Prologue first drive: A beginner-level EV on par with Honda’s first entry into the segment

baua


Honda Motor Company sits on the cusp of delivering its first EV – the Prologue – to the US market. Developed with the help of General Motors, this all-electric SUV is a notable start to zero-emissions vehicles and should do well with fans of the Japanese brand who are new to EVs. I got to drive the Prologue in California last month and have plenty of thoughts.

The Prologue kicks off Honda’s venture into US EVs

It’s been three years since Honda first announced plans for a new EV called the Prologue SUV as part of a welcomed strategy to go all-electric by 2030… well, at least in China to start.

Since then, Honda’s electrification strategy has been bolstered and divided into three phases en route to introducing 30 EVs globally by the decade’s end. In the US market, Honda’s EV journey begins with the Prologue – a fitting name.

We saw the Prologue’s design process teased in the summer of 2022 ahead of an official unveiling that fall. Following a sneak peek last September, Honda shared the range and pricing of the Prologue trims last month, and it’s encouraging.

As you’ll see below, the base-level, single motors trim of the Prologue starts under $50,000 and delivers nearly 300 miles of EPA range. After driving the upcoming SUV myself, I’d say there are a lot of pluses for customers, but if you’re looking for anything new and groundbreaking in style and performance, you’re best to look elsewhere.

The Honda Prologue is a more than able new EV

As you may recall, during the initial announcement of the EV, Honda’s Prologue SUV was developed alongside GM and sits atop the American automaker’s Ultium platform, which also powered the upcoming ZDX SUV from Honda’s luxury brand Acura.

While the two auto giants continue to work together to deliver a massive EV charging network in North America through the IONNA joint venture, Honda has since cut ties with GM to co-develop future affordable EVs and will go it alone in the future.

In experiencing the Honda Prologue EV inside and out, there is GM DNA all over it, from the interior components to the weight of the Ultium pack (the Prologue Elite’s curb weight is about 5,300 lbs) and drive style. I’ll get into my driving experience below, but first, let’s dig into the performance specs the SUV delivers.

2024
Prologue Trim
EX (FWD) EX (AWD) Touring (FWD) Touring (AWD) Elite (AWD)
Horsepower 212 hp 288 hp 212 hp 288 hp 288 hp
Torque 236 lb.-ft. 333 lb.-ft. 236 lb.-ft. 333 lb.-ft. 333 lb.-ft.
Max Towing 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs. 1,500 lbs.
Battery Capacity 85 kWh 85 kWh 85 kWh 85 kWh 85 kWh
EPA Range 296 miles 281 miles 296 miles 281 miles 273 miles
EPA MPGe
(City/Hwy/Combined)
107/91/99 101/88/95 107/91/99 101/88/95 99/84/92
Level 2 AC
Charge Rate
34.1 miles/hour 34.1 miles/hour 34.1 miles/hour 34.1 miles/hour 34.1 miles/hour
DC Fast Charge Rate (20-80%) 35 mins 35 mins 35 mins 35 mins 35 mins
Source: Honda

As you can see, the Prologue’s specs are more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact electric SUV segment. Especially when you factor in pricing, which I cover below. The 296 miles of range offered by the two single-motor trims is more than most consumers need on a daily basis, so I’d highlight that as a significant initial selling point.

However, this SUV is heavy and doesn’t quite have the giddy-up acceleration that makes EVs so fun. If you’ve never driven an EV, however, you probably wouldn’t notice. This is more evidence, in my opinion, that the Honda Prologue is an excellent entry-level EV for consumers new to the segment. Here are some interior images before I dig into my overall experience.

Driving experience

I visited Sonoma, California, and got behind the wheel of the AWD Elite trim of the Prologue, just so you know what I was working with, as I elaborate below. From the exterior, the Prologue is sleek and aerodynamic, low and stretched. It offers a streamlined look that offers more interior space than you’d expect.

When first hopping inside the Prologue, the interior dash is vaguely reminiscent of the Chevy Blazer EV from GM. The steering wheel is a damn near match, and the center console also shares a lot of similarities.

I found the cabin roomy and comfortable, and I always enjoy air-conditioned seats… especially when hitting windy roads at high speeds (more on that later). The driver’s display was easy to read, even in sunlight, but I found it slightly obstructed by the steering wheel. The head-up display was easily visible but didn’t offer much more than my speed.

I found I didn’t use the center display often because there were a lot of tap-throughs, and I didn’t feel the menus were intuitive when searching for what I needed, like drive modes. It turns out there are only two drive modes in the Prologue: Standard and Sport, which are activated by a button to the left of the steering column. I thought that was strange, although easy to use.

The regenerative braking was available in several levels, which is excellent for EV drivers, new and seasoned, and I found the stiffest settings to my liking – easy one-pedal driving. However, activating the regen was not ideal. There’s a bumper on the pack of the steering wheel that looks like it would easily allow you to switch regenerative settings, but no such luck – just two buttons to skip and restart tracks playing on the infotainment system.

Instead, you have to tap through multiple menus to find the regenerative braking settings, and I actually had to ask a nearby tech for help during a pitstop because I couldn’t find it. Not ideal.

Now for the drive.

I would say the Honda Prologue EV did not wow me in any way regarding torque and acceleration, especially for a dual-motor powertrain. I found it sluggish and heavy, especially from a standstill. That said, I noticed more of the SUV’s agility at higher speeds. Once it got going on a rare straightaway within the winding roads of wine country, it really got going (I broke a lot of speed limits).

Still, I had complete confidence in overtaking other cars, but acceleration could have been quicker and more responsive compared to similar EVs I had driven in the past. I also felt little difference when activating Sport mode. I would honestly have preferred an Eco mode to maximize range.

Up in the mountains, the Honda Prologue EV handled every turn aside from one hairpin that had some gravel, causing that back end to skid out a bit, but I’d blame the driver for that. I came in a little too hot for such a heavy vehicle.

I personally am no stranger to the Honda brand. My Father is currently driving his third consecutive CR-V – the first of which is still in the family and just hit 170,000-lifetime miles. The automaker builds sturdy, dependable vehicles, and there’s no doubt it’s trying to bring that level of quality to its new lineup of EVs.

The Prologue is a decent start, but it’s also not 100% Honda yet. I’d compare it to a Nissan Ariya as a more than adequate EV that could serve as the perfect transition vehicle for drivers graduating from ICE to electric. I’d still take the Prologue over the Ariya and would 100% take it over the Toyota bZ4X in a heartbeat.

The Honda Prologue EV lacks the “wow” factor, but it’s a comfy, dependable ride with plenty of cargo space for its size. Honda fans will likely love it, as will consumers looking for a semi-affordable EV with plenty of space… just not a third row.

Honda still has some work to do with future EVs, but the Prologue is, by all means, an encouraging start, and I have confidence in the automaker looking forward. Trust that I’ll closely monitor how the US market responds; however, that’s always the best litmus test.

2024 Prologue pricing and availability

Interested in testing out the Honda Prologue yourself? The all-electric SUV is available for reservations now and is expected to begin arriving at Honda dealers in March. Purchases include a complimentary selection from one of three charging packages that include, a home or portable charging kit, installation credit, as well as free charging credits on both the EVgo and Electrify American networks.

2024 Honda Prologue EV pricing is as follows:

2024 Prologue Trim EX (FWD) EX (AWD) Touring (FWD) Touring (AWD) Elite (AWD)
MSRP* $48,795 $51,795 $53,095 $56,095 $59,295
* – includes $1,395 destination charge but not tax, license, registration, premium paints and accessories. Dealer prices may vary.

What do you think? Could you see yourself in a Honda Prologue? What trim and color are you going with?

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

By: HT Auto Desk | Updated on: 23 Apr 2024, 09:30 AM Kia Tasman is…

Mercedes-Benz has announced that its Wallbox smart charger for overnight charging at home is now…

US-based Sepion Technologies, which develops nanoengineered separator coatings and liquid electrolytes for EV batteries, has…