The Honda S2000 is one of those cars that if you are not a gearhead, you don’t really know much about. From a company that has been producing reliable family cars for decades, came this two door sports car-that was only produced for about 10 years from 1999 to 2009, to commemorate the company’s 50 year anniversary. Up to that point, other than performance tuned Civics and the NSX, Honda has not been a major producer of Sports cars, and the S2000 brought along with it a great deal of excitement to its customers all over the world. As one of Honda’s only hand-built Sports cars, I have always wanted to drive one-and here I am, writing about my experience with it.
S2000 has always been the car that I’ve wanted but was afraid that I might not fit in. It certainly has a pretty cramped cabin, and the drivers seat is only adjustable 4-ways. Not only that but the steering wheel does not move at all; I ended up settling for a driving position where I was leaning back a significant amount to allow myself to see all of the gauge cluster. Due to the fact that the S2000 only has two seats and has a roll bar behind the headrest, getting comfortable in the drivers seat was quite a process, and felt a bit claustrophobic as I am 6’2″ and have a weirdly long torso. Once I got used to the chassis of the car though, it started to feel quite comfortable. I could feel exactly what the car was doing at all corners, and with the low seating position in conjunction with the fact that I was somewhat lying down, in turn allowed for a more raw and exciting driving experience.
Speaking of the Driving experience, thats where this car truly shines. At the turn of the century, this S2000 with the body code AP1, had a 1997 cc (~2.0L) engine producing 237 horsepowers, mated with the manual transmission. Honda then updated the S2000 in 2004 with the body code AP2 with a slightly greater displacement of approximately 2150cc, thus lowering the rpm at which peak horsepower was achieved. Along with that, Honda’s racing department had come up with a hybrid monocoque body, which allowed for the S2000 to have a over-all rigidity that matches that of a standard closed-top vehicles. It was quite an impressive feat as it allowed for these S2000’s to have a soft top while still providing an amazing driving experience. At no point did the car have too much body roll or feel too soft–it inspired a lot of confidence as I was taking the car down windy b-roads. And there’s the most important thing-it’s a Honda. Everyone from the newborn to the oldest person in the world knows that Honda’s are the most reliable cars out there. How often do you see a 30 year old Honda? Exactly; I rest my case. Even with 100k on the clock, this S2000 runs like a champ, and with routine oil changes, it’ll keep running until you don’t want it to.
Another one of the reasons the S2000 is one of the best driver’s cars in my opinion is that everything is so driver focused and for its price point, you really can’t get anything better. The car has two seats, but every button in the car is within three inches from the steering wheel, and even the radio controls are hidden behind a panel that you can raise or lower. It’s not one of those cars you would buy to get driven around in, but to attack every corner you see-like an angry bee chasing after a bear that just tried to steal your honey. The S2000 does not have any of the standard features you would find in modern day cars, such as Traction Control or Stability control. This truly is a drivers car, and the lack of all the electrical systems only makes the driving experience that much purer. At no point, especially if you are driving the car hard, can you zone out or think about what you want for dinner. You have to be focused on where the revs are, how the tires are positioned, and how much throttle you are putting in, because otherwise you might end up rear-end first into the first tree you see half way through the corner. With that said, the throttle response is immaculate. No matter what rpm the engine is revving at, the gentlest peck at the accelerator pedal and the engine will respond with the exact amount of grunt that you expected from the car. That just makes heel-toeing an absolute joy and going up and down the gears, banging through one after the other is just one of those experiences that I would not exchange for any other.
This is not a car you would want if you have three crying babies and a wife who tells you to make better financial choices (I mean you could want one so you get get away from the atrocities), but rather if you don’t care about much else other than having a good time on a Sunday, driving by the water front with some wind in your hair. A car that you can rely on; a car that is willing to do exactly what you want it to do as long as you communicate well with the car. That is the true essence of the S2000, and I can understand exactly why these cars have been appreciating in value since the early 2010’s. If you know anyone with one, or have an extra $10k lying around somewhere, I strongly urge you to indulge yourself to the greatest two seater drop top Honda there is, cause I guarantee you. You will not be let down.
For anyone interested, here is the link to Honda where you’ll find videos of the S2000 being made by hand! Check it out cause its honestly just really cool!