What do you get if you cross the fast-paced driving skills of a Fast and Furious film with football tactics worthy of Jürgen Klopp? The answer is one of the most exciting esports around: Rocket League.
Players loved the four-wheeled footie action, and the game’s casual and competitive modes exploded in popularity upon its release. Five years on, there’s still a strong core fanbase climbing the Rocket League ranks and representing teams at esports tournaments, but the game’s recent free-to-play update is set to give the racing game a new lease of life.
Whether you’re a rookie or a former Grand Champion, your choice of car says a lot about who you are as a player – but also affects your playstyle. If you thought all cars were created equal you’d be wrong, so we’re here to help you understand what makes one car better than another, and ultimately which are the best Rocket League cars to choose.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about choosing a car, including everything from top speeds to our top picks. We’re going to start with some slightly technical stuff: hitboxes. But don’t worry – this really isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and can have a major impact on your choice of chassis.
Rocket League best cars: hitboxes
If you’ve never heard of a hitbox before, that’s fine. Hitboxes are invisible lines that determine the edges of a model – in this case, the car. These lines form, you guessed it, a box, and if another asset (for instance, a ball) hits this box, the game will register this as a collision and the ball will fly off in the appropriate direction.
To put it simply, the best cars in Rocket League are those with hitboxes that most closely resemble their model. Some of the vehicle options have hitboxes (looking at you, Zippy) that stick out way over their roofs or past their bumpers, making it harder to accurately judge whether you’re going to hit the ball or not, and if you do, what angle you’ll hit it at.
Around two years after the game’s release, developer Psyonix standardised the cars’ hitboxes, so now every one of the game’s 74 cars fits into one of six hitbox classes. As you can see in the above images that u/Trelgne created and shared on Reddit, both the Octane and the Zippy use the Octane hitbox, but the model of the Octane fits the hitbox much better. Note the gap between the roof of the Zippy model and the top of the model – this discrepancy can make it harder to judge when the car hits the ball.
You can find the full list of which cars are in which class on the Rocket League website. However, it’s a very long process to measure each car to its comparative hitbox, so we’ve picked the most accurate from each class:
- Breakout: Breakout, Breakout Type-S
- Dominus: Aftershock, Delorean, Dominus
- Hybrid: Endo, Jäger 619 RS, Venom
- Octane: Fennec, Gizmo, Octane, Octane ZSR, Vulcan
- Plank: Batmobile, Mantis, Paladin
- Merc: Merc
The most popular hitbox is the Octane, due to the fact it is the tallest and second-widest so you’ve got more of a chance of hitting the ball. The Plank is another favourite, especially if you want to play a defensive or goalkeeper role, as it has the second-longest and widest hitbox. The Dominus hitbox is notorious for its paddle-like shape and large surface area, making it perfect for trick shots, but losing out in many match-ups due to the low height and awkward front end which doesn’t accurately match many of the car models.
However, players have found great success with cars from other hitbox classes, so long as the model is a similar size. The Jäger 619 and Endo cars are available to purchase in promotional starter packs after the free-to-play update, and both fit their Hybrid hitbox pretty neatly.
The v1.79 patch which went live on September 17, 2020 added the Merc-class hitbox. So far only the Merc body is in this class, but we can expect more cars to be added in the future – whether new body types or old ones shifted around.
How to unlock all Rocket League cars
If you’re a new player – or even an old player confined to one PC or console – some of the aforementioned bodies may not ring any bells. That’s because new players start with just the Octane, Gizmo, Road Hog and X-Devil unlocked.
Read more: What are Rocket League ranks?
Bodies are split into five rarities; Common, Import, Exotic, Premium, and Exclusive. You can start unlocking bodies from the first three rarities just by playing matches and unlocking Blueprints, although obviously Common ones will drop more often than Import, and you’ll be incredibly lucky to find Dominus or Komodo, the two Exotic-class chassis.
However, if you find yourself with a build-up of useless items (not just Bodies), you can try your luck with the Trade In feature. Head to your Garage in the main menu of your game, and then select Manage Inventory. From here, you can select five items of the same rarity and trade them up for one item that is one stage rarer. Your new item will be completely random, barring one caveat: if all five items are from the same Crate series, you’ll be rewarded with a new item from that same series.
Bear in mind that some items are untradeable, such as anything unlocked in a Rocket Pass, and you have no guarantee what type of item you’ll receive. No matter if you trade in five toppers or a mix of five different items, you could get any item at all for your trouble. If you’ve still got any questions, there’s a full FAQ for Trading In available on the Rocket League website.
Premium bodies are those which come with Rocket League DLC. These include the Batmobile, Jurassic Jeep Wrangler, and McLaren 570S. However, if you bought the game before it went free-to-play, simply link your account to an Epic Games account after the update and you’ll be upgraded to a Legacy edition with all DLC free of charge. You may also see these bodies listed as Limited in your game – it’s just another term for the same thing.
The final Rocket League car body type is the Exclusives. These depend on the platform you play the game on. PC players unfortunately lose out, but those racing on console can unlock their own exclusive bodies by jumping through a couple of hoops.
|Body||Console||How to unlock|
|Hogsticker||Xbox One||Play one match with every common body|
|Armadillo||Xbox One||Complete one season in Season Mode (single-player)|
|Luigi NSR||Nintendo Switch||Unlocked as default for Switch users (Luigi only available for the Blue Team)|
|Mario NSR||Nintendo Switch||Unlocked as default for Switch users (Mario only available for the Orange Team)|
|Samus’ Gunship||Nintendo Switch||Complete matches|
|Sweet Tooth||PS4||Play one match with every common body|
Although they all fit into the five hitbox classes, every car has a slightly different feel based on minute differences like axel placement and turning circles. You’ll just have to play around with a variety of them to find which one suits you best!
But once you’ve settled on your preferred body, it’s time to pimp your ride with all the cosmetics you can unlock.
Rocket League cars wheels, toppers, paint jobs, and other cosmetics
Now that the most important (but probably most boring) decision is out of the way, we can move on to choosing the exciting parts of your car. However, choosing your wheels, hats and paint jobs won’t have any impact on your car’s performance.
Wheels are those four round things that propel you across the pitch. We know we promised we’d shut up about the h-word, but these do actually slightly affect your car’s hitbox at the point where they intersect with the body. However, the effects of different wheels on different chassis are hotly debated and honestly negligible, so just pick a set that you think looks slick.
As with the bodies, all cosmetic items come in different rarities, albeit with some slight differences: Common, Premium, Limited, Rare, Very Rare, Import, and Exotic. The two easiest ways to get your hands on the wheels you want is by unlocking random Blueprints that you get as a reward for playing games and levelling up, or by browsing the in-game item shop. However, with thousands of items available, it could be a while before you get the one you want.
The next-best option is to Trade In your items as detailed in the Body section, and your last option to get some new tires is to trade with other players. Pester your friends or send a message to someone you played against to see if they want to trade. Soon you’ll be feeling like Bobby Firmino waking up on Christmas morning to a brand new pair of boots under the tree.
Hats are a cosmetic item to make your car look as cool – or as foolish – as possible. Popular choices include the Brunnehilde Viking horns or the Rick n Morty Cromulon. The good news is that these items do not affect your hitbox – otherwise you’d just choose the biggest for an advantage.
As with all cosmetics, they are available in seven rarities and can be bought in the Item Shop, traded in, found in Blueprints, or traded with other players.
While Trails may look like they make you go faster, they have no impact on your car other than an aesthetic one. When it comes to unlocking them, the same rules apply as Toppers.
You can unlock a few different things that affect your car’s paint job; Colours, Decals, and Finish. The Colours don’t need unlocking, you’ve got a free choice from the off, but Decals and Finish can be unlocked in the usual ways.
Decals are designs, like hot rod flames or racing stripes. Adding these to your car also gives you the option to add a secondary colour to the body to make it really pop off. The Finish might not be noticeable on lower graphics settings but can make your car look old and Corroded, or fresh off the line and Pearlescent.
It is worth noting that iconic cars like the Batmobile and Delorean, unfortunately, cannot be customised.
Tournaments are a new feature with the free-to-play update. You can participate in automated competitions at a certain time of day to earn rewards like trails, wheels, or decals. The rarity of your rewards will be based on your placement and the difficulty of the tournament – but don’t worry, you should be playing against players of a similar skill level to yourself.
Upon finishing the tournament, you’ll receive Tournament Credits, which can be redeemed for Cups. The more Tournament Credits a Cup costs, the rarer the customisation item you’ll receive. Tournaments will be implemented slowly at first, but should be coming thick and fast as Psyonix implements the free-to-play system.
Rocket League best cars tier list
Here are the Rocket League cars that you’ll come up against in matches time and time again. Do you want to join the Octane hype train, or pick something a little different?
|Octane||Octane||You’ll see a lot of Octanes during your Rocket League career. It’s unlocked by default when you first play the game, it fits snugly into its hitbox, and it looks like your classic RC car. What’s not to love? Plus, anyone watching big tournaments will see most of the pros utilising an Octane body.|
|Fennec||Octane||The Fennec is an Octane alternative that uses the same hitbox. This one is a little bit trickier to unlock – you’ll need to collect Blueprints or Trade In for it – but offers an all-round car for those who want to be a little bit different.|
|Batmobile||Plank||Available to those with Legacy accounts after the free-to-play update or those who bought the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice DLC, the Batmobile fits the long Plank hitbox beautifully. It offers great value for those playing defensively, and can produce stunning goal-line clearances better than most other cars.|
|Dominus||Dominus||Another DLC car, this time in the Supersonic Fury pack, the Dominus’ ‘paddle’ shape makes it great for flips and tricks. This car is a lot of fun to use, so expect to see a fair few hit the pitch when many accounts turn Legacy and access the DLC.|
Whether you play with friends or hit the ranked leaderboard, make sure your car is match-ready. Now all that’s left to do is show off your new wheels by hitting the field.