I've previously tested two larger New Bright RC rock crawlers, one in that was a disappointment, and one in that actually panned out pretty well. This "1/18th" scale version looks to be an all-new design, so it could go either way. It's listed in the Pro Dirt series and includes a very small pistol grip controller that's perfect for very young hands. The vehicle itself is four-wheel drive with one motor driving the front axle and one at the rear. The suspension is amazingly soft, but perhaps a bit too flexible, as you'll see in the review video below. Before driving the crawler, the most odd thing that struck me was the use of 5 AA batteries to power it. Five. Not four or six, but five. Who does that? What store sells packs of five batteries? Such an odd choice. Well, let's pop those batteries in anyhow and see how this thing goes.
"The 2011 version New Bright Rock Crawler takes a big step upward in performance compared to its predecessor. It now handles obstacle-laden terrain better than expected... I feel like it's just a little on the pricey side, but the overall value is pretty decent."
Top speed of the New Bright Rock Crawler is, well, a crawl. This is by design. When I first started driving it, I went from a flat street-like surface to gravel, and noticed the speed did not change at all. This was an early indication that the vehicle had plenty of power on tap, it was just geared down in the axles to sacrifice speed in favor of torque. From gravel I drove into some medium-high grass and low weeds, which the Crawler pushed through better than most toy-grade RCs I've ever tested. The real test came the first time I encountered a big chunk of broken-up concrete. To my delight, I was able to drive right up and over it. As I found more big obstacles, my eyes continued to widen as the New Bright performed almost flawlessly. There were a couple of situations where I got high-centered or wasn't able to go over an exceedingly large rock, and the sport of rock crawling (whether in RC or full scale) does require some planning & skill as you choose your routes & angles carefully to match the capabilities of your vehicle. Most of the time, though, the worst thing that would happen is that I would have to reverse out of a sticky situation. I was genuinely impressed.