1997 Honda Prelude Type SH 2.2 DOHC VTEC from North America
Great performance sports coupe!!!
I replaced the radiator & the upper radiator hose at 60,000 miles. The clutch master cylinder & slave also have been replaced recently at 125,000 miles.
The Prelude is definitely a great car. It has an excellent build quality & craftsmanship. This is definitely one of the best car Honda ever produce.
Power wise, 195hp might sound a little too low for a car weighed slightly above 3000 lbs, but once you open up the throttle pass 5000RPM, I guarantee that you will have a lot of fun with it. Low end torque is somewhat disappointed, but this engine is build more for high rev fun.
Handling is definitely the specialty of this car, especially the Type SH which is equipped with Honda's Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS). I must be honest though, the ATTS unit isn't really useful for street driving. On the twisty & windy road, you still won't feel it as much either, but if you take it out on the weekend to a local road racing circuit, you will appreciate the ATTS unit a lot more. This car will slightly behave like a rear wheel drive when hit the throttle hard at exiting the corner.
The 5-speed short ratio manual gearbox shift smooth as a butter. If you live in a city that has winter season with a temperature under 40F, you might be feeling quite disappointed with the gearbox when you just start driving the car. You need to drive it for about 5 miles to let the engine & transmission warms up up to the normal engine operating temperature to truly appreciate the gearbox.
The cabin is definitely one of my favorite. The driving position is really low. For a moment, you'll feel like you are actually driving a sports car instead of a sports coupe. I wouldn't recommend it though for anyone who is taller than 6ft. I'm 6ft tall & I must say that on a long trip, this car can be very tiring for me. The seats felt more like a sports seat than a touring comfortable one. The Acoustic Feedback audio unit is definitely one of the best factory audio unit in its class at that time. In the past, I've always replace the OEM audio unit for an aftermarket one, but this is the first car that I didn't feel like it is necessary.
One thing that I would complaint to Honda is the tire. If you are just using the car to commute daily & isn't really an aggressive driver, you'll appreciate the quietness of the OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 but it is definitely not the right tires to truly enjoy & appreciate the capability of a Prelude. I replaced mine as soon as it worn out with a Bridgestone Potenza S-02 which dramatically change the personality of the car. It isn't as quiet, but stick to the asphalt like a glue.
Overall I think the Honda Prelude is an excellent car. I honestly wouldn't trade my Prelude for most cars in its class. I bought mine brand new back in 1997 for $26,000 & till this day, I must say that it worth every penny of it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th January, 2005
I have owned my 1997 TYPE SH since October of 1997. Do I wish that it had a bit more pizzaz? Maybe, especially as far as the interior goes, but when you get it past the VTEC engagement point, well, whatcan I say? The fun begins, it handles like a dream and you grin! I've gotten many compliments on my car in the last eight years, I still enjoy driving it and it doesn't look too bad despite 64,000 miles and Pittsburgh, PA winters (a good waxing with a buffer at least twice a year helps).
I bought a 97 SH used back in 03 and despite having 80k miles to begin with, it's had very few problems for a 10 year old car. I just drove it cross country relocating to the left coast a few months ago and despite some oil consumption, she performed just great and now has 121k miles. She's my daily driver and I do take corners pretty hard, so I get my $'s worth outta the ATTS. She's not terribly fast in a drag race against newer cars, (she's stock) but that's not her talent.
Things I've replaced: timing belt/water pump, tie rod ends, radiator (rock hit it), plugs/wires/rotor once, brake pads once. I'll have to replace the O2 sensors, shocks and struts soon, and a broken door handle at one point...