2024 Honda Prologue First Drive Review: Do you care who made the volume knob?

2024 Honda Prologue First Drive Review: Do you care who made the volume knob?

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Can you tell the difference between a Honda climate control knob and one made by General Motors? If so, do you care?

That’s ultimately what we’re talking about with the 2024 Honda Prologue. It looks like a Honda on the outside and it will be marketed as a Honda. Its creators say that great pains were taken to ensure it drives like a Honda. Underneath, however, the Prologue rides on GM’s Ultium electric platform that includes, among several vehicles, the similarly sized Chevrolet Blazer EV. Moreover, it’s built at the same GM production facility in Mexico as the Blazer, albeit on a separate line set to Honda’s unique standards, using parts from GM’s designers and suppliers. That’s where that question about the climate control knob comes in. To some (like car reviewers), it will be immediately obvious that the Prologue’s interior shares absolutely nothing with a CR-V apart from the Honda badge. To others? Well, that’s why I asked.


You see, it’s perfectly plausible and indeed likely, that those who cannot tell the difference will happily buy a Prologue, happy to finally take home a fully realized, widely available electric Honda, yet be totally unaware of its GM origins. Honda, the company, isn’t hiding that fact, but it’s also not exactly advertising it. Literally and figuratively. Honda dealers, on the other hand, seem even less likely to acknowledge the connection, be it by ignorance or obfuscation. This sets up the possibility of buyers not really knowing what they’re buying, and when we’re talking about fiercely loyal buyers like Honda’s, the situation for those buyers to feel a sense of bait-and-switch sure seems possible.

“I would feel scammed if after purchasing the vehicle I found out it’s a GM product,” said Gail Riswick, a four-time Honda/Acura owner who bought her first one in 1990 after one too many troublesome GM cars. She also happens to be my mother. After initially responding positively when I sent her an exterior photo, I asked what she would think if it was a GM underneath. Above was her response, which she followed with “I hope they are upfront about its origins.”

Can you tell the difference between these? Do you care?

Not all Honda loyalists will have a negative view of General Motors, but they’re also loyal for a reason. Furthermore, loyal car customers of any brand tend to get used to the way that brand’s cars operate. Get into anything else, and it’s usually not a positive experience. “Different” is interpreted as “bad.” Again, how are you feeling about those climate controls?

Honda Prologue product planner Quincy Tam says that his team anticipates customers most likely coming from the CR-V Hybrid and Passport, which he says tend to be purchased by those with a more open mind toward new automotive experiences. That is also the type of buyer who they anticipate will consider the Prologue, both for being an EV and for its GM origins. Assuming they know about it.

And let’s be very clear here, the GM Ultium platform is impressive. This isn’t rebadging an Isuzu Rodeo we’re talking about, nor a Toyota bZ4X/Subaru Solterra situation. Tam says that the Prologue is intended as a needed first step to bridge the gap between now and when Honda’s first in-house e: Architecture electric vehicle arrives in 2025. A prologue, if you will. That’s not actually much of a gap to bridge, really, and it’s unclear how long the Prologue will stick around. Seems likely to be shorter than the original Honda Passport, a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo that lasted two generations serving as Honda’s entry in the growing SUV market while Honda developed the CR-V and then Pilot. It was pretty easy to tell the OG Passport’s interior wasn’t related to an Accord’s, either.