2026 Honda Prelude Won't Be a Civic Type R Competitor: Report

honda prelude concept
Honda Prelude Won't Be Type R Competitor: ReportHonda
  • Honda recently revealed a near-production-looking concept car that brings back the iconic Prelude name.

  • The concept is a low-slung two-door coupe that Honda has said prioritizes "the joy of driving."

  • However, new quotes from Honda's large project chief engineer, Tomoyuki Yamagami, suggest that the new Prelude won't be sporty enough to compete with the Civic Type R or Integra Type S.

All signs point to Honda's bringing the historical Prelude name back in the form of a new hybrid coupe. The brand officially showed off the car at this year's Tokyo auto show as a concept, although unofficially we think it's more accurate to call the Prelude a near-production prototype.

honda prelude concept

Don't be fooled by the low-slung and sporty look of the two-door coupe, though. Despite Honda's statement at the reveal that the new car will prioritize "the joy of driving," quotes from Honda large project chief engineer Tomoyuki Yamagami suggest that the new Prelude won't necessarily be a track-day weapon.

In an interview with Australia's CarsGuide, Yamagami said the new Prelude "isn’t going to be the sportiest, zippiest car that’s going to be tossed into the circuits." The publication suggested that it will therefore not compete against, for instance, the Subaru BRZ or Toyota GR86. While that doesn't mean enthusiasts should immediately write the Prelude off as boring, it does suggest that the new version will be positioned somewhere below the brand's own track-ready cars like the Civic Type R and the Acura Integra Type S. Furthering that point, Yamagami continued by saying, "We’re developing this as a four-seater, so you will be seeing a second row with two seats available as well.” Take that last comment with a grain of salt. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 both have "back seats" and are no worse off for it.

honda prelude concept
Elana Scherr - Car and Driver

The Prelude is more likely to serve as something of a replacement for the discontinued coupe versions of the Civic and Accord. Think of the Prelude as filling the space between the harder, more focused cars like the Civic Type R and softer, more livable cars like the outgoing Accord coupe—an economical front-wheel-drive GT car.

We know the Prelude will use a hybrid powertrain, but we don't know the specifics yet. We expect it to share underpinnings with either the Civic or the Accord. We're hopeful the hybrid setup will be a bit more potent than the 204-hp Accord Hybrid, but it's also possible the new car will use a similar configuration, simply with a more powerful gasoline engine.

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