I loved my last car (RSD TC6.1), but wanted to try something new.
Since our local carpet track (TQ RC) always has tons of guys trying out cutting edge stuff, I've had a chance to compare a lot of different platforms before making a decision. After evaluating everything, I chose the H4e over all the other options for a few reasons:
- Remarkable build quality and value
- Modern suspension geometry
- Lightweight and durable
- Great parts support for US market
Plenty of cars are produced in China (including AE and Spec R). While the quality of Chinese production has improved over the years, it still isn't quite at the level of countries with more mature manufacturing industries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan or even Slovakia.
The H4e is produced in Taiwan and the high quality of production is VERY clear once you see the kit in person. The machining is very good, and the plastic molding is as precise as you'll see in any sedan. This is really crucial when the tolerance requirements often come under a millimeter.
At the $350-$400 (street) price point, you don't really have a lot of high quality options for competition level sedans. TC6 comes closest but even then, it's built in China and the build quality isn't quite there (I've owned three). For instance: Out of the box, the TC6 motor mount needs shims underneath to take out tweak since the mount is always machined a little imprecisely. The bulkheads can sometimes be crooked out of the box (lay them out on a setup board). The steering turnbuckles will rub against the front bulkheads in extreme angles (hairpins or certain ackerman settings).
With the H4, you're getting the build quality of high end kits for a mid-range price. From my observations, the H4 is better built than anything else in the same price range.
Modern suspension geometry
Starting just before the Xray T4, the trend in touring car design has been to lower the center of gravity even more than before in order to increase corner speed. For the current generation, short shocks and low shock towers have been popular.
Narrow chassis and keeping weight mounted as close to the center as possible are also seen as competitive design points. Of course, a floating servo mount is also considered a high priority as well.
The H4 incorporates all these features into its design.
Lightweight and durable
The designers put a lot of thought into reducing as much weight as possible for this kit while retaining strength. The floating servo mount has material milled out in areas where durability would not be sacrificed and lightweight materials are used where it counts. The drivetrain, including the spool and gear diff, is impressively light.
For example, the slipper spool on the TC6 weighs in at 17.9g. The spool on the H4e weighs in at 12.3g; the H4e spool is lighter by 5.6 grams.
Great parts support for US market
With both performance shops and big shops (even Tower!) carrying the H4, Ofna has done a great job so far getting their products out in the US market. I can only hope they will continue this momentum and increase support for us racers. Some other brands such Yokomo/Spec-R/Capricorn/Serpent/3 Racing are a bit more specialized and aren't always carried in local shops.
To sum up, all these factors guided my choice. In the capable hands of our local OFNA test driver, it's impressive to see the H4e keeping up with all of the usual fastest favorites including BD7, T4, 417.