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Next car?

I drive a 2003 Honda S2000, which I absolutely love. At some point, I will have to replace it and wonder what car I should be looking at that will deliver the same kind of performance, quality, fun and design?

The only cars that come to mind are…
the Mazda Miata…
and the essentially identical Subaru BRZ & Scion FR-S.

How much are you willing to spend? Is a sport coupe OK? Will only a convertible do? New or used?

Agree; Mazda Miata fits the bill best.

I have a convertible now and would like to continue that option. I have a friend who has a Mazda Miata and they seem to be smaller than mine and more ‘toylike’ on the inside. Will the Miata have as much power as the S2000?

Sorry, forgot the spending question. Not sure… now widowed and not a lot of spare cash. Prefer new as I am not astute enough about cars to know if I would be getting an unfortunate castoff and I like the idea of the long warranty.

ladyace The S2000 is an incredible automobile. As far as I know there is no new roadster available that could match it. A former boss had an S2000 and let me drive it because he knew I had lots of experience having owned 5 British roadsters and currently drove a new 1996 Mazda Miata. The British roadsters were lots of fun but maintenance intensive. The Miata was lots of fun and 100% trouble free. The S2000 was just WOW! I agree with VDCdriver that the Miata is the closest you could get. I’m not familiar with the Subaru or Scion. I assume the Subaru is all wheel drive and the Scion front wheel drive. Transitioning from rear wheel drive is difficult. I wrecked an AWD when I instinctively turned into the skid. My suggestion is to spend the money to keep your S2000 forever. You will probably end up spending less than replacing it.

The Scion FRS is RWD, it twin the Subaru BRZ is AWD. They are nice cars, but the reviews are not all rave. One reviewer felt that the Scion TC (essentially a coupe Camry or a Solara) was more bang for your buck (but the TC is FWD).

If your Honda S2000 isn’t rusted, it probably has many miles left in it. I would vote for keeping the car.

"I assume the Subaru is all wheel drive and the Scion front wheel drive. "

No on both counts…

“The Scion FRS is RWD, it twin the Subaru BRZ is AWD”

The essentially identical Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are both RWD.
The BRZ is the only Subaru that has RWD, and AWD is not available–even as an option.

The only real differences between the Scion and the BRZ have to do with the suspension tuning, the audio system, and–of course–the badges. Consumer Reports liked the suspension tuning of the FR-S slightly better than that of the BRZ, and as a result they awarded the FR-S 82 points, and gave the BRZ 81 points.

The Miata is the only convertible, try out a new one, they’ve improved over the years. And you can get one with a retractable hardtop, if that appeals to you. If you have a few years, there will be an all new Miata coming out, but it’ll be 2-3 years I think. Don’t fall for a used Porsche Boxster, they can be problematic.

For under $25,000 the Mazda MX-5 is your best bet. If you can spend up to $35,000, you can add several more. I think the best of the next tier up are the Camaro and Mustang convertibles. Up to $40,000 adds the VW EOS and BMW 128. If you go up to $45,000 there are a lot more: Audi A5, Audi TT, BMW 135, Lexus IS 250 C, Meecedes Benz SLK, and Nissan 370Z. The more expensive cars will be more expensive to repair. The MSRP for the base S2000 was $35,000 in 2009, and any of these cars could be considered equivalent on a price basis. The MX-5 should certainly be on your test drive list. I’d read up on all of them. If you only want 2 seats, eliminate the Camaro, Mustang, Lexus, and VW. Whatever you do, don’t test drive the Lotus Elise. You’ll like it way too much and it costs a little over $50,000. Lotus isn’t known for reliability, just fun. Lots of fun.

Never been a fan of the Boxster. My sister had one and it was more show than performance. With the advice given, I’ve got 196,000 on mine and I take it in regularly for maintenance and it drives just like the day I bought it. I plan to drive it until the wheels fall off - just thinking toward the future. I really love it! (Drives like the old ‘real’ sports cars but doesn’t need the fan belts and other maintenance they did.)

Actually the Elise has a Toyota engine so it’s not as unreliable as you might think, yeah they are more likely to be driven hard but they’re also a lot of fun. You can find decent used Elise’s for much less than $50,000 but there haven’t been any new ones imported for a couple of years. A co-worker had one for awhile and only sold it to fund a new car due to 2 kids. You do need to have it checked over for previous damage but the engine is the same one that was used in certain Corolla’s.

My advice is to find a good mechanic and take care of your car. How many miles are on it? It should last a long time.

ladyace I would advise driving the S2000 until the wheels fall off then having it restored. You really can’t replace it with anything currently available except possibly a low mileage S2000 but you know yours which is a big plus.

Yes, stay away from the boxsters. On that note, a friend of mine who owns a porsche 911 is also an automotive journalist, and after testing and reviewing the subaru, I can safely say he thoroughly enjoyed it.

The FRS and BRZ are both rwd and nearly identical as both are manufactured on the. Subaru assembly line. VDCDriver is absolutely right. The Mazda has a successful formula and daily livability factor should be higher then these two models due to the length of time they have been out. The Mazda is available as a convertible. It should also be the most reliable. I have spent a day with the latest model Miata. I cannot see how anyone can be disappointed.

There will be a new Miata in a year or two that has an Alfa Romeo sister model, both made by Mazda, though the Alfas may use their engines. The Alfas, naturally, will cost more. Between the two models there may be one that suits you.

Unfortunately, roadster sales have been soft, leaving the Mazda as the only affordable classic roadster. Luckily it’s a very good one. Otherwise you have to get a bigger Mustang or Camaro convertible, and they’re not the same at all. Of coutse there are all the pricey Germans, but if you’re going to dpend that kind of money, you can also buy the beautiful Jaguar F-Type, which starts at around $70k, iirc. That’s with a six, but plenty quick even in base form. I wouldn’t want to rely on Jag’s spotty reliability record and use this as a daily driver, but it would be a splendid weekend car in a mild climate. Sigh. I don’t even like being blown around, but that car is so sexy. The coupe is handsome, but for this style of car, it would be the convertible or nothing. And a move to San Diego to enjoy it more fully.

If you’re not looking NOW…then why bother. Wait til you’re ready or the year before you’re ready. They vehicle you may have your sights set on now…may not be around when you’re ready to buy.