Hot Wheels Unleashed features dozens of virtual renditions of faithfully recreated model cars. These range from classics like the Twin Mill, to the Hot Wheels editions of licensed vehicles from manufacturers like Dodge, Audi, Fiat and more.
While the game does start you off with a decent handful of vehicles, getting new ones and making adjustments to each car in your collection is all up to you from there on out. Here’s how that all works.
Hot Wheels Unleashed upgrade guide
Currency building: Every time you complete a race in Hot Wheels Unleashed (even if you just jump into a single quick race on your own), you’ll net some Gold Coins. These are skimpily awarded, so it can become a bit of a grind to build up enough to make a purchase. Cars start at 500 gold coins at the low-end, with some rarer vehicles costing in the thousands.
Car lot: Purchases can be made outright from the Limited-Time Deal menu. There, five vehicles are put up on offer for four in-game hours (you have to actually have the game running for the counter to reset). Once time passes, the list will be refreshed. This is both the most direct way to get a car you want, but is also a shot in the dark since the list is randomly generated.
The slightly less annoying way to get cars is by buying Blind Boxes, which always cost 500 coins. These lootbox-style chests contain a random car; sometimes they’re even awarded at the end of a race (in the campaign mode). Unfortunately, you run the annoyingly high chance of getting a car you already own. In situations where you have multiples of the same vehicle, it’s time to visit the Collection menu.
The garage of Hot Wheels Unleashed: The Collection menu allows you to take a gander at all of your vehicles, star your favorites, and change the livery of each (once you create or download custom ones). But, you can also either sell a car or have it dismantled, to salvage its Gears. Gears are then used to upgrade stats on other vehicles. They’re also awarded at the end of campaign races, but again, not very generously.
While it’s good to be able to make efficient use of repeated vehicles, the implementation of this system is odd. Some vehicles can be sold and/or dismantled, but not all. You can even have two of the same vehicles side-by-side and neither provide those options. From what I could find, it seems to be that if a car is given to you from the start, you can only upgrade it. So, cars that are earned through the Blind Boxes seem to be the ones that can be sold/upgraded. However, this could also just be a bug in the current build. Either way, the game doesn’t explain why there’s a difference at all.
Stat stacking: Vehicle stats in Hot Wheels Unleashed are broken up into five categories: Speed, Braking Power, Acceleration, Handling and Boost. The ones that truly need explaining are braking power, handling and boost.
Braking power and handling kind of go hand-in-hand, as you need to make precise use of the brake in order to pull off good drifts. Thus, the vehicle’s handling determines how hard it is to maneuver, especially with more technical tricks such as drifting. Finally, Boost upgrades come in the form of making the tank bigger, or changing the boosting mechanism. There are two of such mechanisms in the game: ring boost and gauge boost. You can learn the ins-and-outs of the two in our boosting guide.