QotW: What’s the best video game car?

Video games create a wondrous make-believe land full of cars we’ll never actually touch in real life. But even in these virtual worlds, some cars stand head and shoulders above their digital counterparts. Some utterly dominate the environment for which they were created. Others are rendered in stunning detail. And some inspire us to seek out and own their real-life versions.

What’s the best video game car?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What leisure activity do you do with your JNC?”

The winner this week was Otso, who combines his love for JNCs with a love for ice racing. He has also helpfully provided this video of his incredibly clean Datsun 510 Wagon taking part in what seems like a very odd (to us Californians) but very fun activity.

For many winters I have had Datsun 510 for a IceTrack driving. Most of my Ice Datsuns have been almost mint condition. Last had a Classiccar MOT or historical vehicle status here. And for this Winter I have purchased a Classic MOT Datsun b310 Sunny 140Y.

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

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35 Responses to QotW: What’s the best video game car?

  1. Daniel says:

    honestly the calsonic r32 from gran turismo. i remember when i got it on the psp version. handled well, had a lot of power and it looked awesome. that or the 787b too just cause its my favorite race car 🙂

  2. 615 says:

    The only thing that i need a playstation for, is gran turismo, so i can drive my own car there… Fc3s turbo
    Luckily there are some new games also with my car, but i dont have the time to play, when i actually have a real car 😀

  3. Nigel says:

    Nissan R30 Skyline and 910 Bluebird are my two # 1 cars in Granturismo 6 !!

  4. Lupus says:

    Yeahh,…. Escudo PikesPeak… Total overkill… It was the quickest way to win hard races and sell expensive prize cars to gain credits, to fulfill other car wishes…

    But for me it wasn’t the best car. Now, when i own a car that is futured in racing games (Legacy 3rd gen) i should say that it’s that car. It was availible in Gran Turismo series, Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3, Kaido Battle… But before that, even before i’ve got my driving licence and my real-car-life started i adored a different machine – the virtually unbeatable Mitsubishi GTO TwinTurbo!! It was an absolute killer-car in GT1 & GT2. Far better then it’s only worthy oponnents – Skyline’s R32 & R33 GT-R. Now, after millenias passed and i gained extensive knowlege about cars, engeniring, driving etc., i’m not so sure if this coresponds with reality. 😉 But as for a teenager salvitating in front of a 14″ TV with PSX attached it was THE BEST CAR EVER MADE. And i somehow still feel the strong need of owning such a GTO in real life. Green with white accents, similair to the Puma race livery offered as the final tuning stage in GT. The car was able, after full tuning and correct settings break the 400 km/h barrier while still maintaing stock look. Nuff said… 😀

    • Banpei says:

      The Escude Pikes Peaks was indeed overkill, but the sheer insane amount of horsepower and grip wasn’t the reason why it was so good. The actual reason were some glitches in the game that allowed you, once driving at full speed into a guardrail, to ricochet through the circuit and making it rather a game of pinball than a driving simulator. 😉

      • Lupus says:

        Yeah, i’ve found out that glich back then. Was pretty annoying when i played with someone that had no clue about handling a car, but has chossen a more powerfull car and won that way. 😉
        AFAIK this bugs wheer in the series physics up to Volume IV, i duno how it is from V upwards?

  5. Banpei says:

    When I obtained a Japanese copy of Sega GT Homologation Special (the 2000 game) in late 2000 I found it intriguing as I only knew about 10 to 15% of the cars available in that game. After obtaining my B-license I had to buy a new car, but I was low on cash. I could have bought an underpowered B-segment car, but there was also this “old clunker” that I knew via some obscure English fan-subbed Hong-Kong dubbed anime that later became world famous. With the experience I got from Gran Tourismo 1, I knew it made more sense to spend money on upgrades than to buy a car with high horsepower and I went straight ahead and bought the old clunker. This was the, back then, relatively unknown Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86.

    Since the whole game was in Japanese I had difficulty tuning it. I had some success figuring out which upgrade was which, thanks to some tiny rendered parts next to it. However I did have great difficulty understanding what every upgrade was for, how to use it and how to set it up properly. As the hachiroku had so little potential in horsepower, it actually did have an enormous potential when set up properly. I probably would have made more progress in the game if I would have taken a Daihatsu Sirion and turbo-ed it and I threw the controller into the corner many times out of frustration. However during those weeks I learned so much about which settings would work for grip, drift and endurance and I really started to love this little car. I played battles in Sega GT against my flat-mates and often drove circles around their cars in my little AE86 and felt like I was Takumi.

    Since 2005 you can find the AE86 in almost every racing game and, I think, it probably did the same for others as it did for me: learn how to set up a well balanced car. What this AE86 did to me was that I now always tend to choose the underdog car in a game, whether it’s a MX-5 or a Nissan Silvia J’s, and try to make most of it.

    • Lupus says:

      Woow, i love that game. I discovered it several years ago and i’m still playing it sometimes on PC thru emulator. The soundtrack is rad! As for me – far better then that from GT1 & GT2 – sorry Daiki Kasho 😉

  6. Dillan says:

    For me it will always be the Castrol JGTC Supra that has appeared in most of the Gran Turismo series as well as other games. The sheer amount of grip and downforce this car produces in these games is insane. My favorite thing to do as a bored, young teenager was racing the JGTC Supra in GT4 with super soft tires at Tsukuba Circuit and trying to set sub 50 second lap times, I think the best I could do was 48 seconds.

  7. Chris Moore says:

    The Escudo is the Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl or Jeremy Roenick in NHL 94 of video game cars. It’s inclusion gave the driver such an unfair advantage that it literally broke the game. Setting aside all the dirt tracks, which were now comically easy to beat, the developers forgot to limit the Escudo’s participation in road races, unleashing this car on the top tier Gran Turismo All Stars and World League series races, where the next best car was short over 250 HP.

  8. Mr. Bill says:

    The ’94 Nissan Skyline GT-R V – Spec II with the red Impul livery racing modification was my go-to in the original Gran Turismo and allowed me to destroy my brothers, my neighbors, and anyone else who dared to line up with me on the starting grid.
    This car launched a life-long love for all things Nissan/Datsun. It’s why I always raced with Skylines and Silvias in the Gran Turismo series, sought after the Fairladys in Tokyo Xtreme Racer, and why I’ve owned and modified no less than 6 Nissans in my 22 years of car ownership, and why I have a ’75 280z in my garage awaiting a full compliment of loving upgrades.

  9. BW says:

    My personal favorite cars from Gran Turismo were not the fastest in the collection, but they were easy to drive quickly.

    From GT: the TVR Cerbera LM
    From GT2: the Silva GT (JGTC) – You could win both the Xanavi Arta and Nissan Daisin cars

    Neither car was the fastest in the game, but the Cerbera especially could easily be drifted or set up for absolute corner-on-rails grip. Point-to-point they could often be the fastest cars in terms of time because they had to slow down/speed up the least amount and were easy to keep off the wall.

  10. Ant says:

    All the suggestions here are far too sensible; the answer is clearly the Daihatsu Midget II, which appeared in Gran Turismos 2, 4 and 5. Slow, ridiculous to look at, but a hoot to drive at circuits it was never designed to go anywhere near.

    Discovering that it’s inclusion was almost certainly inspired by a 1996 Best Motoring segment made things all the sweeter – and it’s a car I’m determined to buy at some point to see whether the reality is as gleefully awful as the virtual reality…

    • Lupus says:

      Here in Europe they show up sometimes on mobile.de – German car selling site, fot about 10-15k EUR. Not cheat for so liite of a car, but I would love to own such one too. Just for fun 😀

  11. Mark Newton-John says:

    Fast cars are a dime a dozen. Although I’m not a gamer, any slow as f*** cars like my favorite, Datsun F10? ?

  12. alvin says:

    ***Boring response Alert***
    As a child of the 80’s my two favorite video game cars were not from Gran Turismo, and not even Japanese.

    Ferrari Testrarossa convertible from Sega’s “Out Run”

    Isdera Imperator from Bally Midway’s “Spy Hunter”

  13. cesariojpn says:

    The Mazda Miata in Need For Speed Underground 2.

    It’s a turd car stock, but once you slap on the mods it can destroy much of the competition in the game.

    “The Answer is always Miata.”

  14. jivecom says:

    I’m sorry that my answer isn’t a JNC, and it might date me a bit, but hear me out. My vote goes for the Lamborghini Diablo SV which was the cover car for NFS 3 (at least in North America, I don’t wanna make assumptions). It wasn’t the best car in the game, or even the coolest, but it’s the one that’s burnt into my memory because it was bright yellow and had SV down each side.

    I was too young to know then how significant that car actually was (if you like that sort of thing), but it sort of became the supercar icon, the benchmark by which I judge every other supercar. I don’t think I’m alone, either. The SV still pops up in games like Horizon 4 now, 20+ years after the car first came out. The Diablo more generally will always be a ’90s hero and I think video games play a growing part in its continued esteem. It’s cool to feel sort of personally responsible for a second wind in a car’s popularity. The SV is my baby

  15. Frank says:

    My weapon of choice for Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 – Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution!


    I’ve only ever seen one of this rare beasts once in real life. I doubt I’ll ever see another one again. And with an asking price of £15,000 and up it’s unlikely I’m going to be importing one any time soon.

    So why the PajEvo? Because playing in game is the closest I’m going to get to driving one in real life. And that’s what games are all about, doing the impossible.

  16. RX626 says:

    R34RKK(Nissan Skyline GT-R) that appeared in Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero.
    This car that Jintei/Speed King drives is a monster like JGTC Calsonic Skyline to street, this car was always my yearning.

  17. Hachibrokeyou says:

    For me, it was the Toyota 7 in Gran Turismo. I had just been to the local vintage races, where I fell in love with the styling and raw power to weight of the Can-Am cars that were running that day. When I saw the 7 in that game, I just had to have it. It was difficult to drive, but wicked fast and the look of the open engine from behind was just so cool.

  18. Dankan says:

    Ok, my answer is a bit sad, but I think for me the best video game car is the NB Miata. In every racing game I’ve played that you could have that car in, it was guaranteed to give you the chance to race in a ton of different situations on many different tracks, and always have fun just driving the thing.

    Other cars, both Japanese and otherwise, were insane fun (the McLaren F1 and Toyota 86 in Gran Turismo 5, and the Toyota GT-One street version in Gran Turismo 2 especially), but none matched the same breadth of fun you could have with it.

    Although that Gran Turismo 2 race-tuned Hakosuka comes awful close.

    • Ant says:

      I’d forgotten GT2 had a hakosuka. Disappointed it’s not appeared since – when I played GT2 in my mid-teens I didn’t really appreciate it at the time.

      • Banpei says:

        I have to confess that when I saw a screenshot of the hakosuka in Gran Turismo 2 for the very first time (must have been in a magazine in 1999) I actually thought it was a Peugeot 504.
        At first I felt cheated there was no 504, but that changed a few years later later when I found out which car it actually was!

        • Lupus says:

          Lately there is a growing interest in JNC’s in games. In one of the latest NFS there was the Hako, S130. Auto Modellista for PS2 also had a lot o cool old Nihon steel – Hako, S30, RX-3, Cosmo, Galant GTO, Alcyone and more. All that wrapped up in neat cell-shading, comix alike graphics. Only the physics and steering was a bit awkward.

          • Ant says:

            It’s always a shame that Auto Modellista was never developed any further. Had a lot of potential with those graphics and the car choice.

        • Ant says:

          Both GT2 and GT4 in particular were fantastic for JNCs. GT2 had some rarer ones I think, and GT4 had a great selection of 1980s cars thanks to the used car dealerships.

  19. Joe Musashi says:

    The Miata overall. Just any upgrade to fully modded, it destroyed the competition in NFS Underground 2. There was no reason to get any other car in that game.
    In Gran Turismo 2 and 3, the Miata was a fairly balanced car. You could get a lot of bang for your buck with just that one car. Of course, the Miatas are limited to what they can do. For that I could have my picking with some other JNC or fairly modern Japanese car available like a Subaru, or GT-R or whatever.
    The Miatas in the Forza series are just as fun as the Gran Turismo versions. Always fun to race with in the Green Hell or Fujimi Kaido.
    If the game features the Miata in some form or another, it’s going to be a fun time (for me at least.)

  20. Jayrdee says:

    Gran Turismo’s AE86, the Shuichi Shigeno version.

    Except the fact that it wouldn’t let you use the car in the 80s category races since for some reason they stated it was made in 2001 Lol.

    • Dave says:

      Reason being that the AE86 SS version had the N1 (maybe) motor installed into it at around that time, after Takumi destroyed the original twin cam engine in a down hill race…

  21. Angelo says:

    I used to drive a Honda Today G in GT4 when I still had my PS2 working.

    It was slow, but all the better, as you could throw it around the corners without braking hahaha!

    Oh the memories..

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