Vaterra 1/10 2012 CHP Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 V100-S RTR Review
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- 6 cell nimh
- 2s lipo
Hobbywing Quic-Run 10BL-60esc with Quic-Run Sensored 10.5T brushless motor
- 2s 5000mah lipo
- 3s 3300mah lipo
All other equipment stock
- Lights pre-wired and secured
- Great handling
- Good stock tires
- Gorgeous, yes, saying it again
- Lipo compatible out of the box
- Comfortable pricing
- Wall charger and nimh are outdated
- No way to adjust height of battery tray
When I first started in RC almost 6 years ago, my first item was an RC car, a Traxxas Rustler to be exact. When I bought that, I had pressed the guys at the hobby shop for something more familiar looking, more scale... more like something I would see on the road. It didn't seem like there was much out there at the time. Over the next few years, I saw more companies, especially the rock crawler companies like Axial, going the more scale looking route. THEN, out of the halls of Horizon Hobby, came a new brand, Vaterra. When Vaterra came out, I was excited to see that they seemed to be shooting for more realism. Their first few vehicles were off-road, but then they launched the V-100 series of on-road cars. Their quality and looks were unlike any other stock RTR I had ever seen on the market. Honestly, the only reason I didn't get one earlier is because I kept waiting to see which new body they'd release. The funny thing is, I liked the 2012 Camaro CHP from the get go, and even when I placed it side by side with the newer bodies, I couldn't help but buy stick with the cop car.
I had a $25 dollar off coupon from doing some Horizon Hobby online survey, so I ordered my CHP car directly from Horizon. I chose the free shipping, and though it said it would arrive in 7 days, it actually arrived in about 4. The box was smaller than I expected, but the size of the car is definitely 1/10 scale. Without having to make room for huge off-road tires and lifted body like my other trucks, the V100s fit into a much flatter box.
When I unpacked the car, my wife was walking by and she asked, "Is that a model or can you actually drive that?" That's how good it looks. This and every other V100 I have seen look absolutely stunning. There is so much attention to detail, it makes it hard to believe that you are looking at a $250 dollar RTR. The included transmitter is nice as far as RTRs go. It is the DX2E, which is now on the DSMR band. I tossed the included 8-hour nimh only wall charger away, and charged the included 1800mah 6 cell nimh battery on my "real" charger to begin some testing. I guess including the wall charger and low capacity nimh battery help them justify calling it an RTR, but you really are better off getting a decent charger (many on the market well under $100), and a lipo battery or two. Those also have come down drastically in price over the last few years and the extra punch and way longer driving times is way worth it.
The car has a lot of plastic on it, but it's nice plastic. Nothing on the car feels cheap. It really feels solid. The stock tires also feel nice and grippy, so no need to switch those out. The police lights are pre-wired and routed smoothly along the inside of the body down to the receiver. I plan on installing a switch to be able to turn the police lights off and on from my radio. Another nice surprise was the receiver. The V100 page on Horizon's website show an older model receiver listed on the specs, but it actually comes with a current SR310 DSMR receiver! That was a very pleasant surprise. That info aside, now for the driving!
So let's get on the road. Straight stock, with the included battery, you top out at 20mph. Handling is solid, but then again, most RCs will handle well at 20mph. The 1800mah nimh gave me about 10 minutes, and as nimhs do, you start noticing the decrease in power after just a few minutes. You might be able to get longer run times, but I was running almost full throttle the whole time. For the next run, I tossed in a 2s5000mah lipo. Since we are talking about an increase of .2 volts you won't see a real increase in speed. I still got 20mph, but being a lipo, you get better throttle punch and tons more driving time. I didn't drive the whole battery, but I did drive for about 25 minutes and still had plenty of battery left. The stock gearing is easy on the motor, so even with a lot of speed runs the motor stayed pretty cool.
After those initial tests, I did some surgery on the V100. Every time I buy a brushed car, I go into it knowing I'm switching to brushless asap. For this application, I went with a sensored brushless since I planned on doing some drifting with it too. If you've never driven with a sensored motor, they eliminate cogging and make the throttle at all speeds buttery smooth. While we're talking about the motor/esc switch, the Vaterra V100 layout makes it extremely easy to switch out the electronics. I think I did the entire switch in less than 15 minutes. The particular set up I am using is the Hobbywing Quic-Run 10BL-60esc with Quic-Run Sensored 10.5T (3450kv) brushless motor. The product page for the Vaterra CHP V100 recommends you upgrade the drive shaft to the optional aluminum offered by Vaterra, but I'm still running the stock one with zero issues. I may switch it out later if I feel the stock drive shaft isn't holding up.
I'm sure I could have done the math to figure out what the top speed with the new system would be before driving it, but I was in too much of a hurry, so I just threw in my 2s lipo again. To my surprise, with the new electronics on the stock gearing, I was still topping out at 20mph. I ran back inside and grabbed one of my 3s lipos. All I can say is "YEAH BABY!!!!". The 3s lipo took the speed up a full 10mph and got me to a little over 30mph! Some of you may snicker at that speed, but for this type of car, in the parking lot, 30mph is cookin'! I have other rigs that can do 50mph, but it was never my intention to try for those speeds with this car.
30mph is the perfect speed for this car. It looks really fast at that speed, and the handling is still VERY predictable and solid. The shocks setup seems really perfect right out of the box. There are pretty much zero bad tendencies on the road. RC plane guys like to say good planes fly like they are on rails... well, the V100 platform feels like it is driving on rails. With the added speed, it is fun to slow down and power through a turn, OR haul ass and slide the turn. The weight distribution of the vehicle makes the sliding turn look really scale and pretty easy to pull off. If you notice a few spin-outs on my video below, it's because there was a bit of water on a part of the road that made me slip a few times. At this point, I only drive it on 3s lipo. The car pretty much asks me for it. The car is best driven at dusk when it's dark enough outside to see the bright LEDs but still light enough to see the car. Several of my neighbors have asked me tons of questions about it and complimented the speed and beauty of this vehicle.
So for my final test, I slapped on a set of drift tires. Disclaimer, I've never drifted before, so keep that in mind while you watch the first segment of the video below. Again I was impressed by the weight distribution of the car and the manageability four wheel drive gives you. As bad as I am at it, I was grinning like a child the whole time I was driving with the drift tires on. I want to practice drifting more, but I love driving it with grip tires so much, that I just never get around to it. I will probably say it again in my conclusion, but I freakin' love this car.
Vaterra offers several hop-ups for their cars, but as you've read, I have only upgraded the electronics and the batteries. I would recommend upgrades in this order:
Well, I said I would say it again, and here it is, I freakin' love this car. The price of admission makes it accessible to folks on a budget, and the sweet handling and moderate stock speed make it a decent starting place for a total newcomer that wants a scale looking, on-road vehicle. The price of this car also makes it inexpensive enough to source the esc/motor set-up of your choice. You can easily spend over $100 for a brushless system, or as little as $75 or so. I paid about $80 bucks for mine. This model looks as beautiful sitting on a shelf as it does speeding by outside. I will update this review if I add any more upgrades to it, but at this point in time, I just don't see the need to add anything, it is quite wonderful in it's current state. The Vaterra CHP V100 definitely gets my seal of approval. Product link is below the video now that you want one :)