Finally Test Drove a Type R - Comparisons

  1. davemarco

    davemarco Senior Member

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    #1 davemarco, Nov 25, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
    Howdy all. I've had my tuned, bolt on SI now for about 1.5 years. It's been an awesome car, but there continue to be some things that bug me about it. The heavy flywheel is frustrating, even with the KTuner rev hang fix. The shifter remains somewhat crunchy no matter how many parts I throw at it. And more than anything, I am terrified that running so much power through this 1.5T will eventually grenade it. With all that in mind, I decided to start looking into getting myself a Type R.

    After weeks of looking around, I was finally able to locate a dealership with a used R that would actually let me test drive. For the sake of brevity, I've summarized my impressions below. Please note that this particular used R already had an Injen CAI and some manner of aftermarket downpipe (they didn't know which). They claimed that it was running the stock tune though, which I believe to be true.

    Power: Power delivery on the stock R feels similar to the TSP Stage 1, but with a much sharper slope leading into the mid to high end. Low end torque on the R is surprisingly low key. Immediate boost on the R definitely feels dampened compared to an SI KTuner basemap with boost dampening disabled, turbo responsivess maxed out, etc. A 21 psi basemap with maxed settings on my SI immediately kicks me back into my seat, and then begins to tucker out in the upper mid range. By contrast, the stock R has no boost kick (again, it felt much more similar to the TSP Stage 1, which has dampening on). Not sure if a KTuner R brings the boost kick back (probably?), but just my observation. Either way, without the sharp torque hit, the R accelerates deceptively quickly. It's so smooth and low key that you don't even realize how fast you're going until you look down and realize that the answer is "too fast".

    Handling: Handling on the R feels like a direct evolution of the handling on the SI. If the SI's handling is an 8, the Type R's handling would be a 12. It's actually scary at times how rock solid it is. I took a wide looping curve of an off ramp in the R at 90 mph, and felt like I was doing 30. Zero body roll, zero understeer. Honestly I think that I could've hit 100 mph without issue. For comparison, I tried the same curve in my SI immediately after. I felt body roll begin to kick in at around 70 mph, and would not have been comfortable continuing to push it based on the feedback that the tires were giving me. Even if that delta is partially based on the quality of the rubber, the chassis and suspension superiority of the R is very significant. It was eerie how slow I felt going 80 mph in a straight line in the R. I've always complimented the high speed stability of the SI, but this just felt like it was on another level.

    Clutch/Flywheel: Flatout - the clutch and single mass flywheel combo on the R is light-years better than the DMF and crappy SI clutch. Before my SI, I had a 5th Gen Prelude. Even with the factory DMF on that car, the revs would instantly plummet when you stepped on the clutch. After that, getting used to the insane rev hang on the SI was a nightmare. I think that we can all agree that even with the KTuner fix, the revs still take eons to come down thanks to the heavy DMF. After getting used to driving with this for over a year, I was shocked when I initially went to shift into 2nd gear in the R and found the car jerking as the revs jumped up to match my slow shift. In disbelief, I went to shift to 3rd, and watched with glee as the revs on the R plummeted like a boulder the instant I stepped on the clutch - exactly like the Prelude. Real shifting again, at long last! The pedal definitely had more heft to it, and while the biting point is easier to find than the one on the SI, it does still carry some of the vagueness that I find is characterstic with Honda clutches. Overall though, a way, way better experience. This is the clutch that the SI was meant to have, and screw Honda for ever switching us over to the DMF.

    Other miscellaneous notes: The shifter on the R felt much less crunchy than the one in the SI. Since I'm basically running the entire R assembly, shift knob, and solid bushings, the only thing left to attribute the delta to would be the transmission. Much better on the R.

    The engine note on the R was much deeper, but suprisingly much quieter than the SI, even with both cars running CAI's.

    I missed the Lanewatch on my SI immediately. It's amazingly useful, and I'm already looking into the difficulty associated with importing a right sided mirror from a Canadian R and wiring it in once I pull the trigger. The blind spots on the R were better than those on the SI Coupe, but not much.

    Love the Alcantera. Driving home afterwards with my SI's sandpaper arm rest made me sad. :(

    Overall, I would say that I'm sold on the R. I have zero complaints about my SI though. It's been a great car.
     
  2. napciv

    napciv Insta: Si.Sleep

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    Excellent write up. The descriptiveness made me contemplate looking into trading for a minute there lol.
     
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  3. MuffinMcFluffin

    MuffinMcFluffin Senior Member

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    I'm guessing there were no reps with you on this test drive that you took a looped off-ramp at 90 MPH. :p

    Great write-up.
     
  4. dmitri

    dmitri Senior Member

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    Awesome report, thanks for all that detail! Money was about the only thing that stopped me from looking into getting the CTR... (And that crazy wing :)) Definitely a different class of a car, so the differences shouldn't be all that surprising...
     
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  5. krees

    krees Senior Member

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    I feel exactly the same coming from my 17 tsp stage 1 si into the r. The one thing that was different between our experiences was the feel of the shifter. My si shifter was stock and my r shifter is also stock but the si shift felt marginally less crunchy...especially on the 1-2 shift but everything else was spot on. Wait till you take a corner and the rear steps out! Me...I'm personally a bit terrified to try that off track. I will on track though and I imagine it to be gloriously exhilarating. Good luck on the search OP.
     
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  6. coopermidnight

    coopermidnight Senior Member

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    That clutch/flywheel section is giving me buyer's remorse :D There's a thread somewhere on the forum with a guy who swapped to a SMF for his Si, but the video evidence didn't seem that dramatic. I guess the Type R's setup is just that much better.
     
  7. OP
    davemarco

    davemarco Senior Member

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    It was a used car dealership, and the sales guy was actually dissapointed in my relatively reserved test drive. He was saying that it was his first time in the car, and he had his phone ready to post a video on Instagram, lol. I'm not sure if he even realized that when he said that, I'd just completed a pull onto the highway and was already doing 90 mph. It doesn't feel like it pulls hard, but it's pretty damn fast.
     
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  8. OP
    davemarco

    davemarco Senior Member

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    The clutch/flywheel on the R is the real deal. I will say that with the heavier clutch and the biting point remaining somewhat vague, I did have a harder time feathering the clutch. It was like doing leg presses in super slow motion while looking for a specific spot in the range of motion, lol. I'd imagine that once I got used to it, it'd be easy to find though.
     
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  9. coopermidnight

    coopermidnight Senior Member

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    I think this might be one of the things I look into after the car's paid off, along with a 27won turbo.
     
  10. MuffinMcFluffin

    MuffinMcFluffin Senior Member

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    I didn't mean because of being easy on the car, I meant because of safety and the law lol.

    That's cool he was excited for you to try some things with it though.
     
  11. WOPSiWOT

    WOPSiWOT Senior Member

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    #11 WOPSiWOT, Nov 25, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
    I also found a used one to drive recently. I agree, the transmission was the thing that stood out. It was about as close to perfection as I’ve experienced. Lived up to the hype for me, which wasn’t the case when I drove the Golf R. The Golf R felt like a GTI with a turbo upgrade (not bad, but not special). The Type R was much more than an Si with a bigger turbo. Really a cohesive whole. Even on a short test drive it was incredibly impressive.
     
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  12. aldo

    aldo Senior Member

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    The Type R comes with 20" super sticky track tires that last 15K miles it should grab a little better
     
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  13. SoCalCivicSI

    SoCalCivicSI Car Addict

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    So Dave.........do you think the Type "R" is worth $10,000 more than a SI??

    10 large can buy you a LOT of fun mods! :D
     
  14. jakdotdot

    jakdotdot Senior Member

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    Yeah... no.

    The CTR obviously handles better with its superior suspension and tire setup, but it is nowhere near that big of a gap. This tells me either something is wrong with your car, or more likely, driver error.
     
  15. thatonedaveguy

    thatonedaveguy Senior Member

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    The CTR is lightyears ahead of the Si in terms of handling-that's the single greatest differentiator between the two cars. Don't let the fact that they are both part of the Civic family fool you into thinking they have similar handling. The CTR has actual downforce, the Si has no downforce and actually produces lift at speed(like most cars). An Si modded to be just as quick in a straight line as the CTR wouldn't be able to post lap times anything like the CTR.
     
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