In the big picture of fast cars I peronally don't beleive that my 97' prelude is fast but, as for as stock 4 banger automatic goes it is very fast. The car is very fun and comfortable, also extemely reliable. I live in Butte montana it can get to be -25 degees below vero during the winter and the car has started every time!!!
Yes the 1997 Honda Prelude, a true example of what good engineering should be. I have owned 2 preludes, a 2001 and a 1997. I also had a 1998 run out of oil on me (it was my buddies) engine ended up blowing up. Anyway, these cars have near go cart like handling, they have fantastic styling, a fantastic stock sound system (buy a 13$ FM transmitter AKA 13$ thing), and pretty comfortable sport style seats! No it doesn't have the rapid crazy Tire spinning acceleration of my past BMW M3s, what it does have is a 2.2 liter VTECH 4 cylinder that pumps out 200 ponies!!! With that in mind, this car gets up and moves, especially noted when you appropriately run the premium gas THAT HONDA TELLS YOU TO PUT IN!!! Small displacement motors such as this one, that produce high amounts of power are what premium gas is exactly designed for, you will also get better fuel economy with it, do not cheap out on unleaded! It will surprise you and not ever disapppint! Amazing agile little front wheel drive car, insanely grippy, and has nice tight suspension that honestly hurts your ride quality, but helps make this go cart like handling possible. Most will run regular oil, but synthetic will give you the best results. These cars will crap out on you if you neglect them, when you treat them right they will always treat you right, right back. I've ran these cars at 60 down dirt roads with massive pot holes and bridges, swerving in and out of the holes, it could be a potentially good rally car if someone put their mind to I! Most people wouldn't dare going 40 where I'd hit 60. All in all the car is fantastic, it will get you 29 mpg (premium fuel, good oil, and SMART cruise control driving) at 80 MPH down a highway! If it gets less, something is wrong! Be warned if you get into your VTECH (5 grand or more) very often, your car will burn oil, not at normally driving but specifically inot the 5-7 grand range, check it frequently when running hard, may need to top of with an extra quart at most between oil changes. Also on a final note, these cars and all 90s Hondas get "honda" rust because of a black piece of blasting that lines your rear fender wells, it creates a huge river bed for water to sit, simply reach down take it off, and you've solved the problem. My favorite cars in the world! Treat her right, she treats ya right back!
This is my 3rd Prelude and the best by far. My 80 was a bit roomier and a classic, my 89 4WS was quick and had superior turning radius, my 97 is almost a combination of both. I could stand for more leg room for my 5'11" frame. The sport shift is conveinient and works great, the auto position blows for pick up. Gas milage is great. I still get compliments on its looks even after having it for 3 years. Sux that Honda killed the model, it was the only cool model they had going until the S2000. i'll never buy another honda, they look bland.
I bought my car used w/ 75,000 miles already on it. It is now at 239,000 w/ the bottom end rebuilt at 100,000 due to driving through high water. It is still reliable & all features work. I absolutely love the styling/appearance & I can't find another car that I like as much to purchase. When it finally dies, I think I'm just going to put in a new engine & transmission & keep driving. By far, the best vehicle purchase I've ever made.
If you can find one manual and in good shape , buy it . You won't regret it . Bought with 130k now at 156k and abused the mess out of it all the time and all I've had to replace was a shifter cable (800). Love everything about it besides back seats but hey its a coupe.