The 12 Best RC Cars For Grown-Ups You Can Buy Right Now

Sep 22, 2021

Category: Gear

While every motorist yearns for the day when they’ll finally get behind the wheel of a high-revving rally car or a tire-shredding drift machine, ultimately, such vehicles have a pretty high barrier to entry. As such, it’s up to us to find an outlet for our oil-blooded enthusiasm in other forms, be it something as simple as spectatorship or something as involved as a track day. If you find yourself caught somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, however, remote-controlled cars might very well be the fix you need.

After all, RCs aren’t as far removed from their full-scale siblings as you might think — not hardly. In fact, between their potential for customization and their use of legitimate automotive technology, these miniaturized vehicles offer much of what’s exciting about a real car, albeit in a considerably more manageable package. So, while you may never get the chance to actually drive Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Mustang RTR or work on an Audi R8 LMS, racing one around your living room makes for a kind of fun unto its own. With this in mind, we’ve scoured the internet for what we feel to be the best RC cars for adults. Take to the tarmac or venture off the beaten path — you get to choose your own destiny.

Team Associated MT28 Monster Truck

Just because Team Associated’s MT28 is small in size doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in performance. On the contrary, with its chunky rubber tires, high-travel suspension, and increased ground clearance, you’ll find that this pocketable RC makes for some serious micro monster truck fun. Ready to run right out of the box, it comes with everything you need, including a 2.4 GHz transmitter, a rechargeable battery, and even a set of four AAs. But the best part is that once you’ve run through all of its juice, it’ll be topped up and ready to rip in less than an hour.

Scale: 1/28
Drivetrain: 2WD
Waterproof: No
Intended Use: On- & Off-Road

Purchase: $60

RedCat Racing Danchee Ridgerock Rock Crawler

With little exception, most remote-controlled cars at this price point are usually 1/16 scale or smaller. As such, RedCat Racing’s Danchee Ridgerock Rock Crawler offers an incredible value proposition, combining front and rear multi-link suspension, two torquey brushed motors, all-wheel-drive, and even four-wheel independent steering, all in a capable 1/10 scale package. And when you consider that you’re getting realistic rock crawler details like an integrated roll cage, miniaturized beadlocks, and fully tunable shocks, the result is an RC that’s too good to pass up.

Scale: 1/10
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: Off-Road

Purchase: $120

Kyosho Mini Z Audi R8 LMS

Ever since Kyosho launched the original Mini Z back in 1999, the platform has proven immensely popular amongst RC enthusiasts, even going so far as to prompt its own race series. And it’s not without good reason, because in addition to being highly accurate scale models, these little cars are also a blast to drive. Boasting features like VCS front suspension for optimized camber, a newly-designed ESC for improved handling, as well as optional gyro compatibility for an even more responsive ride, it’s an RC that’s perfect for those who want to customize their performance. Oh, and since it’s based on the MR-03 chassis, it’s compatible with any of the body styles across the Mini Z line.

Scale: 1/27
Drivetrain: 2WD
Waterproof: No
Intended Use: On-Road

Purchase: $130

Axial Yeti Jr. Can-Am Maverick XC3 Rock Racer

Of course, everyone would love a full-size UTV, but they’re not always the most practical of purchases due to their price and space requirements. Thankfully, this mini Can-Am Maverick makes for the next best thing, because it combines the best elements of its real-life inspiration — like floating solid rear axle and the rugged bodywork — and shrinks them down to 1/18th scale. Powered by a waterproof Dynamite Tazer 380 37T electric motor and Spektrum ESC, it offers the perfect balance of speed and grunt to take you over any terrain.

Scale: 1/18
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: Off-Road

Purchase: $150

Losi Mini B Buggy

Losi’s minis are widely regarded as some of the best RCs in the industry because they’re easy to upgrade and incredibly versatile over a variety of surfaces. This buggy is no exception, as it’s built around a 1.5mm 6061-T6 aluminum chassis that’s lightweight enough for jumping yet durable enough for bashing. What’s more, it’s been given a mid-motor mount for improved balance, oil-filled shocks for an adjustable ride height, as well as a set of pin and bar tires for consistent grip. Unlike our previous picks, this one comes powered by a LiPo battery, so needless to say — it’ll fly.

Scale: 1/16
Drivetrain: 2WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: On- & Off-Road

Purchase: $150

HPI Micro RS4 1969 Mustang RTR

Rather than punishing your poor Civic doing donuts for an amateur Gymkhana edit, downsize your drift setup and get this micro RC from HPI instead. A highly detailed 1/18 scale replica of Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s 1969 Ford Mustang RTR-X, it features a full-time, belt-driven 4WD system, a waterproof steering servo, and some double-wishbone suspension that even comes with its own set of coil-overs. And because it ships with two different wheel and tire combos, you can slap the slicks on for racing or switch things up with the drift rubber for a bit of sideways fun.

Scale: 1/18
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: No
Intended Use: On-Road

Purchase: $180

Traxxas Slash

To this day, the Traxxas Slash remains one of the most popular RC cars you can buy because of its robust build quality, thrilling performance, and exhaustive aftermarket support. And here’s the thing — over the years, Traxxas has continued to upgrade the platform to ensure its relevancy. These days, it comes with high-quality drivetrain components like a Titan 550 motor, a Metal gear Magnum 272 transmission, and a special slipper clutch for torque control. Completely waterproof for unwavering all-terrain performance, it’s made only better by the fact that its electronics come brushless motor-ready. Drop one of the brand’s Velineon in there and you can easily get 40+mph.

Scale: 1/10
Drivetrain: 2WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: Off-Road

Purchase: $280

Tamiya Lancia Delta Integrale

For all but the most deep-pocketed of auto enthusiasts, Lancia’s legendary Delta rally car will forever be an impossible aspiration. It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure, but at least this Tamiya RC kit makes for an Integrale that’s markedly more affordable. Based around a belt-driven, 4WD XV-01 chassis with integrated electronics protection, it’s driveable both on- and off-road just like the real thing. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to mention the Martini-liveried body; it features an incredible attention-to-detail, with separate parts for the spoiler and side mirrors as well as authentic touches like a set of blister fenders front and rear.

Scale: 1/10
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: No
Intended Use: On- & Off-Road

Purchase: $280

RedCat Racing Shredder 4WD Truck

If the options up until now have been a bit too small for your liking, RedCat Racing’s 1/6 scale truck should do just the ticket; it’s the biggest RC of the lot. And while most other large brushless vehicles reach nearly four figures in price, the Shredder is comparatively affordable at under $400 a pop. However, that’s not to say that it’s any less of a quality offering. Rather, with independent front and rear suspension, a 15kg metal gear servo, a heavy-duty ABS construction, and a waterproof 80A ESC, it’s better to think of the Shredder as an option that undercuts the market, proving that spending less can sometimes land you more.

Scale: 1/6
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: Off-Road

Purchase: $380

Losi ’69 Camaro 22S Drag Car

Although we’ve included no shortage of fast RC’s on this list, Losi’s ’69 Camaro is the only one that’s a dedicated drag car. As such, it comes fitted with details like staggered Mickey Thompson tires, limited-travel shocks, lower shock towers, and an adjustable wheelie bar. Of course, such a setup wouldn’t be enough without a little extra oomph under the hood, so Losi’s mated the all-metal gear transmission to a Spektrum Firma 6500kv brushless motor, ensuring that you get the best balance of long-term reliability and uncompromised acceleration.

Scale: 1/10
Drivetrain: 2WD
Waterproof: No
Intended Use: On-Road

Purchase: $400

Traxxas TRX4 Defender

When nothing but the most off-road ready RC will do, Traxxas’s TRX4 Defender is the model for you. Scaling down the unrivaled all-terrain performance of the classic British icon, it’s built with things like portal axles for maximum ground clearance, remote-locking differentials for improved traction, and heavy-duty steel frame rails for iron-clad durability. But Traxxas didn’t stop there; they’ve also given it a two-speed hi-lo transmission and electronic hill-hold control to ensure that no obstacle is too mighty for this 1/10 scale Defender. Snap some carefully-angled pics on a gravel path and you’ve got yourself an Instagram-worthy overlanding excursion.

Scale: 1/10
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: Off-Road

Purchase: $500

Arrma Infraction Truck

Okay, so at $650, Arrma’s Infraction truck is undoubtedly an investment, but the added expense is completely worth it when you consider what it gets you in terms of performance. Rocketing to a top speed in excess of 80mph courtesy of its Spektrum Firma 4074 2050Kv electric motor, it comes with a tunable rear wing to ensure aerodynamic efficiency and a remote-operated handbrake to allow for some serious hoonage. Technically, this is a car that’s best used on the road, but because of the 4×4 drivetrain, it can handle everything from loose gravel and smooth dirt to short grass and even ice.

Scale: 1/7
Drivetrain: 4WD
Waterproof: Yes
Intended Use: On-Road

Purchase: $650

The 15 Best Lego Sets For Adults

Although RC cars are one type of toy that’s fun to play with even as an adult, they’re hardly your only course of action. If you’re looking to cater to your inner creative, be sure to check out our guide to the best lego sets for adults.

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