A no-frills trail machine that doesn’t dare skimp on fun.
Go big or go home. That must have been the Traxxas motto as they set out to make a splash in the crowded waters of the R/C crawler scene. After the initial rollout of the TRX-4 Land Rover, it was clear that Traxxas had a winner on their hands. Loaded with features such as a two-speed, remote shifting transmission, cruise control, remote locking differentials, molded inner fenders, and expertly-designed bodies, there was a lot of sizzle that came with the “steak” of the TRX-4.
But what if you want that same level of performance without all of the “extras”? If that’s the case, say hello to the Traxxas TRX-4 Sport. This ready-to-run (RTR) trail truck has just about everything you’d expect to find in a “basic” Traxxas R/C model; durability, performance, and fun. That said, how does this trail truck perform when you remove a handful of goodies from the original TRX-4 model? Let’s find out.
What’s in the Box:
- 1 Traxxas TRX-4 Sport R/C trail truck
- 1 Traxxas TQ 2-channel radio transmitter
- 1 Instruction manual
- 1 Decal sheet
- Price: $339.99 – $359.99
At first glance, the body of the TRX-4 Sport doesn’t grab your attention (or do much for your imagination). Still, there’s a beauty behind having a body that’s best described as “basic”. It allowed me to drive this truck a bit harder than I would have typically driven an R/C trail truck. No realistic body accessories meant no fear of having those accessories fall off during a rollover.
Looking past the visual design of the body (which can be drastically improved thanks to the Traxxas line of TRX-4 Sport accessories and add-ons), the durability of the polycarbonate body is rather impressive. Having experienced Traxxas bodies in the past, I was familiar with their thicker, more rigid lids. That said, it was refreshing to have a body that felt as solid as it did, which allowed me to drive this rig like a madman on more than one occasion.
The Chassis and Suspension Setup
Under that “ho-hum” exterior lies a beautiful platform that’s ready to hit the trail. Even without the creature comforts that were introduced with the original TRX-4, the Sport model remains true to the overall performance of its namesake.
One design element that I enjoyed experiencing first-hand was the portal axle setup. While certainly not a new concept, the extra ground clearance certainly helps this rig get up and over obstacles, whether your cruising down a groomed trail, navigating a stack of logs, or simply driving up and over a man-made course.
Along with the improved clearance, the TRX-4 Sport benefits from a solid, well thought out chassis design. Although it lacks the chassis-mounted inner fenders of the TRX-4 Bronco and Blazer, the Sport still features some of the best shocks that I’ve seen on any ready-to-run (RTR) R/C crawler.
The weight distribution of the TRX-4 Sport is also impressive. After driving on a variety of unstable terrain types, not once did this truck feel skitterish or show signs of being too top-heavy. The front-mounted motor and mid-mounted transmission and battery tray help to spread out the bulk of the heavier components with just enough weight positioned toward the front of the truck for improved traction.
The Tires and Wheels
Along with the shocks, the 1.9” Canyon Trail tires that each TRX-4 model is equipped with are some of the best I’ve seen and experienced on an out-of-the-box, RTR model. While they might appear stiff or “plasticky”, they’re anything but. The rubber compound is very soft and the tires form around objects and obstacles as the deep treads do their job and keep the rig moving forward.
As for the wheels…they do their job. They aren’t extraordinary and they aren’t shabby. They are what they are and get the job done.
While nothing to write home about, the brushed motor in the TRX-4 Sport is the same model that you’ll find under the hood of its cousins. I found performance to be solid but not spectacular. Having said that, I was using a NiMh pack for my test, so I’d imagine a LiPo would help wake up the performance of this rig a bit more.
The Driving Experience
The TRX-4 Sport is truly a sum of its parts. While all of the individual elements are notable, the real story unfolds when you plug in a freshly charged battery and head outside for your first adventure.
True, there’s nothing inherently special about how the TRX-4 Sport drives, but there is something unique about the experience it provides. Perhaps it’s the unassuming body, which let me run harder and more carefree than I would with other rigs. Or maybe it’s the chassis on which it rides, with each buttery-smooth shock absorbing bumps and impacts and the tires digging in and keeping the momentum rolling forward.
Whatever the secret ingredient within the TRX-4 Sport may be, the result is simple. This truck is fun to drive. Summer, fall, winter, and spring all took turns playing host to this rig, each bringing different elements and driving challenges to the table. Through it all, this truck kept motoring and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.
Out of all of the trail trucks in my R/C garage, the TRX-4 Sport ranks as one of the top three. To be fair, that ranking seems to be in a constant state of flux, however, the top three vehicles remain the same. The Sport didn’t take long to reach that position, either. As stated above, from the moment I plugged in power for this rig and took it for a spin around the yard, I knew I was hooked.
Whether you’re a new hobbyist or someone who’s been involved with radio-controlled vehicles for a while, the TRX-4 is a great truck to explore the crawling and scale R/C scene with. To their credit, Traxxas has removed the right amount of “extras” from this machine, leaving you with a platform that remains a solid performer.
As you drive and gain experience, there are plenty of ways to upgrade the TRX-4 Sport, including a number of body modifications released by Traxxas themselves. While it started out as a “run of the mill” pickup truck, I’ve added a handful of accessories to the TRX-4 to make it my own. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
As it stands, the TRX-4 Sport is a great option for fans of outdoor R/C adventure and the sub-$400 pricetag should leave enough room in your wallet for potential upgrades.
Where to buy a Traxxas TRX-4 Sport
If you love getting outdoors and hitting your local park, trail, or even traipsing around your back yard with an R/C truck, there’s no doubt you’ll have a blast wheeling the TRX-4 Sport. If you need a quick fix for your R/C addiction, here are a few places to pick up a TRX-4 Sport of your own: