Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

The S2000 Problem - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,112
edited May 2017 in Mazda
imageThe S2000 Problem - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a wonderful driving machine for the money. But in this editor's opinion, a lightly used Honda S2000 is the better buy.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • I've always loved the S2000, especially the later models with the larger 2.2 liter engines that had a more forgiving torque curve. I had an opportunity to sit in one at a dealership a while back. Unfortunately my long legs could not fit comfortably under the non-adjustable steering wheel, even with the driver's seat pushed all the way back. My Prelude was much roomier.
  • Well, first off, to back up, the Miata was the Honda Del Sol's problem as it was everything the Del Sol wasn't. Sporty and fun. Having owned both, though, I can say that the Del Sol gave you a heck of a lot more room and having FWD was nice in bad weather. In terms of the S2000, it certainly has a great appeal. Reliability + incredible power. The problems I came upon, though, were that it just wasn't great for a daily commuter. Little Torque and you can't rev it up to the redline everytime or you won't have that engine for long term. Ride was really rough too. Like, REALLY rough in earlier models and just pretty rough in later ones. I'd be willing to bet that this latest Miata blows the S2000 away in terms of "realistic daily driving fun" any day of the week.
  • s197gts197gt Posts: 486

    I'd be willing to bet that this latest Miata blows the S2000 away in terms of "realistic daily driving fun" any day of the week.

    exactly.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    edited February 2016
    I play these games too, where you look at the price of a new car and compare it with the price of a used car. But the new Miata also has some added value with that price. The Warranty. The lack of abuse. Granted, as soon as you buy, you've just decreased your value. But I'd also like to point out...where's the new S2000 now? That's right. Honda doesn't have one (although there's been talk about a roadster version of the Toyburu twins), but Mazda does. At least they're still making a roadster new, even if it's not "perfect".
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    Not only is the warranty a huge plus, so is the fact that an S2000 is a cash purchase, whereas a new Miata can be financed.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Tire kicked Miatas for years - seems like used Miata are usually more than TMV but still affordable, and there's a ready market for flipping them. Lots of people enjoy them for a couple of years and pass them along to the next person. I would think there's a much smaller pool of potential S2000 buyers to flip that ride to.

    And lots of us don't really care about the "motor". It's a slow car to drive fast or really for boulevard cruising with the top down (which is why I'd like one). If you want more speed, there's a big aftermarket for the SEMA types.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @stever : I don't know about your area, but the TMV from Edmunds is drastically off in my area. Here in my part of Texas, you can never find vehicles even close to the price they have for the older cars. Newer ones, they aren't too far off, but if you're looking at a car 8 years old or older, Edmunds never gets close to the selling prices.
  • cjasiscjasis Posts: 274
    I've owned (and loved) two Honda S2000's... a Silverstone on red MY 2001 and a spa yellow pearl on black MY 2002. Both were fantastic cars and although they both had the "weaker" AP1 motor with the higher redline and lower torque, I never found them gutless as some have suggested. Granted, A/C on, two people in the car, going up hill... yes you had to wind it out... but that was part of the fun.

    Having said that... I'd probably still buy a new Miata. Why? Far better real world driving. Far better crash protection. And unlike Mr. Sadler's experience, I'm yet to see a used S2000 that is anything approaching "minty fresh". Most of them, at least here in S.CA have been driven hard, put away wet, and are now cheap enough that they're often modified. And that's not always a good thing.
  • Neither of these cars is a daily driver as I understand the term, and so I could almost go for the used S2000 over the Mazda. Almost.

    I don't live in Southern California and so am not required by law to believe that a ten-to-fifteen-year-old car that was designed and sold to be driven hard will be as trouble-free as a new car, just because it's Japanese.

    Also there are a lot of ways...too many to go over here - in which 2016 cars are preferable over 2000-2007 cars. There is also the Honda Sports Car Syndrome, wherein they come up with something like this or the NSX - a fabulous, ahead-of-its-time sports car...and then they sell it forever and a day with only minor updates, so that by the time they phase it out, it's really out of date.

    But it's really close, because, as I said, this is not a daily driver, and because the good bones are definitely there.
  • reminderreminder Posts: 383
    If Honda resurrected a modern S2000, I'd take a hard look at one.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016

    @stever : I don't know about your area, but the TMV from Edmunds is drastically off in my area. Here in my part of Texas, you can never find vehicles even close to the price they have for the older cars. Newer ones, they aren't too far off, but if you're looking at a car 8 years old or older, Edmunds never gets close to the selling prices.

    TMV is pretty good around here, but Miata asking prices are about $1,000 too much for older nice ones. It was the same when I lived in Boise and shopped them back around 2007. The miled up ones are close to TMV, but down in that morass, you're only talking a $2,000 car anyway. I helped a buddy get an '03 F-150 here in Las Cruces last year and TMV was spot on. Yep, he's from west Texas and he couldn't find squat for decent pickups in Big D over to Midland for decent money. Some of it is that asking prices are usually different from selling prices.

    But it goes back to the point I was making about the Miata vs the S2000. Everyone knows what they are, there's millions of them out there and they are easy to buy and enjoy and then dump. Even if you pay a bit more than TMV up front, you are likely to get most of that back unless you really mile it up.
  • nagantnagant Posts: 176

    Not only is the warranty a huge plus, so is the fact that an S2000 is a cash purchase, whereas a new Miata can be financed.

    Ummmm Who says you cant finance a used car?
  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAPosts: 47
    edited February 2016
    Interesting to see the Miata winning these comments. Not what I expected, but some fair points. Thoughts:

    @cjasis -- totally agree on all the modified S2000s here in SoCal, but check this one out, can't imagine it'll be around too long.

    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=413706947

    I suspect this specimen is indeed "minty fresh"! Same price as a base Miata, i.e. the one without the LSD. And as noted, depreciation's going to bite the Mazda a whole lot harder.

    @longtimelurker -- "by the time they phase it out, it's really out of date" -- Other than the lack of a TV screen, how is the S2000 meaningfully out of date compared to the new Miata?

    @bankerdanny -- "an S2000 is a cash purchase, whereas a new Miata can be financed" -- but what about these guys, for example (i.e., what @nagant said):

    http://www.woodsidecredit.com/

    @kirkhilles1 -- "you can't rev it up to the redline everytime or you won't have that engine for long term" -- did you own an S2000? I couldn't tell if you owned one or just considered one. If the former, I'd be interested to hear why you weren't comfortable shifting at redline all the time. That's basically what I did in my two VTEC Hondas (Integra GS-R and 2001 Prelude) and all they asked for was a little oil here and there. I would have complete confidence in the S2000's durability based on my experience. S2K forum chatter seems to confirm that.

    Carry on,
    JS
  • I looked at used S2000s before buying an ND Miata a few months ago. It is really hard to find a nice, stock, well maintained one in Southern California. The comment above about "daily driving fun" is spot on; the S2000 isn't special until you wind the engine out and you can only do that so often in everyday driving. Same idea with the handling; the fun is more accessible in normal driving. I also prefer the Miata's driving position and the manual top is faster to use and less likely to have something expensive go wrong. It's also faster and more economical. And you get more features.

    I do like the S2000's gearbox better. As far as financials, I bought a clone of the Edmunds long term car, minus the red paint option, within 5% of the price of the S2000 linked above. But I'd wager the depreciation is more than offset by any wear items you would have to replace on that S2000.
  • desmoliciousdesmolicious Posts: 671
    edited February 2016
    The idea of an affordable, low mileage, un-beaten on S2000 is cute.
    But that car does not exist in SoCal. 99.9% of S2000 owners like to drive their cars, and hard.

    Prove me wrong Edmunds! Find one, buy it and put it on the LT Fleet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    nagant said:

    Not only is the warranty a huge plus, so is the fact that an S2000 is a cash purchase, whereas a new Miata can be financed.

    Ummmm Who says you cant finance a used car?
    Sure you can. Companies like JJ Best Banc & Co will send you a loan app through e-mail. They finance a lot of older "classic" cars.

    S2000 has more room for us big guys--not a LOT more, but at least I can drive it. I can't comfortably drive a Miata any distance. I'm not fat, just tall, that's all.

    A really fine low miles S2000 can still bring a pretty decent price. But it's a car you must drive "with attention". Not for the lazy shifter.
  • This is one of those apples-to-oranges situations that I've never been able to quite grasp. For me, the fun of driving is torque. I've never understood the appeal of having to redline an engine just to access the torque that a larger-displacement engine (or turbo) might make at 2500 rpm.

    I'm not saying anybody is wrong for liking it the other way, but for me it is the automotive equivalent of an alien language.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's probably more related to where you grew up. In Europe, people are used to revving up their engines. Americans were mostly brought up on large displacement engines and tend to be lazy shifters. Torque is related to displacement. On many large displacement engines, at extreme revs all you are doing is wasting gas.

    You can build 4 cylinders with decent torque but they tend to get very ornery after around 2.5L.
  • bonzjrbonzjr Posts: 44
    I don't need to tell you where you're wrong. It's a simpler issue than that. When it comes to understanding the Miata -- even with one at your disposal -- you simply don't get it.
  • Funny thing about the 0-135mph video is the check engine light is on the entire time.
  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAPosts: 47
    @desmolicious -- how about the black one I posted above, 10k miles, here it is again: http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=413706947

    Carmax is cool for the extended warranty, but with an S2000 I wouldn't be worried about that. Would you dock us points if the car came from Michigan? I've got a theory these days that the minty-freshest convertibles might be found in cold-weather garages.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016
    I dunno - I moved to the Southwest from a four year stint in the UP not too long ago. Mostly you didn't see convertibles up there, not even much in the way of Wranglers. There's so much salt dumped - my guess is what doesn't wind up in Da Lake dries up and blows everywhere all summer. I've seen some nice Miata examples here in Las Cruces, but there's quite a few around with sun damage. Spotted a nice looking older BRG/tan top one near the college just this afternoon.
  • s197gts197gt Posts: 486
    edited February 2016

    Interesting to see the Miata winning these comments. Not what I expected, but some fair points.

    there is a reason the miata is still for sale new and the s2000 isn't.

    the comments are reflective of that.

  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAPosts: 47
    stever said:

    I've seen some nice Miata examples here in Las Cruces, but there's quite a few around with sun damage.

    Yeah, that's another reason not to look in SoCal for an S2000. 10-15 years in relentless sun and heat is going to show up in the car's condition, even if you try to take care of it. By the way, my theory is based on my own purchase of a well-preserved '99 Mercedes SL in Colorado a few weeks ago. Clearly garaged all its life (Denver and Colorado Springs), with none of the sun damage that's common on even low-mileage cars out here. I think a scenario like that is the sweet spot.
    s197gt said:

    there is a reason the miata is still for sale new and the s2000 isn't.

    Yes, but I think it hasn't been mentioned. I'd argue the S2000 was just too expensive when new for the market to appreciate, and that's why it went away quietly. It cost significantly more than a Miata -- -- base price was what, 30-40 percent higher? -- and it was too peaky and plain to steal sales from the Boxster/Z3/Z4. Also, don't forget, it came only with a manual transmission. But now that it costs the same as (or potentially much less than) a new Miata, its performance advantage is hard to ignore.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The S2000 on up  competed with the BMW Z cars, not the Miata IMO.The Miata totally owns its niche. 
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    @SadButTrue, pretty sure I'd prefer a used Colorado car over any used Michigan car (and I'm driving one, complete with ruined rims and some hood bubbles from that salt up there).

    The downside is how would you ever get that smoke smell out of any Colorado car? Would make traffic stops interesting in most of the Lower 48, especially here where we have Border Patrol checkpoints all over, complete with the sniffing dogs. :p
  • legacygtlegacygt Posts: 599
    The S2000 was a more expensive car. It was essentially an entry into the market created by the Z3 and Boxster (although those cars were the Germans' reaction to the success of the Miata). A used S2000 can be a great option. So can a used Boxster. But the Miata is still cheap. Maybe not cheap enough to undercut roadsters that are more than 10 years old but it's still a screaming good deal.
  • "@longtimelurker -- "by the time they phase it out, it's really out of date" -- Other than the lack of a TV screen, how is the S2000 meaningfully out of date compared to the new Miata?"

    Even the later model S2000s had HID low beams only. The Miata has LED headlamps. Any current model car has smarter smart airbags and more of them than the old ones did (and those older ones...you sure they're still gonna work?), and that is super-important in this type of car. And I know it's not cool to say it, but factory Bluetooth and a current infotainment system is nice. No stability control or traction control until very late in the S2000's lifetime.

    That's just off the top of my head...I think that's meaningful - more than just lack of a screen in the dash.
  • I'd much rather they get this one.

    http://www.edmunds.com/honda/s2000/2002/used/vin/?vin=JHMAP11402T004279&zip=92604&radius=50&sub=S2000 Convertible&invtype=USED&defaultType=&mode=

    It's local and much more representative in price/mileage of the average used S2000 out there. Come on Edmunds, do it while you have the Miata to compare!
  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAPosts: 47

    "@longtimelurker -- "by the time they phase it out, it's really out of date" -- Other than the lack of a TV screen, how is the S2000 meaningfully out of date compared to the new Miata?"

    Even the later model S2000s had HID low beams only. The Miata has LED headlamps. Any current model car has smarter smart airbags and more of them than the old ones did (and those older ones...you sure they're still gonna work?), and that is super-important in this type of car. And I know it's not cool to say it, but factory Bluetooth and a current infotainment system is nice. No stability control or traction control until very late in the S2000's lifetime.

    That's just off the top of my head...I think that's meaningful - more than just lack of a screen in the dash.

    Alright, I hear you. I'd be fine with all of that, and if I wanted LEDs and Bluetooth and infotainment, I could add them (and the S2K got five stars for side impacts in less stringent pre-2011 NHTSA testing, which is somewhat comforting) -- but I'm sure this debate has played out in countless car forums. You can always modify an older car to make it a reasonable facsimile of a new one, but a lot of people would rather have an integrated modern product from the get-go. I can appreciate that.
  • "@longtimelurker -- "by the time they phase it out, it's really out of date" -- Other than the lack of a TV screen, how is the S2000 meaningfully out of date compared to the new Miata?"

    Even the later model S2000s had HID low beams only. The Miata has LED headlamps. Any current model car has smarter smart airbags and more of them than the old ones did (and those older ones...you sure they're still gonna work?), and that is super-important in this type of car. And I know it's not cool to say it, but factory Bluetooth and a current infotainment system is nice. No stability control or traction control until very late in the S2000's lifetime.

    That's just off the top of my head...I think that's meaningful - more than just lack of a screen in the dash.

    Alright, I hear you. I'd be fine with all of that, and if I wanted LEDs and Bluetooth and infotainment, I could add them (and the S2K got five stars for side impacts in less stringent pre-2011 NHTSA testing, which is somewhat comforting) -- but I'm sure this debate has played out in countless car forums. You can always modify an older car to make it a reasonable facsimile of a new one, but a lot of people would rather have an integrated modern product from the get-go. I can appreciate that.
    Also people are getting used to torque at useful engine speeds - the Miata has slightly less than either version of the S2000, but it weighs a lot less, too. With the predominance of turbocharged engines, I know it's become very au courant for autojournos to make wistful comments about engines with "character" rather than the broad turbo torque curve...but the S2000 engine doesn't just have character - it's downright bipolar.

  • @desmolicious -- how about the black one I posted above, 10k miles, here it is again: http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=413706947

    Carmax is cool for the extended warranty, but with an S2000 I wouldn't be worried about that. Would you dock us points if the car came from Michigan? I've got a theory these days that the minty-freshest convertibles might be found in cold-weather garages.

    No, I'd be cool with that!
    ;)

    It would actually make a very interesting comparison. I just thought I'd make it easier for you having to drive 30 minutes instead of two days..
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Having ridden motorcycles for many years, I'm partial to how the S2000 operates.
  • diigiidiigii Posts: 156
    Used S2000's maybe cheaper to have now but all these S2000's have had their engines abused. And no one knows for certain how badly these engines have been abused even if they are claimed "engine runs like new."
  • Bought my first German car in 1969 (BMW 2002) and, with the exception of a 1991 Typhoon, have driven BMW, Audi and Porsche since then until 1999 when I spiritedly test drove an S2000. It was the first car that I've ever driven that did exactly what I wanted it to do the first time out. I bought it, supercharged it (stock block and head), modified it, tracked it quite heavily and toured in it through 87,000 miles. Crashed it. Bought another in 2005 and supercharged it (470 hp at the crank), modified it and tracked it somewhat and now have 84,000 miles on it. They just don't break. My compression readings from last fall all exceed factory specs for a new S2000 motor.

    It's a terror. Ask the Jaguar F-types in my neighborhood who watch this little old man leave them rather quickly.

    If one of my students at the race track asks about using the S2000 as a daily driver/track car, I always suggest the Miata first. The S2000 is a PITA daily driver.
  • SadButTrueSadButTrue Santa Monica, CAPosts: 47
    l8apexs said:

    If one of my students at the race track asks about using the S2000 as a daily driver/track car, I always suggest the Miata first. The S2000 is a PITA daily driver.

    What makes the Miata so much better, in your opinion?
  • metalmaniametalmania Posts: 167
    I know this is an old post, and nobody will probably read this by now, but I've been reading up on the long-term MX-5 as I've recently taken an interest in it. For most of my life I've wanted a (used) Corvette, or maybe a Mustang or Camaro if I needed to step down to something a little bit more "practical" while still being relatively affordable as a second "fun" car. I'm having something of a re-evaluation of just what it is I actually want out of a car like this, coupled with what I'll probably actually do with it. I live in the congested northeast, and the more I slog through my daily drive I realize if I had a 400+ hp beast of a performance car I think I'd feel like a great white shark stuck in a swimming pool - even on the weekends. I would only rarely get a chance to DRIVE the car to the point where I felt like I was really getting it working. And that's where I'm starting to think a Miata or BRZ makes a lot of sense. It's the classic "driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a fast car slow" scenario. The S2000 is very cool, but my cousin had one and said it only really got fun when he drove it like he hated it since the power came on so late. It just seems like the Miata lets you get to that zone of getting the chassis and tires working and letting the driver push the car earlier in real world situations. Sure, ultimately its limits are lower and arrive sooner than other higher performance cars - but where I feel like I'd probably only reach those on a track day, with an MX-5 I could approach its limits EVERY day.

    Several years ago I did some kart racing. The karts I raced probably never exceeded 60 mph, but on a tight kart track going wheel to wheel with other drivers, it felt a lot faster and was huge fun. That's sort of what I expect hustling a Miata might feel like. I don't really care that it's "slow", because for the real world where I don't have a closed course track at my disposal I think it's actually "fast enough".
  • dano100dano100 Posts: 22
    I'm 65 years old. My list of sports cars since 1970 in chronological order:
    '70 Mustang Mach 1, '73 Corvette, '89 Toyota Supra Turbo, '95 Nissan 300ZX, '01 Mazda Miata, '03 S2000, '05 S2000, '06 S2000, '02 S2000. Without a doubt the four S2000s were the most fun sports cars to drive and the most reliable to own. And I never lost money owning them. In fact when I sold my last one, the '02, it went for $3100 more than I paid for it after 3 years and 21,000 of ownership. They are a stellar example of what a true sports car should be, fun fast and reliable. In fact I'm trolling the Internet looking for a garage queen right now. Found an '05 one owner with 15k for $25,500. I may be owning my 5th S2k soon.
  • miatawhitemiatawhite Posts: 1
    I would just like to put my 2 cents worth in here, not that I am among the big boys or anything. I have been building cars all my life from dirt track race cars to snooty snub nosed Corvettes, (had a 76 and 78 both loved, hated the 89) built many more cars for friends, then got into building custom bikes. I stayed away from the imports for years until recently when a friend of mine had a troubled older fella and talked me into purchasing it. After some arm bending I bought the 1993 Mazda Miata and I honestly have to tell you, coming from a guy that has owned and driven some really high end sports cars, I Love this Roadster and have no plans on getting rid of it. I don't know about the S-2000 but I would stack this little Miata up against my Vetts, Porshe 928Se, and even a friends Ferrari Spyder that he was kind enough to allow me to drive. In fact the Spyder must be a distant cousin to the Miata, because they act a whole lot alike. So for what it's worth, the Miata has won my heart over, and I need look not any further. Good Day folks and God Bless
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    I'm just randomly writing here...

    I lusted for the S2000 for the longest time, but at this point, lack of an ability to find a suitable car and the fear of the time it requires to maintain old cars is keeping me away.

    So then, I went and got the ND miata. I drive my '16 ND Miata round the year, in the northeast despite our fine weather. Snow tires for winter, summer tires for the other 7 months.
Sign In or Register to comment.