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Honda Prelude S, Si, & VTEC



Year: 1991-1995
Class: Sport Compact
Type: 2-coor coupe

Country: Japan  
Host: GT1, GT2, GT4, & GT5

Price: $4,506 (GT2--used Si)
`````````$7,717 (GT4--used Si VTEC)
          $15,117 (GT5 used car lot)

GT5 Mileage: 39,308.5

Length: 174.8" // Width: 69.5" // Height: 50.8"
Wheelbase: 100.4"
Overhang: @6 feet, 3 inches
Track: 60.0" [F] 59.6" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.7"
Body / Frame: steel unibody
Weight: 2,825 pounds ('91 Si VTEC)
Wgt. Dist: 58/42
Steering: Pwr. Assisted Rack & Pinion
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Tires: 195/60-15 (Si) // 205/55R-15 84v (VTEC)
F. Suspension: dual wishbone, coils, anti-roll bar, shox
R. Suspension: Dbl wshbn, coils, anti-roll bar, shox, trailing arms, 4-wheel steering?
Brakes: vented discs [F] solid discs [R]

**all stats below currently for the '91 Si VTEC found in GT4 & 5

The GT4 car was probably given an oil change. GT5 Prelude was given oil but not engine rebuild.

Engine: 2.2 liter DOHC inline 4
Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: PGM-Fi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.42 x 3.57"
Compression: 10.6:1
                           GT4                           GT5
Final BHP: ``211 @ 6,800 rpms        208 @ 7,500
Fnl. Torque:
161 @ 5,500 rpms       158 @ 6,000
Credits per HP: $36.57                         $72.68
Pounds per HP: 13.38                           13.58
HP per Liter:     97.7                              96.5
GT4 Idle: 1000 // Redline: 7,500 // RPM limit: 8,000
GT5 Idle: 800 // Redline: 7,400 // RPM Limit: 8,000

Transmission: 5-speed automatic (GT4) 5-speed manual (GT5)

Test cars below were all Si VTECS. Used "normal" tires in GT2...S2s in GT4, and soft comforts in GT5.

0-60 mph:
GT2: @7.400 seconds                     
GT4: 8.750
GT5: 8.179

GT2: @19.500                
GT4: 19.916
GT5: 19.021

GT2: no test                      
GT4: 1:09.550
GT5: 1:50.866 (Test Track X, included an uphill / downhill area) 
400 M:
GT2: 15.629 @ 90 mph    
GT4: 16.587 @ 94 mph
GT5: 16.300 @ 92 mph

1 KM:  
GT2: 28.586 @ 119 mph   
GT4: 29.335 @ 122 mph
GT5: 28.719 @ 120 mph

1 Mile
GT5: 39.516 @ 132 mph

Brakes: 100-0mph
GT2: no test         
GT4: 3.63 seconds
GT5: 5.35

Test Track:
GT2: no test
GT4: no test
GT5: 1:02.415 (Daytona)
GT2 top speed: 160.64 mph @ 7,600 rpms

GT4 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 33 mph
2nd: 62 mph
3rd: 89 mph
4th: 119 mph
5th: 156.57 mph @ 7,500 rpms

GT5 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 35.7 mph
2nd: 58.9
3rd: 85.4
4th: 114.6
5th: 154.4 mph @ 7,500 rpm



When the Honda Prelude was introduced to the world right near the end of the '70s, it was a boxy, underpowered (but fuel-sipping) 2-door ... not at all the sleek-looking squire with a bulge up the center of its hood we have in our game. It was simply made to be an alternative to Honda's steadily-selling Accord and Civic. Nothing sporty, all practical.

But by the early '90s, the Honda Prelude was considered by many to be the one of the greatest (if not the greatest) front-drive available for enthusiasts and regular Joes who wanted a sporty car, but also an affordable one. And so it's no wonder this is a popular coupe in our game.

In GT1 and GT2, the Honda Prelude can be found in both used and new car lots. It was dropped when GT3: A-Spec was released, presumably because in the year 2001, Preludes were no longer being sold as the Integra became Honda/Acura's new pet. Preludes re-appear in the used lots of GT4 and 5, which makes me happy. I've driven several versions (S, Si, and VTEC) found in GT1, GT2, GT4, and GT5. This review is going to focus on the Prelude's 4th generation (those cars built from 1991 to 1995) and more specifically on the cheaper used cars. I really dig the newer ones, too, but they deserve their own review, and someday hopefully I'll have time to write about one of them.

Preludes are like Celicas and Silvias. There are several of them available from day one of any GT game that has them in its used lot; and in general it seems there's always somebody looking to sell an older Prelude at the Honda dealership for a low, low price. You shouldn't ever have to worry about hunting one down is what I'm trying to say...more likely your only issue will be what color can I find today?  Even in GT5 (with its cramped dealership space) the Prelude won't be showing up every other day, but they do wind up for sale perhaps every other week.   

The Honda Prelude S, Si, and VTEC are all super-affordable (GT5 is the exception here), any of them can be bought, upgraded a bit, and raced immediately--which is especially good for beginners. The S and Si versions have sub-200 hp engines and can only be found in GT1 or 2. These cars lack the superior power of the VTEC's (Variable Timing, lift, & Electronic Control) valve system, but their lower HP will allow one to enter them in all the B-licence and free races with minor help from Mugen. In GT2, the VTEC is only able to race certain events in this game's horsepower-limited events, missing out on precious early credits the other cars can gain with their weaker motors.

The Prelude weighs anywhere from 2,821 to 2,891 pounds; basically, the most powerful ones weigh the most. A VTEC or a modified Si will easily dominate many beginner's races. An S will be okay in the hands of a pro, but may need some help for any n00b players out there.

The 'Lude's body is low to the ground, and as wide as most any sports car (69.5" is a pretty good figure to work with). Any geometry buff will explain that this car will do well on the skidpad; hmm, okay...it'll do well considering it's a mass-production front-drive. And (best of all) racing mods (including snazzy paint-jobs) with aero kits can be bought in GT1 or 2, stretching the Prelude's career way beyond what might at first seem possible.

But ultimately, there are limits in this car. Some expected, some not...


-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------------

As mentioned before, one thing special about Preludes are the choice of engines they could originally be bought with in real-life. In our game, we have the low-powered 2.2 liter SOHC as found in the Prelude S, a more powerful DOHC in the Si, and a 211 hp DOHC version powers the '94 VTEC; which can be modified up to 302 hp with 3 steps of normally-aspirated tuning in GT2.

In GT1 and 2, Honda's aftermarket supplier Mugen apparently doesn't believe in turbos for some reason, but this doesn't seem to matter to true Honda fanatix, who also generally don't believe in turbos. GT4 and 5 Preludes can accept turbos, though. Three different kits! Oddly, GT4 cars can only be equipped with the first two natural-aspirated tunes along with those three turbos.

All Honda engines derive most of their torque AND their peak horsepower (which is really just a measure of torque) at higher revs just like turbos sometimes do, and the VTEC in particular comes standard with a high-redline 7,500 rpm tachometer, which is enuff to make any fan of Hondas drool.

The Prelude has a brisk, snappy powerplant; one can hear those variable-lift valves tapping away in there as revs climb near redline! Grabby front-wheel drive and a 5-speed gearbox help the 'lude easily out-maneuver other cars with similar HP, and either stock or close-ratio or gears are recommended to deliver the goods. Though the S and Si are slower, remember that if you buy one, you'll have up to $7,000 left over to buy parts with if you've made one of them your first Gran Turismo or GT2 car.

Hey now!! When all is said and done, these Preludes are no Quaaludes.

In any version (S, Si, or VTEC), and in any game, the only true drawback (besides ultimate lack of power) will be lots of dead revs below 5,000 rpms, for those who don't know how to use a manual shift well. Fortunately for those who can't, choosing an automatic tranny can keep your engine smiling and spinning where it should be, since it often shifts just after peak power is passed by.


-------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------------

How does our cheapmobile do on  pavement? Here is where any Honda front-drive really gets the job done.

As I said, the Prelude in its day was one of the most praised front-drive coupes; which (according to test drivers) suffered less understeer than the similarly-priced Mitsubishi Eclipse, Dodge Neon, and other competitors of the times. Less understeer, however, doesn't mean zero understeer. As compact, sleek, and hyped as this car is in many real-life reviews, there are still plenty of times when you'll be WAITING....waiting for the chance to stab that throttle....but for now you gotta wait for the understeer to stop!

But still...in the beginning of your game (any game), we can easily skip getting ANY suspension modifications for a while if we're lacking funds. And the Prelude's stock tires can be used to get around most free and B-license races available. This is truer in GT1 and GT2 than it is in GT4, though. GT4's top "standard" road tires (N3s) offer less grip than the Normal tires of earlier games, forcing us to use sports in this game.

In GT5, the Prelude sits in a weird spot: too powerful for early racing (it'll simply kill the Sundays, FFs, Compacts,'90s events, and even the Clubman) and not enough areas of the game to compete in the Amateurs and Pro races. So if a 'lude is chosen here, anything more than soft radials (comforts) is overkill. At least, this has been my experience so far. Kinda is sad. In some cases, the Prelude's rubber will need to be changed to sports or semi-racing slicks once the engine is modded above Stage 1, though...no matter which game you've got.

As I said, these cars will understeer, but mostly when the driver forgets to brake before corners. Once braking is learned, the steering in and out of corners is Pure Honda--which is a high compliment from me. Precise, grabby, and helpful. Think "Integra's prelude". :-)

Oversteer is almost non-existent in any game, 1 thru 5. That takes care of an entire paragraph, actually. ;)

Some real-life 3rd gen Preludes were equipped with a mechanical 4-wheel steering system that was supposed to lessen understeer. In reality, it provided parking-lot maneuverabilty, but wasn't much of a breakthrough otherwise (according to a review I read over at
www.Edmunds.com ). Some 4th-gen models (like the ones in our game) have an electronic version of 4-wheel steering in real-life. Does it work? Real-life reports seem less than enthusiastic; but it was a nice experiment for Honda engineers. I'm not sure if the cars in our game are supposed to have 4WS. It was an option not found on all Preludes.

GT5's info actually tells us the Si VTEC in this game is equipped with 4WS, but (again) it's hard to tell if any difference is going on, when comparing a Civic (or any other FF) which hasn't got 4WS to the '91 Prelude.  

In general, the Prelude can please anyone--from the young & inexperienced to someone like me, who gets a kick out of out-doing more expensive machines with my 4-figure bargain.


1). VERY affordable. Just hop on over to your local used lot. Over the years, Preludes have not gone drastically up in price from GT1 to GT4. ....Can we say the same about used Silvias? Truenos?? :)

2). Easy to modify with leftover credits.

3). excellent EXCELLENT car for beginners.

4). 150 + mph top speed in either the Si or VTEC models can be attained on the test course with no modification.

5). Phat tachometer features a high redline. The torque curve allows for high revs, which means good high-speed acceleration below 100 mph.

6). Excellent maneuverability. Some of the best to find from a front-drive machine. Greatly accurate steering too, even under pressure, as the car accelerates.

7). For those who've got some experience: brake upgrades, suspension upgrades, weight reductions, or better tires won't be needed immediately during easier races--allowing many to focus on the engine. GT4's Prelude is the odd exception, as it will need some help after the Sunday Cup is over.

8). Race-kits available in GT1 and GT2 for all cars except the GT2 prize: Mugen Prelude Type S.

9). All gearboxes (stock, close, and super-close) useful somewhere...manual and automatic drivers included.

10). Light on fuel-consumption (GT4 & 5).


1). Low torque in all cars, including the VTEC! Learn to keep those revs high.

2). Those building a career in a Prelude will eventually find this car's limit once the GT1's Clubman and FF Series are done, unless they're talented enough to go further. In GT2, A-license races can be safely completed, there will be few (very few) other possibilities beyond. It's possible for experienced players to go to harder races in GT2 or 4 if they're good at out-cornering the AI, but for many newbs this is simply a headache.

3). Some folks might find the lack of turbos in early games a negative. Turbos do appear in GT4 and 5, but don't add much overall power...not like I was expecting.

4). Typical FWD understeer, especially as power gets raised. Front-end weight can induce a bit of grabbing, too (depending how sticky those tires are); forcing the car to the inside walls & guardrails when steered too hard at lower speeds.

5). Engine mods will only raise power to the low 300's. The VTEC in particular doesn't gain much when all is said and done.

6). Some may find these noisy. In an unpleasant way.

7). GT4 & 5 cars suffer extreme wheelspin when power is maxed, so careful with that throttle. 

8). GT5: prices have risen in this game. This no longer seems to be a below 10,000 cr. machine.

Published: June 8, 2004 ›
Re-Edited: October 1, 2008
GT5 Info: January 7, 2013

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