Used 2000 Honda Prelude Type SH Review
A balanced and capable sport coupe. Overpriced compared to the competition, though.
The aptly named Prelude has always been a symbol for great things to come. Honda has long used the Prelude to showcase its latest technological developments. Remember Honda's four-wheel steering system, designed to give drivers better control in tight corners? It first debuted on the '88 Prelude. In 1993, the Prelude was also one of the first Hondas to receive a VTEC engine, originally introduced in the 1991 Acura NSX. In 1997, Honda continued this tradition by putting its new Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) in the limelight, once again on the Prelude Type SH (identified by its sporty rear spoiler and leather shift knob).
ATTS is designed to give the front-wheel-drive 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 whether 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?
Both trims of Prelude are powered by the VTEC 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that, when coupled with the manual transmission, cranks out 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 156 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. The auto-tranny setup makes 195 horses at 6,600 rpm but the torque numbers remain the same. Base models are available with either a manual or automatic transmission, but if you want the high-tech Type SH, you better like rowing your own gears since it is available only with the five-speed manual gearbox. The four-speed automatic features a sequential SportShift that gives the driver the option of selecting his own gears, similar to Porsche's Tiptronic. Both the base and Type SH models get standard four-wheel ABS, which pull the car down quickly.
The Prelude comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, power moonroof, adjustable steering column and a height-adjustable driver seat. Also standard is a state-of-the-art anti-theft system that uses a digitally coded radio signal to insure that the key you use is the one that came with the vehicle.
After receiving harsh criticism for the fourth-generation's funky interior, Honda took a conservative approach to the dashboard layout of the current Prelude. It is disappointing to note that Honda went so conservative that there's nothing to distinguish the car from a late-'80s Accord. Come on, guys, you can do better than that.
Despite the interior shortcomings and the much-maligned headlamps, the Prelude is an outstanding sport coupe that offers the latest technology at a reasonably affordable price. Unfortunately, its sales numbers have been falling in recent years and now a new Honda roadster, the S2000, threatens to make the Prelude a nonentity.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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