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The Honda Prologue is a hybrid of sorts but not in the way you might think.
The five-passenger utility-style vehicle, which is one of a planned 30 electric vehicles Honda says it will introduce globally by 2030, will be available starting in early 2024.
The Prologue results from a collaborative effort with General Motors, which supplies the Ultium battery platform and powertrain, while Honda’s California-based stylists are responsible for the attractive bodywork. Their stated goal was to maximize the Prologue’s aerodynamics for driving range, while minimizing wind noise.
The Prologue is built at a factory in Mexico that also assembles the Chevrolet Equinox EV.
Why is this collaboration taking place? The fast answer is that Honda’s electric platform is not done, but the brand needs to get an EV to market now. GM, then, appears to be a logical partner.
As a point of clarification, the Prologue isn’t Honda’s first EV. The Honda Fit EV subcompact was a 2014-only model, and the Clarity Sedan EV was briefly offered for model years 2017-’19. Both vehicles were available — for lease only — in California and Oregon. With a maximum range of 82 and 89 miles, respectively, neither one was destined to become a serious category contender.
Compared with the Honda CR-V compact utility vehicle, the Prologue is about 8 inches longer and 5 inches wider, and it has a 16-inch advantage in distance between the front and rear wheels. The CR-V holds a significant advantage in cargo capacity with the rear seat upright or folded flat, mainly because of its taller and flatter roofline. Unlike some other EVs, the Prologue doesn’t offer a stowage spot beneath the hood, commonly referred to as a frunk.
The interior focus is on the 11.3-inch driver information display and 11.3-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Google maps can be conveniently displayed on either screen. A finger rest below the touch screen allows users to steady their hands when initiating selections while the vehicle is in motion.
A column-mounted shifter, instead of a dial in the console, results in more space between the seats for stowing smaller items.
The audio volume control is inconveniently located within the touch screen, but at least there are separate knobs and switches for operating the heating/ventilation system.
The base Prologue EX and midgrade Touring come with a front-mounted motor. The estimated output is 210 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque (final numbers haven’t been announced). Optional for both trims, but standard with the Prologue Elite, are front and rear electric motors that increase output to 288 horsepower and 333 pound-feet. All three trims come with an 85-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
The available Sport mode provides more immediate throttle and steering responses and adjusts braking function for quicker stops.
All three trim levels are equipped with a range of active safety technology as part of Honda Sensing. Included are rear-cross-traffic braking, blind-zone steering assist and rear pedestrian alert.
An estimated maximum range of 300 miles is projected for the single-motor models and 279 miles for the dual-motor version.
According to Honda, the Prologue charges at a rate of 65 miles of range for every 10 minutes hooked to a commercial-grade 480-volt DC station. Honda has provided no other numbers, but a 240-volt home station will be considerably slower.
At an estimated base price of $48,000 including destination charges, the single-motor EX comes with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and an eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support.
The Touring gets an upgraded interior with leather seating surfaces, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 12-speaker Bose audio system, hands-free power liftgate and front and rear parking assist.
Selecting the Elite gets you perforated leather seating, head-up driver’s display, heated steering wheel and 21-inch wheels (19s are standard).
A panoramic roof is available for the Touring and Elite trims.
As a business venture with GM, the Prologue is a neatly packaged vehicle with plenty of the right stuff to entice first-time EV buyers. But for all the Prologue’s goodness, will Honda customers be content with driving GM technology?