The best RC cars make all of us revert a little to childhood. They’re as cool-looking and fast as the cars we drool over now that we’re grown up—but they also manage to fit in a handy backpack, which no sports car has yet managed.
Here we list five of the best remote-controlled sports cars to get for your kids this year. And if you don’t have kids, that’s OK: you can get any of these for the kid in you, too.
This plastic model car copies the Lamborghini Veneno straight down the headlamps, which are represented on this mini version by LEDs. 75-degree wing doors open up for added realism and can be controlled using the car’s transmitter. Two rechargeable battery packs are bundled for longer play.
- Automatically-opening doors
- Beautiful level of detail
- Capable of decent speed
- Due to its faithfulness to the Veneno, it can’t negotiate uneven terrain
This is a beautiful RC car that any Lamborghini model collector would be glad to have on his shelf—although, given how speedily it can run, he’d be more likely to have it on the ground more often. This beauty zips around quite smoothly, and depending on your familiarity with joystick-type controllers, handles pretty easily, too. The thing to remember, though, is that its faithfulness to the Lamborghini Veneno’s design keeps it a genuine mini-sports car: it’s much too low-slung to handle being used on anything but even and hard flooring.
This 1/18 model of the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera can reach a maximum speed of 8 mph. The model car itself uses replaceable AA batteries and can be controlled up to 30 feet from the transmitter. The front wheel alignment can be manually adjusted.
- Very sturdy
- Quite cheap
- Easy-to-use controller
- Actual top speed seems lower than advertised
- Needs a huge space to execute a turn
This is a great bargain RC car that doesn’t look or feel like a bargain RC car. Available for only $24, this Superleggera mini-clone can hit about 5-6 mph when you really open it up and will get through most crashes without noticeable damage. That’s worth a lot when you’re getting an RC car for a kid who’s likely to execute more than a few wall slams with it the first time he tries it out. It’s not as slick as some of the other models on this list—collectors won’t be considering it for their shelves—but it’s good-looking nevertheless.
Holy Stone’s MZ2046 is a 1:14 scale model of the famous Porsche 918. It is remote-controlled and has a 1.2V rechargeable battery in the model car. The 32cm-long car also comes with LEDs in its front section to serve as headlights.
- Responsive to control
- Gets quite fast
- Very nice detailing
- Some may find the transmitter a bit clumsy in use
Another mini-car RC model from Holy Stone, this Porsche 918 delivers in both looks and performance. It runs beautifully on just about any surface, slowing down a little on rougher roads or carpeting but still doing well enough to satisfy many a user. It’s very fast too, so the speed demons will be sure to appreciate that. It’s actually only $50 despite its quality, which means a lot of Porsche model fans will likely look into acquiring a unit for their collection (and fun!) soon.
Equipped with a tri-channel control frequency, this car can be used against two others for a three-way race that won’t tangle each driver’s control signal. The rear wheel’s differential system prevents skids and a steer trim helps keep the car going straight when needed. It uses a rechargeable battery pack.
- Can drift and do complex turns and spins
- Car has lights in the grill
- Quite fast
- Can’t handle off-road use
This is a nice $50 RC model car, even with its few issues. It’s not great at off-road use, for instance, so you’ll likely be restricted to using it on even flooring. It also comes with only 1 battery pack, which means there has to be an annoying wait in between uses for you to charge the battery again. Then there’s the fact that not everyone will find the controller intuitively designed or responsive.
Despite those minor qualms, it’s a pretty good RC car as they go. It’s not bad looking—in fact, it’s quite striking when it’s in use because of the way the grill lights up—and isn’t too fragile either, so you know it should weather a knock or two. It gets rather fast as these things go and handles more complex driving maneuvers well, too.
This 1:10 scale RC car uses 2.4GHz radio control and is modeled after the Nissan S13. It has a bathtub-type chassis, an adjustable motor, and a quick-change battery design.
- Excellent RC drifting
- Fits a lot of spare parts found at hobby stores
- Very sturdy
- Battery life is poor
This is the most expensive RC car here, but it’s also the most versatile when it comes to its driving. This $200 RC car is meant for those who actually do drift-driving with their mini-cars, and while it suits those people perfectly, it can actually be a great introductory model to those who’ve never tried it before as well. It looks nice, holds up very well against repetitive use, and is compatible with a staggering number of RC car parts. That’s a lot of value for the serious (often older) RC car enthusiast.
If you’re talking about the best item on this list, the HPI Racing drifting RC car is easily that. Not only are a lot of its parts user-replaceable but it can be very easily user-upgraded, too, because of its high compatibility with spare RC car parts.
That said, it’s not exactly ideal if the person you’re getting the car for just wants something that goes fast and can take a few crashes. Kids, for instance, rarely appreciate the real value of the HPI—simply because they can’t grasp it, yet.
If that’s the case, the Superleggera and Porsche 918 models here are good alternatives. They’re reasonably sturdy and will go fast enough to satisfy most kids.