Honda S2000 (2000-09) Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

  • The Honda S2000 is a Miata-beating collector’s car with incredible reliability
  • An S2000’s biggest weakness is its wheel bearings
  • More desirable colors include white and yellow models

Look. The Mazda Miata is a slow sports car. That’s okay. We’re huge fans of “slow car fast.” However, should you want something a little more “fast car fast,” we’d recommend the Honda S2000. It brings Miata driving dynamics and reliability to an already reliable brand and offers just about the most fun open-top driving experience out there. This is everything you need to know before buying an “S2K.”

A grey AP1 generation Honda S2000 roadster shot from the front 3/4 at a race track
The S2K is renowned for its driving dynamics | Honda

Why is the S2000 so special?

A red leather interior on a 2008 Honda S2000
The S2000 is praised for its driver-focused interior | Honda

If that little intro was enough to make the S2000 sound special, then you’ll want to hear the rest. From front to back, the S2K (short for S2000) is built with the driver in mind. Even better, it’s an easy car to drive daily, as our own Joe Santos reports. Honda’s shifter feels closer to a bolt-action rifle than something out of a car, for instance. The digital dash, a shocking feature for a car from 2000, has a massive tachometer that spans the whole cluster. Finally, there’s the engine. Placed behind the front suspension, Honda’s F20C four-cylinder goes all the way to nine grand. With VTEC.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: 2000-2006 Toyota Tundra

Honda S2000 reliability and known issues

The F20C engine shot from the front
The S2K’s engine is extremely reliable | Honda
  • The Honda S2000’s motor is as reliable as they come
  • Wheel bearings will fail, and they’ll be a four-figure fix
  • Watch for a bubbly dash on the 2006+ S2000

Speaking of the Honda F20C engine, let’s talk a little about reliability in the Honda S2000. It’s important to note that the two generations of S2K are known by their chassis codes, AP1 (2000-03) and AP2(2003-09), respectively. This is extremely important because the AP2 S2K got a revised engine, albeit with a lower 8,200 rpm redline. However, both are equally reliable.

Instead, buyers ought to be aware of other issues. These are valuable collector’s cars by now, and any issues will be brought up by a buyer. The biggest among these issues are the wheel bearings. They’re common on both AP1 and AP2 cars, and will cost you at least $2,000 to fix if they’re shot. Plus, if one’s going, the rest aren’t far behind. The AP2’s revised engine also fixed an oil-starvation issue, but that will only be an issue if you’re spending more time than necessary above 7,000 rpm. That means your S2000 will last for miles.

Additionally, 2006+ models could have a bubbly dash, and you’ll need to check both your spark plugs and wheel bolts regularly. Some have a tendency to back out. Really, that’s about it. The Honda S2000 is one of the most reliable sports cars out there, and issues are few and far between. Your biggest issue should be what kind of person the previous owner was.

What year of Honda 2000 is best?

A blue AP2 CR shot from the front 3/4 at Willow Springs Raceway
Honda’s Club Racer S2000 is the peak of the roadster’s lineup | Honda
  • The Honda S2000 CR is a track-ready variant of a Miata-killing roadster
  • Honda added a number of changes for the 2002 model year
  • Honda also updated the motor for the 2003+ S2000s

Now, let’s get into trim levels. Honda kept it simple for both the AP1 and AP2 S2K. There’s only one trim level up until the introduction of the Honda S2000 CR (Club Racer) in 2008. These are easily spotted with their rear spoiler and CR fender badge, as well as the exclusive black hardtop. The S2000 Club Racer is also the most desirable, and for good reason. Honda gave the CR, well, less. Weight that is, by a whole 99 lbs. They also stiffened the sway bars and dampers, as well as adding a revised exhaust and special bucket seats.

That said, there’s also some important changes across different model years. We mentioned the AP2’s new engine already, but 2002 was a big year for the AP1 S2K. Honda ditched the plastic rear window for glass, for starters. The brand also added a leather steering wheel and a nicer stereo, and finally, Honda also revised the tail lamps with chrome trim.

How much should you pay for a Honda S2000?

A yellow S2K CR shot from the rear at a Honda-sponsored track day event
The S2000 Club Racer is by far the most valuable of S2Ks | Honda

So, how much should you pay for a sorted Honda S2000? Unfortunately, a lot right now. Part of that is due to the surge in used auto prices, but the S2K has been steadily rising in value since its demise in 2009. You’ll notice a gradual upward trend in Bring a Trailer’s auction results. Thankfully, miles is the last thing you need to worry about with the S2K. Right now, a nice one with less than 60,000 miles shouldn’t be more than $30,000-$35,000. CR models can easily fetch double given their lower production numbers. Additionally, blacks, greys, and blues will be the most common, with colors like yellow and white commanding a premium.

The Honda S2000 is a fantastic driver’s car, and values continue to climb. If you’re in the market, we’d still advise waiting for things to cool off a bit. Anyone who has money is snapping up cars like the S2000, and those people are willing to pay a premium. However, once (or if) things cool off, you’ll be happy with the money you spent on one of the best roadsters of all time.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: Subaru Impreza WRX (2002-2007)