For a company that’s been building hybrid cars since the late 1990s, Honda has been a bit slow to adopt full electrification in its march toward environmentally conscious automobiles. But the automaker’s first serious effort at an EV will arrive next year in the form of the 2024 Honda Prologue, a Passport-sized crossover with a targeted range of 300 miles.
As has been reported before, the Honda shares an Ultium platform and battery with electric GMs like the Chevrolet Blazer EV, but the automaker is confident that its unique suspension tuning, styling, and cabin will be enough to ensure repeat customers will be comfortable. That battery, by the way, will measure 85.0 kilowatt-hours, giving the most efficient versions of the Prologue a manufacturer-estimated range of 300 miles. The crossover EV will be available in single- and dual-motor variants, and although complete powertrain specifics haven’t been released, the all-wheel-drive version will boast 288 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque.
The 2024 Honda Prologue is roughly as long and as wide as the Passport, but it rides on an expansive 121.8-inch wheelbase – up nearly a foot over the internal-combustion SUV. That gives the Prologue a planted stance with the wheels stretching way out to the corners and keeping overhangs pleasantly clipped. The exterior looks smooth and polished, with a handsome – if a bit anonymous – appearance. Narrow headlights, a gloss black grille panel, and subtle air curtains on the bumper corners are modern and sleek, and the expansive wheelbase leads to a trim, tidy rear end that features the new Honda:e typeface on the hatch instead of a logo badge.
The automaker didn’t divulge the Prologue’s drag coefficient, but it did say that the EX and Touring models’ 19-inch wheels and the Elite’s 21s were optimized to reduce turbulence. Speaking of, those larger alloys are the biggest ever fitted to a series-production Honda, filling out the fender arches very nicely.
The interior of the Prologue will feel very familiar to folks trading in an Accord Hybrid thanks to standard Google Built-In, which will come on every trim level of the EV. The 11.0-inch digital gauge cluster and 11.3-inch infotainment display should offer impressive graphics and responsiveness, if our experiences in the Accord are to be believed, and the tech will tie in Google Maps, Assistant, and the Play app store right on the center screen.
Honda also provides excellent storage in the cleanly styled cabin, with open storage beneath the center console, massive cupholders sized for 32-ounce bottles behind the shift selector, and a sizable cubby between the front passengers that can accommodate tablets and small bags. Space up front is decent, but in the back, taller passengers may take issue with the relatively scant headroom and lack of thigh support. With the rear seats up, the Prologue offers 25.2 cubic feet of cargo space, and folding the 60/40 seatbacks flat yields 57.7 cubes. Both numbers are down on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Volkswagen ID.4, however.
(Zero-Emissions) Power To The People
The single-motor Prologue will be front-wheel drive, and although Honda hasn’t specified its power output, the automaker did say that the base powertrain will likely have the best range and efficiency, especially combined with the EX and Touring trims’ smaller wheels. With 288 hp and 333 lb-ft coming from the all-wheel-drive variant, the Prologue should have reasonably spry performance, though the dual-motor Ioniq 5 boasts more grunt at 320 hp and 446 lb-ft and the ID.4 gets 330 hp and 339 lb-ft.
In the case of the most efficient Prologue configuration, Honda estimates the 85.0-kWh battery will be good for 300 miles of range – all-wheel drive and larger wheels may drop that number to around 260. Once the battery runs dry, owners can recharge with an at-home station that provides 11.5 kilowatts, giving the Prologue a potential 0-100-percent time of less than eight hours. A 7.6-kW portable charging kit is also available.
Owners in a hurry can also make use of the DC charge rate of 155 kW – a disappointing number given the ID.4 can hit 170 kW and the Ioniq 5 can accept 220 kW. The Blazer EV and Cadillac Lyriq can recharge at 195 kW, so it’s possible GM is saving the most impressive Ultium tech for itself. When using DC fast charging, the Prologue can add 65 miles of range in 10 minutes.
Honda will provide one of three different charging solutions to Prologue buyers. The first is an 11.5-kW at-home charger, along with a $500 installation incentive and $100 charging credit. The second is a 7.6-kW portable charger, as well as a $250 installation incentive and $300 public charging credit. Finally, folks who have no need of a home charger can opt for a $750 charging credit instead. By the way, Honda and six other automakers are part of a joint venture that aims to build 1,350 high-power charging stations nationwide by 2030, the first of which will come online early next year.
The First Of Many
Honda is aiming for 100 percent zero-emissions vehicle sales by the year 2040, so it’s clear that the Prologue is only the start. In fact, in 2025, the automaker will debut yet another EV based on its own brand-specific “e: Architecture” platform, which may potentially be built at the new EV Hub facility in Marysville, Ohio.
Coming early next year, the first of that EV onslaught is the trim and attractively styled Prologue, with a targeted starting price in the high-$40,000 range that puts it right in the hunt of the the $45,290 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro and the $46,835 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Long Range. For that price, the Prologue owner will get standard Honda Sensing, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering, blind spot monitoring, lane departure prevention, and low-speed cross traffic monitoring. Other standards include the Google Built-In suite, heated front seats, and wireless device charging.
Middling interior space and a ho-hum charge rate may hold the Prologue back somewhat against the more spacious Ioniq and ID.4 although its Honda-typical excellent ergonomics may win a few VW trade-ins. And its EV credentials are far more impressive than Toyota’s phoned-in (albeit cheaper) Toyota bZ4X. Still, the Honda’s preliminary specs feel decidedly middle-of-the-road, not class-leading.
The Prologue’s debut makes us most excited for that aforementioned 2025 EV, though, which Honda says will be a mid- to large-size vehicle. Given the automaker’s past history of excellent engineering and packaging, plus the modern design of the company’s first long-range EV, that next product has some serious potential. Until then, the Prologue will hold the fort, finally giving Honda a solid crossover offering with zero emissions.