Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Honda S2000
The S2000 has earned its place as an icon, but it’s not an icon for everyone.
For a single decade, the Honda S2000 ruled the streets and autocross circuit with an two-liter fist, earning accolades for its dependability, high-revving engine, handling, smooth manual transmission, and affordability from the likes of Car and Drive, Top Gear, and Road & Track. Then, it went away under the tidal waves of the Great Recession, with many fans waiting for its successor to this day.
In memory of our beloved icon, the crew behind YouTube channel savagegeese, led by Mr. Goose, recently conducted an in-depth review of the S2000, weighing the pros and cons of Honda’s greatest roadster.
Having owned four S2000s to date, Mr. Goose definitely knows his stuff when it comes to daily ownership. He says the car has aged well, but it’s biggest issue is that “it’s not a refined space to be in.” Unlike the NSX, which was designed to appeal to a lot of people, Mr. Goose says the S2000 was built as a driver’s car, one not meant to be accessible to all, especially those with long legs and/or who are above six feet in height. At best, the S2000 is meant to be a track day, weekend car.
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But what a track-day car it is. Unlike more modern cars that need special keys and buttons to unlock the power, the S2000 only needs you to turn the ignition and push the start button to go. And go you will, especially with the AP2’s 2.2-liter naturally aspirated inline-four pushing 237 horses and 162 lb-ft of torque through the beefed-up six-speed manual. Of course, the car had some issues with snap oversteer in the AP1 era, so changes to the handling were made for the AP2 era, from the spring rates and steering, to the wheels and tires.
“It’s not a race car. It’s not a high-end sports car. It’s not incredibly quick, or even fast,” says Mr. Goose during the driving portion of the S2000 review. “In order to get its full capability, you have to push yourself as a driver.” He adds that the S2000 is “a special car for Honda,” so special that its head engineer, Shigeru Uehara, participates in several S2000 homecomings. The car isn’t for everyone, but for those who make it theirs, the S2000 is one of the most reliable thrill rides ever made.