Honda Prelude reborn as hybrid-electric concept car in Tokyo


UPDATE: Honda’s U.S. PR team clarified its announcement on the Prelude, and turns out, it’s not fully electric as was originally widely reported. Instead, it’s powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain, so expect an engine under that long hood and some unknown array of electric motors, as well. Our original story has been updated to reflect this:


Once again, the Japan Mobility Show has surprised us with one of the many sports car concepts. When Honda announced it would show something sporty in Tokyo, we jumped to thoughts of the NSX and S2000. But Honda has instead revived the Prelude name for what we initially believed to be an electric concept. However, Honda’s U.S. PR team later clarified that the Prelude you’re looking at here is powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain. When queried for additional details, a Honda spokesperson said no additional details were available at this time, only “that the powertrain is HEV (hybrid) not BEV,” as was originally gleaned from comments made by Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe during the car’s press conference.

The shape of this reimagined Honda Prelude is something of a departure for the model line. Whereas most Prelude models looked almost like rear-drive coupes with long noses, rear-set cabins and short trunks, this one looks closer to the recently departed Civic Coupe or even Accord Coupe. In other words, it looks decidedly front-wheel-drive, particularly with the long front overhang, short dash-to-axle distance and the forward-placed cabin.

Honda Prelude Concept

It’s still very much a looker, though. The pointy nose, flowing curves and wide fenders all look clearly sporty. And what’s interesting is that it looks surprisingly production ready, even down to the flush door handles. 

We wish we had more details about the Prelude Concept’s underpinnings, although we know that it will feature a hybrid-electric powertrain now. Based on the body proportions, we’re also very willing to bet that front-wheel drive will be the layout for the car. Not only would that be true to the model name, but it also fits Honda’s performance front-wheel-drive wheelhouse.

“The word ‘prelude’ means an ‘introductory or preceding peformance,” said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe during the car’s press conference. “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.”

Whether that means it’s a preview of future models or the first of those future models through the door is open for interpretation. Honda does have a long history of presenting “concept” and “prototype” cars that then arrive at dealers a couple years later, however. And with how realistic this looks, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen, here.

Related video:

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