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First Drive: 2024 Honda Prologue — A Partnership Pays Off

by | February 22, 2024

Honda is finally getting into the EV game, the automaker getting ready to roll its first long-range model into U.S. showrooms in the coming weeks. The name is an appropriate one, the 2024 Honda Prologue set to become the first in a planned family of EVs set to debut later this decade. While future models will be developed in-house, however, the Japanese automaker took a shortcut with Prologue, turning to its longtime Detroit rival, General Motors for help. Headlight.News has the back story — and a first review of the 2024 Honda Prologue.

2024 Honda Prologue - 2-shot v2

The 2024 Honda Prologue is the automaker’s first long-range EV.

When it comes to green machines, Honda was an early pioneer, rolling out its first-generation Insight hybrid a quarter-century ago — and months ahead of the better-known Toyota Prius. But while Honda today offers a wide range of conventional and plug-in hybrids, it’s only dipped its toe in the EV market, most recently with a version of the Clarity sedan.

Now, facing increasingly strict emissions standards in the U.S. market, the Japanese automaker is finally launching its first serious battery-electric offering, the 2024 Honda Prologue. As its name suggests, Prologue will serve as the first in what should be a broad range of all-electric products.

Honda gave a hint of what’s next in the pipeline during a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in January where it rolled out two “0 Series” concepts. Future EVs will rely on technology developed in-house. But to speed things up, Honda took a more expedient approach with Prologue, partnering up with General Motors to use the same underlying platform, battery pack and motor drive system found in the Detroit automaker’s new Chevrolet Blazer EV.

Winding through wine country

2024 Honda Prologue - rear 3-4 parked hill

Prologue’s design — inside and out — should feel familiar to Honda fans.

To get a sense of what the 2024 Honda Prologue has to offer — and how it differs from Chevy’s electric crossover — I headed out to California’s scenic Napa Valley for some time behind the wheel.

What I discovered was an attractive, if somewhat generic, compact crossover that will be offered in several trim packages and with a choice of two different drivetrain configurations. Prologue is roomy, moderately peppy and delivers some of the better range numbers in a segment that includes offerings as diverse as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y.

While no breakthrough, Prologue should catch the eye of Honda buyers — especially those who already own one of the brand’s hybrids — who are thinking about going all-electric.

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Reaching out for help

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV RS eAWD - Beauty Shot

Prologue shares its underlying platform and drive technology with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV shown here.

Honda previously offered a couple of EVs, though both were what came to be known derisively as “compliance cars.” The most recent model, a version of the Clarity, offered only limited range and marginal performance and it was only offered in California and a handful of other states with EV sales mandates.

To come up with something more competitive, the Japanese automaker turned to GM, the Detroit automaker with which it has partnered on several other projects, including development of new hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

Prologue started out with the same Ultium platform, electrical architecture, battery pack and motors as the also-new Chevrolet Blazer EV. Most of that is out of sight, though you’ll also find some familiar hardware in the cabin, including a steering wheel lifted directly out of the Chevy parts bin. That said, Honda took pains to make sure that, from an overall design standpoint, its electric crossover wasn’t just a clone — as is the case with the jointly developed Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra.


2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV platform

The 85-kWh Ultium battery pack used in both the Honda Prologue and Chevrolet Blazer EV.

The electric drive system is one of the places where Prologue and Blazer EV have the most in common. To start with, they share an 85-kilowatt-hour pack using GM’s Ultium lithium-ion batteries. That yields similar range — anywhere from 273 miles per charge for the Prologue Elite AWD to 296 miles for the EX and Touring FWD trims.

But, even here, there are a few critical differences. In an industry first, Chevy came up with three drivetrain layouts: front-, rear-, or all-wheel-drive. Chevy also will add a high-performance version of Blazer EV, the SS pAWD package making as much as 557 horsepower and 648 pound-feet of torque.

While Honda may yet add its own electric tire-shredder, it starts out with Honda two more mainstream Prologue packages. A single-motor front-wheel-drive configuration delivers a modest 212 hp and 236 lb-ft, while the twin-motor all-wheel-drive option bumps that up to 288 ponies and 333 lb-ft.

Like GM, Honda has yet to offer full charging data. Expect the 85 kWh pack to take around 8 hours to go from a 0-100% charge using a 240-volt Level 2 home system. The Japanese automaker says that one of the higher-power public DC chargers will add another 65 miles range in as little as 10 minutes.


2024 Honda Prologue - cargo REL

The 2024 Honda Prologue features a roomy cargo compartment — but no frunk.

Prologue and Blazer EV share the same “hard points,” meaning they have similar exterior shapes, though the Honda is clearly the more conservative of the two. It features a more gently sculpted body with less of the flashy details, such as the aero-enhancing exhaust ports behind the front wheels. And the front end is likewise less aggressive.

The skateboard-like platform both models are built on positions both the battery pack and motors below a flat load floor. And with no engine up front, more space was available for passengers and cargo. There’s 25.2 cubic feet in the back end, which jumps to 57.7 cf with the rear seats folded down. One disappointment: neither of the EVs offers a “frunk,” or front trunk.

Blazer’s bold look carries over into the passenger compartment. But here’s where the two models really distinguish themselves. With the exception of a few common parts, like that steering wheel, the 2024 Prologue echoes the familiar Honda design language’s latest iteration. It doesn’t stray far from what we’ve seen with other recent models, such as the Accord.


2024 Honda Prologue - interior REL

A distinctly Honda-style interior, including twin displays on the Prologue EV.

Where Chevy opted to place twin screens under a single piece of driver-oriented glass, Honda opted to separate the 11-inch digital gauge cluster and 11.3-inch touchscreen. And Honda’s infotainment system is the result of another alliance, the automaker partnering up with Google.

The system offers constantly updated navi mapping, along with a variety of new apps. It could prove a bit overwhelming to less tech-savvy motorists but the Google voice control is a step up from the old Honda system. And the automaker gets kudos for sticking with more conventional “hard” controls for most climate functions.

Along with the expected Android Auto compatibility, the infotainment system also adds Apple CarPlay – both operating wirelessly. There are a number of USB ports — though I quibble with Honda’s decision to migrate entirely to the newer USB-C format. That means many buyers will either need new cables or adapters for their tablets and smartphones. Depending on package, a wireless Qi charger is available, as is a 12-speak Bose sound system on the Elite and Touring trims.

Add in a variety of new advanced driver assistance systems. The updated Honda Sensing suite in Prologue is the first to add new functions including Rear Cross Traffic Braking, Blind Zone Steering Assist and Rear Pedestrian Alert.

Driving impressions

2024 Honda Prologue - driving in corner

The EV’s low center of gravity is a plus for the Honda Prologue’s driving manners — despite its heft.

It’s always fun to drive through Napa’s scenic wine country which offers a variety of different driving conditions — from fast freeways to winding mountainous terrain. The 2024 Honda Prologue Elite AWD I spent my time in had much in common with the Chevy Blazer RS AWD I drove through a similar landscape a few months earlier.

The electric drive system clearly adds mass. While Honda hasn’t released full specs yet, a comparable Blazer EV comes in around 5,600 pounds. But the placement of the battery pack and motors translates into an unusually low center of gravity and a near 50:50 front-to-back weight balance. That translated into more sporty handling, despite Prologue’s heft, as I whipped my EV around winding mountain roads.

Steering proved reasonably predictable, albeit a bit shy on road feedback. Braking was smooth and transparent, unlike some of the twitchy EVs I’ve drive lately. Points to Honda, meanwhile, for offering a true One-Pedal mode, unlike some direct competitors, such as the Toyota bZ4X. It functions much like downshifting a manual transmission several gears. In its most aggressive mode, I found I seldom had to hop back and forth from throttle-to-brake, even around tight corners, instead simply modulating the throttle to slow down. Honda’s One-Pedal allows Prologue to come to a complete stop without having to use the brake.


2024 Honda Prologue - driving v2

Prologue will be offered with three trim packages and a choice of front or all-wheel-drive.

After growing by more than 800% between 2019 and early 2023, EV sales growth has slowed down sharply in recent months. Several factors catch blame, including the lack of a readily available public charging network. But cost is an equal concern for the mainstream buyers who need to be won over. On average, today’s EVs roll off dealer lots for around $60,000, according to JD Power, at least $10,000 more than comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines.

While the 2024 Honda Prologue is a bit more affordable, even the base EX — the first trim package to market — starts at $48,795, including $1,395 in delivery fees. The Touring FWD will start at $50,190 including delivery fees. At the upper end, the Elite AWD will carry a base MSRP of $60,690.

Unfortunately, Prologue does not qualify for $7,500 in federal tax credits. Not if you buy it, that is. Under the quirky guidelines of the Inflation Reduction Act you’ll be eligible if you lease the EV. Better yet, revised rules enacted in January will let you apply those incentive dollars to the downpayment, reducing monthly payments.

Charging packages included

honda spacehub

Honda revealed two “0 Series” EV concepts at CES in January.

To further sweeten the deal, Honda is offering three charging packages as part of the purchase:

  • Home Charging Station (11.5 kW) and $100 Public Charging Credit, plus $500 Installation Incentive;
  • Portable Charging Kit (7.6 kW) and $300 Public Charging Credit, plus $250 Installation Incentive; or
  • $750 in public charging credits.

Wrap up

Honda is now taking advance orders for the 2024 Prologue, with deliveries scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. At least, that’s the plan. The question is whether the Japanese EV will be impacted by the various software glitches that last month forced Chevrolet to put out a stop-sale order on Blazer EV. The domestic model still isn’t available, and it’s unclear if the problems are contained within software unique to the Chevy EV. If not, Honda may be forced to push back its own launch.

And that would be a disappointment. While the 2024 Honda Prologue isn’t the fastest EV in the segment, nor does it offer the longest range or most distinctive styling, it still has plenty of features to appreciate. And for those who like Honda products — its hybrid models, in particular, Prologue is likely to draw their attention.


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