cute" look that all the new Hondas have...the Accord, Civic, and now Prelude.

-Dontin
I have a 1994 Prelude VTEC and adore the clean, simple look of the car. This 1997 Prelude is hideous. Those lights make it look like a Saturn or a Sunfire -- both dumpy, lame GM monstrosities. It is really pathetic to think that Honda has sunk to these design depths. I was really hoping that the 97 Prelude would have similarities to the Acura CL. The lights and lines of the CL are quite daring and attractive. But this Prelude is sad. It looks cheap and cheesy. At least they kept the VTEC in it. It is the only thing going for it right now. In another respect, this is good for me. My Prelude will retain its value. After Honda takes a beating on this car, the few souls left who want top performance with a sophisicated body will go to older Preludes.

-Andrew
It is absolutely amazing that the designers at Honda came up with a car like this! This new body style looks terrible, even an AMC Pacer looks better than this "thing" Honda has created. Love your pages, thanks for all the info!!

-Frank
What's with the Sunbird/Cavalier headlights??!!??!? YECCCCHHHH!!!!!!

-Gary
I sure hope the pictures shown of the '97 Prelude are Japan-specs. I really like the current design of the Honda Prelude and I think if Honda continues with its big bug-eyed lights... well man, that sucks. I don't think American buyers will like the new look of the new Prelude.

-Csiao
Looks awful! What's with those headlights? It better have at least 220 HP to compensate for the ugly looks. Somebody slap those designers. New Civic...Yuk! New Prelude....Yuk! Integra Type R is cool. Get it together Honda!

-Allan
Thanks for the pictures of the upcoming Prelude. I have to wonder what Honda is thinking. Where is the agressive, sporty styling? This looks like a family coupe. They have to know that the potential buyers for the Prelude want sports car syling and performance - 16" or larger wheels, agressive body styling, and a great engine. Thanks goodness for the VTEC!!!! I will withold any further comments until the November car mags hit my mailbox. I am the proud owner of a black '94 Prelude VTEC. I love it, but had thought maybe about getting the new model. After seeing these pictures, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

-Phil
Just saw the new Prelude. It doesn't make me want to unload my black 92 Si. I had hoped they would move in a lower, rounder direction (a classic shape like the Lexus SCs). The Accord looks better.

-Matt
I'm thinking of getting a sports coupe soon and I was certainly waitng for the arrival of the new Prelude. The last generation (92-96 model) was one of my favorites. And you know what? This new Prelude looks really awful. I have no idea what the Honda people are doing these days. (Look at the new Civic and redesigned Accord). The last two generations of Preludes were awesome. But not this one. With this design, I don't think they (Honda guys) will make a big hit, especially at its lofty price. I can say I can count out the Prelude from my shopping list.

-Seunghoon
Ohhhhhh my God..........this is the ugliest car since the '96 Civic or Acura CL.....if nobody bought the '92-'96 models, who the heck is going to buy this monstrosity? The Prelude fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Oh dear lord!!!

-???
That's NOT the 97 Prelude??!?!! If it is, I'm going to throw up. I have a 92-96 model---and I can't believe Honda would put THAT thing out as a replacement!!! Help me...I'm dying over here!

-Tom
Oh, what have they done? I knew they were gonna change it, but this car looks NOTHING like the current version. Even the artist's sketch that was in one of the car mags a couple months back look more promising than this. I truly hope the U.S./Canada version will look more sporty. As it stands now, it looks more like a sedan-want-to-be, and I don't see any way of souping the car up to look sporty. What a disappointment...I'm glad I bought my Prelude (1996 model) instead of waiting for the '97!

-Nelson
I praise Honda for their bold new headlamps on the Prelude (in which I cringe at every time I look at them), but for the rest of the car (as well as the dash), I think it's a little conservative for a mid-90's coupe. It's too bad that a car with such an amazing engine and a world-class suspension has to be shrouded with an uninteresting body and goofy headlamps.

-Rob
I feel Honda has really lost focus in the marketing and design of the Prelude. Back in the late 70's and early 80's, the Prelude was looked upon as an affordable, stylish sport coupe with an emphasis on luxury, handling, and long-lasting durability. All three of these traits held true for the first and second-generation cars built from '79 thru '87, and they even still hold true for the third generation built from '88 thru '91. (Check out the resale on these cars - it's incredible) But in '92, as a means of realigning the car to be more sports-oriented, the Prelude's appeal was lost in the smaller design. True, it is by far the best Prelude on the track, but it also got a rounded, funky looking exterior, a strange instrument panel, and a soaring price tag topping into the mid-20K's. It looks like a CRX which melted in the hot sun. Despite a sales peak in '92, the car's sales have hit bottom. Now the '97 is coming out, and strictly based on appearances, I'm not impressed. Despite the longer wheelbase and more interior room, the car looks boxy and has no proportions to its look. I hope the new Prelude can make up for it on the track AND on its sticker price.

-Eric
I can't say that I wholeheartedly like the new drastic departure. The best word I can use is weird. Why does the hood seem so elongated? - Weird. Why do the headlights insist on being so square and Civicy? - Weird. Looks like something from the past more than the present. What is it with Honda/Acura and different headlights anyway? On the other hand, I have to say I like those characteristic folds that run along the side of the car below the windows.

-Keefe
Hi, to tell you the truth, I'm kinda disappointed with the new Prelude because of the new body style. To me it reminds me of a Chevy Cavalier..because of the headlights, and the body shape. However, as with so many other people, I was disappointed with the latest 1996 "Lude" when it first came out, but now I want one..so I guess it'll take some time to sink in...

-Hizon
As a Honda owner and big fan, thanks for the "sneak pics" of the new Prelude. Personally, I think Honda could've done a better job with this new Prelude; bolder styling like the '92-'96 model, better-styled ground effects and headlights that don't look like they came from the CRV. The signature style Prelude seats are gone as are the high rear deck lids. The rear of the car looks like a cross between the Nissan Altima, 240SX and Lexus SC. I'm also thinking that the new design has to mature a while before I like it, such was with the '92 model which I thought was really ugly, but now I love it. Thanks again for the sneak peeks!

-Sandy
Well it's not what I had expected, I thought it would be a little more exotic looking than it is. The current model looks more upper class, and it has the exotic profile. The current model can park with more expensive cars and look like it belongs with them. I thought that Honda might have made it look more like the NSX, now that it is up for a change soon. However, when the current model came out in 92, I thought it was too radical, but now I absolutely love it (I own one myself). I am happy that they increased the horsepower to 220+; it is going to need it to compete with the 96 Talon TSI.

-Louis
The front end treatment of the new Prelude is kind of strange to my North American eyes. But you have to salute Honda's corporate courage. It's a very bold stroke to put something that radical on the market. It reminds me of when I saw my first generation Prelude when it turned up in my neighborhood in the mid '70's in rural Saskatchewan. No one had ever seen anything like it. It was positively weird. But it was cheap (for its day) and my, it could do power turns to beat the band in my neighbor's yard. We quickly got over its quirks. Now, I'm only hoping the '97 doesn't have that wretched speedometer found in the current generation.

-Sean
Here in Italy we need a good 2.0 Liter engine, but the body it seems good.

-Alex
Well, I'm glad they got the older hood back, I love that one. The body looks awesome. I like it more than the 92-96, but they are still awesome looking. When I first saw it , I was like der der ..uhhh..what is that. Later... I love it...I want it...

-Mike