Forza Horizon 4 is such an incredibly customisable game that to say anything is underrated is purely subjective. Sure there’s some things we think could be better than the 20+ Chevrolet’s (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen 20 Chevrolet’s outside of an American car show) but each car can become something so great with a little TLC that nothing is underrated. Even the Peel P50 actually has a practical use in getting bonus boards in tight places.
But there are some that are truly underrated and a big part of that is the addition of the individual car skill trees. So often has it been easy to look at a car as a dirt racing car, or a track car and leave it as that. Now, however, there’s a added purpose to each car and it can completely mix up where a cars positives lie.
With that said, here are five cars I’ve found so far that I consider to be a bit underrated. With over 450 cars available before DLC, there’s a lot and this is by no means exhaustive. So if you have any of your own experiences and cars that you think I’ve missed, then feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Porsche 959 Rally Raid
OK, so this car was recently added and maybe it isn’t that underrated. But just hear me out here as it’s bloody amazing. An all rounder for the ages - That’s right, I said “all-rounder”. Of course the car most famous for the Paris Dakar rally will naturally lend itself to dirt and jumps. But because of this, this car is a skill munching machine in Forza Horizon 4.
The car is so well balanced as stock that you can sling this thing around anything with speed, with control and you can plan a good two checkpoints in advance, drop a gear (I use manual shift even on a controller and believe me it’s worth it) and start your turn to clip the inside. And that’s not just on dirt.
The skill tree for the car will give you the option of a ten use influence boost to Road Racing events and this car will not only dominate them but it will reimburse you with skill points like it’s going out of fashion. If you can get this car, do so and don’t just limit it to its dirty past.
This car suffers by not even being the second best sporty Hyundai in my approximation. I’m a Hyundai owner myself and while I have a rather nice i30, I dream of the day I can turn that into an i30 N.
While it’s not that, the Veloster has been a recent prestige Forza hot hatch for the last year or so, debuting as a car in general through Forza Motorsport 7 and deserves a look. It’s much more interesting than the standard Ford Focus you’re gifted at the start and if you’re still buying a Golf as a choice after four Horizon games then you aren’t adventurous enough.
Another car with an influence boost for road racing, it’s an easy car to max out a skill tree for and it’s fun to drive. It’s slightly heavy, which means you can play with the balance of the car as you turn or slide without having the rear end come back round. It gives you as a driver something to do, which many of the game’s hot hatches do not.
Acura NSX 2017
When you’re smashing your car up and down the coast road or the motorway in your pre-order McLaren Senna or early reward Aston Martin Vulcan, think to yourself “could I be doing this in another car?” You’ll find the obvious answer is yes.
While the NSX cars of old, from 1992 and 2005, are under the Honda banner, the most recent addition to the NSX line falls under the American luxury badge, but don’t let that fool you. This hybrid 7 speed beast is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
It’s an S1 car as stock, which means it falls in with many of the Ferrari’s, McLaren’s and big GT-esque road cars. Style wise it keeps that classic NSX shape while also borrowing heavy from the front of a Lykan Hypersport, without going to far like the Lamborghini does. But the best thing is, because it isn’t as fast as those cars, is that you can smash it down the slightly twisty fast coastal road with a bit more easy without having to slow. It takes control and the skill tree takes more work but it’s worth it.
Honda S2000 CR
With the advent of the Formula Drift pack and the several customisable and tail happy cars without Hoonigan stickers all over them, this JDM classic (I say classic but the S2000 CR is only from 2008) might not get as much of a look in.
Much like other smaller cars in the game, it has an incredibly small skill tree and is positioned for Road Race bonuses. But all this and all the drift zones aside, this car is just an adorable punch in the fun centre of your sternum,
The naturally aspirated 2L engine sounds raspy and fun, like when you first hear your own motorbike derestricted. As you power down the road, you can see the spoiler flapping in the turbulence. It’s great. However it has big tires. The car will either try to correct your drift or grip too much and scrub all your speed and momentum so you might want to tinker with it.
McLaren 720S Coupe
Look, no one here is going to say “oh poor McLaren,” but hear me out. I actually passed one of these cars a few days ago as it pulled out on a roundabout, bullying the road with its pace to really throw everyone’s roundabout timing off. And if you’ve got this car, then you can do whatever you want.
Sure the McLaren Senna is going to get all the plaudits and front page and of course that’s deservedly so. But this car, a new car for 2018 is just very simple scary pace and breakneck steering. Even in the cockpit view, it’s so minimal. One dash screen which shows the refs, speed and gear in a thin strip. Everything about this is refind down to do just one thing - kick the crap out of your internal organs with g-force.
It isn’t the headline grabber this year but it certainly isn’t a slouch by any stretch. If you want those fast runs, those speed traps and long run-up jumps, this could be the car for you. Except in winter. I don’t think many hypercars really enjoyed the winter.