1998 Honda Prelude VTi-R 2.2 In-Line Four w/ VTEC from Australia and New Zealand
A Class Act Sans Euro Expense
Recalled: Ignition fault replaced under Warranty.
Front tires wear quickly.
CD changer replaced due to malfunction.
Battery failed and consequently replaced.
Rustproofing/Lubrication was poorly done at time of delivery and leaked grease of some kind down the sides.
Windscreen chipped on first day! Subsequently cracked in different place (from edge) on a drive without coming to my notice (ie: with no noise). Possible fault with windscreen quality?
At least one other recall which I can't remember :)
No driver's side seat memory, unlike my old 1990 Prelude. This is very annoying.
Lack of front headroom if favoured driving position is close to wheel. OK for drivers that sit back. Was better in old model.
Poor rear/blind spot visibility. Again, much better in the older model.
No rubber protection strips down side of car. This is not a fault, but beware in shopping center car parks.
Sings beautifully in Second and Third gears, but needs more push earlier. Can feel apathetic at lower revs. Engine lacks Euro character, though by no means does it sound industrial. Compensates with high rev Variable Valve Timing scream. Techno, but still nice.
Feels less connected with the ground than old car, although limits are much higher. Perhaps feels a bit rubbery - it's stance on the road isn't as rewarding as it might be.
Turning circle is terrible, a great irony when comparing it to the last two models, which were exceptional in city environments due to their Four Wheel Steering systems.
Nevertheless, inspires confidence in wet or adverse conditions. Can keep with supposedly faster cars over the right terrain. More fun at high speed (unfortunately, given the proliferation of speed cameras here). Takes repeated thrashings well and rewards driver input.
Excellent quality all round. A class above other Japanese cars. Never looks or feels cheap from any angle.
The climate control is excellent and well implemented. The paint quality is very good. The wheels on my car are quite beautiful alloys, specific to the VTi-R model I believe.
Gearchange and clutch action are taut, although nowhere near as crisp as an S2000 say.
A bit too much tyre noise at speed - perhaps tyre change would help.
The ATTS (available on the top model - Active Torque Transfer System) is designed to correct some of the inherent limitations of front wheel drive. Its effects are noticeable and beneficial when driving in a spirited fashion. It does add a small amount of weight to the car.
Fuel economy is fine for a sports car -hard driving reduces economy of course, but not excessively.
There is no lumbar support, yet on a recent trip (1000 km each way) I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort over a long distance. Excellent.
Styling has aged better than expected.
Power steering can sometimes load up when turning at low speed - I have heard other Prelude owners complain of this.
Extended Warranty (2yrs) offered by dealer was probably expensive given the car's obvious reliability, but still cheaper than General Motors Holden's equivalent Commodore offerings. (I think $450 Australian Dollars from memory)
Service is again a cut above other Japanese manufacturers. Car always washed and presented in tidy condition.
Car has been discontinued now - not sure of the effect on resale of that development.
Note that I have only done 20000 Km in 5 years of owning this car; so long term faults are unlikely to be evident.
Nevertheless based on my experience with earlier models and my evaluation of this car, I would say that exceptional long term reliability is assured.
Quality approaching BMW at a price far less, in Australia at least. A car with some real character, elegance and sufficient speed. Brilliant medium distance point to point car - a pleasure to own.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th March, 2003
7th Dec 2005, 00:13
I would just like to add to the last comments if I may. I am the proud owner of a 1998 Honda Prelude Vti-r, and I must admit that after owning many turbo vehicles in my life, I am very happy with the reliability of my car. I have only a few basic modifications done to the car, and am achieving 143.5kw at the front wheels. Although this may not sound like a lot, it really is felt once the vtec starts to scream at a mere 4000rpm...
12th Mar 2007, 15:31
I know all about those Aussie speed cameras mate, but trust me you have it easy compared to us in Big Brother State Britain. There are stretches of road here where you can lose your licence in no time at all due to the sheer number of cameras. So my 'lude is a nice & easy 2.0i auto, but I will be migrating to Oz in November, and my choice of wheels is gonna be a Monaro! Aussie muscle at its finest.
17th Oct 2007, 08:56
I have recently bought a VTi-R prelude here in Australia. I am amazed at the value you get for so little money. I was wondering though, does any one know if the VTi-R prelude comes with an LSD?
12th Mar 2012, 20:21
They don't come as standard with an LSD, but on the road it's hardly noticeable.