Here's Why Honda Discontinued The S2000 - SlashGear (2024)


ByTravis Langness/

The Honda S2000 received quite a bit of praise from the automotive press when it launched in 1999. A stylish two-seater with a drop top and the instant character provided by the high-revving F20 engine meant lots of enthusiasm from Honda-faithful and objective journalists alike. Some outlets complained about the relatively-low level of torque (just 153 lb-ft) and the high-revs required to access its full 240 horsepower (full power was achieved at 8,300 rpm), but it was generally a hit. It was a relatively affordable sports car from a brand that has a reputation for reliability — an excellent combination.

Roadsters like the Mazda Miata offered cheaper top-down motoring (with a base price around $20,000 compared to the S2000's $30k plus price tag) but the Honda felt much more upscale and focused on performance. Not to mention, it had 100 horsepower more than the Miata, so there was a wide performance gap. The 2,800-pound curb weight meant it was light and nimble too, not just a tower of high-revving power. It turned out that this plucky Honda was more in line with competitors from Porsche, BMW, and Audi. So why did it die off? If the S2000 was so beloved, made such big power, and was so great to drive, why was it relegated to the history books?

Declining sales

The S2000's impressive power, along with the handling capability, and sleek styling meant a strong launch in the United States. In 1999, the S2000 sold 3,400 units in the U.S – and it launched mid-1999 so it didn't have a full twelve months of sales figures to report, but the following year, sales essentially doubled to 6,797. Sales for the S2000 peaked in 2001 and 2002, with 9,682 units being sold in 2001 and 9,684 in 2002 — nearly 10,000 each year in the U.S. alone. Sales were relatively strong for the next few years, with Honda selling over 7,000 S2000s in 2003, 2004 and 2005, but things started to drop off considerably after that.

In 2006, Honda sold 6,271 S2000s in the United States, and in 2007 that number dropped to 4,302. The racetrack-inspired S2000 CR (Club Racer) edition debuted in 2007, but it wasn't enough to stop the sales slump. The United States was hard-hit with an economic crisis/recession in 2007 and that meant lower sales of all cars, including high-performance sporty vehicles like the S2000. New vehicle sales dropped nearly 40 percent during the recession and in 2008, S2000 sales were down to just 2,538 units – about a quarter of the peak sales from just a few years earlier. By comparison, Honda sold over 300,000 Civics the same year. And in 2009, the final year of the S2000's production, just 795 models were sold.

Never meant as a mainstay

According to Honda, the S2000 was originally designed as a limited-edition vehicle, meant as a tribute to the company's 50th anniversary. Customer interest and critical acclaim led to an extension of the S2000's production that was longer than originally intended, so this may have been the roadster's fate all along. This limited production, however, means current S2000 owners have a hot commodity on their hands — one that it's too late to get a good deal on now. Honda sold over 110,000 S2000s during the decade-long run of the roadster, but low mileage examples in good condition are relatively rare these days, and their prices are pretty high as a result. The rarest S2000s are the CR models, with prices for low-mileage versions going sky-high in recent years.

Auction website Bring A Trailer sold one S2000 CR (with just 123 miles on the odometer) for a whopping $200,000. That's more than five times the original MSRP of a 2009 S2000 CR – which checked in atjust $36,995 (and add another $1,000 if you wanted a stereo and air-conditioning). In the last few years, BaT has hosted auctions for six S2000 CRs cars that sold for over $100,000 – a huge jump over their original asking price. So, while the S2000 may be dead, there's still a big demand for them on the second-hand market, and potentially enough good will to bring back the nameplate.

Will they ever bring back the S2000?

When the S2000 first came to market, it debuted with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 240 horsepower– which meant it was producing 120 hp per liter, an incredibly high number for any sports car, especially one on a budget. That sort of specific output is the stuff of supercars these days — high-output vehicles like the Ferrari 458 and the Porsche 911 GT3 are amongst very few vehicles that can outpace the S2000 when it comes to naturally aspirated horsepower per liter. The stature of vehicles like the 458 and GT3 put into perspective what the S2000 achieved, which was relatively astonishing, even by today's standards. So, it's worth noting that bringing back the S2000, in a way that would honor its legacy, would be a daunting task.

Over a decade after its discontinuation, independent shops are still building S2000 project cars. Enthusiasts are praying to the car gods that Honda will hear their cries and build another affordable, four-cylinder (even if it's turbocharged), rear-drive roadster. But with the shift to electric vehicles nationwide and Honda Global's stated goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, a gasoline-powered two-seater sports-coupe making it into the lineup isn't very likely – especially one that revs to 9,000. So if you're looking for an S2000 experience, the only place you're going to get it is likely in the driver's seat of the original.


Here's Why Honda Discontinued The S2000 - SlashGear (2024)


Here's Why Honda Discontinued The S2000 - SlashGear? ›

According to Honda, the S2000 was originally designed as a limited-edition vehicle, meant as a tribute to the company's 50th anniversary. Customer interest and critical acclaim led to an extension of the S2000's production that was longer than originally intended, so this may have been the roadster's fate all along.

Why did Honda discontinue the S2000? ›

Honda continued to offer both the standard and CR versions unchanged for the 2009 model year, but with flagging sales caused by the 2008 automotive industry crisis, the S2000 was cancelled mid-model-year. Just 355 U.S. S2000s were manufactured for 2009, of which 31 were CR models.

Why are S2000 so expensive now? ›

Honda built fewer than 700 examples when production was cut short mid-2009, ostensibly in light of slowing sales following the global financial crisis. An S2000 CR in Excellent condition now commands $108,000, an increase of 21.5 percent over the last year. For context, that's the exact same price for a 1992 Acura NSX.

What makes the Honda S2000 so special? ›

However, Gabor reckons it's easier to live with than you might expect, and it's all thanks to the sweet gearbox: “You don't feel the lack of torque so much because of the gearing, and changing down isn't an issue because it has the best gear shift I've ever tried.” Besides, extracting everything from that engine on the ...

Will the Honda S2000 become collectible? ›

The fact that it's out of production, but was a really unique and awesome car makes the future of the S2000 as a collector's car very promising!

How many Honda S2000 are left in the USA? ›

The famous chart on S2Ki says that there are 66,860 S2000s made for the USDM. Compounded yearly @ 3.465% loss from 2000-2017, we are left with ~36,758 S2000s from the total amount produced. Thoughts? I'm sure a lot of the totaled S2000's have been fixed and have rebuilt titles.

How many miles do S2000 last? ›

The reliability of the Honda S2000 is in a class of its own, it has the best reliability despite being classified as a race car, and it is capable of driving 300,000+ miles in its lifetime with minimum maintenances, the only maintenance it needs regularly is the oil change every 6000 miles.

Is the Honda S2000 a rare car? ›

If you're looking to snag a future collectible, you may want to consider getting yourself a Honda S2000. About 65,000 (of the 110,000 produced worldwide) of these legendary 2-seaters made it to the US, and they appear to have already started their journey to collectible status.

How much did a Honda S2000 cost new? ›

The Honda S2000 debuted as a concept car in 1995, and it took the company five years to bring it to market. At launch, it had a 2.0-liter (hence the S2000 name), 240-horsepower four-cylinder engine. List price was $32,477. There were no options offered.

How much is a S2000 worth? ›

Find a Used Honda S2000 Near You

TrueCar has 78 used Honda S2000 models for sale nationwide, including a Honda S2000 Convertible. Prices for a used Honda S2000 currently range from $14,000 to $59,995, with vehicle mileage ranging from 8,857 to 193,206.

Is the S2000 fast? ›

But even with nearly 8000 revs on the tach, our very green (345 miles) test car was unable to break a wheel loose on our grippy test surface, which partly explains our rather lackluster performance: 0 to 60 took us fully 6.8 seconds, and the quarter-mile fell in 15.1 seconds at a more impressive 96 mph.

How much does it cost to maintain a S2000? ›

The annual maintenance cost of a Honda S2000 is $404.

Which Honda S2000 is the best year? ›

The Honda S2000 is an excellent sports car option. If you want to purchase a used version for your life, we recommend the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, or 2009 selection.

What is the difference between a S2000 and a S2000 CR? ›

The CR is a bit lighter than the standard car, but like other Honda sporty editions, it hasn't been given extra power, and in this case, there's little to be found: The S2000's 2.2-liter four is basically maxed out.

What was the last S2000? ›

The official final trim level for the Honda S2000 that was sold for the United States market was the CR (club racer) model which was a USDM exclusive final edition originally they where to gonna produce 1,500 to 2,000 of the CR model.

What is the difference between the S2000 and the S2000 CR? ›

There's not only less front end push and body roll than in a standard S2000, there's also a lot more grip. The CR also delivers a big boost in feedback from both ends, and sharper corner entry, with a quicker steering ratio and stiffened rack.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated:

Views: 6111

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.