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Honda S2000 Buying Guide

Probably second on any Honda enthusiast’s wish list, trailing the legendary NSX, is the S2000. This affordable, high-revving, fun-to-drive 4-cylinder coupe made a splash when it was first released in 1999. Its 2-litre, naturally aspirated engine (N/A) put out 237hp (247 in Japan). At that time, that was quite an accomplishment and held the title of the highest horsepower (hp) to litre ratio of any mass-produced, N/A engine. Even by today’s standards, 124hp/litre is still an impressive number. Over the years, the S2000 won praise for its reliability and performance from respected publications such as Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jalopnik, and J.D. Power and Associates, to name a few.

Table Of Contents


  • Pros and Cons
  • Common Issues
  • Average Prices
  • Comparable Alternatives
  • Models and Specifications
    • 1999-2003 Honda S2000 (AP1)
    • 2004-2009 Honda S2000 (AP2)
  • Sales Numbers
  • FAQ
  • Sources
  • How to Import a Honda S2000

While the engine is the highlight of the S2000, commonly referred to as the “S2K”, there is more to this little coupe. It came with a tuned suspension and a 50/50 weight distribution that gave it excellent handling characteristics. As a result, S2K’s are popular to this day among car enthusiasts and racers alike. As a result, SCCA type track events are where this car shines. There are also plenty of aftermarket parts available from mild to wild to squeeze every bit of power out of its 2-litre (later 2.2) engine. Thus, if you are looking for a track warrior or weekend fun car, the S2000 will not disappoint.

Pros and Cons


  • Fun to drive and impressive power from a N/A four-cylinder
  • Good handling characteristics
  • Affordable and reasonably priced, clean used models can be found for less than $20,000 USD
  • Lots of aftermarket performance parts are available
  • Quite reliable despite being a sports car


  • Underpowered by modern standards but can be fixed with a supercharger kit
  • Clean, unmodified, and accident-free S2000s are becoming more expensive and difficult to find
  • Can be somewhat unforgiving for inexperienced drivers, prone to fishtailing. Poor traction in wet conditions
  • A fairly stiff ride which might be uncomfortable for some
  • Some parts and repairs can be expensive, especially engine and transmission

Common Issues

S2000 is quite reliable. Most issues are usually related to how well the car was maintained (or lack thereof), and how it was driven. An S2K that has been modified or raced is likely to have more problems than a stock one. Not to mention, accident damage is common, and like any used vehicle, it should be inspected before purchase. With that said, here are some frequently reported issues with the S2000.

High oil consumption is a recurring theme for many 1999-2003 models. Consuming a quart per 1000 miles is not unheard of, although many times this is related to driving habits as VTEC motors tend to consume some oil at higher RPMs. However, it could also be a sign the motor is due for a rebuild which can be costly. Oil consumption issues were largely fixed by 2004 and did not affect the 2.2-litre (F22C1) engine.

A second problem which affected the early production 2-litre (F20C) was cracked intake valve retainers due to overrevving the engine. Usually, it was a cumulative effect over time, but should the retainer fail, expect to be in for some expensive engine repairs. Fortunately, the solution is fairly easy and cheap, with parts costing less than $200 and can be done with basic hand tools in your garage. It is usually advised to replace the valve retainers when buying a used 1999-2003 S2K. The F22C1 came with upgrade retainers and did not have this issue.

Lastly is the timing chain tensioner, especially on high-mileage motors. Like the valve retainers, it’s a fairly inexpensive and easy fix. Fortunately, you’ll usually have an audible warning such as a ticking or tapping sound coming from the engine at idle well before it fails. There are stronger, aftermarket tensioners available that address this issue as well.

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Average Prices

The S2000 has held its value and will likely become more expensive over the years as demand increases. Clean, accident-free, and unmodified models along with the Club Racer and the JDM-only Type-V and Type-S sell for a premium. Pricing typically ranges from $15,000-$25,000 USD.

Comparable Alternatives

There are not many directly comparable alternatives that were convertible and came with a N/A 4-cylinder engine in the $30,000 price range when new. The closest spec’d competitor is the Mazda MX-5; however, it was cheaper and had less horsepower. The BMW Z4 and Nissan 370 Fairlady are similar in terms of performance and were available as convertibles but had 6-cylinder engines.

  • Toyota MRS
  • Mazda Roadster (Mazda Miata)
  • Honda Beat (Read our Honda Beaty Buying Guide)
  • Nissan Fairlady Z Convertible
  • BMW Z4

Models and Specifications

The S2000 was produced from 1999-to 2009 with two engines offered depending on the year and market. Horsepower specs were as follows: 237 for the 2-litre (F20C) used in NA from 99-03 and the EU from 99-09, 247hp for JDM models from 99-05. The 2.2-litre (F22C1) 237hp engine was used in all North American models from 04-09 and 239hp for JDM models (06-09). A 6-speed manual transmission was the only option available.

1999-2003 Honda S2000 (AP1)

All versions received the F20C with JDM models having an extra 10hp due to a slightly higher 11.7:1 compression ratio.

Over the course of four years, there were several minor changes. Starting in 2001, an aluminum hardtop was now available. This was followed in 2002 with the plastic rear window being replaced with glass, the stereo was upgraded, and there were some minor suspension tweaks.

In addition, there was a JDM-only Type V produced from 2000-to 2007. The main feature of this model was an optional variable gear ratio steering (VGS). What this did was continuously change the steering ratio depending on the vehicle speed which improved handling and made parking easier. The suspension was slightly modified to complement the VGS as well.

2004-2009 Honda S2000 (AP2)

In 2004, the S2K received a refresh with several updates. The North American models now received the larger 2.2-litre engine followed by Japan in 2006. All other markets continued to receive the F20C through 2009.

The wheel size increased from 16” to 17”, and the suspension was tweaked again, mainly the shocks and spring stiffness. The front lip and rear bumper were redesigned along with the headlight and taillight assemblies. Starting in 2006, drive-by-wire throttle and electronic stability control were introduced.

In 2008, a Club Racer (CR) model was offered in the US. This was essentially a track-ready version of the S2K. The main features of the CR were: a lower ratio steering rack, darker colored wheels, stiffer suspension, weight reduction mods, chassis braces, and a revised body kit and rear spoiler. In terms of weight savings, the stereo and A/C were optional, and the spare tire and jack were removed which made the CR approximately 90lbs lighter than a standard S2K. All models were hardtop convertibles and a total of 699 were made in 2008 and 2009.

A JDM-only version known as the Type S came with the above options although the suspension was slightly softer as it was more intended to be a streetcar. A total of 1755 of these were produced from 2008-to 2009.

Sales Numbers

Calendar YearUSEuropeJapanCanada

It should be noted that 2010 and 2011 sales numbers were leftover 2009 models that were still on dealer lots.


How much is a Honda S2000?

If you are planning on buying a Honda S2000, you have to budget for a minimum of $10,000 if you want one in pristine condition. Prices can go up to over $50,000 depending on the condition, spec, mileage, and if it’s a special edition model.

Why is the Honda S2000 expensive?

Compared to other cars in its class, such as the Mazda Miata or Nissan 350Z, the Honda S2000 is rarer, especially in the United States. There is also a high demand but low availability, which causes prices to increase each day.

What engine is in a Honda S2000?

You get the S2000 with a 2.0-liter F20C engine or a 2.2-liter F22C1 engine. Both are 4-cylinder DOHC engines. The F20C is in the first-gen (AP1) S2000 produced between 1999 and 2003, while the F22C1 is in the second-gen (APZ) made between 2003 and 2009

How much horsepower does a Honda S2000 have?

The Honda S2000 made around 240 horsepower throughout production despite using a different engine in its second-generation of production. However, the F22C engine used in the second-gen Honda S2000 is more fuel-efficient and has more torque due to shortened gear ratios for the first 5 gears

How many Honda S2000s were made?

No specific data shows how many Honda S2000 units were made. Still, from Honda’s factory sales records and approximation by experts, around 115,000 Honda S2000s were made.

How much does a Honda S2000 weigh?

The AP1 Honda S2000 produced between 1999 and 2003 weighs 2910 pounds while the AP2 Honda S2000 weighs less at 2850 pounds

How much did a Honda S2000 cost when new?

When new, the Honda cost 28,000. The price varied with the specification and optional extras such as leather seats and powered windows.

Where can I buy a Honda S2000?

You can find several listings online or visit JDM showrooms and auto dealers. Luckily most Honda S2000 owners don’t thrash their cars around, and you’ll most likely get one in pristine condition or with a few issues. You can also contact importers or exporters for a custom import. View Honda S2000 Ads for sale

How Fast is a Honda S2000?

When stock, a Honda S2000 will do 0-60 in just under 7 seconds and accelerate to a maximum of 160mph or 260km/h.

Is a Honda S2000 durable?

Yes. The Honda S2000 is one of the most durable JDM sports cars. Suppose the engine is in good condition and the car has a good maintenance record. It will last for around 200,000 miles or 20 years, assuming that you drive it approximately 13,000 miles per year

When was the Honda S2000 unveiled?

The Honda SSM, a concept car from which the Honda S2000 is based, was first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. When the actual vehicle when into production in 1999, Honda used the S2000 derived from the 2.0-liter engine (2000CC)

How much is Insurance for a Honda S2000?

Most insurance companies will value a car first before giving out the final annual insurance cost. However, the average yearly insurance cost for a Honda S2000 is $1,200. This is bound to increase or decrease depending on various factors such as the owner’s age, home location, credit score, and driver’s history, among others.

Can I import a JDM S2000 to North America?

If the S2000 is 15+ years old it can be imported to Canada. In the USA, it must be 25 years old.

Why is the Honda S2000 still so expensive?

They were well-built, fun to drive, and with good performance characteristics. As a result, they have become popular over the last few years.

What is the most desirable S2K model?

The Club Racer, Type S and Type V (JDM only). These three are the most desirable with the CR and Type-V being as close to a street-legal race version of the S2000 as you can get. The Type-S had an extra 10hp and was the only model that came with the VGS.

What should I look for when buying a JDM S2000?

Considering the S2K is a sports car, a prospective buyer should have the vehicle inspected before purchase. The main things to check for are accident damage and whether has it been modified and/or raced. If the answer is yes to any of these, you might be in for some costly repairs later.


How to Import a Honda S2000

Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.

Can you make this guide better? Are you a huge fan of the Honda S2K? If so, please contact us.

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Christopher joined jdmbuysell.com in 2018 as an automotive Journalist and now oversees all communications with buyers & sellers.

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JDM Imports For Sale » JDMBUYSELL (2024)


Are JDM imports legal? ›

Importing and registering Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars in California can be challenging due to the state's strict emissions and safety regulations. However, it is possible to legally import and register some JDM cars in California if they meet the state's requirements.

How much is a JDM import? ›

The approximate cost to import a car from Japan starts at around $3000, but it may be less or more depending on many factors, including whether your vehicle needs to be shipped in the USA to the east or west coast.

Can you import JDM cars to USA? ›

Most JDM vehicles don't conform to the federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) that are a must for car registration on U.S. roads. Fortunately, there is an exemption to this rule for any vehicle that is 25 years old or more, regardless of where it was built.

How to buy a JDM car from Japan? ›

How to Buy a JDM Car from JCD
  1. Contact us by first registering on our search engine or Whatsapp.
  2. Send us a refundable deposit.
  3. Select the vehicle your desire and we'll have it inspected.
  4. Go forward with the auction bid or dealer purchase if you are happy with the information we have obtained.

What is the 25 year rule for 2024? ›

Credit the federal government's vehicle import laws, which allow the importation of vehicles that are at least 25 years old "without regard to whether it complies with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards." This age is based on the date of manufacturing, meaning that a given car can only be imported ...

What is the 25 year import rule? ›

Such a vehicle that is less than 25 years old can only be lawfully imported into the U.S. if (1) it is determined eligible for importation by NHTSA and (2) it is imported by an RI or by a person who has a contract with an RI to bring the vehicle into compliance with all applicable FMVSS within 120 days of entry.

Why are JDM imports cheap? ›

Cost of owning and licensing used vehicles.

The biggest factor that makes Japanese cars so cheap to export is the licensing system for used cars in Japan. Once a Japanese car is three years old, it must undergo a rigorous roadworthiness inspection.

Why are cars so cheap in Japan? ›

New car pricing in Japan

The underlying reason is the large economy of scale (Japan is the third largest economy in the world) which allows the manufacturers to sell their cars at a much lower price in the local market. Moreover, the Japanese are used to buy newer models whenever they arrive in the market.

How much is a GTR in Japan? ›

2025 NISSAN GT-R Premium Edition (Japan-market version)
DriveEnginePrice* (yen)
3 more rows
Mar 14, 2024

Why do you have to wait 25 years to import a car? ›

In essence, the 25-Year Import Rule strikes a balance between welcoming classic cars and ensuring that safety and emissions standards are met. While this wait might seem long, it is designed to harmonize the interests of car enthusiasts, the automotive industry, and regulatory authorities.

Is it worth importing a car from Japan? ›

Our answer:

It's not so easy to get a proper service history of the car, for example, but generally the cars are of low mileage, in good condition and well-equipped. If you do go down that route, it's far easier to buy an already imported Japanese car (many companies are specialising in this).

Can I ship my car from Japan to USA? ›

Car Shipping from Japan to USA starts at a cost of $1,895 USD, depending on make and model of the vehicle and whether the destination in the USA is on the east or west coast.

What does GTR stand for? ›

The GT-R abbreviation stands for Gran Turismo–Racing while the GT-B stands for Gran Turismo–Berlinetta. The Japanese chose to use Italian naming conventions when naming the car – as most cars that were made in Japan at that time used Western abbreviations – to further enhance sales.

Is it worth buying a JDM? ›

JDMs are great automobiles for those who want to get their hands on something unique. They provide various benefits: dependability, high resale value, fuel efficiency, and higher quality car parts, even though they have some notable shortcomings.

Is it cheap to own a car in Japan? ›

Is a car in Japan expensive? Japan has numerous annual automobile inspections, parking place fees, and acquisition taxes that must be paid when buying a car. However, owning a car in Japan is expensive. All of these factors are unconnected to annual taxes, insurance, or gasoline.

Is it OK to buy an imported car from Japan? ›

”The majority of the parts are the same as their UK variant unless they have an engine which is specific to, for example, Japan. Only then do the issues occur and supply and demand rule comes in, plus a repair will take longer and cost more. “The main issues around imported vehicles is usually identifying them.

Are Japanese imports street legal? ›

All cars that you can drive around in the US need to comply with applicable import laws. Unfortunately, JDM cars don't necessarily comply with some of these laws, especially those related to emission control and safety. Cars you import directly from Japan's Domestic Market also come with right-hand drive.

What cars cannot be imported to the USA? ›

Importing a conforming vs.

If the vehicle is less than 25 years old and was not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS, and/or was not so certified by its original manufacturer, it cannot be lawfully imported into the U.S. on a permanent basis unless NHTSA determines it eligible for importation.


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