Plenty of factors influence your performance in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Your character choice impacts your weight, your tires and glider affect your ground and air control, and your engine class sets the AI skill and the race’s overall speed. Even the course choice determines the obstacles, turns, and tricky spots you’ll have to face!

More than anything else, however, your kart choice holds a ton of sway over how any given race turns out. It determines your base stats on the course, which affect everything you do, down to which items will be most effective for you.

Nintendo balances everything out so that none of the karts are overwhelmingly dominant (or, conversely, the laughingstock of the circuit), but some options are still better than others. So strap in, steel yourself against Luigi’s death glare, and let’s look at the best karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!

Kart Stats

6 Best Karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

We’ll start by going over the crux of what makes each kart work — the stats. Each kart has its own values for the core stats in the game:

  • Speed determines the kart’s overall max speed. There are distinct Speed ratings for driving on the track, underwater, in the air, and in anti-grav sequences. 
  • Acceleration dictates how quickly the kart can get from a stop to its maximum speed. Karts with high Speed values often have a low Acceleration stat, and vice versa.
  • Weight decides who gets knocked away when a heavier kart slams into a lighter one. It also determines how much of an impact some course hazards have. Character choice and kart choice factor roughly equally into determining Weight.
  • Handling governs the kart’s turning radius, and like Speed, has slightly varied values for track, water, air, and hover sections. Generally speaking, Bikes have higher Handling stats than Karts, which have higher handling than ATVs. It’s also the stat that most directly determines how well or poorly a given kart will be able to drift.
  • Traction (called Grip in UK copies of the game) influences the kart’s speed and handling when traveling off-road.
  • Mini-Turbo is a sixth hidden stat that is not displayed in-game. It affects how much of a boost the kart can get from drifting, and how fast drifting generates the boost.

Together, these six stats, along with modifiers applied by your choice of character, tires, and glider, will dictate how your kart performs on and off the track. These stats can be displayed by pressing the +/- buttons when selecting your kart. Note that Speed and Handling both have sub-values that aren’t clarified in-game.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Builder

Comparing and contrasting loadout options at the kart selection screen can be difficult. Though you can see most of the values you’ll need to know, there’s no way to see different karts’ stats side by side, and (as mentioned above), some stats aren’t even shown in-game.

To help solve this problem, there’s a handy online tool called the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Builder. This site came in extremely handy for the research portion of this article! Utilize it to perfect your build before you jump into a race.

6 Best Karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Now that we have an understanding of the factors behind kart performance, let’s get to what we came here for. Here are the best karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!

1. Best Heavy Hitter: The Bone Rattler

Dry Bowser’s custom bike, modeled to resemble a chrome skeletal Koopa, is our top pick for heavyweight champ of the kart lineup. Other heavy options might have slightly higher Speed, but with nowhere near the Acceleration or Handling. All that weight won’t do you much good if the little, zippier karts leave you in the dust as soon as Lakitu gives you the green light. 

Bone Rattler
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

With the Bone Rattler, you’ll have enough Acceleration to catch up with your rivals quickly, and enough Weight to stampede over them. Couple it with a light character and let them rampage through the track like never before. Alternately, pick a heavy rider to outweigh everybody else on the course. C’mon and slam, and welcome to the jam.

2. Best Light Speedster: The City Tripper

This little scooter, added alongside the Animal Crossing Villager character, has low Weight, great Handling, and decent Speed. Its real secret weapon, though, is its through-the-roof Mini-Turbo stat. Its Handling lets you drift like a champ through every twist and turn, gaining boost after boost. 

Animal Crossing Villager on the City Tripper
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

This gives the City Tripper a much higher average velocity than its only-pretty-good Speed stat would lead you to believe. The City Tripper especially shines on courses like Yoshi Circuit, tracks with tons of slalom-like back-and-forth curves. These curvy tracks really let you milk those Mini-Turbos for all they’re worth.

3. Best Off-Roader: Tanooki Kart

Tanooki Kart would have to be in consideration for among the most balanced karts available. Its Speed, Acceleration, Weight, and Handling are all good, with no true standout aspect but no real weaknesses, either. Yet it’s the Tanooki Kart’s Traction/Grip stat that truly sets it apart from its peers. 

6 Best Karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Karts, Stats, & Research
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

Higher than any other kart’s T/G rating, you can boost it further with Monster or Off-Road tires. This kart is perfect for fans of rally racing. It’s also great for anybody who hates that feeling of taking a corner badly and seeing all the other karts rocket past as you spin your wheels and try to get back on course. In the Tanooki Kart, you’ll dominate the race on and off the track. 

4. Best Inward Drifter: Comet/Yoshi Bike

Mario Kart Wii was the first installment to offer bikes as an alternative to karts. It differentiated the two vehicle types mechanically via the introduction of inward drifting. Essentially, bikes offered a very different style of drift. Inward drifting is best described as a very sharp initial turn followed by a slower-turning wide arc. 

Peach on Yoshi Bike
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

The mechanic returns in MK8D, though only for five bikes, not all of them. Of those, the Comet and Yoshi Bike (which share stats) rule over all the rest. This high-risk, high-reward drifting style is tough to master, but it allows those with sufficient skill to spend most of the race at top speed. If your favorite style of racing is riding the razor’s edge of exhilarating victory and blistering defeat, these are the bikes for you.

5. Best Real-World Style: 300 SL Roadster

Mercedes-Benz has been one of the leading names in sports cars since such a designation has existed, and the 300 SL is one of their crowning achievements. It pioneered the vertically-opening gullwing door style. It dominated races for decades and was considered the very fastest model car of the 1950s. In 1999, German auto enthusiasts voted it as the “sports car of the century.”

Mercedes Collab in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

In a 2014 special collaboration, Mercedes-Benz partnered with Nintendo to bring three of its models into Mario Kart 8. Of the three, the 300 SL Roadster is the clear favorite. Solid stats across the board allow this classic racer to hold its own against any opponent, and to look amazing while doing so. Pair it with Mercedes’ GLA tires, and win your races with the utmost style and panache. For true car lovers, you just can’t do any better than this.

6. Best All-Arounder: B-Dasher

This classic kart design has long been a top-notch choice, ever since it was introduced as Mario’s personal ride on the cover art of Mario Kart DS. The B-Dasher was the first kart to ever adopt the sleek body style of a Formula One racer.

Its name is a sly reference to the button you’d hold to run in classic Mario platformers. Its stats have been adjusted over the various MK installments. It’s no longer the heavyweight it once was, but it has gained improvements in other regards. 

Mario Kart- Best Karts
Image: Nintendo via HGG / Dylan Platt

It’s still on the heavier side, giving you plenty of Weight for an aggressive driving style. It now has a very balanced set of stats, only truly lacking when it comes to Mini-Turbo. It shares identical stats with another kart, the P-Wing, which is a great-looking kart with some real Speed Racer vibes. However, the B-Dasher edges it out by virtue of its thin body. This gives you a significantly smaller hitbox on the course, and therefore an easier time dodging items and course obstacles. 

Join the High Ground

There you have it, racers — our picks for best karts in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Which one’s driven you to the most victories? Which picks do you want to toss a red shell at to clear the way for your preferred ride? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss any of our fantastic guides for Mario Kart and your other favorites!

Happy gaming!

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