The WLToys 284010 is a 1/28 mini scale 4wd RC Car. They are cheap, Ready To Run (RTR) out of the box and a lot of fun. This particular model is a new and improved version of the very popular WLToys K989. In this review I'll give you more detail on the car and how it performs and point out the improvements over the earlier models
WL Toys make a wide range of budget RC cars that typically do a great job of mixing low cost with good performance. Their most well known car is probably the 1/14 scale 144001 and the variants they have spawned which I've covered extensively on this website. Next most successful for them would then be the K9XX series which have recently been updated and renamed as the 284XX series such as the 284131 Hoonitruck which I reviewed here. The 284010 as reviewed in this article is the latest and includes all of WL Toys latest improvements building on what is already a very enjoyable little RC Car. First lets look at what is included:
What's in the box?
A closer look at the gear
In this section we'll look more closely at the car and associated gear - how it is specced and how it comes together as a cohesive unit.
Powertrain and driveline
This little car is powered by a large (for it's size) 130 brushed motor. Powering this is a brushed ESC that is integrated with the receiver which is fixed to the chassis top deck. The ESC output power is not specified.
Power is fed to the transmission by a 17t brass pinion which pushes on as these are too small to fit a grub screw. This is stuck on extremely tight, I'm surprised they didn't just go with a plastic one which would have been fine. This spins a 29t plastic spur gear. Also included is a 19t plastic pinion and 27t spur if you want a slightly taller gear. The motor mount is not adjustable so these are you only real combinations unless you get deep into customisation. Power is then taken to front and rear diffs via solid 4wd propshaft. All gears other than pinion are plastic which is entirely appropriate for a car of this size. Further out the diffs run plastic cups to drive tiny CVD driveshafts front and rear. All rotating parts have ball bearings. There does seem to be tightness in the driveline similar to what I found with the 284131 but we'll flag this for investigation when we run the car.
Driveline is hard to photograph but you can see the pinion and spur here plus part of the rear driveshaft
Suspension and steering
This car has full independent suspension, the same technology used in larger scale cars making it impressive in this scale. There is of course only friction dampening due to the size but spring rate and tension is well adjusted for a car of this size and weight. There is little to no bind in the movement which is an improvement over the earlier K969 and K989. Interesting that the suspension setup (arms, friction dampers and tie rods) are all replicated on the rear making parts replacement nice and simple.
Steering is driven by a 3 wire servo but this time by a micro JST connector rather than a regular JR servo connector which is more the norm with mini and micro scale RC. This is a notable change from the the K989 and even the more recent 284131. The servo horn has a built in servo saver and this pushes and pulls a plastic non-adjustable tierod which steers both front wheels via a steering assembly. Even though it just has basic plastic tire rods, proper ball joints are used throughout and steering is precise with little slop.
Chassis, wheels and tyres
The chassis is an absolute tank owing to the solid aluminium lower plate AND aluminium top plate. There is no way this thing will be flexing but it is heavy for it's size. There is a foam "bumper" at the font to help the front of the body keep it's shape in frontal impacts. The rest is plastic which is suitable for a car of this scale.
Wheels and tyres have not changed since the K989. My experience with the 284131 suggest the wheels are fairly tough but the tread on the tyres wears fairly quickly. Grip is reasonable and offers predictable handling.
Body and lights
The body shape is modelled after a rally-style hatchback, I'm guessing Ford Focus/Fiesta ala Ken Block (RIP). This is a prepainted body and sadly the text on it is a bit lame (because Chinglish) but otherwise looks pretty cool. Speaking of cool this is heavily wire for lights - twin headlights, front facing windscreen lights, rear facing upper lights and twin tail lights. All of these lights come on with the car is powered up. These run through a basic distribution board mounted to the underside of the body.
I found that there was a bit much rake in the mounting but this was easily fixed as you can see below.
This is the most obvious new component of this car. These are the latest style of WL toys controller. Functions are identical (steering trim but no steering dual rate, throttle dual rate but no trim) but that are a little larger and take 4 x AAA batteries instead of 4 x AA which, frankly, is a little annoying. There are 2 main improvements through that are there to help get footage of your car running - a thumb steering attachment for one handed driving and a concealed phone hold which is actually really effective. Range is more that enough for this little car - further than you can see. Note: One dial is labelled throttle trim but it is actually throttle dual rate (which limits top speed).
Battery and charger
The battery is a genuine LiPo 2s 400mah with red JST connector - an appropriate size for this car and capable of delivery good power with decent battery life. Replacements are available but a little overpriced so I do recommend buying the 2-battery version if possible when you purchase the car.
The charger is pretty basic on only barely adequate - it is a balance charger and is conveniently powered by USB but these are not well known for their quality. I'd recommend plugging into a USB power supply rather than a computer port. If you have or are planning to get other RC vehicles I strongly recommend getting a better charger light this 608AC by ISDT (reviewed here).
How does it perform?
Speed and acceleration, battery life
For such a small car this performs really well, a great balance of acceleration and top speed so kudos to WLToys for getting it right and a mark against me for thinking the gearing was too tall. I measured 22km/hr top speed on the almost identical 284131 truck as per this review using the very accurate SKYRC GSM010. This doesn't sound fast but on such a small car it really is - see for yourself in the video below.
Like the 284131 I also thought there was too much bind in the drivetrain but this eased off not even halfway through the first battery pack. This is an improvement over the 284131 which took 10 or so batteries to get this free moving. Throughout running the motor got fairly warm but not what I would call hot which is important for a brushed motor such as in this 284010.
Battery life is around 8-12 minutes depending on how hard you push it. The stock battery is good and much cheaper to buy as the 2 or 3 battery option when you buy the car rather than afterwards separately.
I thought that between the heavy chassis, lightweight shocks, plastic non-adjustable steering setup and narrow tyres that this would handle poorly but it actually handles remarkably well. Steering centres very well and feels precise. What helps this is that the balance of the car is so neutral - a beautiful coming together of just the right understeer and oversteer that allows the car to be very predicable (and therefore fun) when driving.
Even with these narrow little tyres the grip is very strong on smooth outdoor surfaces like concrete and tar seal / bitumen. In fact it is a little too strong on some surface which can make traction control a problem at speed. A shame there isn't steering dual rate adjustment to help control this but as a driver you can adjust your driving style or try on a different surface. Interesting that if you end up on the side, you can actually make the car self right with throttle and steering as you can see below
That's a hard no. Even if it had more than 5-6mm in ground clearance these tyres don't offer enought footprint and the suspension would make this bounce all over the place. Stick to road-type surfaces.
My Final Say
The WL Toys 284010 is a 1/28 mini scale RC car that follows on from the same chassis launched some years ago with a number of useful updates. These cars are small, inexpensive, are fast and handle well. They do everything the larger scale cars do (except offroad) but in a smaller space with less expense. This makes them great for starters of for RC car regulars looking for a different driving experiences. The underlying chassis has been around for a while but this is a good thing - it is very popular meaning a lot of aftermarket parts and options for modifying are available... see below for more options. There are also big online communities for these cars that are still very active and include extreme modding, 3d printed part customisation and lots of options for adapting kitset model bodies to suit.
These are an easy car to recommend that is cheap, tough and a lot of fun out of the box.
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