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Used Honda Prelude 1992-1996 Review

The Honda Prelude lives up to its reputation as a highly desirable, well-equipped and well put together sports couple.

When released in 1992, the Prelude's competition was Mazda's Mx-6, Holden's Calibra and Toyota's Celica.

Available only as a two-door couple, the Prelude was far more aggressively styled than the model it replaced. Initially, buyers could choose between three models: the two-wheel steer S, the mid-range Si with four-wheel steering and the top-of-the-range Si SRS model, also with four-wheel steering. In 1994, the VTi-R model replaced the Si SRS.

The S model was available with the 2.2L four-cylinder engine, while the Si and Si SRS models were fitted with a more powerful 2.3L engine. The VTi-R model upped the ante further with a 2.2L engine featuring Honda's VTEC technology.

In typical Honda fashion, all engines are smooth and free running with best performance happening higher up the rev range.

The VTEC engine in the VTi-R takes this further, revving wonderfully high into the range. When driven sedately around town it gives no hint of its potential, but put the foot down and it gives a wonderful snarl, accelerating as if a booster rocket has been ignited.

All models except the VTi-R were offered with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

Both were well-suited to the engines, but the manual – with its short, sharp change action and ratios well-suited to engines – would be the choice of any driving enthusiast.

The Prelude provides fine handling and road-holding with jarring its occupants.

The suspension has been set to provide the desired balance between ride and handling with tyres selected for grip and stability.

Brakes are excellent, especially the models with ABS.

All but the basic S model were fitted with Honda's electronically-controlled four-wheel steering system that does provide tangible improvements in handling as well as reducing the turning circle.

The only drawback was that any repairs to the steering system could be quite expensive. Look for uneven tyre wear as evidence of problems and keep in mind wheel alignments need specialist attention.

All models were well equipped with power steering, power windows, central locking, electric sunroof, radio-cassette, cruise control and electric mirrors, and air-conditioning was standard equipment on the VTi-R.

Oddly they missed out on a rear window wiper/washer.

Air-conditioning was a dealer-fitted option on the other models, as was a CD stacker. All but the basic S models were fitted with alloy wheels.

As expected from a two-door coupe, accommodation is limited in the rear seat but there is ample leg room up front.

Fuel consumption is good considering the weights, with the 2.3 automatic returning 10.7L/100km on the highway cycle and 12.1L/100km in city/suburban conditions. The VTi-R manual returned better figures of 9.4L/100km on the highway cycle and 11L/100km in city/suburban conditions. The only drawback is both the 2.3 and 2.2 VTEC engines require premium unleaded.

Expect to pay about $11,000 privately for a manual 1992 S model and no extras and close to $27,000 for a 1996 VTi-R.

As with any purchase of a used vehicle, a pre-purchase inspection by the NRMA is a good precaution.

Pricing guides

$4,260
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$2,800
Highest Price
$5,720

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S 2.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,800 – 4,840 1992 Honda Prelude 1992 S Pricing and Specs
Si (4WS) 2.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,100 – 5,390 1992 Honda Prelude 1992 Si (4WS) Pricing and Specs
Si SRS (4WS) 2.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,500 – 5,720 1992 Honda Prelude 1992 Si SRS (4WS) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$2,800

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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