The ECX Ruckus 1/18 4WD Monster Truck from HorizonHobby is an incredibly fun remote control truck that offers the benefits of a hobby-grade vehicle at a great price. That's not to say there aren't sacrifices associated with its minimal price point – there are. It retains the speed, features and components of more expensive models, so most of these sacrifices center on its unusually small 1/18-scale size.
Despite being much smaller than most of the other hobby-grade vehicles in our review, the Ruckus can move quickly. Its quoted top speed is a respectable 21 mph, and unlike with most of the models on our lineup, we were actually able to confirm that in our field testing. As you might imagine, however, its small size means it becomes a little unstable at high speeds and sometimes flips when braking hard or turning too sharply.
Other than that, it actually handles nicely. The controls feel crisp and snappy, without much lag time between initiating a turn on the remote and seeing the car make the maneuver. And with its independent suspension and four-wheel drive, it handles off-road terrain pretty well. Its size, of course, is an obvious disadvantage when encountering larger obstacles.
The Ruckus is an off-road vehicle through and through, and with independent suspension, waterproof components and solid construction, it's built to take a beating. Unfortunately, its battery may just run out before it even gets the chance. In our experience, the Ruckus only ran for 7-10 minutes before becoming significantly less powerful.
The charger also proved to be slow. For this reason, it's not a bad idea to invest in an extra battery and a faster charger. Keep in mind, however, that battery life in RC cars is typically pretty short and this recommendation would likely stand for any hobby-grade RC vehicle in its price range.
Just like every other hobby-grade vehicle in our review, the Ruckus comes with the standard 2.4GHz pistol-grip transmitter. This transmitter offers proportional control and customization for precise handling specific to your driving style. It's really nothing special as far as transmitters go, but then again, most hobby-grade transmitters are simply slight variations of the same thing.
For most, the price point of the Ruckus is going to be the most attractive feature of this RC car, and with good reason: You get the speed, performance and reparability of a hobby-grade truck for barely more than some toy-grade models cost. Its relatively small size certainly has an impact on its performance in particularly rough terrain, but if you can keep your expectations proportional to the size of the truck, it's hard not to be pleased with it. Overall, it's an excellent choice as an entry to the hobby or as a secondary, more portable vehicle to complement your larger collection.