The Honda S2000, a beloved sports car produced between 2000 and 2009, has garnered a dedicated fanbase over the years.
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In this article, we’ll explore the best and worst model years, and why we think it is so.
With a focus on performance, reliability, and value, this guide aims to help potential S2000 buyers make an informed decision.
The Best Year for Honda S2000
The 2004 model year stands out as the best year for the Honda S2000.
In this year, the S2000 underwent a significant upgrade and came to be known as the AP2. One notable improvement was the engine, which was increased from 2.0L to 2.2L. This improved torque allowed for better low and mid-range power, making the car more enjoyable to drive in various situations.
Another attraction of the 2004 S2000 is the updated suspension setup.
It was refined to be less twitchy, while still maintaining the sports car’s handling prowess. This made the car easier to control and more predictable, particularly on the limit.
The exterior saw enhancements as well, with the inclusion of new headlights and taillights, along with updated front and rear bumpers. These changes gave the S2000 an updated, modern appearance. On the inside, the design of the center console and instruments were revised.
In terms of reliability, the 2004 model showed improvement over previous years. Issues like wheel bearing problems and excessive oil consumption were minimized, making the AP2 a more dependable choice.
Lastly, the 2004 release introduced three new colors – Rio Yellow, Silverstone Silver, and Suzuka Blue – adding variety and appeal to the lineup.
So, the 2004 Honda S2000 is considered the best year for several reasons: the upgraded engine, refined suspension, improved reliability, and updated aesthetics. It offers drivers a well-rounded package and enjoyable driving experience.
The 2nd Best Year
2009 turned out to also be quite an exceptional year in the Honda S2000 timeline.
The Club Racer (CR) was now introduced, an exclusive version designed specifically for enthusiasts and track fans. This model featured several improvements over the standard versions that distinguish it as one of the best-performing years for the S2000.
First and foremost, the Club Racer was equipped with sportier tires and a stiffened suspension.
This combination led to an enhanced grip, better handling, and improved overall driving experience. On the race track, these upgrades helped drivers push the boundaries and squeeze more performance out of their S2000s.
Additionally, the 2009 Club Racer came with a removable hardtop, which was a welcome addition for those who wanted the option of driving with or without the top. This option not only provided flexibility in different weather conditions, but also added to the aesthetic appeal of the already attractive S2000.
One of the key characteristics that made Honda S2000 unique was its high-revving, dual-overhead-cam engine. In 2009, the powertrain remained just as impressive, delivering exciting performance and producing that distinctive S2000 engine note.
The 2009 Club Racer did come with a premium price, but for many enthusiasts and collectors, the combination of exclusivity, performance upgrades, and versatility made it a worthy investment. As evidence of its admired status, some pristine 2009 CR models have sold for well over $100,000 in recent years.
The 2009 Honda S2000 Club Racer distinguished itself as one of the most well-rounded and enjoyable versions of this performance roadster. Equipped with key enhancements for both road and track use, the model stands as the 2nd best year in the S2000 timeline.
Other Good Years
Apart from the highly desirable 2008-2009 CR models, there are other Honda S2000 years that stand out for different reasons:
- 2004: This year saw Honda introduce an updated version of their beloved sports car. It featured a slightly larger 2.2-liter engine for increased torque and improved drivability. Amidst the engine update, a few exterior tweaks also added to its appeal, such as the introduction of LED tail lamps and restyled wheels.
- 2006: In 2006, the Honda S2000 received a significant electronic update, as it incorporated drive-by-wire throttle control and came with a re-tuned suspension. These upgrades further enhanced the car’s already impressive driving experience, offering drivers more control and agility while on the road.
While these are just a few examples of standout years for the Honda S2000, many enthusiasts will argue that each year of the model’s production run had its unique qualities, whether it was a minor update or a special edition release.
Ultimately, the right “good year” for an individual will depend on their budget, preferences, and the specific features they prioritize in their ideal Honda S2000.
The Worst Year for Honda S2000
The 2001 Honda S2000 model had a few issues that drivers didn’t particularly like, which made it stand out as a less favorable year for the model. One of the most notable problems reported by owners was the potential for the steering wheel to lock up as the car aged. This issue typically surfaced when the car had around 80,000 miles on the odometer.
It’s important to remember, however, that no car is perfect, and issues can arise in any vehicle. The 2001 S2000 still boasted a lightweight design, rear-wheel drive, and a high-revving VTEC engine that many drivers still found enjoyable.
Even with these problems, the Honda S2000 remained a desirable two-seater roadster for many car enthusiasts. The issues experienced by drivers in 2001 should be taken with a grain of salt, as there were also many satisfied customers who appreciated the car’s unique features and capabilities. Likewise, Honda has continued to refine and improve upon their vehicles over time, with later S2000 models receiving positive reviews and achieving a loyal following within the automotive world.
Other Bad Years
- 2000: These early Honda S2000 (AP1) models had complaints about clutch buzz on deceleration, for which Honda issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 00-054, November 27, 2001). However, it’s important to note that not all cars suffered from this issue, and it’s more of a minor inconvenience than a deal-breaker.
- 2002: In 2002, the AP1 continued to have some minor issues. Some owners reported excessive oil consumption, which can be concerning but doesn’t necessarily affect the performance of the vehicle. It’s worth keeping an eye on the oil levels if you own a model from this year.
Some models from these years also experienced issues with wheel bearings, which could be expensive to replace if they went bad.
However, it’s important to note that the occurrence of these issues varies from car to car, and many owners enjoy their Honda S2000 without any major problems. Although these models may have experienced some issues, they still offer the exhilarating driving experience that the Honda S2000 is known for.
Common Problems to Look for in a Used Honda S2000
One of the most common issues associated with the Honda S2000 is the failure of the chain tensioner. This problem typically starts to manifest after 105,000 miles, as the tensioner cannot adequately compensate for chain stretch.
Replacing the chain tensioner can prevent further damage and prolong the life of the engine.
Check also common problems for the Honda Civic.
Another issue S2000 owners have experienced is a worn-out soft top. The convertible top may show signs of wear and tear, with frayed edges or leaks, especially in older models. Inspecting the condition of the soft top and potential replacements is crucial when considering a used S2000.
Honda S2000s are also known for their gearbox issues, particularly concerning the second gear. Signs of this problem include a grinding noise when changing gears or difficulty engaging the second gear. Addressing this issue often involves replacing the synchro or even the entire gearbox.
Additionally, some S2000 models have reported problems with their ignition switch.
A faulty ignition switch may cause the car to stall intermittently or prevent the engine from starting. Replacement of the ignition switch is necessary to resolve this problem.
Finally, another aspect to inspect when considering a used Honda S2000 is the vehicle’s suspension system. The S2000’s suspension components may wear over time, leading to suboptimal handling or a harsher ride. Ensuring that the suspension system is in good condition or budgeting for replacements will help maintain the car’s performance.
Back to overviews: Best & Worst Years Per Honda Model.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.