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Thursday 14th March 2013


SPOTTED: HONDA PRELUDE MOTEGI

Is this less sought-after Honda an unsung hero or an also-ran?


Did you, perchance, wake up this morning and find yourself harbouring a notable penchant (Is that what you call it Scrof? - Ed.) for a mid-range Japanese coupe being sold by a Radio 1 DJ at a cheerfully random price? Yes? Of course you did. We’ve all been there. And that being the case, boy, have we got a treat for you.

Unloved at launch but more accepted today?
Unloved at launch but more accepted today?
Dan's Gallardo Spotted on Tuesday might have been one of our more prestigious choices, but today's is at the opposite end of the scale. For the princely sum of... er... £2,456, thisHonda Prelude (complete with 'V-tech' engine) can be yours. It’s a fifth-gen model, the last Prelude ever made and arguably the least-loved, a fact that can be attributed largely to its looks. The big, square headlights gave the front end a faintly surprised look which, together with a slightly anodyne profile and tail end made it something of a let-down after the swoopy fourth-gen car. Fortunately, time has dulled the effect somewhat, and today the last Prelude’s shape seems somehow fuss-free and uncluttered - perhaps even elegant - rather than dull and boring.

Faux wood: always a winner. Or something.
Faux wood: always a winner. Or something.
So, is its reputation deserved? Well, if any car's going to defend the honour of the later Prelude it'd have to be the Motegi limited edition. So named for the twin-ring circuit that’ll be familiar to lovers of Japanese motorsport (and anyone who’s ever played Gran Turismo), it was based on the standard 2.2 VTi, which in post-1999 guise meant 200hp from a 2.2-litre H22A8 engine. It was a close relative of this powerplant, the 212hp H22A7, which went into the Accord Type-R; in other words, the Prelude VTi was no slouch, with official figures putting the 0-60mph time at a highly respectable 6.7 seconds and the top speed at 142mph. The Motegi version added a bodykit that gave the car a welcome hint of visual aggression and lowered sports suspension that made it less of a grand tourer and more of a sports car, even if it couldn’t quite live up to the dynamic benchmarks set by its Type-R siblings in the Honda range. 17-inch wheels that, despite whiffing slightly of cheap Halfordian rims, were in fact genuine Honda items, completed the picture.

2.2 good for 200hp and 0-60 in 6.7
2.2 good for 200hp and 0-60 in 6.7
This example’s mileage is on the high side at 128,000, though admittedly that’s about average for a car of this age, and with Honda’s <insert reliability cliche here> VTEC engine backed up by a full Honda history, it shouldn’t be an issue. There are plenty of toys, too, with heated seats, climate control, cruise control and even a few slivers of syntho-wood coming as standard. What’s not to like? OK, maybe the syntho-wood, but besides that? Sure, it might not scintillate as much as an Accord, Civic or Integra Type R, but with arguably more handsome looks than the former two and a lower price tag than the latter, this particular Prelude makes a decent case for itself.

Probably isn’t the same Sarah Cox, mind. Not least because the famous one spells her name Sara these days.


HONDA PRELUDE 2.2 VTI MOTEGI
Engine:
2,157cc 4-cyl 16v VTEC
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
Power (hp): 200@7,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 156@5,250rpm
MPG: 28mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 234g/km
First registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 128,000
Price new: £25,035
Yours for: £2,456

See the original advert here.

Author: Alex Robbins
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