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The automotive field has a funny way of going in cycles. Cars in the past have gone extinct, only to be resurrected decades later with great fanfare. The Dodge Challenger and the Ford Bronco are great examples, but the Chevy Trailblazer is not. That said, Honda is one automaker that has been churning out revived hits over the past few years.

In its Acura division, Honda breathed life back into the NSX and, most recently, the Integra, much to a slowly welcomed delight. Apparently, the Japanese automaker isn’t stopping there, as it recently debuted the Honda Prelude Concept at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show. Here is why I think it’s the perfect time for the sports coupe to make a comeback.

The Honda Prelude could be a good competitor for Toyota and Mazda

A 1999 Honda Prelude in silver
1999 Honda Prelude | Honda

Anyone familiar with the Honda Prelude from the past will likely remember how it looks. But if you’re a Honda nut like me, you know its specs. The last-generation Honda Prelude, which bowed out in 2001, was powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 195 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque.

That power was routed to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. I’m a nerd, I know. But my point is that the older generations of the Prelude existed to compete with other cars like the Toyota Celica, the Nissan 240SX, and the Mazda MX-6.

Those cars don’t exist anymore, but the Prelude held its own against them during a time when sporty coupes had a healthy place in the automotive market. Much like the aforementioned older nameplates, that healthy place seems to be re-emerging.

Now, there are sports coupes like the Nissan Z, the Toyota GR86, the Mazda Miata, and the Subaru BR-Z driving around town. These cars are gaining in popularity at a time when hybrids, EVs, and SUVs are dominating the marketplace.

So, what does this mean? This means that a new Honda Prelude could do just as well and even garner more interest in the brand. It could offer a unique take on sportiness and give cars like the GR86 a run for their money. The sports car isn’t dead.

After all, some people were unsure about the Honda Civic Type R when it arrived in 2017, but it’s now in its second generation.

A 1999 Honda Prelude engine
1999 Honda Prelude | Honda

Honda says the Prelude Concept has a hybrid powertrain, which is a good thing

If Honda puts a new Prelude into production, it will be a hybrid. I’m not saying that because the automaker said it will roll out many hybrid and electric cars by 2030. I’m saying that because a Honda spokesperson stated on Twitter (X) that the concept has a hybrid powertrain.

Love them or hate them, hybrids are the wave of the future. Fortunately, automakers have found a good place between performance and fuel efficiency to the point that even the Toyota Prius can finally get up to speed in less than 10 seconds.

That said, the new Honda Prelude could carry the same powertrain as the current Accord hybrid. That setup produces 204 hp and achieves 44 mpg in the family sedan, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Honda stuffed it between the fenders of a new coupe. Hopefully, it would have more power.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Will the Honda Prelude look like the concept car?

White Honda Prelude concept at 2023 Japan Mobility Show
Honda Prelude concept at 2023 Japan Mobility Show | Honda

Probably. Nearly every concept car that Honda has shown us in the past has looked the same when the wheels actually rolled off the production line. If that’s the case, I think this new design will easily win enthusiasts over, whether it has a hybrid powertrain under the hood or not.

Ultimately, the debut of the Honda Prelude Concept was certainly a pleasant surprise. Although it may seem out of place at a time when fuel efficiency and larger vehicles are in demand, it could be a surprise hit — or possibly end up like the Trailblazer.