1994 Honda Prelude 2.3i 4WS 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Power. Handling. Looks. Affordable


An intermittent fault with the 4 wheel steering system became apparent soon after I got the car. Honda dealer diagnostics concluded the 4WS control unit was faulty. £1,600 for a new one! Luckily the car was still under warranty.

There is some unnerving brake judder when braking at high speed (over 100mph). It appears this is quite common with this model, and can usually be rectified with a de-glaze and clean of the front brakes.

Otherwise nothing has gone wrong with the car.

General Comments:

Okay, so maybe you're thinking of buying an affordable coupe with a bit of go. You're looking at Toyota Celica, Vauxhall Calibra, Audi Coupe? Well look no further than the 4th generation Honda Prelude. Tastefully anonymous and understated, yet a thoroughbred beast with performance and handling to trounce any opposition in it's class.

Mine is the 2.3i manual. Which I consider to be the best of the three models available (well I would, wouldn't I!) The 2.0 is adequate, but not inspiring. The 2.2 vtec is the fastest of the three, and is an awesome motor, but needs winding up to get the full force of the vtec system. The 2.3i is 0.6 seconds slower from 0-60 than the vtec, but it feels like it'll do it all in 4th gear!

The handling is superb. I don't know why Honda's 4 wheel steering system isn't on every car! It truly is a revelation at low and high speed, giving the car exhilarating poise and balance however hard you push it, and a turning circle better then my old Mini!

The exterior styling looks great, but it isn't just for looks. It's lightweight, low and wide because the performance and handling brief dictates it. Interior is functional and comfortable for two, but no more than two! The back seat is a token gesture.

All in all it's a great car. Turbo's and V6/V8's may be sportier, but this is a practical, affordable everyday car that will guarantee a grin every time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2003

14th Jan 2006, 16:23

I have had a a 1994 2.3 4ws from new. The only problem has been intermittent with the 4 wheel steering - the warning light came on. It was resolved by getting all 4 wheels geometrically aligned - cost £40; and the improvement in handling was significant.

1994 Honda Prelude VTEC 2.2 VTEC from North America


A real head-turner...if you're a mechanic or a car thief


In the original engine, a seal blew out at 120,000 miles and let all of the oil out of the motor while going down the highway.

I had the engine replaced with a used engine that had 55,000 miles on it.

The timing belt on the new engine broke at 145,000 miles and ruined the engine due to the engine being an interference engine and the pistons impacting the valves. A very costly repair.

The passenger side CV joint failed at 130,000 miles.

The radiator had to be replaced at 140,000 miles due to a crack in it.

General Comments:

Overall, this car is a great compromise. On one end, you get great performance, good gas mileage, and a very sexy looking car. On the other end, at higher miles components start to fail and the repairs for this vehicle are very costly.

This car is very fast for a four-cylinder car. It has a sophisticated system called VTEC, which means it has variable valve timing. At about 5200 RPM during hard acceleration, a hydraulic rod is forced into the camshafts and it changes the lobes to a higher duration, similar to a race engine. When this happens, it knocks you back in your seat and accelerates very quickly all the way to the 7400 RPM red line. The only downfalls of this technology are the high cost of repairs and the need to use premium fuel due to the high compression (10:1) of the engine. This greatly increases the cost of operating the vehicle.

The interior is tiny at best and will only fit two adults comfortably. I did on rare occasions, to the dismay of the individual, manage to fit one more adult in the rear, but they had to put their feet on the seat and could not use the seatbelt. The seats are made of top-quality leather and are very comfortable on long trips. The instruments are easy to read and all controls are easy to reach. The lack of rear-visibility is a real downfall at first, but after driving the car for a while, is not that big of a problem.

I live in a relatively quiet and safe neighborhood in Iowa, but somehow on three separate occasions' car thieves found my car to be attractive and decided to break into it and steal my CD player and CD's, even with an alarm. This car is very easy to break into for car thieves, according to the police that took the reports. Something to keep in mind.

My Prelude gets around great in the snow, for being a semi-sports car. It is front-wheel drive, which helps a great deal. The handling is extraordinary, due to the double wishbone suspension Honda used on all four corners of the car.

Even with all of the expense, I love this car. It is fun to drive and you don't see too many of them on the road. I plan on keeping it for a very long time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2003

22nd Jan 2006, 17:23

You should not call your car unreliable because the timing belt breaks! If it broke on you, then it clearly wasn't replaced when it should have been. Having timing belts break is a problem for all car companies, not just Honda. The interference design will give more performance than a non interference one, and that is a trade off. As for a seal blowing, couldn't you tell that the car sounded different, had its temp gauge go up, or preformed poorly, or did you keep driving it?

15th Mar 2006, 23:40

Timing what?? Any car with a rubber band in control is not worth it's weight in dog poop.