When I first got into RC cars in the late 1980s, the vast majority of vehicles were 1/10-scale. There were a few 1/12-scale carpet racers, a handful of nitro-powered 1/8 scale cars, and some very rare gasoline-powered 1/4-scale jobs – but it was overwhelmingly a 1/10-scale hobby. It was a good fit for the motor, battery and radio technology of the era.
While tenth-scale has remained king over the years, new technology has allowed other scales (both larger and smaller) to blossom. One of the most popular new scales to emerge is 1/18. These vehicles are small enough that they are practical for indoor use, while still being large enough to handle most outdoor terrain. Best of all, many 1/18-scale vehicles are designed just like their bigger brothers, with the same array of replacement and hop-up parts.
The Dromida MT4.18 and DB4.18
To illustrate the inner workings of 1/18-scale, I've tested a pair of vehicles from Dromida, the MT4.18 and DB4.18. Like other 1/18-scale Dromida vehicles, these cars are based on the same 4-wheel-drive chassis, with only wheel/tire, gearing, and styling differences among them. Don't let their small stature fool you. These are hobby-grade products with full-ball bearings, a 2.4GHz radio system, oil-filled shocks, etc. They can be found for around $100 ready-to-run.
The MT4.18 and DB4.18 (let's just call them "MT" and "DB") are factory-built and ready to run when you open the box. There's just the small detail of charging the included 6-cell 1300mAh NiMH battery. That quickly brings us to my only real gripe of these vehicles. The provided charger is pretty lame. It's an AC charger that takes four hours to charge a depleted battery—four hours!
The battery can certainly withstand a much faster charge rate. I'm a big fan of multi-chemistry chargers that can do it all, but their expense can be hard to justify for beginners. An inexpensive no-frills charger such as the Duratrax Onyx 110 would be a big step up here. With the Onyx, you're now down to 78 minutes at a 1 amp charge and 39 minutes at 2 amps (which I'd only do occasionally). Also, since it has AC/DC input, you can charge from your car battery if you're away from home.