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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Fantastic engine. Smart cabin has leather seats

Against Rides stiffly and steering feels rather numb

Verdict Explosive performance. Good quality, but pricey

Go for… GT

Avoid… None

Honda S2000 Open
  • 1. Be prepared to check the oil levels weekly and top up frequently
  • 2. Avoid cars that haven't had a service at least once a year and that haven't used high-quality synthetic oil
  • 3. Cars made before 2002 have plastic rear screens, which become milky-white with age and need replacing
  • 4. The cabin is snug, strictly for two and not great for the tall and broad
  • 5. It’s worth paying for quality tyres with the correct speed rating - and they won’t be cheap
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Honda S2000 Open full review with expert trade views

It's a beautifully crafted two-seat roadster, but the 2.0-litre 237bhp engine is the real star of the show. Rev it past 8000rpm and it’ll pull to 60mph in under 6sec. However, you need to work it very hard to get at the power - at low revs it feels relatively tame – and that reduces the opportunities you’ll get to tap its full potential.

The S2000 is well made and looks every inch the performance roadster. But drive one and you’ll find it less supple to ride in than a BMW Z4, while the Honda’s steering is also second best.

The cabin is snug, strictly for two and not all that great for the tall and broad. There’s no height adjustment on the steering or the driver’s seat. Otherwise, it’s well equipped: alloy wheels, an electrically operated hood, air-con and leather seats all come as standard, as do anti-lock brakes and twin front airbags.

Trade view

John Owen

Best of breed, but not at Crufts

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Opt for the GT over the standard model and you should get a hard top, in addition to the standard electric hood. That apart, there’s no other choice of models, nor of transmission – all come with an excellent six-speed manual gearbox. The standard specification for the car is excellent and you get a starter button and racing-style drilled pedals.

In other words, all you have to worry about is finding one in the right colour and in the right condition.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Never very many around and that means very firm prices

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Insurance is expensive. Depending on which company you contact, the S2000 is rated in group 19 or 20, putting it into the same bracket as Ferraris and Porsches.

Depreciation is something of a double-edged sword. The S2000 loses value slowly from new, so a three-year-old S2000 is still worth almost two-thirds of what it originally cost – and that’s as good as it gets. Honda’s excellent reputation for building cars that last means older ones still fetch good prices. However, that means your car won't have lost much value when you come to sell it on.

Servicing and spares are reasonable for such a high-performance car, although fuel economy of 28mpg overall is disappointing for a 2.0-litre engine. Use its full performance, though, and that figure will drop even further.

Tyres will also wear quickly. It’s worth paying for quality tyres with the correct speed rating - and they won’t be cheap. Several makes offer suitable rubber, though, so prices should stay competitive.

Trade view

John Owen

Best of breed, but not at Crufts

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

It’s a Honda which means it’ll prove more reliable than most others. That said, repairs won’t come cheap.

If you're looking at an S2000, first check it has had a service at least once a year and that high-quality semi- or fully synthetic oil is used. Be prepared also to check levels weekly and top up frequently because oil consumption of up to a litre per 1000 miles is normal.

Next, check that the hood raises and lowers as it should and that its fabric is free of rips or scuffs - a replacement will cost over a grand. Cars made before 2002 have plastic rear windows (later ones have glass) and these become milky white with age and eventually need replacing.

Finally, a pre-purchase inspection by an expert is advised to check the car hasn’t been crashed and badly repaired.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Never very many around and that means very firm prices

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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