Mini 1/18th-scale trucks may be cute, but a good lot of them will do more than look good decorating your shelves. Priced on the low end of the scale with ample power and impressive acceleration, these five can deliver more fun than their tiny frames will initially suggest.
Note: As always, this list is one opinion that you can take into account, rather than an absolute rating of the best the platform has to offer.
A 4WD stadium truck with a Super 280 motor, the Associated RC18T is a surprisingly fast indoor performer. Heck, it's faster than some 1/10th scales I've ran and the handling is tremendous. It clears jump and corners easily, with durability to spare. While it will break if you slam hard on a wall, it has withstood more abuse than most any other 1/18th-scale I've seen. There's huge aftermarket support too, with plenty of inexpensive but effective upgrades. It's a bad truck for dirt and grass (everything gets in the drivetrain), but for more even tracks, this will always be the truck to beat.
While this is just an average 1/18th scale out of the box, a few hop-ups should get the 2WD truck performing at a very high-level, especially since it has very generous aftermarket support. With good oil shocks, a 7.2v battery pack, ball bearings, and steel pinion and counter gears, you'll notice an insane difference in performance. This is a great buy if you're willing to let the truck grow on you (i.e you customize it), but there are better options if you want to go stock.
Schumacher A-Tech Mini Monster
Don't have a lot of money, want solid off-road thrills? The A-Tech Mini Monster should fit the bill. It's not crazy fast (about 19mph max on the stock motor), but steering and handling are exceptional (save for the fact that it can be pretty bouncy), making it a joy to drive on dirt, grass and even rocks. There are a number of available upgrades (Fireball motor, 7-cell battery, bearings, wheelies and more), which can really change the way it drives. When it comes to doing wheelies, durability and off-road performance, I haven't found anything priced similarly that actually beats it.
Losi Mini LST
Despite the 1/18th scale, the Mini LST (now on version 2) has that awesome "monster truck show" look down pat. Designed for the off-road, it handles itself gorgeously on dirt, grass and sand, but has stock tires that are just plain too soft for concrete and asphalt. Speed is great (you can push the Dual Frenzy-370 motors hard with some gearing changes), but you will tend to hold back because the handling isn't perfect, especially on the road. Rolling over during high-speed turns isn't unheard of, especially while you're still learning to work with the vehicle. It can handle jumps and obstacles well (especially with such a high ground clearance), but make sure to put higher weight oil in the shocks. With a little tweaking, even with stock parts, this can be a thoroughly enjoyable truck.
Duratrax Mini Quake
A great monster truck, especially the SE version, the Duratrax Mini Quake is a powerful 4WD monster truck with great acceleration and handling both on and off road. Because of the huge clearance and eight oil-filled shocks, it can drive through just about anything, even while going at high speed (it tops out at 17mph on the stock motor). Component quality is topnotch, giving it impressive durability. Even when you end up breaking parts, the aftermarket support is pretty good too.