acceptably well with a manual and somewhat slowly with the automatic. However, the limited edition’s 1 83-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 has the kind of torque common to larger V8 engines and it’s also among the smoothest and most fuel efficient in the class. A double wishbone front suspension handles the road in sporty fashion, although the nonindependent rear reminds you this is, after all, a truck. Add the part-time 4WD system and that liability becomes a strength when trampling over boulders and sloshing through mud. The interior is functional and attractive. You don’t get much at the lower prices, but there is plenty of luxury available for those on bigger budgets. And with big tires, fender flares, running boards and a chrome bumper, it’s one of the most aggressive-looking vehicles on the road.
A new Prelude showcases some of Honda’s latest technology while fixing a few sins of the last generation. Inside, where the previous model simply demonstrated that Honda doesn’t always produce good ergonomics and pleasant styling, the 1997 model returns to the corporate tradition of top-notch appearance and function.
While exterior styling is still a bit mundane, the Division’s sportiest coupe brings sophisticated performance to bear. The 2.2-liter four cylinder engine produces a generous 195 horsepower (five fewer with the automatic transmission) with the company’s unique VTEC system. This is an abundant amount from an engine this size and is accomplished without turbocharging or unduly sacrificing low-rpm thrust.
There are two models. For $23,595, the base model is well-equipped with AM/FM/CD stereo, air conditioning, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power door locks/windows and alloy wheels. For another $2,500, Honda adds the Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) that adjusts power to the front wheels, reducing understeer during high-speed cornering maneuvers. There is little difference in normal driving, but a racing enthusiast can earn faster speeds with ATTS.
MITSUBISHI MONTERO SPORT
Altough Mitsubishi already has a sport utility vehicle (SUV), it’s too expensive and not well suited to the mainstream American market. But don’t confuse the all new Montero Sport for the Montero. The latter is the old-fashioned beast while the Sport is completely different, more affordable and a far better companion on American roads.
It’s something of a basic SW, based upon a ladder-frame truck platform in either rear drive or part-time 4WD. Yet the styling is both rugged and modern with a wide look. Inside, the Montero Sport is ” delightful. Instruments are clear and bright and outward view is good.
The Sport was first offered with a 1 73-horsepower 3. 0-liter V6 engine, starting out in rear-drive form at $22,265. This spring, a somewhat meek
132-horsepower four-cylinder model will arrive at lower prices. A top-ofthe line XLS is well equipped at more than $31,000, yet items like antilock brakes remain optional.
Handling is refined, challenging twisting roads nearly as well as a tall sedan. Yet the Sport is also fully capable of taking on some rather rugged terrain. The interior remains quiet and comfortable, akin to some of the more expensive competitors. Acceleration is