Yesterday I got my Rustler VXL in the mail. I thought I'd write a quick review on it so future buyers will know what it's like.
First, the bad stuff. As soon as I popped some batteries in and the steering servo centered itself, I found out that the toe and camber angles were completely messed up. I must've gotten a Friday afternoon assembled car, because it was just horrible - spent about an hour straightening the wheels out, and I still haven't gotten them perfect yet. Shame on Traxxas for allowing this to happen.
Once I started running the Rustler, I was already having issues. I've had less than three runs on it, and already three things broke. I was geared 16/90 with Talons and was outside bashing yesterday and hit a tree stump going about 10mph and the left front steering block snapped in half like a twig. That ended my bashing until this morning. After I put in a spare steering block, I decided to do some speed runs and geared 25/90 and put on some Anacondas. About after 15 minutes of hardcore speed runs, the rear left tire suddenly decided to randomly fall off while going at 40mph and ended up on the other side of the parking lot. Luckily I had spare parts at home, so it was a quick fix, and I was back at the parking lot in a few minutes. I did a few more speed passes, when I suddenly noticed my steering was messed up. After a quick inspection, I found out the front right turnbuckle had somehow totally unscrewed itself apart.
Now for the good stuff. This isn't my first VXL, so the speed isn't new to me, but yes, the Rustler VXL is as fast as Traxxas claims it to be. But what really amazed me is the handling. Compared to my Stampede, which understeered like a pig, the Rustler handles like a champ. The steering is quick and predictable, and with Anacondas on hot tarmac, the Rustler sticks to the pavement like glue. My Stampede would understeer and then traction roll while going anywhere faster than 20mph, but the Rustler just sticks and turns. It hardly rolled over at all, and the few times that it did, it was because I hit a bump or a large pebble. Offroad with Talons, the Rustler is just as competent as the Stampede when riding over the rough stuff, and the handling is just as impressive offroad as it is onroad. And the other small touches like adjustable camber links and full ball bearings are also very cool.
Overall, I like the Rustler VXL and I'm glad I purchased it. I wasn't very impressed with the front suspension however (I blame whoever assembled my Rustler that day at Traxxas), and I plan to upgrade to all RPM parts to save me future headaches. I've also never heard anything good about the stock Alias tires, which is why I decided to purchase the Talons for offroad and the Anacondas for onroad. But for $240 at Tower Hobbies with a coupon code, the Rustler VXL is a steal. It's quick, it's agile, it's easy to work on, and it looks sexy.