Maverick Strada RX Rally Car Review
Can you buy a good brushless powered ready to run for under $220? That is the question with the Maverick Strada RX rally car. Maverick is HPI’s entry level line-up of cars and trucks, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to beat on their Strada RX rally car for a couple of months now. How much car do you get for the price point? Does anything break when you crash? How much power is under the hood? Keep on reading to find out…
Review By: Cubby
Pics By: Tim Mohr
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Motor: MM-22BL 3215kV brushless
Speed Controller: MSC-30BL-WP brushless
Low Voltage Cut-off: Yes
Radio: MTX/MRX-243 2.4GHz
Differential: Two gear diffs
Slipper Clutch: No
Driveshafts: Metal bones
Shocks: Oil filled, plastic bodies
Servo Saver: In steering rack
Spur/Pinion Pitch: 48
Tires: Maverick scale tread
Battery: NiMH 6 cell, 3000mAh
Part Number: #MV12627
Warranty: 90 days on components
Front wheel travel: 1.4″
Rear wheel travel: 1.25″
Wheelie on demand: No
Backflip off ramps: No
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC on stock battery): 27 mph
Runtime (measured by BSRC on stock battery): 17 minutes
Street Price: $215
Primary Competition: As a 1/10th scale rally car, the Maverick goes up against cars like the Traxxas Ford Fiesta ST Rally.
What’s Needed To Complete: All you need to get the Maverick up and running is four AA batteries for the transmitter. Otherwise the car comes with a 3000mAh NiMH battery and charger to power the car.
Build Quality: Out of the box we found no fault with the build quality of the Maverick. All the bolts were tight, the gear mesh was good, the wheels were on good and tight, plus the shocks felt well built.
Test Drivers: Iron Mikeee, Robbie G., Sam The Noob, T-$$$, and yours truly.
Test Venues: For pavement and high speed testing we used the parking lot at our local Costco. We got in some dirt and grass driving at a pair of city parks.
Set-up Notes: Stock, all stock. The car comes with a battery for the car so that’s what we used. You will need to supply four AA cells for the transmitter, we used some from our friends over at MaxAmps. For charging the car’s battery we used a Hitec X1 Pro.
Turning: The tires are somewhat on the hard side so the car doesn’t bite hard going into corners. Once slowed down enough for the front tires to grab traction, the front would stick for the rest of the corner while the rear tended to remain quite loose. Much like a full scale rally car, the Strada RX didn’t have a ton of mechanical grip, but once it started to turn, it was easy to complete the corner.
We typically gave the car a sharp stab on the brake at corner entry. This helped peel off enough speed for the tires to grip, plus it helped break the rear end loose to aid in cornering. Once at corner apex, it was time to absolutely slam on the gas. This worked well as the cornering method with the Maverick, the front had excellent grip after corner apex and the rear would typically stay straight behind it.
Jumping: Full scale rally cars get loads of airtime, that’s exactly what we did with the Strada. We hits loads of “natural” style jumps off berms at local parks. Then we set up one of our wood stunt ramps to start catching serious airtime. What did we learn? Well, the Strada RX was an excellent jumper! Rally cars are notoriously hard to jump, but the Strada RX does an excellent job. It loves to jump straight and flat, a rare combo, and even more so for a rally car. On smaller jumps its suspension does a great job of soaking up landings as well. However, you don’t want to go too big with the car. That super attractive price point brings with it some down sides, one of which is the shock towers. When we started catching big air, we started bending the shock towers. Both towers are made from metal, but aren’t very thick. Of course they were easily bent right back into place by hand, but we didn’t feel like we were going that big before they started bending. The moral of the story is, the towers are fine for normal use, but not for extreme driving.
Bumps/Whoops: The front bumper on the Strada RX tends to get in the way over larger bumps, ruts and dirt clods, but that comes with the territory on every rally car. While pinning it through smaller rough sections, the shocks and general geometry of the car did fine. No, you can’t pound the whoop section WFO and expect the car to come out straight and true on the other side, but it did handle appropriately sized whoops & bumps in decent fashion. Smaller bumps were handled with ease.
On-Road: The somewhat hard tires don’t give the Strada RX a lot of grip when corning, but we found the car easy, and fun, to drive. The Strada isn’t some race weapon that pivots on a dime, it is more tuned for noobie drivers. Corners are easy to get into and out of, and the car did a great job of hard bashing around parking lots. Road joints and pot holes were easily soaked up, if mostly where you drive is pavement, the Strada RX will work well for you.
Grass: We did get in a couple packs of driving while on grass. The Strada RX did better than we expected when it was easily able to cruise through “regular” height grass. With a big front bumper and low ride height, we expected grass to stop it more easily, but the Strada told us another story. Its tires were very well suited to chewing through grass, its 4wd system worked well, and its brushless powerplant never let the tires stop spinning, a combination that left us wanting to get in more grass time with the Stada RX.
Tires: They are harder than typical RTR rubber, but we think that suited the car well. A real rally car doesn’t want loads of mechanical grip either, and we found that the stock tires worked quite well in most conditions. The tires gave the car just enough sidebite, and generally gave good forward bite. Also, because of their harder than normal compound, we saw very little wear, even after a dozen runs.
Power: No, you don’t get the full brushless experience with a bone stock Strada RX. The car is geared conservatively, which is great for runtime and motor temps, but does not yield maximum power. We found that our car topped out at 27 mph, which is a fairly standard number for a RTR, albeit most are brushed. As it comes geared stock, the Maverick leaps hard off the line, pulls quickly through the mid-range, then runs out of gearing early up top. However, we feel it is a good thing that it comes geared the way it does. Stock it isn’t too fast for people just learning how to drive, plus it has loads of runtime. For you more experienced hobbyists, installing a larger pinion is an easy and cheap way to really uncork the car’s full power.
Radio: Boy, the stock transmitter sure looks crazy, but it performed without issue. Ergonomics were very nice as far as RTR radios go, and we never experienced a glitch. We did not walk off range, but never ran out of it during our testing period.
Broken Parts: Ummmmm, ok. So, we have yet to fully break a part on the Strada RX. We’ve beat on it hard, like even crazy by our standards hard, and it is still capable of driving today. However, all those super soft plastic parts and thin aluminum pieces have had one heck of a workout. We found that the stock aluminum shock towers bend a lot. Like, you can have a bad landing from 4 feet high and they will bend on landing. Yes, they are super easy to bend back by hand, and we would much rather something bend than break, but they are too thin for hard bashing. We also had issues with the stock wheels. After a hard roof landing, two of the wheels started to break. Both are still intact today, but both also wobble like crazy.
Under $220 for a brushless RTR? Yup, it’s true folks. Most people that pick up the Strada RX will be first time, or price conscience, buyers. No, it isn’t a high-end RTR, but it is a solid vehicle for the cash.
Yes, yes, and more yes, the Strada RX came stock with Deans connectors. We are so tired of the connector wars, good to see a “common” connector on the Mav.
How about that stock servo? It worked well enough for us. Most of our test drivers didn’t say a word about it, which is a good thing.
The Mav comes with a paper manual that is easy to read and to understand, nice work.
We liked the gold anodized aluminum parts on the Strada RX, they looked right on point.
Best Mod: We are gonna go with taller gearing. Stock the car tops out quite early, throwing a couple teeth on the pinion will surely help wake up the beast inside.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: B Everything except for AA batteries comes in the box, we found the car easy to get up and running.
Workability: B Nice open layout gives you plenty of room, but we would have preferred to have seen hex hardware.
Car Show Rating: C The body on the Maverick is sharp and its wheel/tire combo looked on-point. However, in today’s day and age where scale realism is king, we would have liked to have seen more in the way of scale detailing.
Bash-A-Bility: A Our Maverick drove through some serious beatings and is still alive today to talk about it. We were able to bend and tweak the car, but it never completely broke a single part.
Fun Factor: B Holy smokes, we had a blast with the Maverick. We loved its waterproof electronics which allowed us to keep on driving regardless of the weather, plus it had a nice balance of power and handling.
Handling: B While not a high-end race machine, the Strada RX handled quite well for a rally car.
Value: A At under $220, we feel the Maverick is a fantastic value. It doesn’t sport a lot of esoteric features, but it is one heck of a bang-for-the-buck.
Parts Availability: C We were not able to locate any replacement parts at 3 of our local hobby shops, but we easily found parts on-line.
BigSquid Rating: B- The Maverick Strada RX is a fun-tastic entry level car. We could find no major issues and the car provided us with hours upon hours of fun. If you are looking to get into the hobby without risking a lot of cash, the Strada RX is a great way of doing so.