Traxxas 4-Tec 2.0 1/10 Touring Car w/Ford Mustang GT Body RTR Review
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Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- Stock 4-TEC 2.0
- Stock Radio
- Gens ACE 2s 5000mah and 3s 4000mah lipos
- Spektrum DX4S
- Castle Sidewinder 3 4600kv
- Stock Tires
- HPI Drift Tires
- Solid, low LCG chassis
- Great, roomy, balanced layout
- Brushless ready (thanks Traxxas)
- Pretty quick right out of the box
- Great handling
- Great Traxxas quality
- Pretty decent price for this good of a car
- No turnbuckles
- Blacked out windows
- Tires could be grippier :)
- Body rubs on front tires sometimes
When I first started in this hobby about 7 years ago, I started with a Traxxas Rustler. I still have it and still love it, but I was disappointed at the time because there didn't seem to be many "scale" looking cars and trucks on the market that were actually durable. Thankfully, over the years, lots of folks like me have demanded more scale looking RCs and several of the big companies have responded with some great offerings. Surprisingly, for quite a time, until pretty recently, Traxxas had stayed away from anything that looked really scale other than their variations on the Slash. FYI, I am not a Traxxas FanBoy nor am I a Traxxas hater. I own several of their products and I have really enjoyed them. Some have a few flaws, but they have been easy to work around. Anyway, a few months ago, Traxxas took the scaler/crawler world by storm with their TRX-4. It is a pretty amazing truck (check out my review on it), and many in the industry agree. So a bit before that came out, Traxxas had released their 4-TEC 2.0 with a Ford GT body. I was backlogged on stuff to review so I didn't pick one up. Then I saw the Mustang come out and figured it was time to get in on the 4-TEC.
I was surprised that Traxxas wasn't offering a RTR VXL edition, instead opting to sell the VXL version without a body. I almost jumped on it, but they weren't selling a clear Mustang body at the time and I wasn't up to the task of finding a 3rd party body and having to ream it. I was pleased to read that the Mustang, like pretty much all Traxxas brushed models are "brushless ready" meaning, you don't have to upgrade anything in the truck to toss your own brushless set up in it. To keep it on a budget, I chose the Castle Creations Sidewinder 3 4600kv combo. As I often do, I placed my order with Amain Hobbies. If you haven't shopped with them, you should, they are awesome.
Unboxing and Build:
Unboxing a Traxxas vehicle is pretty straight forward. Open the box, take a deep breathe in the new Traxxas smell. Then, cut the zip ties holding the car in, take out the transmitter, take the plastic off the body and you're pretty much ready to go, provided you have batteries ready. That's pretty much what I did before my initial tests.
After initial tests, it was time to switch radios, which is easily done by opening the receiver box and swapping out receivers. Removing the stock ESC is done by removing 2 screws from underneath the chassis. The stock motor is pretty easy to take out also, I think it requires removal of about 3 or so screws, though you'll have to remove a couple more to remove the plastic piece that tucks away the wires. Then you remove the motor from the motor plate, and put your new one on. Straight forward stuff really and does not take an expert to do so. The new ESC is held down by strong servo tape since there is no way of screwing it into the chassis the way the stock one was. Aside from that, I did add about 25% expo on my steering.
In the stock set up, with a 2s lipo, the 4-TEC is pretty sweet, especially for the sub-300 dollar price. It looks faster than it is really going. I was pretty surprised that the stock, brushed motor can get this Mustang cranking to 23mph. Not bad. At this speed, the car is pretty manageable too, even for a relative newb. What I have never been a fan of on the Traxxas RTR models is that a simple adjustment like expo is a pain. With the TRX-4, you can add the blue-tooth module which is great and as easy to use as a high end transmitter. So, because of that, as you see in my first video below is the car not tracking straight all the time. That is because without expo, every little bit of input on the steering wheel turns into a sharper turn. I like to soften up my steering, especially for on-road cars. You get used to it eventually, but I like being able to make quick changes based on trial and error. Worth noting that very few companies sell RTRs that are easy to make adjustments with. Again, as you see in the first video, the car looks great, and seems to handle well despite my jerky steering. As I mention, the balance of the car, and the tire compound allow you to relatively easily kick out the back end and make a nice sliding turn. In it's total stock form, the 4-TEC is a solid, scale looking car that will make tons of people happy.
So now onto driving with the upgraded power system, the Castle Sidewinder 3 4600kv combo. The VXL system is a 3500kv system, and a pretty solid one, but I wanted to go a little higher than that, but not crazy high the way some of the guys in the Traxxas 4-TEC forums are setting them up. For my testing, I left the stock gearing in place. I know there are tons of you out there that want to minimize tinkering time and maximize driving time. With the 2s lipo, as you see in the beginning of the second video, the amount of punch is quite noticeable. If you punch it too hard, you're going to spin out. The 4-TEC is relatively light weight and the motor is strong as snot...and the tires are a bit slick. On a straight speed run, I was able to squeeze out 29mph. I think I could have nailed 30mph, but I went off my first few readings. At 30mph, the car is still manageable, but you need to stay on top of it and slow down for turns. It is truly a blast on a 2s. If you're not trying to break land speed records, don't feel the need to run out and buy 3s lipos. 29mph is plenty fast, especially if your normal driving area is on the smaller side like mine. After running the car for a good 15 minutes or so, the motor and esc were barely getting warm, definitely not hot.
Now for my 3s testing. Holy crap, I honestly don't think the stock 4-TEC is set to go as fast as it does with my power combo on 3s. On this small parking lot, I was able to achieve 41mph (also in the second video below). Not sure if it's the tires, or my street surface, but once you get up passed 35 or so, you start to lose traction, so any deviation on the road or in your steering, and you're going to spin out. Even if you could sustain a 41mph run, it's not like you could turn going that fast. In my opinion, if you're going to do any serious driving, track driving, racing or precision driving, 2s is where you want to stay with the 4600kv set up. You can still show off and go pretty fast, but you can also still control the car the way it is supposed to be driven. I'll admit, there is some fun to be had seeing a 1/10 scale Mustang go that damn fast, but it does get scary if you have objects or curbs around that you could potentially smack into. Speaking of which, on a later speed run, I spun out at full speed, slid sideways into a corner curb, then cartwheeled several feet down the road. Surprisingly, nothing broke, so I think it is fair to say that the Traxxas 4-TEC is pretty durable also.
Finally, I had to do some drifting. As I mentioned in the last part of my 2nd video below, I am not a good drift driver, but I still think it is fun. What I feel like I am qualified to tell you despite my lack of skill, is that the 4-TEC is pretty solid for drifting. I prefer to drift with a sensored set up, but it seemed to do fine with my non-sensored Sidewinder 3. You can feel how well balanced the Mustang is when you are pumping the throtle and turning with the slide. I imagine in the right hands, this car could be drifted with the best of them.
In the end, Traxxas has put out another great addition to their line-up. Did they take the world by surprise the way they did with their TRX-4? No, not at all. What they did do is put a nice driving, very solid, very affordable entry into the world of touring cars. On top of that, it looks great and it is fairly cheap to upgrade the esc/motor combo. You can stick with the VXL, or you can nab something from Hobbywing or Castle, the choice is yours, and that is a good thing. If you don't want to upgrade other parts like tires, suspension etc, then I don't recommend going higher than the 4600kv set up I am using. You'll just spin out. In my humble opinion, this the 4-TEC Mustang is perfect with the 4600kv on 2s. Fast and slick, and fun and manageable. Also, if you're going to drift, you don't want crazy wheel speed. Please check out the videos below and do us a favor and subscribe. And as always... if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Also, to catch the latest reviews, follow us on Twitter @RealRCReviews or our facebook page.