Pro: Both four-cylinder engines are smooth and quiet now that counter-rotating balance shafts have been adopted this year. The Si’s 2.3L 160 hp powerplant is a more logical sport coupe engine, but it comes at a premium price. Handling is more responsive and the ride is more comfortable this year. This is due mainly to suspension refinements, electronic steering and four-wheel disc brakes (the Si has slightly larger discs).
The transmissions are smoother shifting, require less effort, take shorter throws and are more precise than last-year’s gearbox. The clutch is light and smooth. Steering is direct and precise. Suspension travel has been increased, lessening the Prelude’s tendency to bottom out when fully loaded or when encountering irregular terrain. Ride is not as firm and less bouncy than last year’s version. Body roll is minimal due partly to the chassis’ increased stiffness. Handling is excellent in all conditions, even without the 4WS option. Very good brakes.
Con: The Accord’s single-cam engine gives the base Prelude 135 horses – more than sufficient for most driving conditions – but a bit wimpy for a car that’s touted as being somewhat above the typical mid-level sport coupe in both performance and price. This car cries out for a V6 powerplant. As is the rule with cars of this type, the ride is firm, and may be too busy for some. Four wheel steering still seems more gimmick than essential.