The Best Remote Control Car (Guide) – 2016 Reviews

RC Car Review GuideThere is something instinctively satisfying about messing with a controller and making another object move around really quickly. From this basic human impulse has sprung a huge market of RC cars that do just that.

Inspired by real sports and rally cars, remote control cars have a huge following among hobbyists who collect, upgrade, and race the smaller models. This guide will explore some of the sleekest and fastest RC cars out on the market.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Remote Control Cars of 2016

What Is an RC Car?

Remote Control (RC) cars are scale models of existing full-sized cars or original creations. They’re great gifts for children and teenagers while grown-up hobbyists pursue more advanced models that reach higher speeds.

Higher-tier RC cars use real fuel and oil, are capable of being upgraded, and have advanced controls for precision driving. Many hobby shops organize races so that collectors can show off their enhanced remote vehicles.

What Are the Different Types of RC Cars?

RC Cars aren’t inherently different from one another in many ways, but clear distinctions appear when looking at different classes of models that separate the casual toys from real pieces of technology.

Advanced RC cars are not just battery powered vehicles that zip around for a little while, but fully customizable vehicles that use real fuel to move at high speeds. They require maintenance, upkeep, and are highly valuable among hobbyists.

What Are the Advantages of Owning a Remote Control Car?

RC car owners are opened up to a delightful subculture and get to enjoy a hobby that is always evolving. Modifying a car is satisfying for crafty people, and requires enough learning and precision without being incredibly difficult to get into. Even if one doesn’t intend to get into the larger world of RC cars, they are good decorations and fun to drive around every so often.

What Are the Contenders for Best RC Car?

  • Holy Stone® Lamborghini Veneno: The Lamborghini Veneno was a prototype car imagined by the famous Italian company in 2013. Holy Stone’s scaled down model mimics its style and concept, featuring LED lights and automatic doors. Its stylish control lever is a nice display item for car enthusiasts, and the car itself looks as good on the shelf as it does cruising down the street.
  • Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy: Redcat’s Nitro Buggy is a ferocious looking car powered by an equally feisty Nitro 2.67cc Vertex Engine. With a top speed of 40 mph out of the box, the Nitro Buggy is ready to race and easy to upgrade. With a little extra upkeep, the car delivers immense value at a competitive price point.
  • Traxxas 7407 1/10 Rally Car Brushless: The Traxxas Rally Car has all the finesse and precision of those that participate in real races, and easily hits 50 mph straight out of the box. Electronically powered, completely waterproof, and 4 wheel drive, the 7407 is a very finely tuned RC car with phenomenal capabilities.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Car

Just like when buying a real car, the key to selecting a good RC car is performance. Users want a vehicle that is swift and responsive, even at high speeds. Dedicated hobbyists will need to determine how much they can upgrade their purchase while also considering how much general maintenance a car will require.

  • Controls: How intuitively a car’s remote control is designed is sometimes just as important as the quality of the vehicle. Ease of use and signal strength are essential for both basic operations, and for performing complex stunts like drifting.
  • Speed: Whether a user intends to race or not, nothing beats having as fast a car as possible. Equally important are the other components that handle speed, such as brakes, suspension, and even tires. RC cars are more sensitive to the surfaces they drive on than their full-size counterparts, so every component becomes doubly important.
  • Expandability: Hobbyists who plan on investing heavily in one car need to make sure that there are enough upgrades available for it to justify that decision. RC cars can become very personalized over a period of time if the right resources are available, and performing upgrades independently is one of the most rewarding parts of owning one.
  • Fuel Type: Fuel type has much to do with how much upkeep one will have to perform to keep a car running at its best. Electric power is clean and typically easy to maintain while nitro-fueled cars are more temperamental. There are plenty of fast electric cars, but many RC racers are nitro-fueled.

Controls

Lamborghini Veneno

The Veneno’s controller is styled after a gear shifter. It’s fun to look at and easy to use in its way, with a very simplistic button design that is easy for anyone to understand. The controller isn’t precise enough to perform many stunts or feats, but for children who just want to drive it back and forth, there’s nothing easier to use. On the plus side, like the car, the controller is a nice decoration in the right household.

Nitro Buggy

The Nitro Buggy is controlled by a powerful transmitter that communicates at the 2.4GHz frequency: generally used by most manufacturers. Its controls are easy to learn and users can expect to put a few tricks in their arsenal pretty quickly. The Buggy drives very well on just about any surface but is perhaps most entertaining when kicking up loose gravel while drifting. It is a very well balanced car, with aluminum capped shocks absorbing much of any impacts or inconsistencies it encounters.

Traxxas 7407

The 7407’s controls are simple and precise. The controller is a common design, easy to hold and get used to. The car’s 4-wheel drive makes its performance exceptionally consistent, and its long-travel suspension serves to keep it feisty even on harsh terrains. The 7407 is perhaps as close as one can get in an RC car to the power and precision of a full sized vehicle. The 7407 keeps its responses immediate and impactful.

Speed

Lamborghini Veneno

Quite unlike the supercar it is designed after, the Veneno’s low power makes for very average speed. On a smooth surface, it might look a little fast but generally speaking one shouldn’t expect this car to do much. It is more a toy or an item for model collectors than it is a racing RC car, where speed is more of a necessity.

Nitro Buggy

Out of the box, the Nitro Buggy has a top speed of about 30-35 mph. Its 2.67cc vertex engine moves its lightweight frame with a satisfying responsiveness and its broad construction, complete with a spoiler, never seems off balance. Its composite disc brakes are firm and precise: after getting used to the car, an experienced RC user can easily slide into drifts and other fun maneuvers. The Nitro Buggy is ready to race in certain circuits right out of the box and is far from limited from evolving.

Traxxas 7407

The 7407 has a recorded top speed of 40 mph in its standard form. It is as versatile and powerful as they come, driven by its Velineon Brushless Power System developed by Traxxas. Even right out of the box, everything about the 7407 is high speed, low drag, and its 40+ mph starting point is very easily enhanced. In terms of base speed and sheer potential, the 7407 is very nearly unbeatable.

Expandability

Lamborghini Veneno

The Veneno’s meager capabilities can’t be easily expanded upon, but with some experience in mechanical engineering, perhaps anything is possible. However, the car isn’t really meant to be tampered with. The Veneno is built to provide basic enjoyment for young people, and asking any more of it would be frivolous. This is hardly a problem for what it is really meant for, but it fails as an RC car for hobbyists.

Nitro Buggy

The Nitro Buggy is very easy to upgrade, and there are several kits already prepared for people to use. Its speed can be substantially optimized, as anything from the shocks to the entire engine can be completely upgraded. The Nitro Buggy is an RC car that will give most users years of enjoyment. For its competitive entry price point, a huge amount of value can be squeezed out of its purchase.

Traxxas 7407

By simply installing the optional 3-cell Power Cell LiPo pack, the 7407’s 40+ mph becomes 60+. The amount of potential the car has is unparalleled. With the right parts and improvements, the 7407 is one of the fastest RC cars in the world, let alone at a local hobby shop racing circuit. The 7407 is for the truly passionate hobbyists, and rewards every bit of their hard work with absurd performance power.

Fuel Type

Lamborghini Veneno

The Veneno gets a lot of drive time out of its rechargeable batteries, that can be substituted for regular AA batteries. Naturally, there isn’t much power to be had from either of its available sources, but the Veneno isn’t meant to be driven that intensely.

Nitro Buggy

As its name suggests, the Shockwave Nitro Buggy uses both AA batteries and nitro fuel simultaneously. As such, more preparation time is needed both before and after one takes it out for a spin. Depending on the temperature, the necessary air/fuel mixture changes, which can be a little frustrating for beginners. The nitro engine will also require a bit of oil after use. Maintaining the Nitro Buggy isn’t difficult after doing so a few times, but some might find it an unnecessary challenge.

Traxxas 7407

The 7407 is completely electronic, requiring no additional upkeep or lubrication sources. It is completely plug and play, yet still has the power one would expect from a nitro-fueled car. The electronics are touted as water-resistant and live up to that claim, though one would be wise to keep the car dry after use to prevent it from rusting. The 7407 uses its power rather efficiently, and should be ready to go any time so long as its always charged later.

Conclusion: Our RC Car Reviews Are In

Holy Stone® Lamborghini Veneno – Best Cheap RC Car

Holy Stone® Lamborghini VenenoHoly Stone delivers a delightful plastic replica of an absolutely insane concept car in the Lamborghini Veneno. It isn’t the most thrilling remote control vehicle around, but it looks great and drives just fast enough to entertain some kids on Christmas. Model collectors may want it just for the resemblance it bears to its real-life counterpart, which is complimented by its automatic doors, LED lights, and stick shift controller.

Pros:

  • Great gift item
  • LED lights and automatic doors
  • Interesting controller concept

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Struggles on outside surfaces

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Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy – Best RC Car for the Money

Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro BuggyThe Shockwave Nitro Buggy is fast, sporty, and packs an immense amount of long term value. For a hobbyist with any level of experience, the Nitro Buggy is a thrill to drive and a beast on the race track. One can learn a lot from working on the car over the years, as there are plenty of upgrades for people to experiment with over time. Perhaps the only drawback of the car is its nitro engine, which gets its power from a liquid fuel that requires careful measurements.

The Shockwave will ask a little of its owner, but it’ll pay it back in speed, power, and maneuverability.

Pros:

  • Very fast
  • Responsive controls
  • Ready to go on virtually any terrain right out of the box

Cons:

  • Nitro engine poses some difficulties

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Traxxas 7407 1/10 Rally Car Brushless – Best RC Car Overall

Traxxas 7407 1/10 Rally Car BrushlessThe Traxxas 7407 is an RC masterpiece. It’s fast, it’s aggressive, and it hits corners and obstacles like a shift in the wind: with complete effortlessness. A keen eye and a keener hand can get the 7407 taking off into all kinds of spins, drifts, and stunts, or take advantage of an open stretch of road and let the car fly across it at 40+ miles an hour. The 7407 never seems to falter or miss a step and has a sporty but mature physical design to match.

In terms of sheer expandability, the recommended power source upgrade alone speaks volumes about the car’s overall capabilities. That the 7407’s simplest upgrade adds 20 mph of speed to its arsenal means that others have pretty significant effects as well. With a little fine tuning, the 7407 can be one of the most powerful RC cars out there.

Pros:

  • Intense speed
  • Perfect handling
  • Huge expandability

Cons:

  • Some people might miss the stress of managing their nitro engines

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RC cars allow people to embrace their inner child with their adult mastery of basic electronics. RC racing has all the thrill of full out street racing with none of the danger and a significantly lower cost of entry. Whether one is just buying a gift for their younger relatives or looking to join a local group of racing enthusiasts, cars like the Traxxas 7407 are the kind of “toys” that inspire lifelong passions for speed and engineering.