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Sports car revival continues! New Honda Prelude hybrid confirmed by mid-decade for the UK as a sleek Civic Type R and Hyundai i30 N alternative

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Honda Prelude concept
Honda Prelude concept

The Honda Prelude name has been absent from the market for more than two decades, but it looks set for a comeback in the next two years. 

Ahead of an appearance at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Honda has shown off the (very close to production-looking) concept in a new red paint hue. 

Additionally, the British arm of the marque confirmed to publication Autocar that the hybrid sports coupe it will launch in the United Kingdom in the middle of this decade. 

Previous intelligence suggests the Prelude will begin production in 2026 and will be a step in lowering Honda’s emissions while creating desirable, enthusiast-focused cars. 

Beyond it being a hybrid, nothing else is known of the Prelude’s powertrain. There are musings it could use a version of the existing Civic’s e:HEV petrol-electric set-up, potentially making more than the Civic's 135kW and 315Nm for a sportier feel. 

Honda has not commented, but a manual transmission is not off the cards – remember the three-pedal hybrid CR-Z?

Visually, the low and wide Prelude concept has a distinct coupe aesthetics, and rides on attractive 20-inch alloy wheels. It channels classy vibes – more Volkswagen Scirocco than boy racer Hyundai i30 N or Civic Type R.

Honda Prelude concept next to the original
Honda Prelude concept next to the original

“Ensuring this model maintains its ‘sporty’ DNA by perfectly blending the efficiency and environmental advantages of electrified driving with an exhilarating experience behind the wheel – liberating users from their daily lives with increased driving pleasure,” said Chief Engineer and Large Project Leader Tomoyuki Yamagami.

How exactly Honda will achieve a pleasurable drive is unclear but the Prelude is likely to draw on the brand’s high-revving roots potentially with sound augmentation – or even natural noise. 

Tactility will matter hugely so expect Honda’s engineers to outfit the Prelude’s cabin with traditional physical knobs and buttons for high-traffic touchpoints, rather than trendy screen-heavy interaction. 

Prelude concept's 20-inch alloy wheels
Prelude concept's 20-inch alloy wheels

Honda’s new coupe model will most likely adopt the Civic’s chassis. It features aluminium components in the sub frames and independent multi-link suspension all around. 

The Prelude won't be Japan's only new sports car, with Toyota in particular reviving historic names including MR2 and Celica along with big updates for GR 86 and Supra.

Details for the Prelude's Australia release remain a mystery. Expect more noise about the coupe in the coming months and years.

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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