HAIBOXING HBX 2997A RC Car Review: Is It Worth?

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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Get ready to feast your eyes on the exciting new release from budget RC brand HBX – the feature-packed 2997a 1/12 scale model. I recently got my hands on this slick new ride, and couldn’t wait to put it through some intense testing across multiple terrain types.

After hundreds of high-speed runs, huge air, and inevitable concrete crashes galore, I’m ready to deliver my full review. Does the 2996A live up to expectations? Will it displace the legendary 2996A?

Read on to find out!

Overview and Initial Impressions

As soon as I cracked open the box, it was clear HBX was stepping up their game with this release. Straight away I noticed the crisp white body shell, adorned with racing stripes and the cheeky “no wimps” rear decal. The clean look belies what lies underneath – a whole heap of upgrades specifically designed for versatility and durability.

Lifting the shell reveals a center differential, 45 amp ESC with cooling fan, aluminum steering rods, oil-filled shocks with extra-long travel and more. It was obvious HBX listened to consumers and prioritized key weak points plaguing predecessors.

Detailed Feature Rundown

Before we jump behind the controls, let’s break down the full specs:

Scale and Dimensions

  • 1/12 scale
  • Length: 14 inches
  • Width: 7 inches wheel to wheel
  • Height: 5 inches
  • Wheelbase: 9.25 inches

Drivetrain and Suspension

  • 4WD independent suspension
  • 4 oil-filled coilover shocks with rubber seals
  • Adjustable shock towers front and rear
  • Front and rear dogbone drive shafts
  • Enclosed center differential
  • Front and rear gear differentials
  • Dual rear vertically mounted bellcrank steering
  • Adjustable front camber
  • 11mm wheel hex and 64 pitch gears


  • 7.2v 2S 1800mah 25C LiPo battery x2
  • 45A waterproof ESC with cooling fan
  • 15T brushed motor
  • Digital, metal geared steering servo
  • 2.4Ghz 3 channel pistol grip transmitter

Additional Features

  • Metal suspension arms and steering linkage
  • 2 sets steering blocks and knuckles
  • Universal wheel hubs and nuts
  • Foam front and rear bumpers
  • Spare servo horns and rod ends
  • Authentic Falken Wildpeak decals
  • Clear polycarbonate body with wing

Testing Terrain and Conditions

To push the 2997a to its limits, I tested across 4 distinct environments in various weather conditions:

1. Backyard Obstacle Course

My homemade track incorporating soil, thick grass, gravel pits, steep dirt mounds and large patches of leaves put traction and ground clearance to the test.

2. Local Park

Open grass areas allowed testing of outright speed, with the occasional paved path to assess on-road grip. A winding downhill trail helped test composure at speed over bumpy terrain.

**3. Empty Parking Lot **

The expansive asphalt area enabled top speed runs in a straight line, donuts/burnouts, and harsh cornering on both wet and dry surfaces.

4. Skatepark

Wood and concrete ramps of varying size and angle provided opportunities to catch big air and test durability on harsh landings.

Testing occurred over a 2 week period in conditions ranging from 52°F to 98°F and dry to wet surfaces.

Benchmark Speed Testing

One key area of focus was assessing maximum speed potential:

2S Power

On 2S power, I clocked a top speed of 29 mph on a flat, straight paved stretch. This leverages the upgrades ESC and motor over the 2996a to deliver 3 extra mph whilst retaining good balance and control.

3S Power

Thanks to the beefed up 45A ESC, I was eager to test the limit on 3S power. Using a compatible 11.1v 3S 3000mah battery, top speed increased to a blistering 41 mph!

Whilst the car remains stable at this speed on flat ground, turning input requires smoothness and precision to avoid spinouts. Beginners should stick to 2S until handling skills improve.

Ride & Handling

The 2997a chassis strikes a nice balance between responsive cornering and composure across uneven surfaces. Compared to earlier HBX models which were either too rigid or too softly sprung, the optimized suspension geometry soaks up bumps whilst retaining crisp turn-in.

Throttle & Steering

Low speed throttle control is exceptionally smooth thanks to the center differential. Power delivery distributes evenly to all wheels for superior traction. Minimal torque steering also makes correcting slides simpler.

The dual bellcrank steering setup offers quick ratio movements enabling nimble direction changes. The kit servo has ample torque for big 1/12 scale tires yet doesn’t overwhelm at speed.


The 2997a jumps with aplomb thanks to the low center of gravity chassis, extended shock travel and firm damping. Gentle trigger input pre-jump followed by leveling mid-air results in flatlandings.

Cyclic inputs provoke effortless front or rear flips. And the foam bumpers proved resilient to nose dives and other heavy landings during testing.


To evaluate durability, I deliberately drove the 2997a at full throttle into curbs, off concrete drops and aimed for high side-impact landings after big jumps. Here’s an overview of components that broke and survived during testing:

Broken Parts

  • Servo horn (replaced with metal upgrade)
  • Cooling fan shroud
  • Chassis brace mount (replaced with larger metal brace)
  • Lower shock spring retainer post
  • One steering rod bent but remained functional

Survived Unbroken

  • Metal turnbuckles and drive shaft joints
  • Plastic steering knuckles and camber links
  • Shock damper bodies, caps and springs
  • Primary chassis structure and bulkheads
  • Front and rear gear diffs
  • Motor and ESC internals

I even belly slammed directly into a concrete curb at over 30mph which shattered the front bumper and body shell, yet the primary chassis remained intact with no suspension damage either.

Whilst the odd failure from heavy crashes is expected, there were no spontaneous breakages under normal use. Overall durability is impressive for a budget 1/12 scale model.


  • Huge speed increase over previous 2S HBX cars
  • 3S power capability out the box
  • Low cost for spec level
  • Center diff aids traction and control
  • Handling balance works across conditions
  • Suspension soaks up big jumps smoothly
  • Highly durable chassis and running gear


  • Weak plastic servo horn
  • Cooling fan shroud prone to damage
  • Thicker body more brittle than old HBX shells
  • Lipo battery strap too short for some 3S

Upgrades and Modifications

Whilst strong out the box, the following upgrades take performance and durability to the next level:

Hop Ups

  • Metal steering servo horn (+$7)
  • Aluminum chassis brace ($15)
  • Bearings for all suspension joints ($20)
  • 10000 40C 2S LiPo battery ($60)

Body Shell

Fit a thicker 2.5mm polycarbonate shell ($30) then tape up vulnerabile sections around mounting posts. Consider reinforcing the inside with fiberglass cloth ($10) if aiming for extreme jumps.

Tire Compounds

The kit tires work well across loose and hard surfaces. For optimized grip, fit radial tires up front and dots out back ($50). Or try belted tires for longer life ($55).

Final Verdict

If you’re seeking an affordable gateway into high performance RC cars, look no further than the HBX 2997a. The glorious top speed paired with strong handling strikes a perfect balance for first-time enthusiasts. Yet it retains enough customization potential to still be fun for veterans.

For under $200 RTR the 2997a outperforms any rival model from Traxxas, Redcat, Arrma or other big name players. This is undoubtedly the new benchmark for ready-to-run 1/12 vehicles.

The durable chassis and electronics should handle years of backyard bashing or parking lot racing with minimal upkeep. Novices can rip right out the box on 2S power, then grow into the sheer exhilaration of 40mph+ on 3S batteries with some practice.

In my eyes the minor plastic weaknesses do little to detract from the whole package – an absolute riot of an RC car that looks, drives and jumps awesome for the dollars.

Whether you’re compelled by raw power or value, the HBX 2997a deserves your consideration. This hard-charging speed demon earns a big recommendation!

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Written By Daniel Henderson

My name is Daniel Henderson and I'm an avid FPV pilot and videographer. I've been flying quadcopters for over 5 years and have tried just about every drone and FPV product on the market. When not flying quads, you can find me mountain biking, snowboarding, or planning my next travel adventure.

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