My Type R Christmas Eve-Eve Test Drive (Long read)

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S2k_Dude

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Glad you got to drive the car. Sorry that you weren’t completely in love though. I will say this.. I got to test drive a CTR at a dealership cause the salesman very stupidly asked me if I wanted to. Knowing I wasn’t supposed to, but knowing this was probably my only chance before buying the car, I took him up on his offer.

It wasn’t a great experience because I knew this car wasn’t going to be mine. They were asking 10k plus accessories. So going into it, I didn’t have the excitement that this could be my new car... I knew I had no chance of buying this particular one. This was just supposed to be a recon mission to see what the red one looked like in person so I could decide on a color. It was a fun drive but like you said I second guessed the car. I just wasn’t COMPLETELY impressed. I almost decided not to continue looking for a CTR.

Unlike you tho, I didn’t have a list of other options. For me, it was either I keep my EX-L or I get a CTR. I love the brand and just can’t really think of another car I’d want to own at this time. So I thought about it more and decided the reason I wasn’t completely impressed is because I went into it with the wrong mentality. When I finally found a red one at MSRP, I went ahead and pulled the trigger despite the feeling I had from the test drive.

Like you said tho, the test drive is only a very small window into what it’s like to own this car. I love the way the car looks. It’s the color I wanted for the price I wanted. It gets me hyped up when I randomly take it to redline while cruising around. I’m really glad I decided to keep looking..
Thanks for your post. You are right, I did go into the test drive with kind of a bad attitude towards the car at CarMax, knowing the car was bought by someone who did not appreciate what they had and didn't spend one minute of their time taking care of it. Most likely a young kid with wealthy parents that decided after a few months he/she wanted something else instead. When you just don't know the history of a used car, you kind of form a negative image in your mind of what the car has been through. I'm not writing the car off just yet, I may even go back and test drive it again now that I've thought through things and created this very good discussion on this forum.

OP, I really appreciate your review. I will be getting a CTR soon and selling my S2K. I don't have the fondest memories of FWD but I have been dreaming of owning a Type R since high school. I probably would have saved for a Porsche if it didn't work out. Good luck on your search, I hope you find the perfect car for your needs.
I've always loved the Type R models and came close to buying an ITR when I bought my S2000. However, it was the test drive of the S2000 that just knocked the ITR right off the list. A RWD open top Honda that revved to 9,000 RPM at an affordable price was absolutely perfect and has been a great car for the past 15 years. If Honda came out with a new S2000, I might not be thinking about anything else, but for now, there are 4 other cars on my list that I might enjoy instead. You only live once, and as much as I still love my S2000, it's also time to move on. There is another thread on S2ki.com that is titled, "When is time to move on to something other than the S2000?" I think the best response was, "if you are asking that question, it's time." I just thought that was a definitive answer to that question. One of the reasons I enjoyed driving the S2000 so much was we had a huge club in the Atlanta area, we'd go on drives every month, we have great mountain roads around us, on occasion a group of us would do track days, we helped each other do mods and repairs. That's totally gone now, except for the twice per year Tail of the Dragon events, the S2000 community has moved on, and I think so must I.



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S2K, if you can stretch your timeline a bit, the upcoming sportscar from Toyota (which may or may not be called a Supra) may be of interest as it will likely meet many of your requirements. A Toyota insider on the Supra MkV forum claims to have seen final specs of the initial version - under 2900 lbs, 340 hp from a 6-pot, about the same size factor as a 370Z. It's certainly got my interest, but it's likely to be a bit more than the CTR - about $50k US is being bandied about. Expected rollout is end of next year as a 2019 MY car.
 

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i wouldnt be surprised if this was a demo track car for reviewers that honda provides

This type r was abused for sure
GL for 38k they will get a sucker
 

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Since Honda dealerships don't offer test drives of the Type R, and because I don't purchase a car before driving it, I worked in a test drive while visiting my family on my Christmas holiday.

As I posted before, there has been a 2017 CBP Type R at Carmax for a few weeks now. The car has 1,100 miles and Carmax has priced it at $37,999. I was a little surprised that CarMax, a dealership that used to offer cars at very reasonable prices, is asking that much over new MSRP for a used car. The original pictures online didn't look perfect but it didn't matter, I just wanted a test drive of a car that everyone has raved so much about.

Caveats:
I know a test drive only gives you a general idea of what owning the car will be like. I mean, a 10 mile loop and only 20 min behind the wheel doesn't let a person really get to know a car. However, it's better than nothing at all. I'm not one of those people who is willing to go through the whole (annoying) dealership experience, have them run my credi,t and sign paperwork, just to be disappointed with the vehicle. Luckily CarMax has one and I was able to call a few days in advance, and make and appointment for a test drive.

First impressions:
This particular Type R at CarMax looks like it has already lived a short but hard life. The car was filthy inside and out, the interior was full of dust and dirt, the exterior looked like the car hadn't been washed in months, body gaps full of dirt and leaves. So, that didn't help with the first impression. Neither did the carpet under the rear hatch looking like someone tried to take an orbital sander to it, one of the wheels had minor curb rash, and the front spoiler had been damaged in two places. Also, some of the items were missing from the fix-a-flat spare tire tray. I mean, if the car could had 20,000 miles on it, maybe I'd understand but CarMax needs to do a much better job of presenting a car to a potential buyer.

The seats are snug, but like everyone says, they are very comfortable with good lumbar support. My wife has wide hips so she didn't fit as easily into the passenger seat but she said it wasn't uncomfortable. Upon startup, it seemed the exhaust was pretty loud, so much so I had to check under the car to see if any modification had been done. After a few minutes at idle, the exhaust quieted down. Is this normal? Is the exhaust louder at cold startup?

Anyway, onto the test drive, CarMax let my wife and I take the car out without a salesperson. With 1,100 miles on the engine, I didn't feel bad revving it up to redline to see much how much power was available throughout the RPM range. Note, one of my cars is a 2002 Honda S2000, that I've owned since it was new. So I was curious how the new FK8 compares to my F20C. The Type R didn't disappoint in the power department, it pulls really strong in the midrange and with much more authority than my S2000. Power did feel like it fell off a bit between 6,000 RPM to the 7,000 RPM redline. The S2000 continues to pull all the way to the rev limiter, even though power falls off a bit, it's not as noticeable.

The turbo whoosh is way cool, I've not driven many turbo charged cars and that's always a cool sound to hear. Also, the engine and exhaust note are much louder than I expected overall.

Handling was excellent, the Type R doesn't hesitate to change direction, steering is sharp and immediate. The three drive modes were nice, being able to switch from Comfort to Sport to R mode was a nice touch, just flick the damper control up or down. It's nice not having to go through a touch screen menu to make those selections. Also, no hint of torque steer whatsoever, that's just so cool in a FWD car!

Shifting was Honda smooth. No gear crunches, no notchiness in the transmission, the clutch was light, I didn't notice any problems with the clutch delay valve and rev matching worked like a charm. No disappointments there at all. It just drove like a Honda should, but with much more mid-range punch than I'd expect from any other Honda.

Okay, those are the high points, the car drove great and once it was rolling you can just feed in the power or just put the pedal the floor and feel the turbo force feeding the engine, extracting loads of power from all two liters. However, from a standing start or even a slight roll, or if you try for too much power too soon, the tires are totally overwhelmed and there's no traction. I can see why the 0-60 time isn't better than it is, the tires just can't get any grip, the front wheels just spin, and spin, and spin. Unfortunately, that's the big let down of probably every FWD car with any significant amount of torque. You try to launch the car with even half throttle, weight transfers to the back, and the front end gets light, and the wheels just can't do a good of a job propelling the car forward.

Honda has done an excellent job with upgrading the Civic platform from just an everyday commuter to a fun to drive car that you love to drive everyday. Just don't expect too much from a FWD platform. I'm sure the car is great to drive at the track, where you've got momentum helping the front wheels both steer the car and pull the car through the turns, stable and safe, no chance of throttle induced oversteer or upsetting the chassis and loosing traction on the back end of the car. I'm sure the CTR would be faster around a race course than my S2000, but there is something to be said for the feel of a RWD car.

I've got my S2000 for sale, after 15 years of driving it, it is just starting to feel like it's time for a change. Before the test drive, I thought the CTR was "the one", but after the test drive, I'm just not so sure.

Wondering about the temperature of the road, tires and such. Considering this car is on max summer rubber it is hard to get a feel for what the car is capable of if temp is down. See you are in ATL so imagine it was not super cold but I can say the difference temperature makes on the CTR is huge. Im coming from a M4 and during spirited driving the R is more stable and easier to drive fast. There is no comparison to getting off the line and I agree this car is not built for 0-60 times. My only issue at this point compared to the M is that during hard driving you can feel the power going down through the wheel. Not in a good way compared to RWD. I assumed that torque steer was gone completely for I too saw the videos of 0-60 runs without having the hands on the wheel. It is there. Granted much better than other FWD of yore but still there.

I think the 18' VW is a great option along with the CTR. Not sure you can put an Accord sport in the mix with these cars. Seems within your price range but I owned a 13' accord sport for 80k miles and really don't get what C and D is on about. Yes its a great car (0 problems over 4.5 years and 80k) but beat on it some and you realize quickly its a family sedan first (by a mile) that does just an OK job at spirited driving. Granted i am jaded by my other cars in the garage but not all about the Accord like C and D. To me it does not fit with the other cars you are looking at. No doubt a great car BUT if you like to drive hard forget it. It will be bitching back at you the whole time. My .02.
 

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One of the reasons I enjoyed driving the S2000 so much was we had a huge club in the Atlanta area, we'd go on drives every month, we have great mountain roads around us, on occasion a group of us would do track days, we helped each other do mods and repairs. That's totally gone now, except for the twice per year Tail of the Dragon events, the S2000 community has moved on, and I think so must I.
I totally agree with you here. I've had the S2000 for like 8 years or so and I used to go on group drives and stuff and it was a ton of fun. Lack of group drives nowadays was one of the reasons why I was going to sell the S2000 but even after getting some offers I couldn't get myself to do it. The CTR is fun and a great car but I still feel the S2000 is more "pure" in terms of driving feel. The CTR feels more like a sporty grocery getter that is capable of going super fast while the S2000 feels like an actual "sports" car.

I think if your idea is to replace the S2000 with something as enjoyable as the S in pure driving, you'll probably not be happy with the CTR. I know I've said it to you in multiple threads but it would be nice if you can keep it. There's just isn't a reasonably priced car that gives you the same feeling as the S does. But if you have to, you gotta do what you gotta do.
 
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Temps were warm, the CTR is in Jacksonville, FL so it was a sunny 75 deg day. Tires were original, had plenty of tread on them. I suppose they could have been over inflated, that's probably the only thing that could have caused some lack of traction. I could spin the tires fairly easily, just more so because of the FWD layout. Compared to AWD or RWD, a FWD car is just at a severe disadvantage when it comes to traction off the line or even low speed hard acceleration. It's just something I'd kind of forgotten about since I last drove my Prelude years ago.

In some ways the 2018 2.0L Accord is like the Golf R, quiet, luxury interior, all the tech features, seats 4-5 people. The biggest differences is the Accord is FWD vs the AWD Golf. I know, traction would also be an issue with the Accord. I doubt I would track any car I buy very much so I'm starting to care a little less about track performance and a little more about comfort, luxury and practical performance, but I'm also a big Honda fan and that's where the Accord comes in, it's probably the second most powerful Honda on the market and it's available with a 6-spd manual transmission, like the Golf R. So all the cars I'm looking at are available in a M/T, have more than enough power, and with the exception of the Vette, can haul 4 or 5 people to lunch on workdays.

Where the Vette comes in is I have several friends with Corvettes these days. Three of them track their cars regularly, which gets pretty expensive, but I've always liked the C7. I'd be back to having a group of friends with the same car, and we'd probably go on a few drives, I'd go on a few track days, and the Vette is unmatched in performance when compared to any of my other choices. With the Vette, it's the higher cost (about $10k-$15k more), only holds two people, but so does the S2000, but man, if you've ever driven a Vette, it's a serious sports car, not a sporty car like the others. Not coincidentally, many of my former S2000 friends have also stepped up to a C6 or C7.
 
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I know I've said it to you in multiple threads but it would be nice if you can keep it. There's just isn't a reasonably priced car that gives you the same feeling as the S does.
Completely agree. I owned an ap2 before and that car was tons of fun for under 20k. The rwd was awesome. It’s a completely different experience from the CTR.
 
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Completely agree. I owned an ap2 before and that car was tons of fun for under 20k. The rwd was awesome. It’s a completely different experience from the CTR.
I've not ruled out the CTR completely, maybe I will have time for a second test drive later this week. I will keep everyone's comments in mind if I do drive it again.
 

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OP...I can see the appeal of the 18' accord sport. I have not driven it yet (2.0) so is hard to judge in that respect. Im sure its a step up on all fronts as most new models are. Just seems more out of place than the others on your list.

Sounds like tire and ambient temperature was not a issue. 300-350 hp through the front wheels is a lot. Heck i can light up my 340 rears in about a millisecond off the line. Got 500 tread wear tires on there and need new rears at 11k miles. Many cars have this issue regardless of of FWD or RWD so can see the appeal of AWD. However I feel with the CTR its really only a 1st gear issue.

Damn. I am blown away by this car every time i drive it. I think I really want you (and everyone) to like it for some reason. I do drive like a hooligan for the most part so maybe you wont get that much out of the car if you don't track or drive like a nut. I live in an area where the roads are wide open and the back roads are great for spirited driving. I have noticed that i usually don't drive the CTR if im going into town so to speak.

Last note. On a comfort level I think the CTR has it dialed in. Comfort is comfortable and R mode is properly sporty.

Best of luck to you in your search for the right car. If you drive the sport 2.0 i would love to hear your thoughts. To me the biggest issue for Honda has always been their brakes. Guess thats fixable with aftermarket products. Two thumbs down on the vette talk!
 
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Unfortunately I couldn't test drive the Civic Type R at CarMax a second time. When I spoke to the salesperson, it was put on a truck for transfer to another CarMax. Sucks because I almost went there the day before when it was still available.

On the other hand, I drove the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0L 6-spd manual and was pleasantly surprised at how well the car drove. Sure the handling isn't as sharp as the Type R, but it did a better job of keeping the tires from spinning. Sure the Accord has a bit less torque but on the dyno only about 20 lb-ft less than the Type R. I suspect the Accord has more weight over the front wheels which gives it better traction off the line. The shifter in the Accord blew me away, it's more than buttery smooth and requires such little effort you wonder if the lever really is changing gears. This is the best shifter I've driven in any car, it even beats my S2000, which has been said by many to be the best manual shifter ever put in a car. Beyond how nice the Accord shifted, it has more features and a better infotainment system. Overall the interior is more Audi-like than Honda, it's a big step up from the Civic Type R interior.

After driving the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T 6-spd, I drove the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T 10-spd Auto. Again, I was just blown away by how good the new Accord is. I'd bet money the Accord with the 10-spd Auto would edge out the Type R off the line in a drag race. Others have dyno'd the Accord at ~265 HP/ ~285 lb-ft, only about 20 hp and 10 lb-ft less than the Type R. Yes, the Accord is heavier, but for initial traction off the line, it's not a bad thing. The 10-spd auto has exceptionally fast shifts and overall the driving experience was surprisingly good... surprisingly... Sporty. The Accord is a true Sports Sedan, despite being FWD.

When you factor in price, the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T comes out at least $6,000 cheaper than the Type R (purchase price to purchase price). Some people have posted they paid less than $28k for one so that's more than $7k less. The new Accord is a damn lot of car for the money! I'm now thinking my better choice will be to keep my 2002 S2000 and purchase the Accord. The Accord will be my daily driver, the S2000 my weekend/track car. In the meantime, there seems to be more CTR's around and I just found out the dealership in NC, where we bought our CR-V earlier this year, has a PMM Type R that they are selling for MSRP.

I'll probably not buy anything for a few more months, but it's looking more and more like I'm out of the CTR hunt. Between the test drive of the CTR that fell a bit short of my expectations and the 2018 Accord that is surprisingly good for a lot less money, I'll probably be going the conservative route and get the Accord.
 
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haojohn

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Unfortunately I couldn't test drive the Civic Type R at CarMax a second time. When I spoke to the salesperson, it was put on a truck for transfer to another CarMax. Sucks because I almost went there the day before when it was still available.

On the other hand, I drove the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0L 6-spd manual and was pleasantly surprised at how well the car drove. Sure the handling isn't as sharp as the Type R, but it did a better job of keeping the tires from spinning. Sure the Accord has a bit less torque but on the dyno only about 20 lb-ft less than the Type R. I suspect the Accord has more weight over the front wheels which gives it better traction off the line. The shifter in the Accord blew me away, it's more than buttery smooth and requires such little effort you wonder if the lever really is changing gears. This is the best shifter I've driven in any car, it even beats my S2000, which has been said by many to be the best manual shifter ever put in a car. Beyond how nice the Accord shifted, it has more features and a better infotainment system. Overall the interior is more Audi-like than Honda, it's a big step up from the Civic Type R interior.

After driving the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T 6-spd, I drove the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T 10-spd Auto. Again, I was just blown away by how good the new Accord is. I'd bet money the Accord with the 10-spd Auto would edge out the Type R off the line in a drag race. Others have dyno'd the Accord at ~265 HP/ ~285 lb-ft, only about 20 hp and 10 lb-ft less than the Type R. Yes, the Accord is heavier, but for initial traction off the line, it's not a bad thing. The 10-spd auto has exceptionally fast shifts and overall the driving experience was surprisingly good... surprisingly well... Sporty. The Accord is a true Sports Sedan, despite being FWD.

When you factor in price, the 2018 Accord Sport 2.0T comes out at least $6,000 cheaper than the Type R (purchase price to purchase price). Some people have posted they paid less than $28k for one so that's more than $7k less. The new Accord is a damn lot of car for the money! I'm now thinking my better choice will be to keep my 2002 S2000 and purchase the Accord. The Accord will be my daily driver, the S2000 my weekend/track car. In the meantime, there seems to be more CTR's around and I just found out the dealership in NC where we bought our CR-V earlier this year has a PMM Type R that they are selling for MSRP.

I'll probably not buy anything for a few more months, but it's looking more and more like I'm out of the CTR hunt. Between the test drive of the CTR that fell a bit short of my expectations and the 2018 Accord that is surprisingly good for a lot less money, I'll probably be going the conservative route and get the Accord.

Great experience sharing! Hope you find your ideal car soon.
BTW it's such a luxury to pass an MSRP PMM...
 

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BTW it's such a luxury to pass an MSRP PMM...
That tells me @S2k_Dude didn’t really want the car bad enough! Lol.. I jumped all over it when I found out the color I wanted was available for MSRP 700 miles away.. sounds like he was already on the fence about the CTR and now would definitely rather have the accord, or else he woulda done the same. And nothing wrong with the accord! I’m sure it’s a very nice car from what I’ve heard. Seen it, but haven’t never driven one. But it’s a completely diff car. I wanted a raw sports car. I wanted a car that didn’t have an Audi-like interior, or decked out with features, or a super smooth ride. Just depends on what each person wants
 

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.. Sporty. The Accord is a true Sports Sedan, despite being FWD.
This is getting a little (a lot) carried away. Sounds like you are picking the right car for you. But come on. TRUE sports sedan. NEGATIVE. I don't even know where to begin? Brakes wont be good enough. If it pulls more than .90 on the skid pad im shocked, and 0-60 in somewhere 5.1-5.4 (auto)... LSD no! Give me a break. NOT a true sports sedan. I realize we are on a Honda forum but lets keep it real. Sounds like you don't drive hard enough to get what the CTR is about. The Accord 2.0 sport is the right car for you.
 

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S2k_dude coming from rear wheel drive sports car. His expectations will be higher than most people who buy Civic Type R. I can definitely relate to that. It is sad that he cannot keep his S2000. I believe Civic Type R would be a perfect daily driver for him but he needs something to compensate front wheel drive experience for at least a weekend drive :) (S2000)
I drove front wheel drive cars for way longer than rear wheel drive cars. And all I can add to his decision - you are rarely punch it from the green light on your daily driver even if you expect somebody to race you (unless you are 25 or younger :) ). So don't let this front drive performance in the straight line influence the overall quality of the car. There is no other car on the market which is best bang for the buck if you get Type R at MRSP.
 

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You really need to add some heat into the CTR tires to unlock its true grip. Just doing a couple pulls won't heat up the tires enough. This is just my experience from taking the CTR to the track.
 








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