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Honda S2000 vs. Nissan 350Z

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  • Just read your question. I believe others have answered it as well or better than I would have. At any rate, I believe you are comparing apples with pears, raw torque/power versus craftiness, handling superiority, and precision.
  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    It'd be great if we can leave grammar/spelling critiques out of the discussion. Since this is the 350Z vs. S2K topic, the Solstice/S2K comparison is off-topic here, but you're welcome to create a new discussion comparing the two vehicles.

    Claire

    HOST

  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    The dealership name is Bankston Honda in Lewisville, Texas and yes, it does include the handling charges. Ask for "Scott P". He is their S2000 Guru and he knows a lot! He is a straight up guy but as with any car purchase, remember the sales person is not going to be joining you for Christmas Dinner so keep your guard up.

    He had one guy fly down from South Carolina and drove the car back because their prices are so good. Also, if you want to use Leasecompare.com, they will still sell the car at the same price, doesn't matter who. If you decide to make the trek down here, let me know and I'll give you my real name so I can get the $100 referral. :) In April, they had 11 and now they are down to 3 or 4 (2 NFR and 2 silverstones). Their web site is http://www.bankstonhonda.com and the inventory page is http://www.bankstonhonda.com/index.cfm?action=inventorysearch&subaction=searchli- stnew&inventorytype=New&model=S2000&searchtype=allnew&zipcode=75057. Looks like they only have the 1 silver now. I can let Scott know you may be contacting him, if you like. Just let me know.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    Sorry about the off topic, claires, I started a new thread for S2000 and the Sky/Solstice. :)

    Honda S2000 vs Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    I am in no way attacking you, just defending my purchase. :)

    I got my S2000 for $28,500 ($6345 below msrp). This makes for an potentially incredible lease deal. Financially speaking, the S2000 just made a better choice for me. From many of the other posts I've read, many of the people driving vehicles like this are wealthy. I'm not hurting for but I wouldn't call myself wealthy. If money is a huge factor for you, I would take into consideration of how long you expect to have the car. While GM's 100k warranty is nice, you need to find out what it covers. When I got my S2K, I could have extended the warrnty to 100k miles for $1204 and that was "roof to road."

    Oh, and if you have to get an Automatic, then your choice is pretty clear. I've heard good things about the automatic. BUT don't let the S2k's stick scare you. It is smooth, light, and effortless. The mustang's clutch was nice but heavy compared to the S2K. I drive in 60 min rush hour each day and the shifting is easy for me and I haven't had a stick in 4+ years. My last stick was an Toyota MR2.

    I, too, had a Tahoe and it was bulletproof. We also have a Chevy HHR 2LT and love it. I have no reason to think GM's roadster would do poorly, as long as they didn't pull a Fiero (the parts bin philosophy).
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    Sorry for getting off topic here (new thread was created by accelerator)so I will be switching over.

    My search is for the high performance, top down, affordable, roadster experience.

    Honda S2000 and Solstice GXP both clearly fall in that category.

    Aston Martin Vantage and Ferrari F430 Spider both clearly do not.
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    Ooops. My apologies for getting off topic. Looks like accelerator has come through on this one.
  • trucktrickstrucktricks Posts: 45
    I understand on the "defending" thing and thanks for appropriately starting the new thread.

    BTW, I was once the proud owner of a Fiero ( my son and daughter shared this car). Overall, it did OK for satisfying basic transportation needs and they thought it was great. It was an absolute nightmare to work on. The parts bin philosophy can be made to work if done carefully. In this case taking an entire front wheel drive powertrain and shoving it to the rear with very few changes produced mixed results.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    In high school, a friend of mine had a Fiero GT. It looked great, until that darn dog walked into the road. My buddy swerved to miss the dog, ended up going into a ditch which launched us into the air about 8 feet. We were able to tell how high we went from the marks on the tree that failed to move out of the way. We both walked away with very minor scratches despite the car was cracked in half on both sides of the sun roof, tires ripped from the chasis, and a popped driver window. We were lucky we hit the tree a little off center or else I might not be here to joke about it now. :) And no, alcohol nor excessive speed were involved; just inexperienced kids over-correcting trying to avoid hitting an animal.

    Oh, the point I was trying to make is that the cars design did what it was designed to to do, save our lives in the event of a crash and I can never find fault with that.
  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    Thanks for starting the thread, accelerator. I've linked it into the Sky and Solstice discussions too, so that it'll get the attention of the owners of all three vehicles.

    Honda S2000 vs. Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice

    Claire

    HOST

  • montrosemontrose Posts: 7
    Been skimming through this thread and wanted to add a bit of my own experience in general, not really in response to any one post. I've driven the Z and the S, not the Sky.

    I think just based on the specifications of each car, it should be obvious how each will drive. The Z is going to be a brute with a lot of torque that tappers off by redline whereas the S2K is going to be the exact opposite with no torque down low but an all out attack from 6k to redline. The S is a lot more high strung and edgy, harder and more demanding to drive at 10/10ths, but much more rewarding when doing so. The Z is less refined, but a lot more forgiving, it wont bite you quite as hard if you make a mistake like backing off the throttle mid-corner. For me, the S would be more rewarding wringing every last second out of it on a track while the Z is more fun showing off and screwing around sliding the back end around. I haven't driven the Sky/Solistice, but I'd imagine it's going to be somewhere in the middle of the S and the Z, more for giving and less high strung than the S and not quite as brutish or portly as the Z. If the S is scalpel, the Sky/Solstice is a steak knife and the Z is a machete. If learning how to be a better driver is one of your goals, then the S is the car for you because it won't mask driver errors like the Z will, but other than that I don't see a point in arguing which car is "better" because each of them is designed so differently. Choose whichever best suites your driving style. If you like drag racing, go buy a Z, if you like road racing, go buy an S, because while each can do both, the Z is a better drag car and the S is better when the road gets twisty, end of story.

    When comparing all three as roadsters, it should be pointed out that the Z was NOT designed to be a roadster and without it's top, the performance is NOTICEABLY LESSER than the coupe. The suspension is softer, the car is a few hundred pounds heavier, and the chasis is a lot less stiff than the coupe. This even further takes away from the driving experience that everyone raves about the S for. The Z roadster wasn't designed for the performance minded driver, it was designed for the driver that just wants to look good with the top down, and as such it's been watered down a bit.

    As far as reliabilty, I do service at a Nissan dealership and I used to own and still do work on Hondas. I don't know a whole lot about the Sky/Solstice other than what I've seen on the net, but I am 100% confident (even if I don't know a damn thing about the Sky/Solstice) that the the S and any other Honda will always be more reliable and have a better fit an finish than most other cars in the same price range (with Subaru and Toyota up there too), including the Z and the Sky/Solstice. I know for a fact (because I've replaced a few Z engines and transmissions myself) that up untill this year (time will tell if the '07 Z motor is any good) the Z has had problems with the motors not seating the piston rings correctly and thus burning oil like crazy (such as 1 quart for 1k miles) and the earlier model years ('03-'04 in particular) had problems with blowing up transmissions as well as front tire wear issues because of flaws in the front suspension design (the tire issue hasn't been completely resolved), and the brakes on the non-Track models were crap up until I think '06. I like the Z enough to make me want to buy one, but I won't because they are junk, along with the better part of Nissans lineup. The '07 Z has addressed many of these issuses with better brakes and a brand new motor that gives me that tingley feeling when I think about it, but I won't get too excited until they show better reliabilty than the previous engines. Nissan is bottom of the barrel for reliablilty as far as Japanese cars go, maybe a little better than Mitsubishi. I read some "most and least reliable cars of 2006" article on the web the other day and out of 5 or 6 categories (SUV, sedan, sports...), Nissan was in 4 categories for top 5 worst of '06. I think we only had 9 or 10 models all together last year. The Z wasn't one of those 4, but it goes to show Nissans "quality". I don't think I even have to talk about the American car manufacturer's reputation for quality, reliabilty, and fit and finish, and turbos eventually wear themselves out as well as putting a lot of stress on the rest of the engine. I've owned a turbocharged car in the past. While it's fun and easy to make a lot of power, they're a pain in the [non-permissible content removed]. All of this is not to say that the S2000 doesn't have it quirks, but most of them were worked out with the 2002 revisions and then even further "refined" with the 2004 revisions. The pre-2002 models had a few bugs to be worked out and the pre-2004 have a problem with toe change throughout the rear suspension travel that makes them a bit twitchy, but as far as reliability, they are just like any other Honda. The only serious problems I've heard of since the '02 model are directly related to driver error and abuse, not Honda's manufacturing deffects (blown rear differetials from hard launches and clutch drops and blown motors do to mechanical over-revs caused by a driver miss-shift, which could happen just the same in any other car). You'd be hard fetched to blow out a Nissan rear end from any sort of abuse, but that's about the only place that Nissan's got Honda beat in the reliabilty department. The Solstice/Sky might turn out to be great cars in the long run, but they still won't touch Honda as far as reliability and quality is concerned. Nissans warranty isn't that great and Honda's might be a little better, while the GM cars have a good warranty, but you don't really even need a warranty on the Honda, whereas the other two cars I wouldn't feel comfortable not knowing where the nearest dealership was at all times. The Nissan gets the worst gas mileage of the bunch (it's the heaviest) and despite what the sticker on the window says, the S will get around 30 mpg on the highway just like the Sky/Solstice.

    This leads me to resale value. While I don't think it should factor in too much when you're buying a car (as long as you're in it for the long haul), the Honda does and always will have a better resale value than GM or Nissan because of how reliable Honda's are and how reliable GM's and Nissan's AREN'T. This could help you or hurt you, depending on whether or not you're buying new.

    In the end, it doesn't matter, buy what you like. Just make sure you get the extended warranty with the Nissan and the GM, because you'll be keeping me and my friends over at the GM dealerships busy.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    My mom just handed off her beloved 91' 240SX to her brother with 300k miles on it. Sure, it needs some work here and there, but he's still driving it.

    You're right, the 350 is all about power, not precision. I know a couple of people with them and they've had no issues to speak of, and these people either own or previously owned an S2000 so they don;t drive them gently. :blush:

    I wouldn't even put the Kappa cars in the same sentence, Turbo or not, they were "el cheapo" from right out of the gate serving their mission as "Entry Level" as you can't go any lower in both price nor quality. Bad rear diffs, self-destructing Auto trannies, poor fitting soft tops seem to be pretty common occurance. The 350 on the other hand has been around long enough to be a yay or nay in the reliability dept. but as far as the cars go, they get good ratings in the CR while the Kappa get a big fat black easter egg... I'd go with the Z without batting an eye.
  • montrosemontrose Posts: 7
    http://www.nissantireproblems.com/

    Food for thought. It's not to say that if you buy a Z, you're going have a nightmare with reliability, because not all of them have problems, but an abnormal percentage of them do. Many people are on their third and forth engines or transmissions. Just the thought of possibly having to pay for a motor or tranny outside of warranty, or new tires every 6k miles, would be enough to make me run, not walk, away from the Nissan dealership.
  • dat2dat2 Posts: 242
    I have a 2005 350Z and just replaced the OEM tires at 31,000 miles, the wear was fairly even especially considering you can't rotate them. Of course the rear tires were pretty much shot, thank you Nissan bulletproof rear end. Nissan had resolved the tire problem by the 05 model and they properly took care of customers by replacing tires and adjusting the alignment specs as well.

    Your comment about the S2K only having reliability issues related to driver error is hearsay and could just as easily be applied to the 350Z's that you have seen having trannys, motors and clutches changed out. Some owners of 350Z's are young people running hard or even tracked cars. Granted some of them were also engineering defects in the earlier cars. Look at the sales volume of Z's, then compare to the repair record and sales volume of the S2K and I bet you won't see the results you (subjectively) mentioned.

    I routinely get 30 mpg hiway with my Z. Not sure where your comment about the Z fuel economy came from. That's pretty impressive mpg for sports car putting out nearly 300 horses. And the new 07 models get even better mpg.
  • montrosemontrose Posts: 7
    I think you're right, the tire wear problems have been addressed for the most part, but as far as I know, no changes were made to the front suspension, only the alignment, so the problem is not gone. You shouldn't have to worry about weird feathering problems with your front tires running any alignment specs you'd like, so long as the toe is reasonably close to 0, and that just isn't the case with the Z. You're experience with your Nissan dealership taking care of you with new tires and the new alignment specs was a good one, but not all dealerships are so quick to take care of their customers, so not all have had the same good experience.

    I wrote "the only serious problems I'VE HEARD OF since the '02 model". That means IN MY EXPERIENCE, not that Honda has never built a deffected motor or tranny, whereas with the Z, I've seen quite a few trannys and motors with MANUFATURER DEFFECTS, not related to driver error. The tranny deffects were mostly in the '03-'04 cars, but the Z's were still having a problem seating the piston rings all the way up until '06, that's a maufacturer deffect, not driver error, and that's why people are getting new motors under warranty. If either case of tranny or motor problems was related to driver error, Nissan wouldn't cover the work under warranty and they wouldn't have TSB on checking oil consumption. Maybe the '07 motor will be better.

    That's the first time I've heard of a Z getting 30 mpg and I think it's safe to say that for the most part the S2000 and the Sky/Solstice will get better mileage than the Z. It's a heavier car with a bigger motor; not rocekt science.

    I don't own any one of these cars and I don't have any brand loyalty, I'll go with whichever is the better car. I couldn't care less which car you, or anyone else bought or plans on buying. I'm not trying to defend Honda or criticize Nissan, I'm just stating what I know from my experience with the intention of giving a potential buyer some more input about these cars that their salesman won't be telling them.
  • tgeentgeen Posts: 20
    Trucktricks, our impressions of the 350Z vs S2000 are very similar. I don't own either one, but I've been shopping lately.

    I would have to say that the Honda is probably the most satisfying car to shift manually of anything I have ever driven, including the Z.

    If you're into shifting for yourself, as I have been doing for the past 25 years, you end up placing a very high value on a good shifter and clutch feel because you will be using these controls thousands of times every month. The S2000 was clearly designed by car guys who live and breathe manual shifting. Shifting gears feels like clicking the bezel on a Swiss watch, and the clutch feels like an old friend after the first five minutes. This is attention to detail. And Honda didn't even deign to offer an automatic. What's not to love about that attitude?

    Honda will get my money, is all I can say. The Z is a blast to drive in its own way, more like a motorboat for the road than a scalpel. It's a lot heavier, and it feels it, but I wouldn't kick it out of bed. I would be happy with either one. But the Honda made a connection to me that was absent with the Z, and it achieved this within five minutes. To each his own, I'm sure.

    I really need to drive the Solstice/Sky next. Sadly, I haven't heard too many good things about the manuals in these cars, and if they feel anything less than perfect, they're out of the running. In my book, you don't release a sports car until you have this fundamental thing basically worked out to perfection.
  • glendowerglendower Posts: 32
    "I've noticed that when I see a 350Z convertible, all I can see is the drivers head peeking out from inside the cockpit. It's like they're sitting in a deep tub up to their chin, surrounded by windows (rolled up, of course) and a wind blocker - not exactly my idea of a convertible."

    Don'cha love it when pot calls kettle black: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_and_future_cars/2008/0703_2008_honda_s2000_cr/photo_03.html

    Typical, however, of the BS the S2000 crowd is slinging on this thread.

    S2000 is an undersized (interior) one-trick pony with a nice shifter--appropriate because you have to constantly use it to get any performance whatsoever. Must be a huge market for replacement shift knobs. ;)
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    In response to the first five minutes comment, I've been without a manual shifter for a little over 5 years now. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to enjoy a manual again and was actually leery of taking the S on a test drive (being used didn't bother me, it was the simple fact of being a stick). After 5 minutes behind the wheel and zero stalls, I knew I was home. That was a 2004 model. After driving that one for about 15 minutes (very nice sales person), I decided I wanted a new one just so I could drive it that much longer. Last week, I picked up my Rio Yellow and I haven't looked back since. I drive 30 miles one way; of those 30 miles, the first 10 miles are stop-n-go traffic and my leg hasn't gotten tired or sore (remember, I haven't driven a stick in 5+ years). This is a true testament to the quality of shifter/clutch in the S2000. If you are on the fence and like LOVE to drive, then the S is for you. :)

    If you take the plunge, let us know what you decide.
  • acceleratoraccelerator Posts: 136
    @apologists: You made me spit milk out my nose! Don't move, I'm loading up my slingshot and getting ready to take aim. :P

    All I can say is the adage, "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand" applies here (of course you have to replace Jeep with S2000). ;)

    If I'm slinging BS, my S don't stink! :)
  • dadszdadsz Posts: 14
    I test drove the Miata, S, Z, and Solstice. I'm a roadster guy from way back. My first was a 1976 MGB.

    The Miata was a fun drive, but with the options I want was getting expensive. It reminded me of my old MGB on steroids. A great car, but as you start moving up in style (touring, grand touring) the car gets a little to pricey compared with the others.

    The S is also a fun drive, shifting is as easy and simple as everyone here has posted. But the seats left a little to be desired in my opinion. They just didn't seem all that comfortable. I'm not buying a daily driver, this car is a play car but even so, the seats were too stiff for my taste. It's quick, it's fun, and it's good looking as well. But the cost for what you get is influenced by the Honda mystique in my opinion.

    I'd stay away from the Solstice. The manual was just ugly to work in comparison with the japanese cars (or German cars for that matter). I cannot for the life of me figure out why American car makers cannot get the manual transmission down pat in the same way that the imports do. This car is soft in its handling compared with the S, Miata, and Z.

    Here's why I ended up with the Z (new 2006 Roadster Touring): For the money it was simply the nicest car for me. I like the low end power (and no I'm not a mustang or camaro fan). I liked the sound of the engine. But most of all, I felt really connected to the car as I put it through its paces on the test drive. You don't sit lower in a Z than a miata or s (don't know why someone would say that... you simply adjust the seat). When I compared the final price on my Z with the S and the miata, I received a more powerful car with just as proven a track record as the others. I also have more options for the money. So it came down to both features and economics.

    For those of you who are looking at either the S or the Z, you need to understand that many folks come to these forums to complain. If you go to the enthusist forums for each car, you'll get a more balanced view of each car.

    Each car is different in its own way. Personal choice makes the difference if the price is the same. But drive each car that you are interested in and make your own mind up. Whatever you buy, you should be happy to drive. Enjoy!
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