TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Honda S2000 in order to give you an expert assessment here in this Bottom Line. TheCarConnection.com has also researched available road tests on the new Honda S2000 to produce a review that surveys a wide range of observations and opinions.
It's been a decade since Honda launched the S2000, and its styling can no longer hide the car's age. However, the roadster gets a respectable 18/25-mpg fuel economy, and the 237-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine's performance is stunning.
Drive the S2000 gently and you probably won't be pleased with the buzzy powertrain and busy ride. Tuned to perform on tight hairpins, the S2000 can feel taut and jittery on public roads. Wind out the engine and push its limits in corners, and you're in for a completely different, grin-inducing experience; that's what the Honda S2000 is all about.
Mazda's Miata feels almost roomy in comparison to the S2000. The cockpit is cramped no matter how small the occupants. The high shoulders of the S2000 confine the driver and passenger, and the steering wheel sits low even at its highest adjustment point. Uncharacteristically for Honda, the controls aren't laid out cleanly (there's not a lot of dash space to do so), and the big red Start button seems more like a gimmick. There's plenty of black plastic, too, in the name of saving weight.
The 2009 Honda S2000 is one of the least practical mass-production cars on the planet. There's almost no interior or trunk storage, the cockpit's more cramped than the coach seats on a Boeing 757, and it's priced above $30,000. It is a classic roadster sportscar with rear-wheel drive, a ragtop to open on sunny days, a six-speed manual transmission, and a rev-happy four-cylinder engine.
Last year Honda introduced the S2000 CR, the club-racer version of the standard S2000. The CR gets a full-body aerodynamic kit, high-performance Bridgestone tires, firmer suspension settings, a thicker anti-roll bar, and new wheels. A lightweight aluminum hardtop that cuts weight by about 90 pounds replaces the soft-top mechanism. Inside, the CR gets distinctive cloth seats with yellow stitching, a new aluminum shifter knob, and carbon-fiber look-alike trim panels.
Standard equipment on the 2009 Honda S2000 includes electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, but side airbags--a feature now found on nearly all new vehicles--aren't available.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 Honda S2000 is a true sportscar, in the sense that it trades comfort and refinement for speed and performance.