While I was wandering around the hobby shop, I found myself inexplicably drawn to the 1/18-scale and smaller shelf. As I perused the myriad of offerings, I thought to myself the miniature rock crawlers, racecars and buggies looked like they could be fun, but how would they hold up?
In the past, I might have thought of this segment as “Toy Grade” radio control because for so long, the quality of smaller than 1/12 scale vehicles tended fall short of their bigger counterparts in terms of both performance and durability. I know that the small-scale genre has been greatly improved over the years so we were intrigued to find out how one of the latest offerings fairs.
After looking at all the pint-sized RCs, I reached for a box that looked just a bit out of place. After turning it around, I noticed that the box had the LaTrax logo emblazoned on it. LaTrax is a brand with deep roots in the 1970s. Known for its high-performance, fully assembled ready-to-run models, the company is now powered by Traxxas, a brand that is also known for its high-performance fully assembled ready-to-run RC vehicles. Today’s LaTrax specializes in ready to run vehicles priced under $200.
Examining LaTrax’s Teton, we noticed that the mini-monster truck sits on what seems like a shrunken version of Traxxas Slash 4×4 chassis. Intrigued, I spoke to the shop’s sales guy about it and after an enthusiastic conversation about its quality, parts availability, upgradeability and finally how positive all the customer feedback was on them, I decided this hot pink and black LaTrax Teton powered by Traxxas was getting added to my daughter’s collection of RC’s.
So, what is the deal with the Teton? Let me first start with what it isn’t. It isn’t delicate. It is substantial and gives a confidence that when you drive it or better yet crash it, that its arms or other parts won’t simply break off. The next thing I’m impressed with is the battery tray and also how easy it is to swap batteries. As a parent, I appreciate these simple things that really let newcomers to the hobby have a good experience.
This is a huge difference from the time of shoddily made kits whose battery only lasts five minutes and breaks four minutes after opening it when their kid smashes it into a curb. The Teton is a straightforward and simple design that you just enjoy, there isn’t any setup or tuning needed, the suspension and shocks were tuned right out of the box and the body looks cool.
Now let’s talk about performance. Teton is a fun and capable 1/18-scale 4WD monster truck that easily handles dirt, gravel and pavement with zero hiccups that promises a top speed of a surprising 19 mph right out of the box. That’s pretty quick for a small RC truck. The real test for me was the sand at the local playground, which seems to suck all the fun out of similar 2WD offerings. Kicking it around the dirt, the Teton soaked up all the sand and pounced on any ground debris it came across like a champ. My kid even face planted it into a few rocks and planters and it didn’t skip a beat.
This thing is much better than small-scalers of the past that I’ve played with. Why is it better? It could be the tires, it could be the suspension, it could be the ground clearance, it could be the durability and speed or it could be that all of these things in one package at a great price point that make it a tremendous value. I may sound sprung on this little monster but when you bring a tiny pink monster truck home, it definitely wins you some dad points.
What’s in the Box:
1/18 LaTrax Teton, fully assembled, Ready-To-Explore, with 2.4GHz radio system, 370 motor, waterproof, all-weather electronics, 6-cell 7.2V NiMH battery & AC wall outlet charger, and painted body.
So the final verdict, I certainly wouldn’t call the Teton toy grade. With factory Traxxas and LaTrax upgrade options as well as aftermarket support available from big names like RPM and others, it has a legitimate spot at the hobby grade table. I will be picking up another one of these for sure, maybe in red or black, there is also a blue and orange that is pretty cool too.
Text by Leigh Guarnieri
Images by Leigh Guarnieri and Jerry Tsai