Often Overlooked, This is Where It All Begins
GavinSSAP1 (the former News Team member formerly known as s2kpwned) thought deeply about the S2000 interior during his brief blogging stint. The pressures of work and college overburdening him, he had to step away, leaving us with his draft text about the S2000’s tub. Coming from a background in building and designing custom interiors, the topic was second nature to him. We decided that the best sendoff we could give him would be to tweak his draft and publish it. Without further ado, click through to read Often Overlooked, This is Where It All Begins.
The Honda S2000 came to life with an interior crafted with the driver in mind. It would appear that having suspended a driver in thin air, Honda proceeded to meticulously arrange the interior around the driver, ensuring that each interior component was geared to support and not distract from the sole purpose of driving. The richly-appointed (for the price range) interior received minor tweaks year upon year and yet remains an aspect of the car that is seldom discussed. While most car interiors would be considered dated and old, the S2000’s interior manages to stay relevant as it is the perfect union of function and form.
Just like an interface lends to the popularity and usability of a website or smartphone, the interior too goes a long way in determining a sports car from a sporty looking pretender. It has been documented by several racing gurus that a car’s interior must be functional and comfortable in order for one to drive fast. On this count, the S2000 scores on par with cars way above its class. Not only does it comfortably accommodate human specimens of varying sizes, but it also remains very classy, well-finished and easy on the eyes.
All it takes is one experience in the car to become a believer, an achievement that is testament to the layout and quality of the interior. From the time you get in the seat, grasp the wheel, and hit the engine start button, a connection is established with the car. The race inspired driver’s seat wraps itself around you and won’t let go no matter how tight the corner is. It is comfortable and will even support you on long trips. The seats really demonstrate Honda’s engineering as there is quite a bit that goes into making a seat that fits with the vehicle it’s in. In fact, we could even venture forth and say that these are some of the best leather seats in terms of fit and comfort.
If you don’t feel one with the car yet, perhaps you will when you realize that all it takes to reach for the shift lever and affect an upshift or downshift is the slightest motion of your hand. The elbow pad is perfectly placed for you to rest your arm on when not shifting and it’s surprisingly comfortable. The dash controls are also perfectly within reach of the driver. Same goes for the audio controls and their proximity and ease of use to the driver. The sculpted radio cover with the S2000 logo seems like it is there to prevent other noises from interfering with the pure sound of VTEC – almost like Honda intended for you to forget that the car has an audio system.
The interior materials, namely the carpet, plastics etc., are pleasing and while not really coming across as expensive, do not look cheap either. Honda even played around with the color of the interior trim often ensuring that the standard all-black interior did not become a monotonous standard for the S2000. The embroidered floor mats, the aluminum pedals and the little storage nooks and crannies (including the infamous “secret compartment”) are all the products of a very thorough interior design program.
The steering wheel integrated with the dash cluster gives the driver an almost race car like cockpit view. Without having to alter one’s eyes too much, a driver can quickly cast a glance to see speed and engine speed, as he stabs the brakes and rolls his foot over for the perfect heel-toe avoiding wasting time by having to read two different gauges. As a proper race car would have it, the speed display in the S2000 is nested within the tachometer. Other road cars with a similar display that come to mind are the F430, 458 Italia and their exotic kin.
What then does it take to craft the proper interior for a car, especially a highly engineered car like the S2000? Honda appears to have spent countless hours designing, re-designing and honing every component of the interior before launching it. Not being a company to rest on their laurels, they ensured that the car received minor tweaks year upon year over the course of production. It almost seems like their mission was to get their drivers to focus on the driving rather than think overly about adjusting stereo volume or temperature settings and from the 100,000 odd cars and owners (give or take ten thousand) out there, they appear to have succeeded in their mission.
One gripe with this interior is that it’s very difficult to get to the rear plastic trim with the convertible top on. While you can get to the roll hoops with the top down, to reach any further, the top has to come off the car. Another option Honda could have offered is seats with a grippier fabric (Alcantara/cloth) and a little more bolstering. Most owners of this car typically like to stretch their legs at a track event or an autocross event and the OEM leather seats are not the best suited for that purpose. Also, the audio system while decent is not quite on par with what is needed for a roadster, but then again if music and lyrics are a priority then there are other cars out there.
So the next time you are done with a spirited drive and are hanging back waiting for the adrenaline surge to wane, spare a thought for the interior and the subtle part it played in all the fun you had, for this is where it all begins. Wouldn’t you agree?
Images courtesy of tinkfist and PilotSi
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