7 Powerful and Fast Nitro RC Cars

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Are you ready for your first nitro-powered vehicle? This page covers all you need to know about buying nitro RC cars. There are also 7 reviews at the end of the introduction to give you an idea of what’s out there. The models are not for raw beginners no matter how much you may want one. These are mean machines with powerful engines. They provide a completely different experience to electric RC cars.

Exceed Hyper Speed Buggy
Scale: 1/10
Top Speed: 40+ mph
4WD Pistol radio system, impressive spec sheet.
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Best Value
Traxxas Rustler Stadium Truck
Scale: 1/10
Top Speed: 50+ mph
Traxxas electric EZ-Start, stability control system.
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Top Pick
Losi 8IGHT-T Nitro Truggy
Scale: 1/8
Top Speed: 40+ mph
Pre-set suspension geometry, oil-filled shocks.
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The next section looks at the following 7 areas:

  1. Cost of nitro remote control cars
  2. Safety concerns
  3. Skills needed to operate a nitro vehicle
  4. How to maintain a nitro model
  5. Types of nitro models available
  6. Understanding scale sizes
  7. Buying your first nitro RC

What You Need to Know About RC Cars

You should know if a nitro RC truck, buggy, or truggy is right for you by the end of this introduction. Feel free to jump to the reviews if you only want to check out this year’s favorites. Keep reading if you need help. The sections below break down the basics of owning and maintaining a Nitro RC model.

About My ‘Nitro RC Cars’ Review Guide

There are 7 nitro RC mini-reviews below. They will give you a good idea of what’s available and the kinds of features and performance to expect. These picks are the result of personal opinions and those of industry experts. I also considered real user feedback before finalizing the shortlist. The first three are Best Budget, Best Value, and my Top pick.

Nitro RC Cars Comparison Table

1. Exceed Hyper Speed Nitro Buggy | Best Budget

Exceed Hyper Speed Nitro BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.9/5

The Exceed Hyper Speed Beginner’s Nitro Off Road Buggy makes the Best Budget slot. It’s a 1/10 scale model that comes with a 2.4Ghz Pistol grip controller.

  • Best feature 1: VX16 high-torque and pull-start 15CX engine
  • Best feature 2: No-flex chassis
  • Plus points: 4WD Pistol radio system, impressive spec sheet (see below)
  • Minus points: Starter kit needed, not suitable for the novice

Exceed Hyper Speed Nitro Buggy Highlights

This is an entry-level RC nitro-powered buggy but not a first-timer RC car. It’s for those with experience at controlling electric RC models who now want to experiment with nitro. This puppy is fast and needs high-speed handling skills to get the most out of it. It runs on a VX16 high-torque, pull-start 15CX engine and holds a 75cc fuel tank. Divers control the buggy with a pistol grip transmitter.

The Exceed Hyper Speed Nitro Buggy has an adjustable wishbone suspension and oil-filled shocks. A no-flex chassis design provides it with high performance and handling. The model’s brake system is disc-shaped. And there are high-impact wheels equipped with high-traction radial tires. See the table below for a full breakdown of the main specs and components.

The Not So Good

Exceed promote this nitro-powered RC car as a beginner model, and it is. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. Make sure you know what you’re buying before deciding as this beast needs a lot of TLC. The model also requires a starter kit to complete. That includes things like tools, a fuel bottle, a glow plug starter, and charger. Contact the seller for details if in any doubt.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Model type: Nitro off-road buggy
Model Scale: 1:10
Fuel tank: 750cc pressure type
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: VX 16
Start mechanism: Pull start
Product Weight: 5 lbs.
The Pros
Incredibly fast nitro buggy
2.4Ghz pistol grip controller
Painted body chassis
No-flex chassis design
Stock engine muffler system
Front universal joint shaft
Servo saver linkage system
Adjustable wishbone suspension
Oil-filled shock absorber
Disc-shaped braking system
High-impact wheels
High-traction radial tires
The Cons
Starter kit needed
Not suitable for the raw novice

2. Traxxas Nitro Rustler 2WD Stadium Truck | Best Value

Traxxas Nitro Rustler 2WD Stadium TruckView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Best Value pick goes to the 1/10 scale Traxxas Nitro Rustler. It’s a 2WD stadium truck that sports a powerful TRX 2.5 Racing Engine. It has a sleek low-profile body and speeds that exceed 50 mph.

  • Best feature 1: TRX 2.5 Racing Engine
  • Best feature 2: Sleek low-profile body
  • Plus points: Traxxas electric EZ-Start, stability control system, TQi 2.4GHz Tx/Rx
  • Minus points: On/off switch exposed to dirt, not waterproof

Traxxas Nitro Rustler Highlights

The Traxxas Nitro Rustler has an EZ-start electric starting system that fires the beast up without effort. Acceleration speeds of the Nitro Rustler are as impressive as its top end. The model exploits the superb Traxxas Stability Management (TSM). TSM keeps the truck as straight as an arrow even on wet and slippery surfaces. That surprises rivals as they lose control of their vehicles to spinouts and fishtailing.

The wheels and tires look fantastic. The rims are a chrome 2.8 twin spoke design equipped with pre-glued tires. The front tires are Alias ribbed, and the rear uses Alias step-pin. This model’s TQi 2.4GHz transmitter is worth mention. It’s a fully adjustable device that users can equip with a Bluetooth module. That lets you turn any Android or iOS mobile device into a formidable tuning tool.

The Not So Good

The on/off switch for this nitro 2WD stadium truck has a design flaw. It’s too exposed and tends to collect dirt which can cause it to stick. It’s an extra maintenance job users shouldn’t have to worry about. This model has no waterproofing like its electric counterparts. That’s not unusual for gas models, but it is something to be mindful off when racing close to puddles.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Nitro Stadium Truck
Model Scale: 1:10
Fuel tank: 75cc w/ flip-top lid
Drivetrain: 2WD
Engine: TRX 2.5
Start mechanism: Electric EZ-Start
Dimensions: 17.2 x 12.5 x 6”
Product Weight: 5 lbs.
The Pros
Powerful racing Engine
Sleek low-profile body
Fast acceleration and top speeds
Traxxas electric EZ-start
Stability control system
TQi 2.4GHz transmitter/receiver
Bluetooth module
The Cons
On/off switch traps dirt
Not waterproof

3. Losi 8IGHT-T Nitro RC 4WD Truggy | Top Pick

Losi 8IGHT-T Nitro RC 4WD TruggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Our Top Pick goes to the Losi 8IGHT-T Nitro Truggy, a ready to run (RTR) model. That means it’s set to go right out of the box. It’s a fully-upgradable vehicle that users can customize as skills develop.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful Dynamite .28 nitro engine
  • Best feature 2: Metal-gear transmission, sealed differentials
  • Plus points: Pre-set suspension geometry, oil-filled shocks, waterproof metal-gear servo
  • Minus points: Heavier than buggies, high cost of tires

Losi 8IGHT-T Nitro Truggy Highlights

Losi RC keeps on getting better, and its 8IGHT-T Nitro RC 4WD Truggy is no exception. This is a brilliant model for anyone who’s into backyard bashing—nitro style. There’s nothing to assemble, paint, or tweak with this puppy. The powerful Dynamite .28 nitro engine is nothing less than formidable. The included Spektrum DX2E DSMR transmitter gives racers the ultra-precise control needed to win.

Other features include pre-set suspension geometry and center/rear dogbones. The car also boasts a 4mm T-6 aluminum chassis plate, 15mm oil-filled shocks, and a Spektrum waterproof metal-gear servo. The table below highlights all the model’s best selling points.

The Not So Good

RC nitro Truggies are larger than buggies by design. That also means they’re heavier. And the price of Truggy tires is insane. Even so, this is an impressive racer in a class of its own. It’s also more forgiving on the track than a buggy could ever be. That makes this and similar models a superb choice for aggressive racers.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Nitro Truggy
Model Scale: 1:8
Fuel tank: 125cc
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: Dynamite .28 nitro
Start mechanism: Pull-start
Dimensions: 28.6 x 19.4 x 9.5”
Product Weight: 14.4 lbs.
The Pros
Ready to Run (RTR) Truggy
Excellent value for its class
Powerful nitro-powered engine
Aluminum chassis plate
waterproof steering servo
Pre-set suspension geometry
Center & rear dogbones
Adjustable 15mm oil-filled shocks
Included Spektrum DX2E DSMR TX
Included Dynamite 1600mAh 6V NiMH receiver pack
The Cons
Heavier than a buggy
The high cost of tires

4. Redcat Racing Volcano S30 Nitro Truck

Redcat Racing Volcano S30 Nitro TruckView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

The Redcat Racing Volcano S30 is a formidable 1/10 scale RC nitro truck. It’s an ideal choice for first-time nitro fans. They’re sure to love the debris-chucking, smoke-swirling, loud, screaming engine.

  • Best feature 1: 3.0cc sh-18 2-stroke nitro engine
  • Best feature 2: 2.5mm aluminum alloy chassis
  • Plus points: Excellent starter truck, independent suspension, oil-filled aluminum shocks
  • Minus points: Not highly durable, slow for a nitro model in its class

Volcano S30 Nitro Truck Highlights

The Volcano S30 is an excellent first-time nitro vehicle for training. Its 3.0cc sh-18 2-stroke nitro engine performs as well as it sounds. The truck is sure to provide novice nitro racers with an exciting interactive experience. The vehicle sports a durable 2.5mm aluminum alloy chassis and independent suspension system. And it’s equipped with 8 aluminum oil-filled capped shocks.

The body uses a polycarbonate material which is only impact-resistant for light to moderate prangs. And the composite disc brakes and oversized soft compound tires handle multiple terrains well.

The Not So Good

This nitro truck isn’t a good choice for veteran, highly-competitive RC racers. The model is not as durable as the Redcat Racing suggests. That’s why it’s more suitable for nitro-newbies. It’s 25 mph stock speed is also ideal for first-timers though too sluggish for experienced racers. The S30 can go faster with performance upgrades, but that also makes it more vulnerable to breaks.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Nitro off-road truck
Model Scale: 1:10
Fuel tank: 75cc
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: 3.0cc sh-18 2-stroke nitro
Start mechanism: Pull start
Dimensions: 16.8 x 13 x 7.5”
Shipping Weight: 11.1 lbs.
The Pros
Ready to Run (RTR) nitro truck
Reliable nitro engine
Excellent starter vehicle
2.5mm aluminum alloy chassis
Independent suspension system
Oil-filled aluminum shocks
Disc brakes
Included 2.4GHz radio system
The Cons
Not highly durable
Slow for its class

5. Redcat Racing Earthquake 3.5 Nitro Monster Truck

Redcat Racing Earthquake 3.5 Nitro Monster TruckView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

This nitro RC beast is Redcat Racing’s Earthquake. It’s a 3.5 4WD 1/8 scale nitro monster truck and part of the brand’s UltraLite series. It’s fast, furious, and can reach top speeds of around 50 mph.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful 3.5 cc.21 SH big block engine
  • Best feature 2: Front/rear sealed differential
  • Plus points: Oil-filled big bore shocks, composite disc brakes, lots of adjustable options
  • Minus points: Loosening screws and other parts, requires lots of maintenance

Earthquake 3.5 Nitro Truck Highlights

The Earthquake 3.5 is a great vehicle for newcomers to the nitro RC world. It’s big, handles well, and has plenty of room for upgrades, which is what nitro is all about. This model’s 3.5 cc.21 SH big block engine provides incredible acceleration and top speeds. And no terrain is too challenging for its huge off-road soft compound block tread tires.

The oil-filled big bore shocks and 2.5mm aluminum chassis add to the model’s value. Other attractions include the 2 sealed differentials, composite disc brakes, and a sealed 2-speed transmission. There are lots of adjustable parts too. They include adjustable brakes, ride height, camber, automatic transmission, and toe angle.

The Not So Good

All nitro gas-powered trucks need maintenance, but this model seems more demanding than some. A few owners experience issues with loose screws. Newbies must expect to learn how to diagnose, fix, tweak, and avoid potential problems. This model is fast, and things can break if the driver neglects pre-race checks. That includes checking that everything is tight and secure with each use.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Monster Truck
Model Scale: 1:8
Fuel tank: 125cc
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: .21 cu in (3.5cc)
Start mechanism: Pull starter
Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 10”
Product Weight: 12.15 lbs.
The Pros
Powerful 3.5 cc.21 SH engine
Excellent value
Front/rear sealed differential
Oil filled big bore shocks
Composite disc brakes
Adjustable brake
Adjustable ride height
Adjustable camber
Adjustable automatic transmission
Adjustable toe angle
The Cons
Loosening screws and other parts
Needs lots of maintenance

6. Redcat Racing Monsoon XTR Nitro Truggy

Redcat Racing Monsoon XTR Nitro TruggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The Monsoon XTR is large, 1/8 scale nitro-powered Truggy from Redcat Racing’s Professional Series. It’s a versatile 4×4 RC vehicle that stands up well to bashing and racing.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful 4.57cc .28 SH big block engine
  • Best feature 2: Composite dual disc brake
  • Plus points: Aluminum oil filled shocks, pivot ball suspension (PBS), tuned exhaust
  • Minus points: Not ideal for the raw novice

Monsoon XTR Nitro Truggy Highlights

This nitro-powered Truggy comes ready to run (RTR) though you must break the new engine in. The model has an aggressive looking super-wide stance and eye-catching colors. Its powerful 4.57cc .28 SH big block engine can outperform others in its class with the right driver. The Truggy’s composite dual disc brakes are super-responsive when negotiating obstacles and tight turns.

Other highlights are the aluminum oil-filled shocks, tuned exhaust, and pivot ball suspension (PBS). There’s also 3 sealed differentials, front/rear sway bars, and adjustable shocks. The Monsoon XTR Truggy has impressive specs and components considering its size and price tag.

The Not So Good

Truggies are more forgiving that buggies but they still need lots of care an attention. Most experienced nitro RC fans would agree that it’s a superb model, but not for first-timers. Its big block engine needs a special breaking in. There’s also lots of maintenance, regular cleaning, and tuning involved. Parts are expensive too. Nitro newbies should look to more novice-friendly options than the Monsoon XTR here.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Truggy
Model Scale: 1:8
Fuel tank: 125cc
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: 4.57cc .28 SH big block
Start mechanism: Pull start
Dimensions: 21.8 x 17.5 x 7.5”
Product Weight: 15.4
The Pros
Powerful big block engine
Composite dual disc brake
Aluminum oil filled shocks
Pivot ball suspension (PBS)
3 sealed differentials
Adjustable suspension
Front and rear sway bars
Tuned exhaust
The Cons
Not ideal for the raw novice
Expensive parts and accessories

7. Traxxas Revo 4WD Nitro RC Monster Truck

Traxxas Revo 4WD Nitro RC Monster TruckView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Last on our list of nitro car reviews is the 1/10 scale 4WD Traxxas Revo 3.3 4WD monster truck. The model boasts a powerful TRX 3.3 racing engine and heavy-duty reversing transmission.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful TRX 3.3 racing engine
  • Best feature 2: Heavy-duty reversing transmission
  • Plus points: Rocker-actuated suspension, TSM, Geode wheels, aluminum chassis, EZ-Start
  • Minus points: No charger included, high price

Traxxas Revo Nitro Monster Highlights

Not all nitro trucks can reverse but this monster can. Revo’s heavy-duty reversing transmission lets drivers back up with the simple flick of a switch. The model comes equipped with TSM or Traxxas Stability Management. TSM keeps the truck in a dead straight line even when the surface is slippery. That’s fun to watch when other competing vehicles around you fishtail or lose total control.

Fast acceleration and smooth handling are what make the Revo special. Its precise control is thanks to the superb 4WD traction and rocker-actuated suspension. This truck rides high and oozes with confidence. Geode wheels and the massive 6.3″ oversized tires can handle any terrain. Other highlights are the 3mm aluminum chassis, Bluetooth module, push-button start, and easy tuning.

The Not So Good

There isn’t a proper charger included for some reason. That’s an extra cost if you don’t already have a suitable one for the truck and EZ-start batteries. The model is quite expensive too. It’s why Revo fans gripe about the absent charger. Most enthusiasts would rather spend the money on other things.

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Tech Specs
Model type: Monster Truck
Model Scale: 1:10
Fuel tank: 150cc
Drivetrain: 4WD
Engine: TRX® 3.3 Racing Engine
Start mechanism: EZ-Start® push-button
Dimensions: 20.6 x 17.5 x 11”
Product Weight: 10 lbs.
The Pros
Powerful TRX 3.3 racing engine
Crash-resistant build
Heavy-duty reversing transmission
Rocker-actuated suspension
Traxxas Stability Management
Geode wheels
Aluminum chassis
Bluetooth module
EZ-Start push-button
Easy tuning
The Cons
No charger included
High price tag
0/50 ratings