› Starting Line
It’s Editors’ Choice awards time again, and since you probably read this page last, I’m going to assume there’s no need to say “Spoiler Alert!” before congratulating Team Associated, Traxxas, and Spektrum on locking down the Car, Truck, and Innovation of the Year awards. I’ve been part of the crew picking the “…of the Year” winners since 1998, and if there’s one thing that stands out—beyond how terrific these products are—it’s how many more exciting products we have to choose from today. We don’t have official runner-ups for the Editors’ Choice awards, but here are a few items that I think deserve a shout-out as award-worthy products:
TRAXXAS 4-TEC 2.0
If Associated hadn’t rolled out their clean-sheet 4WD buggy this year, it’s likely Traxxas’ all-new entry to the touring car scene would have been our Car of the Year. You’re excused if that sounds a bit dull, since shaft-drive RTR touring cars are hardly new. But as with many other Traxxas models, it’s all about the details, and the 4-Tec is literally well detailed with its multipiece Ford GT body and spinning brake rotors. But it’s the engineering details that really matter, and the 4-Tec’s modular chassis, trick body posts, clipless battery hold-down, and other touches set it apart for street-level fun. Plus, it’s fast.
ARRMA’S NERO SERIES
Traxxas set the RC world on fire with the TRX-4, which was an easy slamdunk pick for Truck of the Year. Pull it off the playing field, and the X-maxx 8S would be next in line—but since we picked the X-maxx 6S as our 2016 Truck of the Year, that knocked it out of contention. That brings us to the other truck making big tracks right now: Arrma’s Nero series. In “original,” Big Rock, and Fazon flavors, Arrma’s wildest rigs are popping up in hot spots all over, and we’ve had plenty of fun with them. The Nero would be an even stronger contender if it were the only truck to offer laydown shocks and remote-locking diffs, but Arrma certainly gets credit for doing these features well, if not first.
TRAXXAS EZ-PEAK LIVE
Again with the Traxxas! While not quite as transformative as putting an entire Android operating system into a transmitter, like the Innovation of the Year–winning Spektrum DX6R, Traxxas’ Bluetooth-enabled charger is still a big step forward for charger tech. The beautiful Ez-peak Live app further polishes the user experience, especially when you’ve got multiple chargers cooking. It’s never been easier to keep tabs on your batteries, and the self-setting id tech that we named our 2015 Innovation of the Year is still a big breakthrough for safety and convenience.
Car of the Year-worthy: the Traxxas 4-Tec 2.0 Ford GT.