Is the Honda S2000 Faster Than the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5?

It’s almost impossible for us to love the Honda S2000 too much, but is it really that much better than other rear-drive sports cars like the Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5? A popular YouTube channel, Savagegeese, recently posted a video pitting a Honda S2000 against those other two popular sports cars and the results were interesting.

Honda S2000 vs Toyota 86 TRD vs Mazda MX-5

The video starts off with a three-way drag race between the Mazda MX-5 ND, an AP2 Honda S2000, and a Toyota 86, and surprisingly, the MX-5 quickly takes the lead. The Honda S2000 is not too far behind, though, but it ends up leaving the Toyota 86 in the dust. But apparently, that’s not what the review was completely about.

Instead, the video goes on to detail each of the cars’ mechanical facts and figures of each car in detail including what it’s like to drive all three of them on the track. The ultimate consensus is that all three cars are “driver’s cars in their own way,” which we would echo is a spot-on analysis. However, if you must know, the S2000 logged a 1:44.2, as compared to the MX-5’s 1:44.9 and the 86’s 1:46.6 best lap times around the Autobahn Country Club’s race track, but it came in second in the video’s unofficial drag race.

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Bench racing aside

What’s interesting about that those track results is that if you were to bench race those three cars and just looked up the horsepower figures, curb weights, and 0-60 times, the Honda S2000 looks like it would win a drag race every single time. However, according to the video, it did not, but they did say that the Toyota 86 lost every time due to its lack of good traction (tires are too skinny), lack of overall acceleration, and lack of engine power.

Honda S2000
Honda S2000 | Honda

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But that’s not to say it’s a bad car, in fact, the Savagegeese crew called out that it makes for a track car that you can daily drive without any high-dollar fears of expensive crash repairs. The Honda S2000, despite being the oldest of the three, was hailed for its driver-focused interior and technological simplicity that attributes to its raw and fun-to-drive nature. While the Mazda MX-5 was the most sophisticated of the bunch in addition to being well-suited for the track.

2020 Toyota 86 GT with TRD Handling package
2020 Toyota 86 GT with TRD Handling package | Toyota

All three of them had their pros and cons

Ultimately, the Honda S2000 did get the best lap time of the group, however, if you were to drive it on the street you would likely be turned off by its lack of low-end torque, which makes it feel like a Civic as opposed to a track monster of any kind.

The Mazda MX-5 came in second and while it’s well-composed on the track, its body roll proved to be a hindrance as it made the car a little tougher to maneuver through the turns with confidence. And the Toyota 86 came in last, mainly due to its lack of tire traction and engine performance, which is most likely why enthusiasts choose to modify it in the aftermarket.