One of the reasons why RC cars are so awesome is because they come in all price ranges. You can get the cheapest ones for well under $50 and still have a ton of fun. Money is not a huge deal when it comes to RC cars, especially for models that have children as their primary targets.

But today, we will be focusing on a whole another specter of RC cars. Today, I am going to show you the best mid-range options for RC car enthusiasts and newcomers alike. These guys don’t require assembly but they do offer somewhat of an upgradeable environment. You can test out your DIY skills and have a ton of fun at the same time with these RC cars under $500! P.S. if you’re looking for a cheaper solution, you might be interested in our list of 10 RC Cars under $300?

Want to know more about these RC cars under $500? Well, here’s the list so make sure you pay close attention all the way to the end and the number one pick!

Best RC cars under $500 list

ImageNameSpeedSizeDurationPrice
7. JBL Racing Cheetah10. JLB RACING CHEETAH50mph1/1030minSee price now
9. Redcat Terremoto 10 Table9. REDCAT TERREMOTO
10 V2
40mph1/825minSee price now
8. Traxxas Bandit VXL8. TRAXXAS BANDIT VXL70mph1/1020minSee price now
7. MST Subaru Impreza7. MST MS-01D 30mph1/1025minSee price now
6. Kyoto Porsche 911 Table6. KYOSHO 33203B40mph1/1025minSee price now
5. Team Energy Table5. TEAM ENERGY V8SC70mph1/840minSee price now
4. Kyosho Inferno Neo 2.0 Table4. KYOSHO INFERNO
NEO 2.0
60mph1/8nitroSee price now
3. Arma Typhoon Table3. ARRMA TYPHOON70mph1/840minSee price now
2. Kyosho FO-XX Table2. KYOSHO FO-XX70mph1/8nitroSee price now
1. Traxxas Slash Table1. TRAXXAS
1/10 SLASH
60mph1/1030minSee price now

Keep in mind that, in most cases, these numbers don’t represent the “out of the box” experience. That’s becuase these vehicles are highly upgradeable. For instance, you can get double the initial top speed with a better battery that’s going to cost you less than your average restaurant meal.

Most notable types of RC cars which can be found under $500

Realistically speaking here, you can get pretty much anything you want for $500! With this amount of money, you are basically at the entrance of the high-end RC cars market which has an abundance of class A models. But, not all of them are meant for same things. Some can reach neck-breaking speeds, some can climb mountains and some can drift… It is up to you to find the perfect balance and decide exactly what you plan on doing with your RC car!

I am afraid I cannot be of much help to you with this since everyone is tailoring their decision towards their needs. But, what I can do is give you an objective run through the most notable types of RC cars that can be bought for $500 or less. So, without further adue, let’s jump straight into action!

Speedsters

Believe it or not, speedsters are not that represented in this price point. They are either priced lower or (significantly) higher than our price margin for today. But still, there are a few of them that can be found with solid performance and dashing appearance. So, if you’re a high-speed enthusiast, don’t let these speedy little devils get out of your reach!

Buggies

Buggies are basically the middle point between speedsters and rock crawlers. They are nicely poised with powerful motors but possess decent hardware and shock suspension systems for tackling medium-sized obstacles. So, for people who don’t know whether they want speed or rock crawling ability, buggies are the obvious solution.

Rock Crawlers

As their name suggests, rock crawlers have just one thing in their minds – crawling rocks! Small rocks, medium-sized rocks, huge rocks… you name it and these RC trucks will beat them. Characterized by great low-speed control and huge wheels, there aren’t many obstacles that could stop these baddies from reaching the finish line.

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10. JLB Racing Cheetah 1/10

JBL Racing Cheetah

JBL Racing might not be the most popular RC car brand out there on the market, but it sure as hell has (at least) one good model to its name. As you can see in the title above, I am referring to the Cheetah monster truck model which shows a glimpse of perfection at an incredibly aggressive price tag. With that said, let’s jump straight to business and see what’s this black and red beauty all about!

The first thing that I would like to get out of our way is the design. We are talking about a black and red monster truck with huge texturized wheels and nicely stylised canopy that will impress your friends and family. It sports a metal shock absorber and a wheelie bar for the ultimate enjoyment.

Moving forward to the hardware found inside, JBL Racing Cheetah can brag with a powerful brushless motor that enables it to go up to 50mph with all stock parts. Not bad for the 10th spot on this list, right? Furthermore, it’s also noteworthy to add that it communicates with its controller via 2.4Ghz frequency and supports 4-channel controls.

As far as the battery is concerned, this speedy little devil runs on a 3S 4000mAh 30C LiPo which can squeeze out a lot of juice from its 3670 2500KV 4Pole motor and 80A brushless ESCs. But, if you are not satisfied with its stock performance, you can always up the C rating of your battery to something more appropriate and powerful.

 

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9. Redcat Racing Terremoto 10 V2

Stepping away from innovative and funny car designs, we have an awesome model made by Redcat Racing. Come to think of it, it is pretty obvious that there is a huge domination of Traxxas and Redcat Racing in the RC industry. That’s not only so in the low-budget departments but across the entire market. It’s partially so because they’re proven to be trustworthy brands and partially because of the sheer quality of their RC cars.

With that being said, let’s start off with Terremoto 10 V2, an absolutely gorgeous monster truck featuring several body variations as well as oversized, texturized tiers that are made especially for rough terrains. It sports active 4-wheel drive and aluminum (oil filled) long travel shocks for extra stability during off-road races. One thing is for sure though – there aren’t any unsurpassable obstacles in the way of this beast!

Terremoto 10 V2 runs on the 3000KV brushless electric motor and 7.4v 3200mAh LiPo battery pack. While this can, of course, be upgraded up to 5800mAh, staying with the stock ones is still a worthwhile option as Terremoto 10 V2 performs well nevertheless. Regarding rest of its build and features, a huge important has to be pointed at waterproof electronics such as ESC, servo system and receiver. All of them are nicely tucked away and secured within the chassis in order for Terremoto to drive during mild rain or through puddles.

So, in the end, I guess Redcat Racing Terremoto 10 V2 is made for people who know exactly what they want. If what they want is a solid, durable monster truck with great off-road capabilities, then, needless to say, they will be amazed by Terramoto’s overall performance! Definitely, deserves its place on our Best RC Car under $500 list!

 

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8. Traxxas 24076-3 Bandit VXL

Almost making it onto my best RC cars under $300 list, Bandit VXL is definitely worth checking out. If not for its amazing appearance and brilliant design, then surely for its hardware that can put to shame even the most expensive models on the market. With that said, let’s see what exactly does Bandit VXL bring to the table and what sort of performance can you expect from it!

For a model that costs just over 300 bucks, it is plain out ridiculous to see such a wide array of exceptional performance. Starting off with the motor, this little fella has all the brushless VXL power it can take, clocking it at 70+ miles per hour. Yup, you read that correctly – Traxxas Bandit VXL is a 1/10 buggy model that can easily reach 70mph in a matter of seconds!

Likewise, the situation is nothing short of spectacular with the Traxxas 7-cell NiMH battery pack that incorporates the popular ID technology and fast charging. Moreover, Traxxas Bandit VXL communicates via 2.4Ghz with the included TQi advanced transmitter allows fine-tuning your brand new speed demon.

Last but not least, Traxxas Bandit VXL incorporates waterproof electronics, 2075 high torque digital servo system, steel turnbuckles and even steel transmission gears that will definitely do their magic for years to come. So, if you are looking for great value for money combined with a class A build quality, then look no further – Traxxas Bandit VXL should be the model you are purchasing!

 

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7. MST MS-01D Subaru Impreza WRC 2008

If you are a big fan of Subaru Impreza, then this next model will capture your sight for sure! Meet, Subaru Impreza WRC 2008 model drift car made by MST. It delivers an amazing amount of details in a fancy outfit that will captivate both younger and older audiences alike. With that said, le’ts take a closer look and see what’s this beauty all about!

In addition to its captivating appearance, this RC car also provides with top-flight performance and build quality, all of which are equally important for every good RC model out there. I cannot believe I did not mention this already – this RC car is full-fledged drifter which means it is not meant for racing.

With that being said, if you are looking for an RC that you can use to beat all of your friends with, then please skip this one as it will disappoint you! Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of its basic aspects!

The most important thing about this one is its chassis. You see, it is equipped with the popular MS-01D chassis that provides even the biggest noobs of us all with an enjoyable drifting experience. So, if you are just looking to get into the whole RC drifting hobby, this MST model can surely make you fall in love with it! Other than that, it is also important to note it comes with special pillow ball suspension and A arm that serves for improved tracking.

 

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6. Kyosho 33203B FW-06 Porsche 911 GT3

Even though Kyosho is still nowhere near the popularity of Traxxas or Redcat Racing, there is no doubt they’re planning on reaching it. They are doing so by releasing excellently performing models at moderate price tags which customers, of course, greatly appreciated. Is their 33203B model a good pick? Well, that is exactly what I plan on showing you in the next couple of sentences!

As you could all guess by the title, this is a Porsche 911 GT3 1/10 replica with a huge ass spoiler in the back. Not only does it look nice but also provides with a better aerodynamic which is always a plus.

Moving onto the actual specifications, Kyhoso implemented the GXR15 engine as well as 4WD with a 2-speed transmission. If that’s not enough to sell this one to you, perhaps you will reconsider when I inform you this little fella sports digital servo, and high mechanical grip.

That’s still not all though – the build quality is nothing short of brilliant and the chassis is shockproof which means you won’t easily damage the electronics inside. Unfortunately, they are not waterproof so it might be a good idea to stay away from rain or wet terrain with this one!

 

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5. Team Energy V8SC 1/8th

Exceed RC is not such a popular RC car manufacturer, even though they are constantly making solid quality models. Their luck could turn with this gigantic, 1/8 V8SC model. The first thing you will notice about it is its unconventional design. But how good it really is? Well, let’s find out how it compares to other RC cars under $500!

Team Energy V8SC is best used as a short course racing mini truck due to its high torque and an excellent top seed of up to 35 mph with all the stock parts. Of course, the real fun with this one is when you upgrade it. By adding a 6S LiPo battery, Hobbywing motor and 150A ESC with 19T pinion gear, V8SC can go as fast as 70 mph and can do so for more than 40 minutes.

Still, such high speed will virtually disable all steering and make the Team Energy V8SC just go straight. If you want the fastest racing-ready scenario, then leave out everything as it is and just upgrade 19T pinion gear. That will result in roughly 50mph of top speed and enjoyable driving experience.

So, what I am basically trying to say here is this – if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the RC car package itself and you are willing to upgrade it a lot, get the Team Energy V8SC by Exceed RC as it will exceed (pun intended) all your expectations once you put in a couple of aftermarket parts inside. So yeah, with that in mind, I believe there’s no doubt in the sheer quality of this awesome looking model!

 

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4. Kyosho Inferno Neo 2.0 Nitro

Here we have another one of Kyosho’s models which just proves my point of them being proper competition for both Traxxas and Redcat Racing! That’s even truer if you take a sneak peek at the first spot on this list where the ultimate Kyosho RC car awaits! But, for now, we will be focusing on the Inferno Neo 2.0 Nitro, an extremely powerful buggy that doesn’t agree to compromise!

I will start off by saying that this speedy little devil looks absolutely gorgeous, with its black/white/red color schematic, gigantic spoiler and relatively big rubber (texturized of course) wheels that can make all the difference! But, is there anything else good about this buggy in addition to everything that’s already been stated? Well, let’s see…

Inferno Neo 2.0 Nitro runs on the revised KE25 engine that has a powerful conrod and pull started, enabling it to go extremely fast… extremely quickly! Moreover, Inferno Neo also has three shoe aluminum clutch and its consistent acceleration is brought to life with scissor springs.

But that’s not all! You see, it works via kt331p radio system that even features a small LCD display. From there, you can adjust certain settings and check the failsafe signal strength. When it comes to durability, the folks over at Kyosho made sure Inferno Neo doesn’t fail to deliver. By implementing ks5031-09mw metal gear and waterproof servos, they’ve done themselves (and their customer) justice. All in all, Kyosho Inferno Neo 2.0 Nitro is a mighty beast and is definitely worth checking out!

 

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3. ARRMA AR106013 Typhoon 6S BLX

Here, at display, we have yet another awesome looking buggy with big ass spoiler. It is made by ARRMA and as its name suggests, it runs on 6S LiPo batteries (not included) that allow extremely fast speeds and long operating times. Yes, you read that correctly guys – 6S LiPo battery is in charge of providing the juice for this baby! And, boy oh boy, can this little devil perform… Not only does it look nice but it can go freakishly fast as well! Let’s take a closer look at it and see it in action!

It runs on ARRMA’s own brushless motor on an aluminum mount as an extra level of safety. With all of its electronics such as servo and ESC being completely closed off and waterproof, you can rest assured Typhoon 6S BLX will not be driven off the road by petty rain showers or mere puddles.

When it comes to actual performance, this little guy is bound to amaze you. As it provides a ton of room for upgrades (you can upgrade virtually everything ranging from the battery, bearings, bushings, tires, motor etc), the official statement about top speed was not found. Still, if you upgrade it with decent parts, there is no doubt this thing can go over 70 mph.

With all that in mind, I would like to make a conclusion. So, as you can see for yourself now, Typhoon 6S BLX is an RC buggy made for DIY-ready RC enthusiasts. It is not exactly a beginner-friendly model since it requires a lot of adjustments and upgrades to find the perfect fit. So, if you’re an enthusiast craving for another cool looking buggy, make sure you check out the Typhoon 6S BLX by ARRMA.

 

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2. Kyosho Nitro-Powered FO-XX Formula

Just 2 cents under the $500 limit that I have set for this list is the Fo-XX RC track made by Kyosho. This thing is an absolute beast across all departments and features several unconventional features that will surely amaze those of you who know the ins and outs of RC cars. Want to know more about this beast? Well, keep on reading and you might just find out!

Starting off with the design, Kyosho FO-XX Formula is a huge, 1/8 model with absolutely unique looking rubber tires with interesting textures that make it go extremely fast even while driving on the roughest of terrains.

It is characterized by the 3-speed automatic transmission system which not only gives it unearthly acceleration but exceptional top seed as well. It runs on fuel and requires a glow igniter and AA batteries for the radio system in order to start up.

With the beast-like KE25 nitro engine, Kyosho FO-XX Formula is surely one of the fastest off-road buggies out there. With solid grip and downforce, excellent build quality and SPECTACULAR design, I really don’t see a reason why you should not go for this one!

 

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1. Traxxas 1/10 Slash LCG – best RC car under $500

I am sure all of you know that there are several different versions of the amazing Slash RC car made by Traxxas. Today, I will be taking an in-depth look at the most expensive version that bears the LCG tag after its name. It is still well under $500 but provides with excellent performance. Needless to say, the FO-XX Formula defeated it to the first place by the smallest of margins.

I will start off by saying that this thing clocks in at more than 60 mph straight out of the box. So, what I am trying to say here is that Traxxas Slash LCG gets more than 60 mph with all stock parts. That’s how ridiculously powerful this thing is… and I am not even kidding!

It’s no wonder since it is powered by the Velineon 3500 brushless motor and Velineon VXL-3S ESC. It allows a total of 3 different driving modes (same as the XL-5) including sport, racing, and training modes. The later gives chance to newcomers to test out their skills by giving them just 50% of the motor power.

Other noteworthy aspects to Slash LCG by Traxxas is its Low gravity center chassis, waterproof electronics, sealed differentials, shaft-driven 4WD and many more trivial things that will only be of use to real RC enthusiasts. To summarize, if you want to get the ultimate RC car for less than $500, it’s safe to say they don’t come better than Traxxas Slash LCG!

 

Speed vs controllability

Another particularly demanding decision you’ll be put up against (at some point) is surely the speed vs controllability ratio of your RC car. While it might sound like an easy decision to make on paper, in reality, it’s much harder since you can see the advantages and drawbacks of each trait. So, in order to decide which one to go for, you first need to set something straight inside your own head by answering this one simple question:

What’s the average speed I want my RC car to achieve?

If your honest answer to this question doesn’t exceed 30mph, then you should focus on getting an RC vehicle with good controllability and traction. These 2 traits are of utmost importance for rock crawlers and other types of off-road vehicles.

However, if you are focused on reaching the maximum speeds with your ride, then say goodbye to precise controlling mechanisms and focus solely on the raw power of the motor. Go for either high KV brushless motors or nitro-powered ones. You cannot go wrong with them.

 

Conclusion

As you could see for yourselves guys, there’s really a lot to choose from. With Traxxas and Redcat Racing holding the front line with their awesome models, Kyosho and others are doing their best to pick up what’s left of the market share. They’re enjoying quite a blast whole year around as well as their buyers who can’t wait to test their new RC cars’ limits.

In the end, thank you for reading and I hope you get an awesome RC car that will suit your needs perfectly!