Used 1999 Honda Prelude Type SH Review
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.
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