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I am the proud owner of a 2008 Honda S2000 and don’t plan on selling it or replacing it with another car any time soon. However, after driving the Toyota GR86 last year, I must admit that it would be a good substitute if anything goes awry with my trusty convertible. After driving the GR86, I realized it could be a better buy over an S2000 for several reasons. However, it’s time to discover why the Honda S2000 could be a better buy than a 2023 Toyota GR86.

A Honda S2000 is cheaper than a 2023 Toyota GR86

Honda S2000 problems
2007 Honda S2000 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Have you seen the prices for Honda S2000s lately? They’re insane. Especially those being sold by dealers. A recent search on CarGurus revealed that many S2000s posted for sale nationwide are in the $20,000 to $35,000 range. That’s a lot of money, considering the car retailed for around $32,000 when it was new over 15 years ago.

And while that is undoubtedly a lot of money for an older car with fewer tech and safety features than a modern car, the same argument can be made for the 2023 Toyota GR86. Have you seen the prices for those cars lately? The GR86 is supposed to have a starting price of $28,400 for the base model and $31,000 for the Premium trim level.

However, I called a couple of local dealerships and found that they charge a markup on these cars. One dealer said they’re selling them closer to $40,000 due to the rarity and the demand in the area. That’s not surprising, but it proves that it costs much more to purchase (and insure) a Toyota GR86 than a Honda S2000.

The Honda S2000 provides more high-revving fun

Honda S2000 gauge cluster
2007 Honda S2000 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Under the hood of the Honda S2000, you’ll find either a 2.0-liter or 2.2-liter, four-cylinder VTEC engine, depending on which iteration you go with – AP1 (00-03) or AP2 (04-09). Either way, you’ll have 237 hp on tap, most of which comes online at around 8,000 rpm. Part of the way up the rpm range, you’ll get to experience the VTEC crossover at around 6,000 rpm. It’s fun, and it feels like a minor turbo boost without the turbo.

The Toyota GR86, on the other hand, generates 228 hp out of a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine. Like the S2000, it’s fun to rev the GR86 up to its redline, but it’s not as fun because it feels like the power dies out in the higher rpm range.

The S2000 is a convertible, and the GR86 is not

2023 Toyota GR86
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

If you don’t like convertible cars, then the Honda S2000 isn’t for you. To be honest, I wasn’t into convertibles when I bought my S2000 – I even had a hardtop on it for five years. One day, I decided to take the hardtop off since the weather was nice, and I realized how much fun the car was with the top down.

The car feels sportier, and your connection to the outside world enhances the driving experience tenfold. You may not be into convertible cars, but I implore you to drive an S2000 with the top down; you might just be sold on it. Also, I ended up selling the hardtop and haven’t regretted it since.

Is the Honda S2000 a better choice than the Toyota GR86?

My 2008 Honda S2000 posing in the sunlight next to trees.
2008 Honda S2000 | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

If you want the visceral feeling of revving a roadster out on a canyon road on the weekends (or every day), the Honda S2000 is a better choice. However, if you need the creature comforts, tech features, and closed-roof feeling that a modern coupe can provide, the Toyota GR86 will give you that. Although, for my money, you know which one I would pick.


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