1999 Honda Prelude Review


Pros & Cons

  • Lots of power, distinctive styling, and room for four.
  • Limited headroom, and the Accord has a more attractive interior.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$880 - $2,042

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Vehicle overview

The aptly-named Prelude has always been a symbol for great things to come; Honda has long used the Prelude to showcase their latest technological developments. Remember Honda's four-wheel steering system, designed to give drivers better control in tight corners? It first debuted on the 1988 Prelude. In 1993, the Prelude was also one of the first Hondas to receive a VTEC engine, first introduced in the 1991 Acura NSX. In 1997, Honda continued this tradition by showcasing their new Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) on the Prelude Type SH.

ATTS is designed to give the Prelude rear-wheel drive cornering ability while retaining the wet-weather benefits of a traditional front-wheel drive car. The system works by monitoring the car's speed, steering angle, and yaw rate to determine if the car is following the driver's intended course. In a tight, fast corner the system works by increasing torque to the outboard front wheel, which in turn increases the vehicle's yaw rate, giving the driver better steering response. Basically, it neutralizes understeer for those times when the corners get a little too tight. What will they think of next.

The Prelude is powered by a VTEC engine that cranks out up to 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 156 foot-pounds of torque at 5,250 rpm. Base models are available with a manual or automatic transmission, but if you want the high-tech Type SH, you better like rowing your own gears; it is available only with a five-speed manual gearbox. The five-speed manual is a carryover from the previous Prelude, but the new four-speed automatic features a Sequential SportShift that allows drivers the option of selecting their own gears, similar to a Porsche Tiptronic. Base and Type SH models get standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes that pull the car down quickly from the Prelude's estimated top-speed of 140 mph.

After receiving harsh criticism for the previous-generation Prelude's funky interior, Honda took a conservative approach to the dashboard layout of their revised sports coupe. It is disappointing to note that they took an approach so conservative that when seated behind the Prelude's steering wheel, there is nothing to distinguish the car from a late-eighties Accord. Come on guys, you can do better than that.

Despite the interior shortcomings and the much-maligned headlamps, the Prelude is an outstanding sports coupe that offers the latest technology at a reasonably affordable price. If you are a gizmo hound, or you simply love to drive, this car must go on your shopping list.

1999 Highlights

Prelude gets another five horsepower, bringing it up to 200 horsepower with the manual transmission and 195 horsepower with the automatic. A remote keyless entry system is added, as is an air filtration system, mesh-style grille and new interior color choices.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1999 Honda Prelude.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Classic Sport
This car is excellent for those looking for something fun. Although the interior is bland and the car is a portly weight, it's mostly a silent killer. A little heavy to take 90 degree turns with ease, but if you take it on a curvy backroad, you see its true power. Take it on a sharp curve at speeds even a WRX would be scared of and the Prelude laughs at the curve and eats it for breakfast. Interstate driving is like a cakewalk for this car, easily passing any car with a quick downshift or two. Stop- and-go driving is a little boggy but still spirited. Also very quiet! The added reliability and high-quality materials make this car a smart buy for anyone wanting something fun!
prelude sh forever
I've been driving prelude SH a year now and everyday always put a smile on my face. I guess i dont need a face lift anymore, naturally it lift everytime i drive it, lol. I am at my 50's and this machine keeps me young. At 259,000 mileages there's no major work done into it except for regular maintenance of course. I drive it hard and revving high once in a while and this machine doesn't frustrate you. It goes on and on and on... the sexy body, the beauty of reliability, the perfection of stick shift is worth every penny. Bought it 6 grand but its worth it. No headache. If u find one, grab it. You'll love it the rest of your life, but don't trade your wife though,lol. Honda bring it back...
99 Prelude
P TITTY,07/19/2005
The prelude by Honda is a legend and I hope Honda decides to start production again soon. The 99 models saw a 5 HP increase to make it 200 HP(Base model seems fasteR than the SH MODEL), which is more than the type r integra stock. Exterior styling still turnsheads todaY and the interior is not bad. Under the hood we see one of the biggest stock honda 4 cylinder motors at 2.2 liters and the added bonus of VTECH MAKES THIS BABY SCREAM AFTER 5500 RPM. The one thing I have not like about hondas as I have previously owned a 00 civic si and 95 GSR integra is the clutches in the cars stock are not very heavy duty especially during racing. Overall the lude is the best sporty honda out there
Best Honda ever!!
Joe Kinney,09/25/2003
The 5th generation Prelude is the best looking Honda ever built. It strikes the perfect balance between the conservative lines of the Accord and the edgy aggressiveness of the NSX. Sure . . . it could do with a bit more low-end power, but it has plenty of juice for just about any situation you can imagine. What's more important -- it's REFINED power. 110 MPH feels more like 55 and there's almost no body roll to speak of. I was saddened when Honda decided to discontinue this exceptional line . . . but, I GOT MINE!!! I suggest you do the same.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1999 Honda Prelude features & specs 


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1999 Honda Prelude

Used 1999 Honda Prelude Overview

The Used 1999 Honda Prelude is offered in the following submodels: Prelude Type SH, Prelude Coupe. Available styles include Type SH 2dr Coupe, and 2dr Coupe.

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 Honda Prelude?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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