Long-term update: Honda S2000 is not for everyone
The Honda S2000 is one of the greatest cars ever built, and it’s funny that we say this, because we never took it seriously when it was actually still in showrooms. Honda never seemed to have a media test car, and we figured it wouldn’t be much of a runner anyway, based on its measly horsepower and torque specs. We did shop for one back in 2008, among other options, but couldn’t afford even a used one due to sky-high resale values. Eventually, we did buy one last year of course, paying a premium for a good example, not because we were specifically looking for one, but because this ultra-low mileage one popped up randomly and it was too good to pass up this opportunity. It’s absolutely phenomenal in reality. But this is not a car for everyone, even if you’re an enthusiast.
First of all, people above 6-foot-4 won’t even fit in it without being totally uncomfortable. With the roof up, you also have to be a contortionist to get in and out of it when parked in a cramped spot. And let’s not talk about the boot space.
You have to be comfortable reversing a car with limited rear visibility. With the top up, the blind spots can hide an entire double-decker bus, so backing out of a slanted roadside-parking space can be a nerve-wracking experience every time, as you hope the unseen 4x4s barelling down the road will stop for you.
You have to keep in mind that, just like Ferraris and Caterhams, the S2000 is a sports car first, and all the comfort bits are just tacked on. The noisy engine, hard suspension, stiff steering and lack of soft-top soundproofing can become grating when all you want to do is relax on the way home. You’ll also suffer from dry eyes if you drive above 60 kph with the top down.
And last but not least, you have to be able to drive a manual. Properly. The S2000 has one of the lightest manual shifter-clutch combinations in sports-car history, so the “I drive in traffic a lot” argument isn’t valid. But the engine is sensitive to human error. Downshifting into the wrong gear at 9000 rpm is probably why so many S2000s are out there with a new replacement engine. We’ve let a few trusted people take our own car out for a spin, but if you’re one of those over-confident people who think they’re an expert because they last drove a manual Nissan Sunny five years ago when they were learning for a licence, you ain’t coming near our car. Except as a passenger.
So don’t buy one before you try one. Just practice your skills with another manual car before you head out to shop for one, because most reluctant sellers will kick you out of the car if they think you’re screwing up their baby. It is, after all, a classic car already.
Original Mileage When Bought: 14,900 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 19,959 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 13.8 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 3795