Honda S2000 or Mazda ND Miata: Which Would You Rather?
It’s a battle between two similar, yet dissimilar white roadsters from Japan.
With the death of the Honda S2000 in 2009, the void in the roadster world has largely been filled by the Mazda Miata. Since it’s inception in 1990, the Miata has been the reliable, and affordable Japanese rear-wheel drive sports car of choice for many. That is, of course, except for the almost ten year window when the S2K was produced. However, even now, the S2000 is a high demand commodity. Honda certainly isn’t making any more of them, and raw, rear-wheel drive sports cars are few and far between.
So, the inevitable question is, which would you rather have, a Miata, or an S2000? For a long time, the answer was simple: the S2000. It was faster, and ultimately more capable in the hands of most. However, with the introduction of the fourth generation Miata in 2016, it suddenly became a tougher question to answer.
Known as the ND Miata, it came out swinging with exotic looks (people likening it to a Jaguar F-Type), extreme lightness and solid acceleration. Sure, 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque isn’t much, but having driven one, the torque curve is nice and flat, offering that grunt everywhere in the power band. Additionally, the super quick gearing of the 6-speed manual transmission helps the 2,300lb Miata sprint from 0-80ish about as fast as an S2000. Oh, and it has the option of a factory Brembo big brake kit. As a serial brake killer, this pleases me.
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The ND Miata is gorgeous, readily available, and finally, has enough grunt to get out of it’s own way. So, the new question is: ND Miata, or S2000? Even being an S2000 fan site, S2KI isn’t oblivious to the question. This time, YouTube personality, and S2KI forum member Zygrene puts the ND Miata to the test. Zygrene has owned a handful of hot Hondas, including several S2000’s, like this gorgeous Spa Yellow AP1. So he seems to know a thing or two about a thing or two, if you catch my drift.
Zygrene’s question is pointed and specific. You can buy a lightly used ND Miata, or even a lightly-optioned new one, for the price of a super low mileage, late model AP2 S2000. So, which should you buy? The ND Miata is characterized by lightness. The steering is light, the clutch is light, the shifter is light, and the car itself, is very light. With a nearly 600 lb weight advantage over the S2K, the ND feels, in every way, lighter than the S2000. On the flipside, the 2.0L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine is a miss for him. It works well, and doesn’t feel underpowered, but it lacks the zest of the F20/22C. Zygrene’s ultimate take boils down to this: do you want the lighter sports car, or the one with the better engine?