The Honda Prelude returns as a concept EV

It's a 'prelude to our future models,' the company said.


Honda has brought its iconic Prelude back in the form of a new concept EV, a two-door coupe that looks surprisingly ready for production, the company announced. No details about the powertrain were revealed, but Honda said it represents a preview of the company's future EV lineup and demonstrates its commitment to driver-focused performance.

The Prelude concept was revealed at the end of Honda's Tokyo Mobility Show presentation without many details, other than the appearance. It resembles the latest Honda Civic, particularly in the front end. It's less angular though, retaining the smoother lines that later versions of the original Prelude were known for. Other notable visual cues include bulging fenders, regular side mirrors (not cameras), a small spoiler and blacked out windows. The latter probably means that the concept doesn't have much in the way of an interior yet.

The original Prelude put Honda on the map for front-wheel-drive performance, famously coming in second to the Porsche 944 in a 1984 Car and Driver shootout (while beating a Ferrari 308, Lotus Esprit, two other Porsches and a Toyota Supra in the process). It was discontinued in 2001, with the final US model offering 200 horsepower.

Honda was very slow, reluctant even, to embrace electric cars — bringing the breakthrough Honda E to market was an uphill battle. And that vehicle likely won't get a follow-up, as Honda said earlier this year that it would focus on SUVs instead. However, CEO Toshihiro Mibe made clear that the Prelude concept represents the company's way forward in terms of sporty EVs.

"The word 'prelude' means an 'introductory or preceding performance,'" he said. "This model will become the prelude for our future models which will inherit the 'joy of driving' into the full-fledged electrified future and embody Honda's unalterable sports mindset. The Prelude Concept is a specialty sports model that will offer [an] exhilarating experience."

Those comments suggest that the company will eventually built the Prelude, or something like it. That would be a way for Honda to move into EVs while still embracing its enthusiast performance heritage.