Funtek Raid Adventure : A low-cost, Land Rover style RC car
Now reading: Our top 10 RC Buggies
RC buggies are often the first RC model anyone is exposed to, whether it be the Tamiya Sand Scorchers of the late 70s, Losi’s XX’s of the mid 90s or more recently HPI’s Baja 5B. The sector is enjoying a resurgence of late, with Tamiya reproducing some of the classic originals for grown ups who wish to relive the past or introduce their own children into the world of RC. We decided to put together our personal top 10 list of buggies tested over the last 5 years.
TLDR? Jump to the Buggy of your choice!
RC buggy’s were originally scale models of full-size buggies designed to race across sandy deserts. The classic silhouette is a rakish long-nosed chassis with two narrow ribbed-front-tyres mounted at the front with two wide knobbly tyres mounted at the rear, the later driven by an electric motor hung right out of the back of the chassis, a huge angled rear wing mounted high above it.
Tamiya ‘Dyan Storm’ 2WD Buggy box – Photo property of Tamiya Base
The term is now applied to a wider selection of off-road vehicles including four-wheel-drive models (normally identified by matching wide front tyres front and rear).
Buggies are largely simple and uncomplicated in their design. The drive-train, motor position and resulting weight balance make for entertaining handling, plus their independent suspension and ground clearance allow them to be driven on a wide variety of terrain. They are also often the cheapest RC models around, hobby grade units available for less than £100!
The Colt is one of our biggest sellers every Christmas. The pint-sized ready-to-run buggy is ideal for driving around indoor thanks to its compact 25 x 19cm dimensions. It includes all you need to get driving besides the eight AA batteries required for the transmitter.
Everything on the buggy is scaled down, from the small 1100mAh battery that feeds the all-in-one ESC/receiver/servo unit and subsequently the tiny brushed 370-sized motor. Its shaft driven system is hooked up to metal-geared differentials front and rear, powering all four tyres.
A budget car, it isn’t going to set your carpets alight. The small size equates to a low ride height that is fine indoors but will struggle outdoors on anything beyond a dusty hard-packed carpark. That said, its price still makes it an ideal first gift. You can pick up the Colt in Blue/black or yellow/black liveries from our webstore, or learn more in our in-depth review.
The Prime Baja V3 is a 1/10th scale buggy, its 43cm length seen more as a ‘standard size’ RC model. Its design is more traditional, retaining wide mini-block tyres at the rear and narrow grooved tyres at the front.
We really like the detail that BSD have put into the body, you can easily strip the lexan body parts off to expose the tubular-style frame. The faux headlights and rear wing are also removable for a mad-max style bare-frame racer. The included transmitter is small enough for teenagers or older children and the performance of the buggy itself is suitable for that age range.
Its nice to see a ‘full-size’ robust ready-to-run model drop under the £100 mark. The USB charger does take an age to fill even the small capacity battery up so we’d definitely recommend picking a fast charger up alongside an additional battery (and those AA’s for the transmitter) to make the most out of the package. You can buy the BSD Racing Prime Baja V3 on our webstore in either orange/black or green/yellow, including free UK delivery! Alternatively you can find out more in our in-depth review.
When we first tested this truggy we were blown away by the performance offered on such a small budget. For a little over £150 you are getting a ready-to-run rear-wheel-drive-riot of a vehicle! Naturally some corners had to be cut to offer it so cheaply, whilst built and ready to drive, you will need to provide your own LiPo charger (see our store for a balance style charger for as little as £15) and the usual 4xAA batteries for the transmitter.
This little truggy decimates similarly priced models in both acceleration and top speed thanks to its 3421Kv brushless motor and water-resistant 35A ESC. Despite taking some serious tumbles in our beach test, the truggy proved impressively resilient, the plastic ball cup steering parts easily clipped back on should they pop off in a roll. Whilst it does support 3S LiPo batteries, we advise against extended use, unless you want to replace the gearbox!
Overall the Flux Storm V2 offers unrivaled value for money. If you are looking to go fast for little-to-no-money, look no further. You can buy the BSD Racing Flux Storm on our webstore today (again with free courier delivery) or see it an action in our review article earlier this year.
If you are desperate for a more traditional appearance, BSD fitted the same motor/ESC combo in the Flux Assault buggy, but hooked it up to a four wheel drive system and fitted mini-block tyres all round.
The result is an impressively capable 1/10th scale buggy that will crack some serious speeds on a 3S LiPo battery. We stress that this model and high-powered brushless products like it are not suitable for unsupervised children, restrict them for use by teenagers or adults. You can buy the Flux Assault V2 buggy on our webstore here.
This model has been a runaway hit this Christmas and its easy to see why. Marketed as a 1/8th scale buggy, this model is a staggering 51cm long and 30cm wide. Ready-to-run complete with battery, charger and receiver, all you need are 4xAA batteries to get driving.
Not everyone is a fan of the included spektrum radio, but this model is definitely a great base from which to hone a hobby. The bathtub style chassis features plenty of space (and alternative mounting soluitions) for new servos, ESC and motors should you want to upgrade the buggy in the future. You can pickup the massive Typhon Mega Brushed 4WD buggy from our webstore where (you guessed it) it includes free next day delivery to UK addresses! We look forward to reviewing this, or its big brother in-depth in the coming months.
If you like the idea of the Flux Assault V2, we’d recommend considering the Vantage Brushless buggy. Its regularly on sale for sub £200 and for that you are getting a ready-to-run, brushless powered buggy with an impressive specification.
We are talking an Etronix 2950Kv brushless motor, big bore oil-filled shocks, metal transmission parts, 60Amp ESC, 2S 3250mAh LiPo battery, a balance charger and even a LiPo safe bag! You can pick it up on our webstore with free delivery on our webstore.
Traxxas know how to produce a fantastic RC car, but it does come at a price. At £350 this 2WD buggy provides the most polished and rounded of the ‘traditional’ buggy experiences. We particularly love the advanced ESC with its stability management, allowing even novices to control it with is.
As with other Traxxas models, you can expect high quality throughout, right down to the radio. Unlike many of the models here, Traxxas bundle a nice ergonomic TQi ‘Top qualifier’ transmitter which offers fantastic range, control and comfort. The VXL brushless ESC will take a 3S Lipo punching the little buggy over 45mph. With the right pinion and spur, Traxxas claim this thing can hit 70mph! As such we are glad for that wheelie bar.
You can buy the Traxxas Bandit VXL brushless buggy on our webstore, it comes with nearly everything you need to charge and drive it, just remember to buy 4xAA batteries.
There were some arguments in the office as to whether this product should feature in the buggy guide, as whilst FTX classify it as a buggy, its mid-mounted motor and long travel rear suspension aren’t what you’d typically find on a buggy. However its rabid cross-terrain performance is definitely more ‘baja buggy’ than short-course or monster truck. Marketed as 1/10th scale, it is an impressive 50cm long and 32cm wide.
With an offset differential and prop-shaft, there is some comedy twist in the chassis under acceleration from standstill, the buggy regularly cocking its front right wheel. Those long travel rear shocks allow for incredible articulation of the rear axle. The lexan body panels can be unscrewed to reveal an awesome looking tubular-style body below. Hook a 3S battery into that ESC and you can see speeds of over 40mph!
We extensively tested this brushless version, awarding it ‘model of the month‘ status in late 2019. It isn’t perfect, but its flexibility, power and driving character make it a fantastic choice at just £200. You can read our review here, or buy a brushless Outlaw Ultra-4 here.
Whilst becoming harder to find, HPI Racing’s Vorza still holds a place in our hearts. It regularly topped our list of ultimate RC cars, even back when nitro cars were still selling well. The accessible performance validated the seemingly high retail price, the model proving solid and resilient in use.
Fitted with a 2200kV ‘flux tork’ brushless motor was paired with a ‘flux ECL-6S’ brushless ESC and the pairing would take 6S LiPo power and could crack 60mph with the right pinion gear. A 4mm aluminium chassis plate allowed the buggy to shrug off some serious abuse, essential considering its relatively low ride height.
The Vorza is currently discontinued but we live in hope that HPI Racing bring it back from the dead.
Our stand-out favourite buggy at the moment and in some ways a spiritual successor to the Vorza. When you break down the included components, many of Arrma’s new range of models represent fantastic value and this is no different. It is rare that you see a model this capable retailing for less than £600, let alone one that can put up with this level of abuse.
A 2050Kv brushless motor, 6S compatible (yes over 22volts of power) 150A ESC, heavy duty drivetrain, composite chassis, alumium shock towers, oversized oil filled adjustable dampers, the spec list goes on and on. That big wing you see slapped over the rear shock towers is made of thick composite plastic rather than the usual flimsy lexan addition. Arrma are claiming that with the included 20 tooth pinion and the right cells, this model can reportedly break 70mph!! Our only complaint would again be directed towards the included radio with its average range capabilities.
Arrma RC are producing some killer cars of late. Check out our review of the Arrma Senton 6S that hit nearly 60mph! You can pick up the Arrma Typhon 6S BLX from our webstore today, but remember you will need a couple of 3S EC5 terminated batteries and a suitable charger (See our compatible hop ups section on that page for some suggestions from us).
As of the latest revision of this article, we feel it is a toss-up between Arrma RC’s Typhon Mega (this thing is huge, over half a meter long) and FTX’s Outlaw Ultra-4 brushless buggy. The former offers a frankly massive buggy for the money, whilst the later (which is arguably less of a buggy with its mid mounted motor) offers the best balance between performance/strength/flexibility.
We stock a wide selection of RC buggies and truggies from Abisma, Arrma, BSD Racing, FTX, Kyosho, Traxxas and more, browse our full range on our webstore.
If you are contemplating buying a buggy and are new to the world of RC, we suggest reading our battery introduction, the basics of charging, our introduction to the controllers and (if you were considering buying one) what brushless RC cars are. These articles along with a whole host of tutorials are available in this blog site. Remember you can learn more about a specific model type via the buying guides on our webstore.
As you may have gathered from the variety and depth of our reviews above, we love this chassis layout and are always interested in testing out new models. If you want to see us review a specific model, or have any questions about any of the buggies you have seen here, leave us a message. Likewise, we’d love to hear what your top 3 buggies are, so leave your list in the comments section below!