Expert Insights

Road Test: 2024 Honda Prologue

Michael Bettencourt
April 11, 2024
Honda’s first all-electric midsize EV SUV borrows a battery, platform and some switchgear from the Chevy Blazer EV, but it has with major advantages in software – and also offers the full $7,500 federal rebate.
2024 Honda Prologue parked outside

Honda EV History

Arriving in dealers this April, the all-new Honda Prologue midsize electric SUV is the brand’s first leap into mainstream battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). Aside from a few plug-in stutter-steps in the U.S. market – marked previously by Honda vehicles built in tiny numbers to meet shifting California emissions regulations – this is the first serious plug-in Honda to be offered to the mass market.

Honda’s history with EVs is an interesting one. It started with the battery-electric EV Plus, which was offered for lease in California in the late 1990s. Between 2017 and 2019, the Honda Clarity electric vehicle was available in California and Oregon, but only leased – and in miniscule numbers. More recently, Honda’s plug-in toe-dipping extended further across the country with the Clarity plug-in hybrid, which offered about 50 miles of range on electric before the gas engine took over. That vehicle also had a limited lifetime, retiring after four years at the end of 2021.

Which makes the Prologue Honda’s first BEV offered nationwide, even if is not technically Honda’s first BEV in the U.S. market.

For potential electric SUV buyers, the overall impression after driving and DC quick-charging the Prologue is that it may not be the most exciting, fastest-charging, or longest-range EV in its class, but it seems designed to ease the transition from gas vehicles to BEV life in both positive and negative ways.

Honda Prologue parked outside a building

Joint Venture With General Motors

The Prologue is produced as a joint-venture with General Motors, and therefore uses the underpinnings (battery and motors) from GM’s Ultium line of vehicles. That means it’s almost exactly the same length as the Chevrolet Blazer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, two roomy mid-size battery EVs that hit the market in 2023. It also means the Prologue crossover has a roominess advantage over most other five-seaters in this class, being notably wider and longer than key rivals such as the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Going into this test, software and charging issues with early Blazer EV models had led GM to put a stop on the sale of Blazer EVs in December due to software and charging issues, with software revisions needed before it went back on sale in early March.

So, I was on the lookout for any glitchy screens or issues with charging with the Prologue, but I encountered none while driving and photographing multiple examples of the Prologue throughout the day.

The Prologue’s software is built off the same base as the GM products, but then development split, said Honda officials at its driving launch in Healdsburg, a charming little town in Sonoma wine country about 90 minutes north of San Francisco. Seat materials are also unique inside, but you can see an OnStar button on the infotainment screen and some switchgear familiar from various GM vehicles.

Honda Prologue Pricing and Trim Levels

It's worth noting that the Prologue is be eligible for the full $7,500 federal U.S. rebate, just as the Blazer EV is. It’s priced aggressively, with a starting MSRP for the base front-drive Prologue EX model at $47,400, and the all-wheel drive EX at $50,400, all before a $1,395 freight charge. Even though the Blazer EV has recently had a price reduction, it is still more expensive, with a starting MSRP of $50,195 before freight for a front-drive 2LT model, or $54,595 for the RS all-wheel drive model.

The top-line Elite models that we drove in California have a starting MSRP of $57,900, but have the same power and torque as all the dual-motor all-wheel drive models: 288 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque.

Not surprisingly, Honda saved the more powerful (358-500 hp) motors available in the top Blazer SS EV and Lyriq models for the upscale Acura ZDX, which starts at an MSRP of $64,500 for the rear-wheel drive base model A-Spec. That does mean the Honda Prologue is less powerful than many of its mainstream rivals, especially in front-wheel drive form, with 212 hp and 236 lb-ft of low-end oomph.

honda prologue charging at home

Distinctive Honda Design

Design-wise, the Honda Prologue looks very different from the more aggressive Blazer EV, with smoothly-rounded corners that have enough of a family resemblance to seamlessly fit into a Honda showroom. Unlike the boxier Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV or sleeker Kia EV6, the Prologue isn’t a very distinctive SUV a distance, especially if you can’t see the Honda logo or new retro-styled Honda script on its rear tailgate. But, that’s likely true of the majority of SUVs and crossovers, no matter if electric or not.

Styling is always subjective, but a small touch I appreciate about the Prologue’s exterior is its regular charging port door. It opens with a manual push, just like the gas flap on most vehicles, but on the driver’s side fender. Even the base Blazer EV and Lyriq models have a motorized charge port door that powers up and down – often with a stuttering motion that doesn’t inspire confidence on how it would deal with freezing temperatures, or long-term use.

This, plus the rear window wiper, are two simple but appreciated exterior features that may not be the highest tech, but continue Honda’s tradition of putting the driver first in terms of usability.

There’s a similar modern but driver-friendly first theme inside. There is a fully digital flat screen in front of the driver, and a larger 11.3-inch centre infotainment screen, but there are also many hard buttons underneath the screen that almost look retro in their number and appearance. These buttons, the steering wheel, and nearby stalks, may be familiar to newer Chevrolet owners, with the same handy buttons on the rear of the steering wheel.

It all makes the Prologue easy for current Honda (and maybe newer Chevrolet) drivers to move into, without a major software learning curve necessary.

There’s also plenty of passenger room inside the Prologue, although the cargo area is about half the size of Honda’s gas-powered mid-sized SUV, the Passport. There’s unfortunately no front trunk as some rivals offer, but there is a storage well underneath the rear cargo floor that is great for fitting in grocery items that may otherwise roll around the cargo area – and potentially onto your driveway.

Honda Prologue: Range and Performance

From the driver’s seat, the Prologue starts out from rest with a surprisingly loud low-speed pedestrian warning system, which is not very noticeable with the windows closed, but very much so for passersby or with windows open. (Hopefully it will be toned down for production models.) Accelerator response is instant but not overwhelming, with no official 0-60 mph time listed by Honda – suggesting that this is far from the Prologue’s (or its buyers’) main priority.

To help folks coming to the Prologue as their first EV, there’s a selectable amount of brake regeneration, allowing for regular vehicle creep when lifting off the accelerator. There is a one-pedal driving mode, which some EV owners prefer, but it’s not quite strong enough to bring the Prologue to a stop. There is, however, a paddle behind the steering wheel for generating extra regen that will feel familiar to Bolt drivers.

The Prologue carries an official EPA range estimate of 296 miles for the front-drive models, a slightly lower 281 miles with all-wheel drive, and the Elite model’s 21-inch wheels officially steal another eight miles off that AWD figure. It’s not the worst in the class, but it’s far from the podium.

Close-up of Honda Prologue charging area

Prologue Charging Speed and Preconditioning

While most Prologue drivers will charge overnight at home in their garage or driveway, we decided to veer off the official test route and try a DC quick charger after our drive, just to test how the Prologue would handle charging on longer journeys – and how close to its maximum 150 kW charging speed we could achieve.

We were impressed that as soon as we entered the DC quick charging station into the Prologue’s navigation system, it automatically warmed up the battery to prepare it to charge closer to the Prologue’s maximum charge rate. This preconditioning can reduce your overall time stopped in half – especially in colder weather – and not all EVs allow this. Even more impressive is a setting to manually pre-condition the battery, which is great if the navigation system doesn’t recognize there’s a DC charger at your destination – or you know where the charger is and don’t want to stop to program it into the nav.

With about 30 minutes of pre-conditioning, and temperatures at roughly 54 degrees, the Prologue charged right around 128 kW in our roughly seven-minute charge stop. It topped out at 131 kW for a few seconds, but was impressively stable around that rate, even though we plugged in at roughly 43 percent state of charge. Honda estimates roughly 65 miles of range can be added in 10 minutes.

Honda Prologue front interior

Honda Prologue Value and Charging Packages

As with much of the Prologue, this charging speed is okay, but not great. The same could be said for its overall value equation when compared with other mid-size all-wheel drive electric SUVs – many of which must be leased to receive the $7,500 federal rebate (the Prologue, Blazer EV, and Model Y get the incentive on purchases as well).

That said, there are other value perks to the Prologue which are designed to make it easier for EV newbies to slide into electric life, such as offering three charging packages with every purchase or lease.

  • Each package includes 60 kWh worth of Electrify America charging credits
  • Option A gives you a new home Level 2 charging station plus a $500 installation credit, plus $100 in EVgo public charging
  • Option B is a portable charging kit, which can support either basic 110-volt trickle charging or faster 220-volt dryer or stove-type outlets, plus $300 from EVgo
  • Buyers can also just opt for $750 in EVgo charging credits, which could be the most helpful for condo owners or renters

It’s important to note here that the Mustang Mach-E, Ioniq 5 and Model Y have all recently offered aggressive price and lease discounts, which affect the Prologue’s value equation as well.

In the end, the Prologue is a much more serious effort in the EV space than Honda has ever offered, but it’s also one that may end up as another Honda EV with a relatively short history. Company officials admit that Honda will phase out the Prologue once its self-designed line of small-, medium-, and full-size electric crossovers arrive over the next five to six years.

Honda has a proud engineering history with its engines and powertrains, and from the sounds of it, will attempt to build a similar reputation in the EV era. The Prologue is one major step towards that goal, even with many steps yet to climb.