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Honda S2000



  • could it be that it's not a car to be driven casually with a cell phone in one hand? or that it's a buzzy highway cruiser?

    or could it be that some people bought the car, put them on trailers and drove them primarily in races or auto-x?

    or it might be that it's a second (or third or fourth) car and it spends a lot of time in the garage, especially when the weather is less than perfect?

    i think some drivers sold their 00 for 02 when the glass rear window became available. Still others sold their 00 or 02 for the 04. if you sold an s2k, what's your story?

    whatever the reason i'm glad that there were a lot of low mileage cars to choose from out there at reasonable prices.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    For all the reasons you listed, the S2000 is typically a low mileage car. There are a vanishingly few number of cars with 100k miles on them. It's frustrating, there's no real high mileage reliability data due to the number of weekend cruisers and garage or track queens amongst the S2000 ranks.

    I would also add that S2000 owners might tend to be flighty. Many seem to come from the "latest and greatest" mindset and just as they are quick to jump into the S2000 the moment they can afford one, they're equally quick to jump right out of it and into an EVO8 or Z06 or M3 the moment they have the financial werewithal to do so. I know of quite a few who jumped from one sports car to the S2000 to yet another sports car in the space of a year.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Check out your local Porsche, Ferrari, or even Mercedes/AMG, BMW/M dealer for their sports car lines and you will find, on the average, that 10,000+ miles per year is the relatively rare exception, rather than the rule.

    Once again, the fact that the S2000 sells for a low enough price to be in the same general affordability category as, say, a 350Z or Miata, might result in a relatively higher percentage of drivers purchasing it as a daily driver. Or at least attempting to do so. But, in reality, it has the same "drivability" virtues and weaknesses for such use as a $60,000 Boxster S and a $160,000 360 Modena. Personally, I consider this a good thing, as virtually all other Japanese wannabe sports cars, NSX excluded, are full of practical compromises or marketed to the MTV generation.

    P.S. I have 35,000 miles on a 20 month old 2002 M5; a business associate has 38,000 miles on a 24 month old 360 Modena. The former is not unusual, the latter got him featured in a Wall Street Journal article a while back.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    High miles on a Porsche or Honda don't hurt resale very much because people know they can take it; but a very high miles Ferrari is basically a parts car. Ferrari buyers demand low miles but Porsche and Honda buyers don't seem to worry too much about it one way or the other. You can always sell a high miles S2000, Boxster or 911 if you price it right but a 60K Ferrari is just about sale-proof.

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  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    I took my Prelude in for some scheduled maintenance yesterday, and while I was waiting in the dealership, I asked the salesmen whether they had any S2000s in stock. They said yes, and offered me a test drive. Of course, I said yes :).

    It was a 2004 Sebring Silver S2K, and it was a demo with about 400 miles, so the sales guy encouraged me to redline it and see what it could do.

    The S2000 is on my short list of cars I might buy in a year or two. The other two on the list are the 350Z and the RX-8.

    I had three questions in mind when I took the car out for a test drive:

    1) How much fun is it to drive?
    2) Is it unpleasant to drive with the top up?
    3) Could I live with it as an only car in Boston?

    The short answers are: A lot, no, and a resounding yes.

    It was a beautiful sunny day, so we took the first drive with the top down.

    The first thing that struck me was how right everything felt. I had heard about the rifle-bolt shifter, and it lived up to expectations -- very short, extremely precise throws. The clutch combined a short and easy throw with amazing precision and smoothness. I figured it would take a little while to get used to driving a new, high-performance sports car, but it was so easy that I was pulling off rapid-fire shifts after just a minute of driving.

    A number of reviewers have criticized the S2000 for being too much of an uncompromising sports car, with an uncomfortable ride and a punishingly firm suspension. I couldn't see what they were complaining about. Maybe that was true of the older models, but that 2004 S2K rode at least as well as my Prelude. Despite Boston's less than perfect asphalt, I would have no trouble at all living with that ride as a daily driver.
  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    Given the reality of Boston's climate, I knew that I would have to drive with the top up for much of the year. If that was an unpleasant experience, it would have been a dealbreaker.

    I was pleasantly surprised. We took the second lap of city streets and highways with the top up, and yes, it was noisier than my 'lude and had larger blind spots -- but certainly not unpleasant.

    Now, the important fun-to-drive question...

    The handling felt flawless. The steering was firm, precise, and responsive. The result was near-telepathic driving -- you think where you want to go, and you're there.

    I didn't push the limits of its grip, or slide the tail out on off-ramps, so I can't comment about its at-the-limit handling. However, quick lane changes and the slalom through city traffic were delightful.

    Though the traffic made it difficult to go full throttle for long, the S2K responded nicely for those brief moments near redline.

    However, with the caveats that it was a warm day, with a salesman in the passenger seat, and in city traffic -- if there was one slight disappointment, it was the acceleration. It was definitely faster than my Prelude, but it wasn't as much faster as I expected. The push-you-in-your-seat factor felt subjectively about the same as the 'lude, but with a bigger rev-range to take advantage of. I'm sure if I had more time, I could have wrung faster performance out of the S2K, but while the handling was a "Wow!", the acceleration was just a "Nice."

    Overall, the test drive was a lot of fun, and the S2000 rose to the top of my list. Since I don't need four-doors or cargo space, it seems like a clear win over the RX-8 for my taste.

    I still do have to test drive a 350Z, to see whether its 274 ft-lbs of torque make up for its 400 pound weight disadvantage...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm somewhat sorry to report that after 2.5 years of a most enjoyable relationship, I am trading my 2002 S2000 as part of a deal to get a 2004 TL (6-speed of course). There will, undoubtedly, be some significant moments of remorse; especially when I see someone else, top down, shoot by me in a spa yellow S2000. But when I got the S2000, I intended for it to be a fun car for 2 years and it served its purpose as good as a 360 Modena would have at about 20% of the price.

    Blacktalon, go ahead and test drive the 350Z to satisfy yourself. I would say that the torque makes up for the added weight in straight line acceleration. However, the 350Z, IMHO, is not even remotely in the same league as the S2000 on a number of fronts. The S2000 is a ground up world class sports car. You'd have to jump to the $60k Boxster S to match it in performance and I still like the feel of the handling and 9,000 rpm redline of the S2000 better than the Porsche. The 350Z is a platform sharing, overweight, corporate answer to Nissan's need for profits. That's fine, but it has about as much true passion behind it's design as generic brand vanilla ice cream. The G35 coupe is a better car, in many regards.

    Obviously, I have a passion for the S2000. I actually prefer the 9,000 rpm 2002 to the 8,000 rpm 2004, although either is several rungs up in their visceral feel to the 350Z. The 350Z coupe weighs 200 lbs more than my 1995 Maxima SE. The 350Z roadster weighs nearly 700 lbs more than the S2000. Almost exactly halfway between the S2000 and our Isuzu Trooper. A "sports car"? Not in my book. Extra foot pounds make it go fast. But there are souped up pick up trucks that go fast.

    The S2000 is the closest thing - other than perhaps the Lotus Elise - that any mere mortal will get to a Ferrari. Period. And with Honda reliability and hand crafted quality, to boot.

    There are a lot of cars that do "compromise" well. The 2004 TL 6-speed among them. The S2000 isn't about compromise, it's about passion. Thank goodness Honda makes enough money to be able to put all of their ground up engineering talent and craftsmanship into 6,000+/- copies annually and sell them at a price that's the best true sports car bargain on the planet. Double Period. Even the Elise borrows a comparitively uninspired Toyota engine. Consider yourself fortunate to even have the Honda S2000 as a choice. I certainly did.

    P.S. 400 miles on the odometer is not "broken in". In fact, it may be "broken". My S2000 was babied for the first 1,000 miles and didn't get fully broken in until 4,000+. It was definitley quicker after that. And, at least with the 2002, you need to use the 6,000 - 9,000 range in the rev band to get it to show it's true colors. Which is just fine in my book. A nice, friendly sedate Accord or Prelude up to 6,000 rpm, a screaming Ferrari if driven to it's capacity. Try taking most other so-called sports cars above 6,000 rpm repeatedly and you will be sweeping the parts off the street. The S2000 is made to fly at high rpms.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    So how'd you do on trade-in/resale with this car? (you don't have to post actual numbers, just wondering...)

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  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,588
    So are go getting rid of the Maxima as well? You also picked a good time to trade in, right before the summer. I'm curious about what they're giving you on a trade as well. Dealers around here (NY) still have leftover '03s on their lots along with the '04s.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    So I'm curious, habitat, what made you decide to trade in the S2000?
  • titantitan Posts: 16
    Honda man through and through here but have been considering a Boxster or '04 S2000 and simply cannot decide. I understand the cost difference but does the '04 S2000 give the driver the acceleration he needs/wants without redlining the machine? Furthermore, does anyone have opinions on the exhaust notes between the two sports cars? The cockpit of the S2000 is absolutely stunning engineering where the Boxster feels "fine" but not "snug" and tight like the S. Talk to me...
  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    I drove an RX-8 last weekend at Mazda's RevItUp event. Very nice car -- looked sharp, handled well, and felt like it had a bit more low-end torque than the S2K.

    But the test drive reminded me of what's unique about the S2K. With the RX-8, it felt like I was driving a car -- with the S2K it felt like I was becoming one with the car. (If that's not too hippie zen for you. :)

    This is not to rag on the RX-8 at all. I think Mazda did a great job with this car, and if I needed four seats, it would be at the top of my list. But I don't, and on a beautiful sunny day like today, my desire for an S2000 becomes all the more clear.

    I still plan to test the 350Z, just to get a taste of what it's about, but I'm leaning more and more toward the feeling of "I need an S2K!"
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Hi everyone!

    Work has kept me busy, and largely unable to find time to read / post here.

    The S is doing well, having clocked 12k miles already, since November! Someone ploughed into the front driver's side 1/4 panel leaving a crunch (bumper, headlamps, all other panels ok, just that one needs replacement), and I suffered a cracked rim a month ago. So, this ownership experience hasn't been perfect, though through no fault of the car itself. It's just seemed "unlucky" so far.

    I recently did a trip to Chicago and back, from Detroit, and the car did the job fine although it was a bit draining. The '04 does handle extended highway cruising (like 100s of miles) a little bit more easily due to less drone.

    Blacktalon, I enjoyed reading your comments. They mimic my feelings as well.

    On acceleration, the car most certainly is faster than the Prelude, but it you will need to break it in. I've noticed a few things versus the Prelude when it comes to acceleration. First, especially with the '04, first gear comes and goes extremely quickly, and I find myself shifting much more often than I ever did with Preludes. This can contribute to the impression that the acceleration isn't great. Also, the S is noisier; there's a tendency to run it at higher gears in order to keep the revs lower than a Prelude at equivalent speed. Once you adjust, and start keeping the car in 3rd instead of 4th, 4th instead of 5th, the power becomes more evident.

    That said, you're right, it's not a night and day difference. What *is* a night and day difference between the S and the Prelude are the tires, steering ratio, and brakes. Braking in particular continues to be the thing that amazes me most about this car.

    I have not enjoyed my drives in the Z. They are extremely common here, and look beautiful. Nissan seems capable of a richness of finish on the Z that Honda just hasn't replicated on the S. The interior, weight and uninspired sound of the engine are turn-offs, however. It's a very good car but it's going to have some tough competition once the new Mustang starts hitting the streets with similar performance, more room and possibly less weight.

    I love the RX-8. To me it's the Prelude reinvented, under a Mazda label. They can't seem to give them away around here. I think the front profile look is too weird. In this area Nissan succeeded where Mazda floundered. Those wheel flares remind me of the Prelude's headlamps... just wrong.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    i'd say its the s2k... the elise is another one, but, but anyways, there's rumours the s2k may go away and the nsx too? what is honda thinking?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    When has there NOT been a rumor that the S is going away?

    Only thing I've heard is that '05 models will be arriving and there are no changes at all, not even color changes.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    shifty: Sorry for the delayed response, but to answer the question, I got $22,000 trade-in on my S2000 after negotiating a price on the Acura TL that was far better than I could do in the DC area. I probably could have sold the S2000 for around $24,500 privately, based upon what I gleened from other ads. However, by trading it, I also saved $1,300 in sales tax on the Acura, so true difference between trading and selling was only about $1,200.

    nyccarguy: I've kept the Maxima and plan on relocatign it to our second home in PA just to have as a backup. It was pretty worthless in a trade ($4,000 +/-), yet the car runs fine and still looks pretty good.

    blacktalon: When I bought it in late 2001, I only intended to keep the S2000 for a couple of years until I got a new sedan. But, I have to admit, it was the hardest time I ever had turning the keys in on a car. The Acura TL 6-speed is a fine sporty sedan, but the S2000 is truly a world class sports car.

    titan: I seriously considered the Boxster S before going with the S2000. Personally, I was not impressed with base Boxster (2002 model year). Yes, the S2000 requires you to rev it up to extract maximaum performance, but the base Bosxter poops out way too early. So, IMO, if you want to match the performace of the S2000, be prepared to spend $55-60k for the Boxster S. And, although I think Porsche has pretty good build quality, the S2000 is superior in both build quality and reliability. Our neighbors had more problems with their Boxster than I could list here.

    Best wishes to all, I'll check in every now and then. And, for everyone who has an S2000, I tip my hat to your good taste.
  • briancorrbriancorr Posts: 67
    I'm considering trading in my 02 S2000 and the first dealer offered me $21500. I've almost got 28,000 miles. I read where another guy in an 02 with 12,600 miles got $22,500 when he traded his in.
    It's a fantastic car and I think it's definitly in a different league than the RX-8, Boxster or 350z. It's more of a sports car where I feel like the others are more of a cruiser.
    My reason for getting rid of it is I bought the car before I was married and before I had a house. Now, I'd rather save some money on my car payments and invest what I save or put it towards upgrading the house. Getting old I guess. ;)
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    I am considering purchasing a 2 seater as a third car. My understanding is there not a cutoff for the passenger airbag in the S2000. If I remember correctly, kids under the age 12 should not ride in a seat that could deploy an airbag.

    I have a young daughter and another baby on the way and would prefer not to be in a situation where one of my kids could not be a passenger in my car as they got a little older (maybe around 5 yrs old).

    Does any one know if this true about the S2000? Thanks!
  • nissan350znissan350z Posts: 81
    While I don't have a Honda S2000, do many of you S2000 owners think it will be a [non-permissible content removed] classic such the Toyota Supra. Or does Honda sell to many of them for that? I sure think it will be a cult car for many years to come even after they stop making it someday.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    There is not an airbag cutoff switch for the S2000. However, I applied to the EPA/DOT and got an authorization certificate to have one installed in my 2002 S2000. I never did, but got quotes in the $300-350 range.

    I would take my 9 year old daughter (who weighs about 60 lbs) on local roads in the passenger seat with the seat pushed all the way back. The S2000 does have good seat travel, so that helped. But I still never droven on the Washington Beltway or other roads over about 35 mph with my older daughter in the car. I'd occassionally take my 5 year old (35-40 lbs) on quiet city streets, to and from friend's houses, but never on anything busy. I actually think they would be fine in an airbag deployment, considering how far back the seat goes, but I certainly wouldn't want to risk it. If you plan on driving your kids around regularly, look into the switch. I found out about it doing a google search on the net.


    As a former owner of two Toyota Supras and a 2002 S2000, I would put the S2000 above the Supra in terms of classic potential, at least amoung my demographic. The Supra is more for your muscle car fast and furious crowd. It was a fine car in it's own right, but seemed to gain popularity as a second hand car which could be heavily modified. That's not my thing. The S2000 is a purist's car right out of the box. There's not much that anyone could (or, IMO, should) do to it. It doesn't need an airplane wing on the back to get attention or respect.

    Also, both cars were limited production for very different reasons. The Supra became grossly overpriced and somewhat overwieght and, as a result, lost it's market appeal, along with the 300ZX and other "sports turned GT" cars. The S2000 is intentionally limited production and hand built. The S2000 has never lost it's place on almost everyone's 10 most wanted list, thanks to remaining true to it's mission as about the best sports car one could buy under $60k.
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    Thanks for the info. Greatly appreciated!
  • ginotginot Posts: 6
    Since Honda builds only 6000 copies a year--half of which come stateside--it has a touch of cachet already and looks to be a future classic. Not just because it's rather rare, but because of its performance. We just bought one and can't stop smiling.

    As a former club racer, I think the S2K is very much a keeper. My wife, Italian, drove our recently departed, much-modified '63 Alfa show car con brio as she puts it. I can't get her out of the Honda...

    The S2K is a legend in the making, I believe.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Per a local dealership, S2000's in this area are suddenly a bit hard to find (quotas for the year for several dealerships has been cut) and word is that Honda's cutting production from ~ 7500 units last year to about 5,000 units this year.

    I'm guessing this is due to somewhat sinking premiums for the roadster.

    I'm not sure what it takes for a car to become a legend, so I won't speak to that. But, a few weeks ago I got a chance to drive a friend's "brand new" 2000 S2000 that he purchased used, and the following day I was at a BMW dealership with Her shopping for a potential sedan and took a brand new Z4 3.0 out for a spin - and the four year old S2000 seemed fresher and more fun. Not many cars age as well as the S2000 (which in 2000 was pretty much only missing a glass rear window) and that probably bodes well for its future.

    That said, I'm stunned at the number of S2000 drivers who don't seem to wave, honk, flash or otherwise make eye contact with other S2000s. I'm not sure why. I think it may be due to the incredibly fractured demographic (seemingly half racer types and half mid-life-crisis types) not understanding each other, or maybe the ownership demographic is incredibly insecure or arrogant, or who knows. There is some contact, but a fraction of what I enjoyed in the lowly Prelude, which was much less exclusive and sold much more poorly.
  • ginotginot Posts: 6
    Friends of ours just bought a Z4 from the same dealer that sold us our S2000. John wanted a stick, but his wife 1) only drives slush pumps and 2) she's lusted after the BMW Z3 since it came out. The Z4 obviously looks completely different, but has an automatic, and you know how it goes.

    I drove their '4 and found it acceptable, but I can't live with a torque convertor and the overall sense I got of it was the car feels more like a sports tourer than a thoroughbred. It also carries too many luxury trimmings for my taste. John drove our Honda and wished he could have bought it instead of the Z4. Can't say as I blame him.

    Anyway, we take Tsunami on her first mountain wring-out tomorrow. We're both looking forward to a stint at the wheel. Looks like a great weekend ahead...
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,588
    S2Ks hard to find? They're probably all sitting on the lots of the NY area dealerships. Dealers around here are advertising Brand new '03s in their SCREAMER ADS, they also have '04s in stock.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • ragtop1ragtop1 Posts: 1
    What's new for 2005?

    How much longer will the S2000 last?

    Will Honda replace the S2000 or will they let it evolve?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Per some snippets on, there are no changes for 2005, not even a new color. I can't vouch for the veracity of this information.

    I'm not sure where the S2000 is going, nor what this part of the sports car market is going to look like in a few years. The S is no less of a car than it was a few years ago, but the Elise was bound to steal some of its "purist car" thunder and an ordinary RX-8 can rev to 9k all day long, too.

    I'd imagine the S will stick around unchanged at least through the 2006 model year. By then, we're doing to have some slick domestic roadsters, a redesigned Boxster, presumably a Z4 with whatever BMW's next gen I6 powerplants are, and a pretty strong street presence for everything from an EVO to an Elise. I think of the S2000 as the last hurrah of the naturally aspirated I4. From this point onward, IMO, the story will be low-displacement straight-sixes and various forced induction strategies. I imagine Honda will either get with the program (fundamentally changing the S2000 in the process) or the S will fade into the sales sunset just like the NSX did.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I guess another comment is about how radically different the $30k performance market has changed in the past few years. In 2000, when the S2000 came out, there wasn't much on the market at its price point that wore a "sport" label. There was... uh... a Lexus IS300... an Audi TT if you call that sporty... no, pretty much nothing.

    Today you have the EVO and WRX pair, a very potent SVT Cobra and an entirely new Mustang in the wings, the RX-8 and the 350Z, and the G35 coupe too, a Pontiac GTO, super discounted Corvettes, a bevy of torquey $30k sport sedans, and so on.

    Four years ago, if I had $30k and change in my pocket and wanted performance, I didn't have many places to go. Today, almost everyone has something.
  • wh9wh9 Posts: 32
    I'm looking at a new 04 S2000. I'm wondering if anyone has take their S2000 on a road trip lasting 4-5 hours or more and how you felt about it all?? I've test driven the car a couple of times and really enjoy it, however I do a lot of driving and was wondering about how it performs and how your body feels after a long raod trip. Thanks.
  • ben810ben810 Posts: 3
    I recently got an S2000 and am thinking about getting a DVD receiver for it. I noticed however, that the dash above the receiver might get in the way if the monitor rolls up. Is there anyone that has a DVD monitor installed in their S2000? If so, what model fits?
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