And like so many of these questions, the answer is... it depends.
There are three cars considered meta in Rocket League esports the Octane, Dominus and Batmobile, but as we have seen from FC Barcelonaâ€™s Hhrant â€œFlakesâ€ Yacoub in recent weeks any car can be meta in the right hands.
But that is not to say there isnâ€™t a reason for why people gravitate to the three aforementioned cars and in this guide we will layout the reasons for that and what you should consider when deciding on what car is best for you.
You need to know your hitboxes
Back when Rocket League was released in 2015, nearly every car had its own unique properties. From the hit-box to the turning radius each car moved and reacted with the world differently.
That changed though when Psyonix created a class system for the cars standardizing the turning radiuses and hitboxes. The turning radiance is now very similar across all cars but with hitboxes, there is still a marked difference.
And if all this talk of hitboxes is confusing you donâ€™t worry its an easy concept to grasp.
Essentially the car that we can see in-game is just an approximate of where the carâ€™s model (read: hitbox) actually begins and ends. The hitbox is used to calculate collisions with every other in-game object whether that be the ball, other cars or the map. Sometimes the hitbox doesnâ€™t match up exactly with the cars visible size and shape.
The standardized hit-box classes are Octane, Dominus, Plank, Breakout, and Hybrid. Every car in the game is one of these five classes, however, some cars better represent their actual hitboxes and it is one of the reasons people pick one over the other.
You can see a list of all the cars and what hitbox class they use on the Rocket League website.
This is the standard Octane using the Octane hitbox. The hitbox accurately maps to the car model meaning it is easier to judge when your car will actually hit the ball. What you can see is not different from the reality.
Compare this to the Takumi. The top of the hitbox is markedly higher and wider than the top of the car's model. This can make it hard to accurately hit the ball.
Now with the slightly sciency bit out the way let's look at the best cars to use in competitive Rocket League.
Take note we aren't covering the Breakout or Hybrid as these two cars almost never appear in high-level Rocket League - their attributes simply make them unviable.
Undoubtedly the most popular car in competitive Rocket League and that's maybe because it is the first car you get access to. We are, of course, creatures of habit. But even if you aren't using the Octane car you may well be using its hitbox as there are over 19 cars that utilize the most popular car in the game's attributes.
The Octane is a good all-rounder with the class being considered to be one of the best "all-purpose" hitboxes, being relatively middle of the pack statistics wise. It does have one stand out attribute and that is the height of the hitbox, it's the tallest in the game, making it ideal for dribbles on the ground and 50/50s
- The accurate hit-box representation allows players to make more consistent touches on the ball.
- Its middle of the pack attributes makes it a jack of all trades.
- It holds the ball higher from the ground when dribbling, making it easier to turn with the ball without dropping it.
- The tallest hit-box class. The Octane blocks more of the ball on kick-offs and 50-50s.
- The Octane's hitbox is shorter(in length) than most meaning you will lose out to touch the ball against flat cars like the Dominus.
- Taller hitbox gives opponents a bigger target for demolitions.
- Lesser turning radius compared to Dominus and Batmobile
Notable cars that use the Octane hitbox: Fennec, Octane, Scarab, Takumi, Vulcan
Used by: Garrett "GarrettG" Gordon
The Dominus was introduced in a DLC and quickly became a viable car in Rocket League esports and arguably the most popular for the trick shotting community. The reasons for its popularity are the accurate hitbox to car model and its long and flat nature which allows users to be precise with their touches. It has the greatest surface area of any hitbox which is mostly spread across its length and width making it a virtual "paddle" for players to hit the ball with.
- Paddle-like shape helps to hit clean and hard strikes.
- Hard corners make it consistent in its use.
- Will lose out to the Octane in 50/50s due to its lower height.
- The front of the hitbox doesn't accurately match the car model.
Notable cars that use the Dominus: DeLorean, Dominus, Dominus GT, Ecto-1
Used by: Remco â€œremkoeâ€ den Boer
The Batmobile is not quite the same as a "Plank" car but has its own unique hitbox, one which has made it meta in the world of Rocket League esports.
The Batmobile hitbox is the flattest, widest and second-longest in the game this allows players to flick the ball with incredible accuracy and power and has given rise to what some call the "Batmobile flick".
- Long hitbox means you can outreach opponents cars in ariels.
- Long body means flicks can be hit with power
- As a goalkeeper, you can block more of the goal with the long and wide hitbox.
Notable cars that use the Plank: Paladin, Mantis, '16 Batmobile
Used by: Francesco â€œkuxir97â€ Cinquemani
Choosing the right BattleCar for you
Choosing the right car in Rocket League is not an exact science. Each has its advantages and ultimately it comes down to how you feel at the wheel of each car.
Rocket League is such a confidence game that only you will know what one makes you feel like you can hit that shot, pull off that dribble, or tip an opponents shot away from the goal.
A good way to get a feel for cars and to improve your overall game is to use training packs designed to improve your shooting, dribbling and defending. These will present you scenarios and give you the time to hone your skills that you won't always get in a regular game.