1998 Honda Prelude VTi-R H22A4 from Australia and New Zealand
Everything You'd Come to Expect from Honda and More
The CD Player refuses to play all burned CD's and even some store bought CD's.
Wheels need to be constantly rotated as fronts wear at a rapid rate (about 3x faster than rears.)
Thrust bearing was dry at time of purchase and needed replacement.
The H22A engine is one of Honda's best ever produced. It has a wonderful free-revving nature and it even out-torques the Honda F20C (The S2000's engine, which is the highest HP per Liter Naturally Aspirated engine in the world.) The extremely high 8200RPM Rev Limiter allows the engine to spool right up and has an amazing crisp, almost F1 sound to it.
As with all V-TEC engines, oil levels should be checked every 1500km's or so as V-TEC results in small amounts of oil being burned. Despite running the car hard and having it constantly on V-TEC, I rarely have to add any more than 50ml of oil each time it's checked.
The sporty suspension of the Prelude gives a firm yet still comfortable ride. The car hangs onto the road very well around corners, even under power. However, a good set of tires should be purchased as the Front Wheel Drive configuration of the car makes it prone to under-steer and wheel-spin, especially in the wet. Only downside to suspension is that it creates noticeable cabin noise at or over 90KPH.
The brake package on the Prelude has been very well suited to the suspension and offers A-Grade stopping power. The ABS prevents the wheels from locking up, without the making the car shudder, as others can be prone to doing. The stock brake pads require a slight warm up, but grip beautifully once they have done so.
The headlights offer weak yellow light, so replacement with white Xenon lights recommended. Stock lights are adequate, but only just.
The paint on the Prelude is top quality, with a thick coat which helps to resist chipping. The Ruby Red paint on my 1998 Prelude is in better condition than that of many friends year 2002+ models due to its high-quality and thick coat. There are no signs of any rust or corrosion, even in wheel wells and on the underside of the car, despite being exposed to rocks, debris and water.
The standard fabric interior of the Generation 5 Prelude is too of high quality. The drivers seat shows no signs of wear to the fabric, however the right side of the seat support is somewhat flattened, as the low stance of the Prelude requires you to sit on it both as you get in and out of the car. The leather-wrap steering wheel too shows signs of wear, but is to be expected due to age.
The 160 watt sound system gives great sound quality and clarity which makes upgrading to an aftermarket model unnecessary for most users. Unfortunately, the optional 10-stacker CD player has issues playing burned CDs and even some store bought CDs.
The electric windows, moon-roof and mirrors all work flawlessly, and the speed of the moon-roof is impressive compared to other cars. The slide-across sun visor on the moon-roof still allows sunshine through, even if you do not want the actual moon-roof open. This is a great function not offered by previous model Preludes with painted sunroofs.
Turning circle of Prelude is poor and must be taken into account when maneuvering. Often a three-point turn must be used where as other cars (ie. Honda Accord Euro) can make the maneuver in a single motion.
Headroom may offer an issue to taller drivers who prefer a seating position close to the steering wheel. Rear passenger legroom is also poor and is not suitable for long trips.
Due to low stance of car and it being a two-door model, access to rear seats is limited and getting in and out difficult for an adult.
Gearbox has great first, second and third gears, but fourth and fifth tend to lack. At 100KPH on the freeway, engine revs too high, around 3200RPM. Fifth gear needs to be taller or gearbox needs to have a 6th gear. This aside, car launches beautifully in first and is complemented by excellent second gear. Synchros offer great wear and even after seven years still offer lovely smooth changes, whether they be fast or regular.
Honda’s customer service is great, always presenting the car clean and neat after each service.
The Generation 5 Prelude is everything you’d come to expect of a Japanese car and more. While overlooked by many, they are more than capable of giving supposedly faster cars a run for their money. I cannot praise this car enough, and have no reservations about recommending one to anyone else. It will reward you with years of reliable driving pleasure.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th September, 2005