It's Ultium under the surface but all Honda on top.
Honda has named its first all-electric SUV Prologue to symbolize "the key role it plays in the company's electrification strategy." It's a perfect-sounding Honda name and in the vein of the Prelude, which was used for an Accord-based sedan to launch the Japanese Honda retail sales chain, Honda Verno, back in the day. Like the Prelude, the Prologue is based on an existing platform, although this one results from Honda's partnership with GM.
The Prologue looks all Honda from the outside, though, and will arrive in early 2024 as a large, spacious, two-row electric crossover boasting 300 miles of range, 288 horsepower, and a tech-rich interior. We were invited to a studio in LA to get a good look at the new SUV and left feeling like Honda had made a strong, considered decision to launch the Prologue in 2024.
It's based on GM's Ultium drivetrain technology and BEV3 platform, which starts to show once you get inside the Prologue.
The Prelude was designed in Los Angeles using a new design language Honda calls "Neo Rugged." Despite our best efforts to capture its looks in photographic form, it looks much more interesting in person. The initial impression is that it doesn't look particularly rugged, but it does look like it belongs on any sort of road with its rakish roofline, blunt front end, and short overhangs. What makes Prologue look longer than it actually is, is the massive 121.8-inch wheelbase. In reality, the Prologue is four inches shorter than a Honda Pilot. But its wheelbase is around three inches longer than the Odyssey - which is longer overall than the Pilot by around nine inches.
Our favorite touch is the new retro-style brand lettering on the back that replaces the Honda badge. Moving forward, this will be the identifier of a Honda Electric model. The Prologue will be available with 21-inch wheels shown in our images, which Honda points out is the largest wheels it has put on a factory car.
Inside the five-seater Prologue, there's that familiar feel of a Honda, but it's not entirely the case. Some switches and the steering wheel are GM, which isn't a bad thing, but we'll blame some of the horrible plastics on the doors and between the seats on The General as well. Hopefully, these will be upgraded when the car hits production, and there won't be squeaks from the center console.
It's roomier up front than we expect from a mid-size crossover, and the ergonomics appear to be typical Honda - which is a good thing. In the back, there's a delightful amount of legroom. However, this six-footer immediately bumped their head on the edge of the panoramic roof. That slanted roofline looks great from the outside but is a little aggressive for those with a long torso.
Essentially, the Prologue runs the same Google-based system as the latest Accord sedan that runs apps from the Google Play store but comes with Google Assistant and Google Maps built in. The difference is that the Prelude's system has additional battery vehicle software to do things like help plan routes with easy access to chargers. Wireless Apple CarPlay and the usual suspects Honda likes to provide are supported. The infotainment screen is an 11.3-inch HD touchscreen, while the driver's instrument display is an 11-inch digital unit.
The top Elite trim we checked out features a Bose speaker system (also standard on the mid-spec Touring) that Honda tells us the brand's engineers tuned for the Prologue. We've yet to meet a Bose system that sounds good, so we'll see if this is the one that does later.
As the electric car market has developed, the current general thinking is the minimum range for people to feel comfortable must be more than 300 miles. Honda and GM have landed on an 85kWh lithium-ion battery pack to get that range with a dual-motor powertrain churning out 288 hp and 333 lb-ft. A single-motor FWD setup is also available, but outputs haven't been confirmed. Charging also looks good, with DC fast charging at rates up to 155 kW, yielding 65 miles of range per 10 minutes of a charger.
Honda understands the current charging situation and is getting ready to adopt Tesla's plug. The first Prologues off the line will use the traditional CCS adaptor, but the NACS ports will arrive from 2025. At purchase, powers will be able to choose from either $750 in public charging credit or receive a combination of charge credit and either a home charging station (11.5 kW) or a portable charging kit (7.6 kW).
An interesting aspect of the Prologue is that it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. We'll get to why that's interesting at the end of this piece.
Going with a mid-size electric crossover is an interesting decision for Honda when the instinct would be for a higher-volume choice would have been a compact crossover. However, while describing the Prologue as a halo model would be a bit of a stretch, its first electric SUV will do the job as an attractive-looking statement towards the future of Honda's electrification strategy. While we love Honda's sportier offerings, the brand's bread and butter is family vehicles, and the Prologue aims to be family friendly with a ton of space for a family, whether with teenage kids already or as something to grow into.
Entering the electric vehicle fray with 300 miles of range and excess torque is also a smart move. With a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, owning a Prologue will reduce many people's need for an extra truck. For some context, Ford might brag that the 2023 F-150 has a best-in-class towing capacity of 14,000 pounds, but the volume-selling models are rated at 5,000 pounds.
The real test will come when we take the Prologue for a drive. If, despite riding on a GM platform, it drives like a Honda should, provides decent ride quality, and has the build quality and reliability a Honda should, then Honda may have a home run on its hands.