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Commute, Toy or Destroy – Honda S2000 vs. Mazda RX-8 vs. Scion FR-S

Battle of the well balanced rear-wheel drivers

 |  Jun 01 2013, 6:33 PM

Commute-Toy-Destroy-No-6

We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’.

Once again, we present to you, our faithful readers, a choice of three vehicles. We are asking you to decide which one you would make your daily driver, which one would be your back-road bomber and which one should be drifted off the side of Mulholland Drive.

Remember, that commuter car you must live with every day, all year round. The toy would be only available to you for occasional use on weekends club meets, and the final car would be the one you would laugh at as you pass it on the street.

This week we select three vehicles that value chassis balance and driver engagement over all out speed. First, there is the last of the Rotaries, the Mazda RX-8. This car featured perfect balance and a lunatic redline. Next, there is the only convertible and only two-seater in this grouping, the S2000. This roadster was basically a race car in street clothing. Finally there is the newer, slower, but far cheaper Scion FR-S that reinvents driving fun on a budget. So what are your choices going to be?

Honda S2000

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The S2000 was a spiritual successor to the Honda S series roadsters of the 1960s. Initially offered here with a high-revving 2.0 L engine, in 2004 a 2.2 L engine with more torque was swapped into the roadster and the redline was slightly reduced. These engines made an impressive 237-240 hp (at the time the most output per liter of any naturally aspirated car), but it was the handling that truly made the S2000 great. Plus, on a warm sunny day you could but the top down and listen to that four-cylinder scream.

Mazda RX-8

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Mazda’s last attempt at a rotary sports car (for now at least) was the four seat, 2+2 door RX-8. Larger and heavier than the Honda S2000, the RX-8 made a near identical 238 hp with a 9000 rpm redline, from a very different power source. The car was perfectly balanced and added a little bit of practicality and comfort over the track-ready S2000. Small adults could actually fit in the rear seat as well.

Scion FR-S

Scion_FRS_2013_03

Just when you thought the days of affordable, well balanced rear-wheel drive sports cars were gone, Subaru and Toyota bring out this gem. More fun than should be allowed at legal speed limits, the FR-S harkens back to the days of raw, smile-inducing motoring. Powered by a 2.0 L four-cylinder producing 200 hp, the FR-S makes just enough power to have fun, but not get you in a heap of trouble. That said, we are always open for a boosted version down the road.

  • CA_Refugee

    Commute = FR-S (Though I prefer the Subaru version)
    Toy = S2000
    Destroy = RX-8

  • Mike Schlee

    I agree

    Commute the FR-S (but I too would take the BRZ)
    Toy the S2000
    And destroy the RX-8 (mine used to try to destroy itself enough)

  • smartacus

    -commute with S2000 because even the most exclusive limited edition Honda is still nothing more than a soulless point A – point B appliance.
    -weekend with RX-8 because Wankels are made for repairing on weekends
    -destroy FR-S (for your own good) because it will be more of a trailer trash vehicle in 10 years than the fictional 2009 Camaro in Jeff Gordon’s “how to attract a fat guy” commercial.

  • Colum Wood

    Destroy: RX-8. I like it, but this is an easy choice.
    Commute: FR-S. As a coupe it’s quite functional (more than the S2000) and about the only thing longer lasting than a Honda is a Toyota.
    Toy: I would like to daily drive it because it’s certainly the coolest looking of the bunch. Still, I’ll be able to cruise in it on the weekends and use it as a track car because it’s the most potent and capable of the bunch.

    PS. Smartacus: you’ve been banned for life. (Just kidding).

  • Steve Wade

    Commute the frs because its subaru toyota built and will run for decades. Toy the rx8 because rotarys will take high rev beetings. And destroy the s2000 because the only hondas I will ever own have wings on the gas tank and I like to fly them and the s2000 is already mark for homos with the h on the front just like the fag civics

  • Phil

    those bashing on the S2000 clearly never driven one … more importantly never drove an RX-8 to chose it over the S as your week-end toy. The rotary is gutless, thirstier than a Ram 2500, worse than unreliable and sits in a car who’s design is far from the timeless lines of the honda…. the S2000 is the perfect Toy car, i’ll take the fr-s as a daily, and trash the rx-8

  • Cisco

    S2000, reliable, very nice engine, very well balanced and tons of aftermarket parts to make it an even better car if you choose too.

  • Luke Vandezande

    The FR-S has more practical space and therefore makes a better commuter car. Also, you get the benefit of more modern tech. Given that, I would pick the FR-S as my commuter.

    The RX-8 will pretty much off itself, so that’s not even really a question in my mind.

    Of course, that leaves the S2000 as my toy car. AP1, if you please. Got to love that sky-high redline. Just don’t wrap yourself around a tree…