Long-term update: Our Honda S2000 has the shortest short-shifter ever

Long-term update: Our Honda S2000 has the shortest short-shifter ever

Honda S2000 in the UAE 1

It’s been possibly a year since I’ve personally driven my own Honda S2000. My brother, sub-editor Marouf, gets to enjoy it more as a runabout on occassion, keeping the mechanicals greased. It’s the cost of being busy building a business and owning three other more practical child-friendly cars and having a string of test cars that we have to drive as part of our jobs. But the other day, I finally found time to go for a round. Damn, I had forgotten how this thing drives.

Okay, claiming that the Honda S2000 has the shortest short-shifter ever in a production car is probably an exaggeration. But it sure feels like it. Given how rare manual cars are nowadays, I can remember all the manuals I’ve ever tested. These included the Lotus Evora S, the Dodge Viper SRT and the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06. I’ve also fiddled with a Lotus Exige in the showroom, but I can’t remember much about it other than spraining my thigh trying to get in.

So yeah, I drove the car around town for a bit. Looking at the rev counter, I was barely going above a noisy 4000 rpm, not even quick enough to let VTEC kick in.

But that shifter. The throws are so short that I was wondering if I was getting stuck in neutral every time I changed gears, at least for the first 30 seconds of driving. But no, the gear-stick moves from 1st to 2nd in an instant, aided by a slick shifting action and a moderately-weighted easy-to-engage clutch.

However, as I found out long ago and had confirmed by other owners, the gearbox doesn’t like abuse. Shifts can be done at a decent pace, but forcing it racer-style is a recipe for disaster. The shock to the drivetrain alone is felt throughout the car when attempting to get those 0-100 kph times that the American magazines get. It’s a car built for enjoying on a mountain road, and not racing against the clock, at least in stock form.

But you don’t need to push this car hard. As I said, even at 4000 rpm, it feels like it’s in a hurry, so even a cruise around town can be exciting.

As for costs, the last annual service was done in June last year. It was the “50K” service, basically a synthetic oil change at the dealer, even though our car is at 23,000 km. It only cost Dhs 765. We also got a new battery from Batt-Mobile, the battery home-delivery service, worth Dhs 450.

Honda S2000 in the UAE 2

The major issue is that there are two rips on either side of the roof and some elastic roof straps have disintegrated, so we’ll eventually have to do something about that. The last fix did not hold, so we’re trying to find a better place to do a patch-up or a complete replacement with better materials. Just the stock cloth costs Dhs 5500 from the dealer, and it’ll probably last another three summers again, so we’re just waiting. Right now, we use a ghetto car-cover to protect it a bit from wind and rain, without covering it completely in a paid parking lot.

Honda S2000 in the UAE 3

There was also that smart driver, possibly using his smartphone, who ran into our parked car and dented the plastic bumper. The bumper was fixed by the insurance company’s garage, and they seem to have done a pretty decent job.

Original Mileage When Bought: 14,900 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 23,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 13.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 1215

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 6510

Read all 2007 Honda S2000 long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. Great car.. wonder why Honda stopped producing the same? without any replacement!!!! I see thats stupid as it was their only affordable sports looking and driving car available within their line.. (type R is a different class )

    • Author

      I believe it was slowing sales due to the last recession, as well as tightening emissions regulations.

  2. Thnx for the feedback Mashfique… but they also did the same with CRX, when they last launched in 1997/8. Then 2-3 yrs back they launched the S-2000. They should have found a solution to minimize emissions if this is the case and manage through the recession. Honda has the Type R only, which is hardly available in the Middle East or GCC; Honda should cater to different customers, as their major focus is families, space, utility… They should go more aggressive on the sports/youth focus as they have huge potential, especially with Honda Engines, which are best in the world…

  3. Honda: the ONLY car maker in the world making himself 100% of its gearboxes, except the new 9 speed for the CR-V in US, from ZF, which is having many issues (though the CR-V has less issues because Honda re-tuned themselves the gearbox but that still have issues and complains).

    Mercedes also still builds some of their gearboxes, such as the manual ones.

  4. While i do agree with the fact that the shifter is one of the shortest ever produced on a street car i don’t agree that the gear box is handling racing driving. I am myself an owner of an s2000 which i use on regular basis on the track and i never had any problem with it. Problem happens when you actually don’t know how to shit or Hell & Toe which is a requirement for ANY gear box when driving on a race / track condition

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