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Old 03-10-2011, 10:54 AM   #1
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Opinions - need new daily 4 banger - GTI or Prelude or...

I know many here despise it when a new thread comes up 'should I buy a Bugatti or a Mclaren' (exaggerated for effect)...drive what you like it always the general concensus, but just wanna get an opinion more based on reliability, value, bang for the buck, etc... for a modestly priced daily 4 cylinder car - one of which I'm not really familiar with - the prelude.

I currently have a mint eurospec E36 BMW M3 and need something a little more rational (easy on gas) for my daily work commute. They're actually pretty good for a 300 horse I6, but I still need better.

I am familiar with German cars, and know GTI's have their inherent drawbacks (though I've only had VR6 MK3s and Corrados)....but they've been pretty good cars, for the most.

Now I'm thinking of getting into a MK4 1.8T as they seem to have nearly the same power but a lot of potential for tuning an respond well, while still maintaining pretty decent mileage?

I've never had a Honda! I've always liked the last 2 gens of preludes, however....but really don't know their pros and cons. I would assume they'd be near bulletproof for reliability, but how's maintenance costs? Is it a pita getting the power 'felt' with the high revving vtec? Does it get tiring having a (relative) lack of torque? I prefer the last gen over the mid 90s prelude, but maybe that ones a better bang for the buck?

Any opinions you can give would be great! Maybe an integra/RSX?
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:24 AM   #2
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I'd rather get an RSX then a prelude. Looks nicer and has the same performance IMO. you'd get around 25mpg for both vehicles. Take a seat in both cars and then choose. Us telling you what is good and what isn't wont help as much as going out there and testing one out. My first car was a 4 cylinder and once I upgraded to a torquey v6 I dont think I could go back. Especially to v-tak :P
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[26-08, 13:50] Jesusjuice is this a sports car forum? why are there so many hondas?
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:42 AM   #3
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Preludes are not exactly "fuel efficient". they arent BAD for fuel, but definitely not good. the H22A engines in the preludes burn engine oil faster than average hondas too.

for preludes, avoid automatic at all costs. they break down and leave you screwed if you were far from home. costs a buttload to fix or do a transmission swap (like what i did). and also pretty bad resale value.

the "low torque" isnt too bad to be honest. for daily driving, the torque is more than enough. preludes are heavy for hondas, but their torque curve starts pretty high. (IE: starts high and doesnt go up much higher at peak). more than enough to get moving pretty fast. for comparison: i test drove a 2010 lancer, 1999 eclipse GS-T, RSX base, 2000 Civic (all automatic), and when i first drove the auto 1999 prelude, it felt ALOT stronger.

^for performance, RSX-S beats prelude, but i think prelude beats RSX base.

i love my prelude though, but at the time of purchasing, had i already had a job, i would have went with RSX ;p (but this auto prelude forced me to drive stick, which im happy for)
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:49 AM   #4
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Euro + fuel economy + torque = Mk4 TDI
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:07 PM   #5
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If you want torque, it won't be found in a Honda unless you're v-tekkk-ing every chance possible
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:08 PM   #6
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Thanx for the input so far guys.

I should have mentioned. I am still looking for a bit of fun so it has to be manual and sporty so def. not a diesel (TDI) - if VW, then a gti 1.8T. The RSX-S is very nice but I also should have mentioned I want to be in the 7-8K price range, and I think the S might be a squeeze.

I'm also thinking a Celica GT-S?
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:17 PM   #7
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The celica is arguably worse than an RSX or Prelude in terms of power, lulz.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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GT-S doesnt seem to have much torque either. A bit more then 8k as well if your looking for the most recent model.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:25 PM   #9
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Here's a few I'm thinking of so far.
http://www.revscene.net/forums/fs-19....html?t=636251

and...
http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rd...249164359.html

and finally...
http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rd...239928291.html

Haven't driven any yet - I am off Friday so that's my day to do so.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #10
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I was in ur exact same situation looking for a vr6 or 1.8t, saw alot of both, but when i test drove a prelude the choice was instant, iam a VW man, having owned 2 Jettas before, but there is just something about the prelude that is more fun, and with the ATTS in the SH, it will out handle the golf hands down. Parts are cheap, easy to DIY repairs, loads of online support, check out www.preludepower.com www.preludeonline.com for a lot more info on all gen preludes, but 5th is the best IMO. The prelude is also somewhat of a rarity, not many out there.

To comment on the 1999 Lude for 8k, thats quite a steep price for a 12 year old car, its just not worth that much IMO

goodluck!

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #11
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Is the OP going to sell the EuroSpec E36 M3 ?
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:04 PM   #12
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I was in ur exact same situation looking for a vr6 or 1.8t, saw alot of both, but when i test drove a prelude the choice was instant, iam a VW man, having owned 2 Jettas before, but there is just something about the prelude that is more fun, and with the ATTS in the SH, it will out handle the golf hands down. Parts are cheap, easy to DIY repairs, loads of online support, check out www.preludepower.com www.preludeonline.com for a lot more info on all gen preludes, but 5th is the best IMO. The prelude is also somewhat of a rarity, not many out there.

To comment on the 1999 Lude for 8k, thats quite a steep price for a 12 year old car, its just not worth that much IMO

goodluck!
i drove my friends GTI VR6 and he also drove my prelude, and although his GTI was way smoother and more "comfy", the prelude was more... fun. felt more mechanical and clunky lol.

1999 prelude for 8k to be honest, isnt that bad. considering its very common to see them varying from 5-10k depending on condition. i overpaid for mine... at a honda dealership lol.

one thing to take note for OP: if you do get a prelude SH. the SH is extremely un-tuning friendly. only the stock ECU will work with the ATTS. so, if you change ecu, then you may as well have bought a base prelude without the extra ATTS weight. preludes stock ecus are untuning friendly in general. stuff like hondata doesnt work with it ;[
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:37 PM   #13
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Have you considered a 7th gen Civic?

Not only are they nice cars, although the interior isn't as nice as the RSX granted, they get more than double the mileage of your other options. I drive aggressively, I'm definitely not trying to maximize mileage with a 60/40 highway city split and I average around 50mpg.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #14
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Are you looking to replace your M3? If not - then it doesnt make sense to buy a 'commuter car' as your going to drop 5k-10k on a 2nd vehicle and it would take you 15-20 years to see that offset in fuel savings.... better off just driving your M3 everyday (more fun too)
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:47 PM   #15
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I'm a huge VW fan (I think I've owned close to a dozen of 'em in the past) and if you're looking for a sporty ride, an MK4 1.8T isn't it. The ride is far too soft for the namesake and even modifying it doesn't help much. It's a good looking car when modified correctly, but it's not something that'll get you from six to midnight when you're looking for fun. They can be made to run pretty quickly, especially when it's chipped, but if you're looking for 0-60'esque times, there are faster cars out there to consider. However, the interior is top notch (assuming you don't get an early MK4 that hasn't had it's power window regulators fixed lol) and they retain their resale value pretty well.

I, too, was in this exact same situation. I was doing the Prelude vs. GTI/GLI thing and what I noticed is that most of the Preludes out there have been thrashed or poorly taken care of. In a month's time, I failed to come across a single Prelude that I was willing to take more than a cursery glance at before walking away. I also tried out the RSX but that failed to excite me in any real way. It felt too much like a Celica for me (which, in turn, feels too much like a glorified, sporty Corolla).

I ended up going slightly off the intended path and went for a 7g Accord coupe instead. lol.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:43 PM   #16
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It might not have the power you're looking for but how about a 99-00 Civic SIR?
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:19 PM   #17
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Buy a Honda
Go to work
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PROFIT!

There's zero rationale whatsoever to buy something German for DD, especially if you already have one.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:41 PM   #18
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what I noticed is that most of the Preludes out there have been thrashed or poorly taken care of. In a month's time, I failed to come across a single Prelude that I was willing to take more than a cursery glance at before walking away.
I agree with that 100%. I was prelude shopping and when i went with my friend and probably saw 20 different preludes that were complete junk due to poor mods, or beating the shit out of it every single drive.

We finally found a good one, but its tough. Compression and maybe a leak down test are necessary before picking one and check for any typical honda rust as well as if the model your looking at is an SH or Base, no matter what the sellers says. An SH has courtesy lights on the doors and a small black box in the back left corner of the trunk, among some other differences. Also if buying a 5th gen, make sure the engine says H22A4, not H22A1, engine swaps are common, and stay away from any H23's.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:49 PM   #19
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i wonder no one has popped up and said get a 240SX yet... honestly... for 7-8K OP can get a very decent S14 240SX with minimal mods... its about the same on gas as a prelude, same power.. but more torque.. just my thoughts...
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #20
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Thanx for all the advice guys.

I appreciate the various warnings and advice as far as buying a prelude. I'm in the dark on Japanese cars, having been raised on primarily N/A and German cars, but there are a few options to now consider.

Civics are out - not a fan and just too 'utilitarian'...I prefer a true sports coupe.

Same deal with 240s. They just don't do it for me, externally.

I'm not 100% on whether i'd keep the M3....suppose it'd depend on how enamored I was driving an alternative....I never get attached to anything...though I have to say - after driving 3 350Zs and 2 RX8s (as alternatives) - this 17 year old car just felt better in all perameters, other than maybe quietness of interior. The 350 was sadly a real disappointment - surprisingly! Must say though, the RX8 was super smooth and really nicely appointed....but the M3 just has this hard to define or categorize integrity and 'spirit' that defies description. Easily as quick as either of those wih real room for 4.....I'm probably nuts to consider seling the M...but again, I have around 3 cars a year, so.....

Will keep you posted!

~T~
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:50 AM   #21
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I prefer a true sports coupe.
so you already have a true sports coupe but you are looking for another true sports coupe as a DD?!

save yourself the trouble, stick with the m3 and call it a day. no matter how much more gas the m3 burns, how long would it take for the DD to reimburse you in gas savings? you also get to save on insurance costs as you only need to insure the m3. insuring cars daily is not worth the money IMO.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:07 AM   #22
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If you are unsure about Japanese cars, just buy a reliable newer gen Honda Accord, Acura TSX, Camery or something that is comfortable as a DD
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:29 PM   #23
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I'd the SRV prelude and I can tell you that whoever say that Honda's lack of torque, they probably haven't own one before. Honestly, it's plentiful enough for daily driving and occasional highway pass. To be honest, the Prelude was one of my favorite beater that I don't have to maintain and drive the sh!t out of it. IMind you my usual torque range comes from my E46 M3 and 4.3L V8 Mercedes. But my other B16 swapped civic is really lack of torque.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #24
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Something out of left field - what about a BMW 318ti? German chassis, but a miser on gas and some bit of utility with a hatch. It's slow, but you still have the M3 for fun on the weekends. They're probably more reliable than VWs of the same era.

An Integra/Civic/RSX will feel like it'll fall apart over rough roads. The road noise will take a while to get used to too.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:20 PM   #25
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How about a B5 S4
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