Score one for the gearheads. At this year’s Japan Mobility Show (yes, it – like many other auto shows – has changed its name to include that irritating catch-all word), Honda president Toshihiro Mibe rolled out a two-door coupe called the Prelude. It’s a concept for now, of course, but our hopes are buoyed by one phrase uttered by Mibe during the car’s introduction.
“We are diligently progressing with development,” said Mibe, “So please keep your expectations high for this model.” Will do, sir. After defining the word, Mibe went on to explain how this model will become an, erm, prelude, for future models which will inherit some measure of driving joy. With that in mind, there is every chance in the world this low-slung car is simply being used as hype for some other message coming down the pipe – but we’ll choose to interpret these words in a non-cynical manner (for once).
Car companies craft plenty of concepts that never see the light of a production floor, though the presence of the GR 86 at rival brand Toyota gives us hope this Prelude will eventually appear in showrooms as a foil to the two-door Toyobaru. But if that were to happen, there would likely be a big difference between those two models. While precisely zero details were spilled about what is (or isn’t) under the hood, Mibe touted the Prelude Concept as a window to Honda’s electrification plans.
Company spox spoke of the brand’s edict of a “full-fledged electrified future”, words which are being interpreted by some outlets as meaning the Prelude Concept is an EV. Fair enough – and, if so, bank on it using Honda’s own electric architecture and not the stuff they’re borrowing for GM to sling under its upcoming Prologue. But, as with most presentations of this type, there’s enough wiggle room in the sentences to leave the door open for this thing to be some sort of hybrid.
In any event, the machine shown in Japan looks remarkably production-ready, free of over-the-top frippery which sometimes adorns concept cars to signify they are simply flights of fancy. Most of us are old enough to remember when Honda and Toyota used to go at it hammer and tongs in this type of sporty segment (Prelude v Celica, et al); it would surely be to the delight of all gearheads if that competition was renewed in the coming years.
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