Honda's first electric SUV may not break new ground for EVs, but it makes transitioning from ICE and hybrid cars easier.
It's surprising that Honda has taken so long to unveil its first electric SUV. Models like the Insight demonstrated Honda's commitment to greener, electrified transportation as far back as the late 1990s. Still, it's taken much longer for the company to launch a competitive EV in the USA.
We now have such a vehicle in the form of the Prologue mid-size SUV. The reasonably conservative lines of the Prologue are intended to attract current Honda fans who generally appreciate approachable styling, sensible ergonomics, and the reliability promised by the badge. Here are five things worth knowing about the Prologue.
Besides the Civic Type R, Honda's range of vehicles is endowed with restrained, classy styling that won't alienate brand loyalists, and the Prologue is another example of this approach. The days of quirkily styled electrified models, such as the previous Clarity, are gone.
The Prologue has squared-off proportions - referred to by Honda as neo-rugged styling - and a touch of Range Rover Evoque, which is no bad thing. 21-inch wheels are available, the largest ever offered on a Honda, and details like the stylized typeface of the Honda name make it known that this is one of the brand's newest cars.
Inside, the Prologue is typically Honda, with a carefully considered mix of traditional controls and digital interfaces. An 11-inch gauge cluster and 11.3-inch touchscreen have all the requisite connectivity features, but it also looks like a cabin that doesn't have a frustratingly steep learning curve. Classy leather upholstery on upper trims adds a touch of luxury.
Anyone coming from a Passport or CR-V is likely to find the Prologue's design agreeable.
Despite being marginally longer than the Passport, the Prologue isn't as practical as its sibling as a cargo hauler.
Whereas the gas-powered Passport has a generous 41.2 cubic feet of space behind its second row, the Prologue only offers 25.2 cubes, a figure more associated with compact crossovers. That applies to the EX, so we assume other trims have even less room.
It's still enough for three golf bags to lie flat, and Honda says another 0.5 cu-ft of space is accessible below the trunk floor. In the Prologue EX, there is 57.7 cu-ft of space when the second row is folded flat, exactly 20 cu-ft less than you get in the Passport. While we expect the Prologue to have spacious seating, it's not the most practical mid-size SUV you can buy from Honda.
Honda has every intention of walking off with a Top Safety Pick+ accolade from the IIHS and a five-star rating from the NHTSA once the Prologue can be evaluated for crashworthiness.
To help it achieve this, the Prologue introduces three driver-assistance features to the Honda brand. These are rear cross-traffic braking, blind-zone steering assist, and rear pedestrian alert. They form part of the standard Honda Sensing safety suite, which should also include forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, as it does on the Passport. Eight airbags are also dotted around the interior to shield occupants in a crash.
Recognizing the customer profile for a vehicle like this and the Prologue's use as a family vehicle, the electric SUV focuses on efficiency rather than raw power or performance. Base front-wheel-drive models will have a single electric motor, but outputs for these variants have not been divulged.
We don't expect the FWD Prologue to be very quick, however, because the all-wheel-drive dual-motor version makes 288 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque. This dual-motor version should be quick enough for most, but many electric SUVs will outmuscle the Prologue. Perhaps Honda has a more powerful variant coming later to compete with quicker versions of the Chevrolet Blazer EV.
In terms of range, the Prologue will manage up to 300 miles on a full charge, and we'll report on official MPGe ratings as soon as they're available.
To further make the transition to an EV easier, Honda will provide customers with three charging solutions via HHE (Honda Home Electrification), an online marketplace. Any one of these three packages will be included in the purchase price. An 11.5-kW home charging station with a $100 public charging credit and a $500 installation incentive is the first choice. Next is a 7.6-kW portable charging kit, and this comes with a $300 public charging credit and a $250 installation incentive. Finally, customers can opt for a $750 public charging credit, a logical option for customers who may not be able to install a home charging station for logistical reasons.
The Prologue is compatible with DC fast charging at up to 155 kW, whereby its 85-kWh battery can add 65 miles of range in ten minutes. Furthermore, Honda's joint venture with six major automakers will form North America's top brand-neutral charging network, which will be available in the summer of 2024. In addition to this, Honda will also adopt the NACS charge connector from 2025.
By 2030, the network is targeting 30,000 charge points and 1,350 charging stations.