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2001 Honda Prelude

$2,529 — $7,833 USED
Coupe
4 Seats
24 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
With a history dating back to 1979, sluggish sales have kept Honda’s front-drive sport coupe out of the radar of most sports car shoppers. Only 9,692 of the 2+2 coupes were sold during 2000, competing against such models as the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Toyota Celica, both of which were restyled for the 2000 model year.

Sales of the Prelude in 1999 totaled 11,378 units. Younger buyers who favor Hondas appear to have turned to Civics, which cost considerably less and are popular choices for aftermarket customization. The Prelude earned its last redesign for 1997 and has since been overshadowed by the debut of the S2000 roadster, Honda’s full-fledged sports car.

Changes are few for 2001, including newly standard rear child-seat tethers, floormats and an emergency in-trunk opener. The available base and SH models are powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with Honda’s VTEC variable valve-timing system. Honda’s Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS), which works against the tendency of front-drive cars to “plow,” or understeer, in hard corners, is standard in the SH coupe. While the car is accelerating through a turn, the system automatically sends more power to the outside front wheel to improve the Prelude’s cornering ability.



Exterior
Comparatively nondescript on the outside when measured against some rivals, Honda’s sport coupe scores higher in the use of innovative technology than in styling. In fact, the ...

Vehicle Overview
With a history dating back to 1979, sluggish sales have kept Honda’s front-drive sport coupe out of the radar of most sports car shoppers. Only 9,692 of the 2+2 coupes were sold during 2000, competing against such models as the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Toyota Celica, both of which were restyled for the 2000 model year.

Sales of the Prelude in 1999 totaled 11,378 units. Younger buyers who favor Hondas appear to have turned to Civics, which cost considerably less and are popular choices for aftermarket customization. The Prelude earned its last redesign for 1997 and has since been overshadowed by the debut of the S2000 roadster, Honda’s full-fledged sports car.

Changes are few for 2001, including newly standard rear child-seat tethers, floormats and an emergency in-trunk opener. The available base and SH models are powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with Honda’s VTEC variable valve-timing system. Honda’s Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS), which works against the tendency of front-drive cars to “plow,” or understeer, in hard corners, is standard in the SH coupe. While the car is accelerating through a turn, the system automatically sends more power to the outside front wheel to improve the Prelude’s cornering ability.



Exterior
Comparatively nondescript on the outside when measured against some rivals, Honda’s sport coupe scores higher in the use of innovative technology than in styling. In fact, the upright, angular shape of the Prelude ranks as surprisingly conservative for a car that claims to be a sport coupe. Instead of a hatchback, which is the style on most sport coupes, the Prelude has a conventional trunk with a lid. It measures 178 inches front to rear and is almost 8 inches longer than the Toyota Celica. Both models ride P205/50R16 Bridgestone tires on alloy wheels. Cargo space in the trunk is a modest 8.7 cubic feet.



Interior
The Prelude can seat four and comes with cloth-upholstered front bucket seats and a folding backseat, fit mainly for children. The upright profile translates to a more spacious interior feel than in some sport coupes, with ample space for front-seat occupants. The Prelude’s dashboard follows the clean, functional layout that is a Honda hallmark.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning with a filtration system, cruise control, manual driver’s seat height adjustment, a power sunroof with a tilt feature, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Also included are a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry, 120-watt stereo with CD player, tachometer and an immobilizer theft-deterrent system. In addition to the Active Torque Transfer System, the SH coupe gets a rear spoiler with an integral brake light and a leather-wrapped gearshift lever.



Under the Hood
Honda’s 2.2-liter dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine, with variable valve-timing technology, develops 200 horsepower and 156 pounds-feet of torque. Base Preludes can have either a five-speed-manual transmission or an optional automatic that has a sequential SportShift provision for manual gear changes when desired. All you do is move the gearshift lever fore and aft to go up and down the gear range. The SH coupe comes only with manual shift.

Dual front airbags and all-disc antilock brakes are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
A stint in a Prelude easily turns into an exciting and enjoyable experience. Why? Because few automobiles outside the high-dollar sports car league respond so swiftly and precisely to the driver’s wishes. Despite its comparatively pedestrian profile, the Prelude is packed with authentic sports car moves and is marred only by such negatives as limited headroom in the driver’s seat and minuscule sitting space in the rear. Getting into and out of a Prelude is no small matter for those less agile.Performance from the 2.2-liter engine is energetic, and the five-speed-manual gearbox and clutch are a joy to manipulate. Handling ranks as top-notch, and Honda’s Active Torque Transfer System makes a noticeable difference in the Prelude’s cornering capabilities.

 


Reported by Rick Popely  for cars.com

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
17 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.1)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

So much fun to drive, beautiful sleek aerodynamic

by Prelude Ryder from Carson on July 19, 2018

This car is very unique and very loved by all owners as it is not in production anymore. In my opinion the finest car ever built & so much fun to drive. Read full review

(4.0)

Prelude to noise

by Stu from Redondo Beach on July 11, 2018

The car was too noisy to keep but it performed well. I was unable to find a "blanket" for attaching to the underside of the hood to reduce the noise level. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2001 Honda Prelude currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2001 Honda Prelude has not been tested.

Latest 2001 Prelude Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Prelude received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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