Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hit the streets over ten years ago in 2004. The game was much bigger than its predecessors, allowing players to explore three different cities and the rural areas between them. Set in the 1990s, players could drive around town looking for rival gang members or just to grab a bite to eat while jamming to NWA, Eazy-E, and 2Pac. While Vice City drew obvious inspiration from films like Scarface, San Andreas took a page from the book of classics like Menace II Society, Colors, and New Jack City.
San Andreas was the perfect blend of narrative and gameplay. Not to mention it was the first time a GTA game added role-playing elements such as the need to eat food or workout to stay in shape. Whether your CJ rocked a fresh fade or looked like he woke up on the wrong side of a barn, one thing was certain, he committed crimes. After all, isn’t that what GTA is all about?
Everyone knows if you prefer to live on the wrong side of the justice, then you need a reliable car. Hell, not just reliable but fast enough to evade the long arm of the law after a drive-by. How do you tell the difference between the good cars and the ones that will land you in the slammer? Don’t worry! We did the work for you. Here are eight cars that deserve a spot in your garage and seven you should abandon.
15 Best: Banshee
The Banshee is a Grand Theft Auto staple. The Dodge Viper lookalike made its debut in GTA III and has been in every game since then. With a top speed of 124 mph, the mid-sized sports car is one of the fastest in the game, making it the perfect getaway vehicle during a high-speed chase.
That is if the player is skilled enough to handle it around corners. Simply slamming on the gas or braking incorrectly can cause the back of the car to skid from side to side. There are few modifications (colors, wheels, nitrous, and hydraulics) that can be made to the Banshee, and none of them address a driver lacking skill.
But don't worry. Even if the car does spin out while on the run, at least you will look cool as it happens.
14 Worst: Perennial
The 4-door Perennial bears a striking resemblance to the Chevy Nova station wagon from the early ‘60s—with a just a touch of Fiat from the same era. It doesn’t look like the type of car you would use to paint the town red, and it certainly doesn’t drive like one. While it handles okay, its slow acceleration and speed make it a pain to drive.
In addition, it is easy to oversteer in this front-wheel drive family car, which can cause it to rollover. Luckily, this car is actually quite hardy and unlikely to blow up as a result. However, with so much slipping and sliding, it's only a matter of time before the damage takes it toll and forces you to find a better car.
13 Best: Bullet
The Bullet is a bit of an anomaly. It resembles the Ford GT but debuted in the game over ten years before its release. Someone get Doc Brown on the phone; we have to go back to the future and fix this.
Back to the Future jokes aside, the Bullet is one of the best cars in the game if you can find it. It may actually be faster than a speeding bullet. Its acceleration, braking, and handling are also top notch, making it a fun car to take out for a joy ride, a crime-filled night, or a race.
The only real drawback to this amazing speedster is the amount of damage it takes upon impact. However, even at high speeds, the lightweight Bullet doesn’t sacrifice controllability, making crashes a rarity.
12 Worst: Manana
Before it became the luxury coupe (or convertible) reminiscent of such gems as the ‘68 Cadillac Eldorado in more recent iterations of the franchise, it was a boxy, 2-door, undesirable thing found on the streets of San Andreas. It is not the car you want to hijack when you have two wanted stars and need to get away quickly. In fact, you are better off trying to evade the cops on foot.
Okay, maybe the Manana isn’t that bad. After all, it corners well, right? Well, yes it does—because it is unbelievably slow. It only reaches a top speed of 74 mph! That’s not even enough to get back to the future, let alone to win a race or avoid getting busted.
All of its other performance stats are mediocre at best. Sure it can be upgraded, but why waste your hard-earned dollars on such a pitiful specimen?
11 Best: Phoenix
Manufactured by Imponte, based on the now defunct Pontiac, in the game, the Phoenix is a 2-door monster packing that sweet American muscle. It doesn’t take a car enthusiast to see that its design was inspired by the ‘79–’81 Pontiac Firebird. Like the other bests on this list, the Phoenix is quick and handles excellently. It handles so well, in fact, that you can drive it off-road, where it performs better than many of the SUVs in the game.
The other reason the Phoenix is so great is that it has a vast amount of customization options. Spoilers, vents, hydraulics, exhaust, nitrous, you name it, and Transfender will deliver. If you have the coin, you can even slap on a set of off-road tires for the next time you need to take a quick detour to the paint shop.
10 Worst: Blade
It isn’t San Andreas without lowriders bouncing up and down the streets of the San Fierro Rifa’s turf. The two-door, open-top Blade is one of a handful or lowriders in San Andreas that are available to players. Unfortunately, even though it looks cool—resembling the iconic ‘65 and ‘68 Chevrolet Impalas— it is one of the worst in the game.
Don’t get me wrong, it accelerates fast enough and is quick for a lowrider. However, it is difficult to handle at higher speeds due to its significant oversteer. Decisions to make a last minute turn result or even a slight nick result in an immediate loss of control. Oh, and don’t even think about turning off the road in desperation. You will find yourself busted beside an overturned car.
9 Best: Cheetah
The Cheetah is manufactured by Grotti, a luxury manufacturer based on Ferrari, so you know it not only performs wells but is stylish to boot. It is only natural that its design would resemble the sexy Ferrari 512TR Testarossa, which was produced from 1991–1994. This rear-wheel-drive beauty boasts a powerful V12 engine, which gives it a huge speed boost—reaching a top speed of 132 mph!
It also has superior braking and handling, and due to its low suspension, it corners easily at higher speeds. With the way it hugs the road as it moves, the Cheetah is unlikely to spin out of control or rollover. So next time you see one spawn, jump in the passenger and prepare for a wild but smooth ride—unless you are trying to pick up prostitutes. There just isn’t enough room for that.
8 Worst: Savanna
The Savanna is your standard four-door, convertible lowrider. Like the Blade, its design is based on the Chevrolet Impala but from a different year—1963! It certainly isn’t the worst car in the game, as its speed, acceleration, and braking are decent. The biggest problem with this lowrider is its poor cornering. Its bulky size and responsive brakes are a recipe for disaster, resulting in a loss of control when making sudden turns.
This car is only good for a handful of things: the lowrider challenge, drive-bys, and driving around your homies. Of course, even in a drive-by scenario, this car might let you down. A shot to the rear license plate is all it takes to cause your car to explode and leave you stranded in enemy territory.
I hope you brought your running shoes.
7 Best: Infernus
The Infernus debuted in Grand Theft Auto III and has been in all but one game since then. Its design resembles the 1990–1995 Honda NSX and the Cizeta V16T (the Cizeta company’s sole car). This 2-door supercar is the fastest in the game, and due to its all-wheel drive, it grips the road beautifully. There’s just one small problem—well actually four. Its small wheels make the car prone to understeer. Watch out while braking at higher speeds, as the wheels tend to lock up.
Other than that minor hiccup, the Infernus won’t let you down. It is not only powerful but makes for a great stunt car, as well. If you think you can master this beast of a car, hang around in the Paradiso district until one crosses your path.
6 Worst: Walton
Everyone loves old pickup trucks, right? Well, not this one. The Walton is a 2-door pickup that resembles a 1955 Chevrolet Task Force, or the truck collecting dust in your great uncle’s backyard. All you have to do is look at it to know that it will disappoint you.
This boring oldie is sluggish due to its weight and size, with acceleration and speed that are below average. If you are up for a challenge, try taking it up a hill. Watching it struggle to chug up any steep incline is liable to make rip your hair out.
If you to spend all of your time on flat land or off-road, then maybe you could make do. As for the rest of us, we’ll leave this truck back at the ranch where it belongs.
5 Best: Turismo
Here we have yet another gorgeous speedster based on a Ferrari—the F40 to be exact. The Turismo is a 2-door, all-wheel-drive superstar that is just as capable off-road as it is on it. Not to mention the ladies love a well-dressed man cruising around town in one of these bad boys (translation: a major boost to your 'appeal').
The Turismo is fast and handles well, but like the Infernus, it is prone to a slight understeer. However, you are unlikely to notice over the hum of the engine as you masterfully hit corner after corner. Just be sure to be careful while committing crimes. The Turismo is fast but also fragile. If the FBI is out searching for you, it might be time to pull over and seek out a more durable alternative.
4 Worst: Clover
Combine the ‘68 and ‘69 Oldsmobile Cutlass and what you are left with is the Clover. That’s right; this car is another example of pure American muscle. Unfortunately, unlike the Phoenix, this rundown, mess of a car isn’t worth writing home about. I mean, it has mismatched colors for crying out loud. The Clover has obviously been in project car purgatory for at least 20 years.
The Clover has good handling, acceleration, and speed, however, the engine is overpowered, which makes it susceptible to recurring burnout and fishtailing. It is rear-wheel-drive, but the engine sits at the front of the car, making it a terrible choice when you need speed on a rainy day. On top of all this, the car is so poorly made that once you’ve lost traction and sustained damage, it is likely to go up in flames.
3 Best: Sultan
One look at the boxy Sultan and becomes clear that its design is based on the Subaru Impreza WRX (or its rival the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) from the early ‘90s. It may be small but don’t let its size fool you, for it is mighty and the fastest 4-door in the game.
The Sultan handles nicely thanks to its all-wheel-drive, which makes it nearly impossible to lose control of the car (no spin outs here). Whether off-road or cross country, the Sultan can handle it all, and with its turbocharged engine, it has just enough pizazz to keep players interested. This is an especially good car for beginners or those who can’t handle the intense speed of many of the other cars on this list.
2 Worst: Super GT
The Super GT is a 2-door supercar that looks like a ‘93 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT from the front and a ‘92 Toyota Supra from the side. As one of the most expensive cars to import in the game, you would expect it to be among the top performers on this list. Unfortunately, despite its glamorous look, the Super GT just doesn’t live up to the hype.
It’s fast and has superb acceleration, but what makes this superstar one of the worst is its lackluster handling. Even when moving at a snail’s pace, the Super GT fishtails while turning and spins out with the slightest tap. There is no point in having a fast car if it is undrivable.
You would think with all the accidents that are bound to happen, that the manufacturer would at least make it durable. Well, they didn’t. A feather could total this piece of junk.
1 Best: Comet
Based on the Porsche 911 from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the Comet is an all-wheel-drive, 2-door sports car with excellent handling, braking, acceleration, and speed. Fishtailing and loss of traction are out of the question, even when cornering at high speeds, thanks to the AWD gods on high. In fact, the car is so stable you probably couldn’t even drift it if you wanted to. Unlike the Clover, it won’t even spin out on slippery roads, so feel free to take it for a spin on a rainy day.
I don’t know about you, but if I had a car as great as this one, I would try my luck down at the races. You never know, you just might win. If not, at least you got some driving practice in.