JJRC Q39 Highlander (In-Depth Review)

The JJRC Q39 Highlander is a car or buggy that offers plenty of fun and thrills for so little. To be exact, it costs just $70 shipped at GearBest but sports some features that you’d find on more expensive $200 RC cars.

If you’re looking for RC cars with great value, the Highlander is certainly worth checking out. It may not have premium features such as a metal chassis, oil-filled shock absorbers or a brushless motor but what it does have is proportional steering and throttle control which greatly improves your driving experience. Cheaper sub-$60 RC cars do not feature proportional control and this means the throttle can be either maximum or zero, there are no in-betweens. This certainly does not mimic the performance of a real car.

With the Highlander, a gentle press of the gun-type controller will cause it to move slowly. The deeper you press the throttle trigger, the faster it starts to travel. Besides proportional control, the Highlander also features four-wheel drive, spring suspension and off-road rubber tires. Its 4WD and the 1kg of torque generated by its brushed motor also means it is great for rampaging off-road tracks at high speeds or negotiating technically difficult terrain or climbs. It can also drift if you drive it on slippery surfaces.

Product Highlights
  • Proportional steering and throttle control
  • Brushed motors (with pre-installed heat sink)
  • Four-wheel drive
  • 35km/h maximum speed
  • 15 minutes drive time
  • 1kg motor torque
  • 7.4V 1500mAh Li Po battery
  • 2.5 hours charge time
  • Independent suspension
  • 2.4GHz gun-type controller
  • LED light holders pre-installed
  • Realistic rubber tires
  • Automatic motor overheat shutdown
  • Automatic power shutdown when not in use
  • Spare tire and mount included
Design and Build Quality

To keep costs down, the Highlander is made mostly of plastic. Specifically, the main material here is nylon which is great for absorbing impact and shock. Nylon is very tough, durable and flexes under load — the perfect material to use for an RC buggy that was designed to withstand aggressive off-road driving. The Highlander’s body fairings are also made of nylon and feature a glossy surface with graphics.

Overall, the Highlander is quite well built for a $70 toy car. It also features LED light holders on the roof and at the front. However, LED lights are not supplied and you’ll need to purchase them separately.

One issue I have with these light holders is that their grill covers tend to come off very easily. If you’re going to drive fast over rough terrain then make sure you either secure these covers properly with cable ties or simply remove them. Since they’re black and small, it is very easy to lose them on grassy fields.

Alternatively, you can also purchase complete LED light systems that have better quality. They’re typically available for about $10 or less.

Driving Performance

The Highlander has pretty decent driving performance for a $70 RC car. It boasts a motor that generates up to 1kg of torque and 4WD and these are reasons why throttle control feels very responsive on the Highlander. It is eager to accelerate and can sometimes pull wheelies on slightly inclined surfaces. With a top speed of 35kmh and good traction from its 4WD, the Highlander has impressive performance for someone upgrading from cheaper sub-$50 RC cars. With the supplied 7.4V 1500mAh Li Po battery, the Highlander has a drive time of about 15 minutes.

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One issue I have with the Highlander is that it tends to overheat if you drive it too slow. This tends to happen indoors at home where there is usually less space to drive fast continuously at high speeds to keep the airflow around the motor up to help dissipate heat more efficiently. The motor does come fitted with a cheap heat sink but that’s all there is for cooling. It does not even come with a cooling fan for the heat sink but then again this is a $70 RC car after all.

When the motor overheats, the Highlander will automatically shut down its power to protect the motor from burning out. Only the steering will function. Motor power is restored once it has cooled down to a certain temperature.

Conclusion

The JJRC Q39 Highlander offers plenty of value for those who want an RC car that has some of the key features found in models that cost significantly more. These features include proportional control for the steering and throttle and independent suspension. Being a $70 RC car, the Highlander lacks metal parts for some key components and overall quality is what you’d expect to find in a sub-$100 model. It does not like to be driven slow and tends to overheat when there isn’t enough airflow around its motor.

However, driving it fast is where the fun is and the Highlander’s 1kg of torque and four-wheel drive makes it a lot of fun to zip around. It is also quite durable and can take plenty of abuse thanks to its nylon parts. It is a great option to consider if you’re upgrading from cheaper sub-$50 RC cars. The JJRC Q39 Highlander is now available at GearBest for just $68.99 shipped. Click here for more details.

Now for a limited time only, GearBest is offering the Highlander for just $64.99 with coupon codeĀ JJRCMA.



JJRC Q39 Highlander

JJRC Q39 Highlander
8

Affordability

10/10

Reliability

8/10

Drive Performance

8/10

Drive Time

8/10

Build Quality

7/10

Pros

  • Proportional control for steering and throttle
  • Affordable for an RC car with proportional control
  • Four-wheel drive
  • 1kg of motor torque
  • Independent suspension

Cons

  • Tends to overheat when driven slow
  • LED light grill covers can pop off easily
  • Brushed motor (not as durable as brushless)

Adrin Sham

Adrin Sham is a designer and photographer turned drone enthusiast. Since buying a drone for aerial photography some years ago, he has since developed a passion for UAVs and all things related.

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