Crap Cars I Like #1 1997 to 2001 Honda Prelude

I’ll be honest, this is a slightly inauspicious start for the Crap Cars I Like feature. Labelling the 5th generation Honda Prelude as “crap” is possibly a little bit strong, and does disservice to a rather commendable car. But then again, just look at it:

Yawn, wake me up when we reach the other side

Buying a coupe should be an episode in taking the stylish route in favour of practicality; aesthetics over boot apertures, looks over legroom. But in designing the 5th gen Prelude this seemingly went out the window in the Honda drawing office. Existing against competition such as the rakish Fiat Coupe, the new edge Ford Cougar or even the previous Prelude model, this one just looks a little…limp? It might part way explain why this version only sold around 60% of the numbers its older brother managed, and also why Honda didn’t bother to replace it.

I’m lost for words….lost in a sea of blandness

So now that we’ve established that the visuals and sales figures probably qualify this car as “crap” why on earth could I possibly like it? I think it is worth clarifying that this feature is not intended to be rational or logical; wait until we get to the Astra Belmont! But rather it represents those vehicles you notice in a car park and say to yourself “don’t tell anyone, but I kind of like that”, similar to the feelings I get from watching Jersey Shore.

I think what I like about the 5th gen Prelude is the completely unassuming nature of what is hidden underneath. The last of the line 2.2 VTi motors packed 200BHP, 4-wheel steering and 0-60 in under 7 seconds; these are things really not to be scoffed at. Knowing you could pull up unassumingly at traffic lights next to a contemporary hot hatch, and leave many for dead when the lights turned green, makes this a rather effective Q-car. Worth it for the look on the Golf GTi drivers face when they’re left wondering how they were beaten by a retired accountant.

Having established the above, would I trade the Panda in for one then? Well, they’re certainly cheap like this red 2.0 and a well looked after, special edition Motegi is not ridiculous money either. But no, not for me. Were I 20 years old then yes, but for now I’ll stick with half the horsepower and double the exaggerated styling.

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