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2000-2003 Honda S2000 Pre-Owned

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Honda's little rocket roadster makes a great used car buy for enthusiasts

Introduced in 2000, the Honda S2000 was once featured on the cover of Motor Trend with the headline "Vette Threat?" underneath.

Maybe so, maybe no.

It had looks that were off the wall for a Honda product and it packed an engine with a higher output per litre than the world's best at the time. Enzo Ferrari would have been rolling around in his grave.

For a Honda, the S2000's styling is off the wall. Only the NSX has had bolder looks.

S2000 came with a two-litre, 240-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that spun the rear wheels. The little engine used no turbocharger or forced induction to make its output, and the small-displacement, high-powered mill shrieked to over 9,000 rpm. Entertaining to be sure, but hardly the type of power you can discreetly use driving around town.

And while driving around town, even gently, the ride is jarring and harsh, and so is the engine. The steering is tight, heavy and only barely assisted, and the S2000's small stature feels more like you're wearing the car than driving it.

But if you're a weekend-warrior type that's looking for thrills on the track, there's hardly a better used buy for the price. For many folks, this type of ride is a little slice of heaven.

Nick Martile, who owns a 2000 S2000, says "the reason for buying the car was mostly my dedication to the brand. I always loved the style of the car since it first came out -- and rear-wheel drive in a Honda was an added bonus. The car is a 2000 and I bought it in 2003 with 33,000 kilometres on it." Nick plans to enjoy his on the track this summer, as he did last year. Why not -- it's got powerful brakes, razor-sharp handling and over-reactive reflexes that reward the skilled hand on a course. Honda didn't make it ride like it had concrete struts for nothing.

As with most two-seaters, room is tight at best if you're of above-average proportions, and the miniscule trunk and limited interior space mean a two-person weekend getaway is going to require use of the family minivan. The S2000 has a stereo system for the sake of saying it can play music, but there's no glove box, and only a very limited amount of at-hand space to store your cell phone and coffee money. It's all about being lightweight, after all.

The S2000's cockpit is all business; snug, has no glove box but is equipped with great seats.