Best Radio-Controlled Cars: R/C Stands For Really Cool

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best R/C Cars

It’s said that most gearheads never really grow up, it’s just our toys that get bigger. The proliferation of hi-po side-by-side vehicles and the constant barrage of retro-inspired trims (waves at GT350 Heritage Edition) proves this in spades.

Radio-controlled cars fall in this group, with car-crazy guys and gals aged 8 to 80 tending to enjoy these things in a deserted paved lot or during a day at the park. While there are still more than a few R/Cs that we’d all recognize in terms of size and complexity, there is also a growing number of these units that are over a foot long and easily able to break the posted speed limit.

We’ve chosen a few that caught our eye.

Table of Contents

1. Hosim 1:10 Scale High Speed 4WD R/C Truck

Crafted to looks like an is-it-or-isn’t-it Ford F-150, this remote control truck with outsized tires and 30 mph top speed is one of those gifts your author wanted to find under the tree when he was a lad. Heck, I’d be excited to find it now just six months shy of my fortieth year. The seller says it can last approximately 10-15 minutes while operating flat out. We will resist the temptation to make crude jokes here.

Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, this 1:10 scale puddle jumper is said to have a waterproof body and set of tires. The twin motors will spin those PVC tires that are attached to the toy by a stout shock and damper system. Its top speed can be trimmed to half of its maximum potential in case you decide to loan this thing to a young kid or your irresponsible Uncle Ronnie.


  • Waterproof parts, big 1:10 scale, blazingly high top speed


  • Pistol-grip controller

2. Traxxas TRX-4 1:10 Ford Bronco

The only reason (the only reason) this wonderful looking thing isn’t your Editor’s Pick is thanks to its obscene price tag. At nearly five hundred bones, it’s tough to make a case for something that costs more than a gaming system. However, this R/C truck is packed with all kinds of gee-whiz features, including portal axles which allow the expensive bits to be tucked up inside the truck body.

Owners can locks its differentials and operate the high/low range transmission remotely from the transmitter. Waterproof electronics permit operation in soggy conditions. The star of this R/C is, without doubt, its rugged good looks and rad "sunset" tape striping. In fact, a bit of creative photography makes this R/C look just like the real thing.


  • Killer cool looks, incredible details, tremendous tape stripes


  • Batteries and charger sold separately despite sky-high price

3. Radio Remote Control 1:14 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

One doesn’t have to break the bank to buy a Bugatti, as it turns out. This 1:14 scale replica is of a Veyron in Grand Sport Vitesse trim, meaning it is absent a roof and able to accept hitchhikers in the form of those battered G.I. Joe action figures.

Its controller has buttons for forward/backward and left/right, mounted on a grip shaped like a steering wheel. There are working head- and taillights, which is more than your neighbor can say about his Camaro up on blocks. The seller alleges a detailed interior but no photos are provided.


  • Reasonable price


  • Consumes 5 AA batteries

4. Rainbrace Racing Car R/C Car

Count on mispronouncing this R/C’s brand name as "Brainrace" at least once. This 2-wheel drive scale remote control racing car is 1:18 scale and designed with a single high speed motor. Actual shock absorbers and anti-slip tires should keep a lid on unplanned sojourns into the weeds.

The car body is sparse enough to allow the thing to run upwards of 12 mph, a speed which outstrips that beige 1999 Toyota Avalon headed to Golden Corral in the wrong lane. It comes with a pair of rechargeable batteries that can apparently be topped off with a USB cable. If so, and we have no reason to suspect the ad is wrong, that would be an excellent convenience.


  • Great starter rig, USB charging


  • Blasted pistol-type controller

5. Waterproof All-Terrain 1:10 RC Car

This unit looks suspiciously like the one at the top of this post but is a bit faster and a lot more expensive. Scaled to 1:10 size, this absolute unit puts down a footprint approximately 12 inches square and can rip up to 30 mph over rough terrain.

A metal reinforced frame and oil-filled metal shocks help to explain the spendy price tag, as do the waterproof electronics and full thirty minutes of run time. Twin lithium-ion rechargeables provide the juice while twin motors give this R/C four-wheel drive. A setting allows for top speed to be cut in half while you’re learning to control the thing.


  • Fast, ready-to-run with no set up


  • Expensive

6. Maisto 1:24 Scale Ferrari 458 Italia R/C

You’ll recognize this brand name from its scale die casts. Like those toys, this R/C is 1:24 size but, unlike the 1:18 models, is able to move under its own power thanks to an electric motor and pistol-grip controller. Priced in the basement, it wouldn’t be a stretch to order a pair of these for a bit of lunchtime fun with a buddy at the park.

Real-world customer reviews speak of slightly flimsy bodywork and a controller range not as great as that of other models. Given its price point, this should be neither a surprise nor demerit. It also apparently has an appetite for batteries.


  • Dirt cheap, several colors


  • Reference to weirdo 9V batteries though AAs are listed as well

7. Force1 Cyclone Remote Control Car

The advantage of these R/Cs that don’t resemble a car at all are, with all apologies to Timex and their old ad campaigns, their ability to take a licking and keep on ticking. Since their wheels and tires extend beyond the bodywork on both the top and bottom, turning turtle is not an issue with this thing. It’ll simply scamper away with its underside facing skyward.

Measuring about a foot long, this so-called 360-degree R/C includes a pair of rechargeable batteries and a single USB charging cable. Impact resistant tires and tough bodywork should allow for the 12 year old children (and 49 year old children) to fling this thing about both in- and out-of-doors without worry. You’re on your own if you punch a hole in the drywall.


  • Crashing doesn’t really slow it down, neato LED lights


  • Bears no resemblance to a car

8. RADCLO 1:20 Dual Motor R/C Car

If you’re looking for inch-perfect automotive realism, stop reading. This off-road R/C is styled like an Dali acid trip, with weird motor placement and a bizarre body-to-suspension relationship. The supposed spare tire mounted on aft quarters looks like a bottle cap.

Get past its looks and you’ll find an entertaining R/C with dual motors and strong shock absorbers providing huge wheel travel. This explains why the body is so misshapen — it gives the tires a lot of flex. Oversized anti-slip tires means it should scamper over tough terrain without too much problem.


  • Yawning wheel articulation, affordable


  • Looks terribly bizarre

Now that summer's here, you might want to revisit this list, so that you can get outside and play with some R/C cars!

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: panotthorn phuhual / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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