Traxxas Rustler XL-5 review

The Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is a great remote controlled car that can reach speeds of up to 35mph.

Traxxas Rustler XL-5 review
(Image: © Traxxas)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

Reparability and customization options make the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 a remote controlled truck that can grow with you as your skills improve.


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    Customizable parts

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    Waterproof electronics

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    Reaches up to 35mph

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    Lightweight controls


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    Outdated style

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    Not suitable for young children

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The Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is a remote-controlled card that is built to last and reach speeds of up to 35mph. It’s a two-wheel-drive card and comes from company, Traxxas, who have been creating remote-controlled trucks for over 25 years. 

Powered by a seven-cell Ni-MH battery, this car can reach high speeds and isn’t really suitable for young children. 

We’ve reviewed lots of remote-controlled cars, to see which ones came out on top, head to the best remote controlled cars.  

Traxxas Rustler XL-5 remote controlled car: Features  

Four-wheel-drive remote controlled cars tend to better at coping with uneven terrain, however, the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is a two-wheel-drive car that can still perform well due to its great design. 

It has full suspension, which helps to maintain control over uneven or rocky terrain and makes cornering easy. If you happen to wander a little too far off the beaten path, its braking and reversing capabilities help you keep it from getting stuck.

This is a RTR (ready to run) vehicle. This term describes radio controlled cars that require no initial assembly to drive. You can simply pull the Rustler out of its packaging and, assuming the batteries are charged, start driving immediately. This makes it great for beginners who aren't yet accustomed to the assembly and maintenance required by other models.

Traxxas Rustler XL-5 remote controlled car: Design  

The Rustler is durable enough to help beginners get a grasp on driving techniques. This doesn't mean it's invulnerable, although it certainly tries. The car's components are made from tough plastics and metals that can withstand the inevitable bumps and crashes. Each of the vital internal components is sealed and waterproof. Waterproof components extend your options for when and where you can drive the Rustler, but they also keep sand and grit out of important parts.

The Rustler's tires are quite impressive. With large lugs on the rear tires and ribbed front tires, it's easy to see they are made for superior off-road traction. In fact, they are designed for nitro cars capable of speeds upwards of 65 mph, so these tires are more than enough for this truck. The high quality of these tires also means you can get a lot of use out of them before they need replacing. Replacement tires, like the rest of the parts on the Rustler, shouldn't be difficult to find.

The remote included with the Traxxas consists of a pistol-like grip and trigger with a steering wheel mounted on the side. Pulling the trigger causes the Rustler to spring forward while pushing the trigger forward initiates braking and reversing. Although some models require eight batteries, this one only requires four AA batteries. This can make driving somewhat more comfortable due to the reduction in weight. The controls are precise yet simple enough that you'll get the hang of them quickly – a trait that's very important as you develop your skills as an RC driver.

Traxxas also offers an optional telemetry feature with all of its cars. With this system, you can view details like speed, battery voltage, rpm and temperature on any iPod, iPhone or iPad. This feature will increase the cost of your investment, however, as it requires the addition of sensors. Still, it is a nice feature to have available.

Traxxas Rustler XL-5 remote controlled car: Warranty 

Due to the high-risk nature of the hobby, remote control cars typically do not have extended warranty periods. Traxxas offers a standard 30-day warranty with the Rustler. Traxxas also offers exceptional support to its customers. Replacement parts for the Rustler are easy to find, and the Traxxas website has a truly impressive amount of support information. You can find comprehensive troubleshooting and repair instructions as well as parts lists, downloadable user manuals and consumer forums. 

Should you buy the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 remote controlled car? 

The Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is an excellent car that keeps things simple for you as you explore the possibilities of RC racing. An intuitive remote control makes learning easy without sacrificing precision. The car's durable, waterproof construction ensures that broken parts won't slow your progress. If something should break, widely available replacement parts make it easy to repair and customize your Rustler as your skills and knowledge increase. 

Caleb Cross

Caleb works in Partnerships for, and has written extensively for Top Ten Reviews about cameras and image technology. He graduated with a Bachelors degree in Digital Communications and Media from Weber State University, and currently works in New York. He is no longer a regular contributor to this website, but his Top Ten Reviews legacy lives on.