Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Review – New Adventures, Cool Cars & Fond Memories

FH5 Hot Wheels Expansion Pack 1
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
New Cars
Fun Track Builds
Arcade-Style Play
Long Load Times
Not Ideal for Hardcore Sim Racers
Get The Forza Horizon 5: Expansions Bundle

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The much-hyped Hot Wheels expansion pack for Forza Horizon 5 is finally here. Like the two expansions for Horizon 4, the Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels expansion adds considerable real estate to the already huge Horizon 5 landscape, along with a unique series of adventures and challenges and a whole slew of new cars.

Before we dig into the new cars, let’s look at what the How Wheels expansion does (and does not) bring to the table. First off, it’s a giant new area situated just to the northwest of the current Horizon 5 map set in Mexico. It turns out that Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is larger than all of Forza Horizon 3!

Like previous expansions in the Horizon series, this can only be accessed by loading the expansion, so, unfortunately, you can’t just go down an unused dirt road and drive into the Hot Wheels area. Loading takes a long time, but that’s understandable as soon as you get there.

Brings Back Memories!

Like the toys and tracks we used to play with as kids, the Hot Wheels expansion in Horizon can and will go all over the place. It worked like this when we were kids: You clamp the start waaaaay up here on the side of this mountain (the couch), then have it curve through here (the TV stand), then straight up through there (the bookshelf). We might have to brace something with dad’s 3rd place bowling trophy, but we’ll put that back before he gets home, honest. If we can get the bookshelf part setup, we can pick up speed for the big loop around the dog bed!

With the Hot Wheels expansion pack for Forza Horizon 5, you get to indulge in these fun memories once again. It’s just like the tracks we used to build, only this time it’s set over jungles, mountains, and active lava flows rather than the living room.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Gameplay

And, as you would expect, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is only believable in that sense. For people like me, it’s fun to do setup tweaks to real-world cars (as many as your heart desires!) and race them for hours on end. Although not as sharp and realistic as Forza Motorsports, it’s pretty darn close. For those less interested in simulating the real world and just having fun, Horizon works that way too. You can, if you so desire, do more arcade-style driving: huge jumps, smashing giant piñatas, crushing bowling pins, and the like are there to keep you entertained.

If you can do either within Horizon, you can pretty much only do the arcade stuff in the Hot Wheels expansion. Sure, there are head-to-head races, but there are also jumps, obstacles, tricks, and stunts to accomplish. Everything is much gamier and less sim-like if you follow me – although many of the same physics that apply to the tarmac of Horizon 5 apply to the ribbon of orange plastic that is the Hot Wheels expansion pack.

In addition to helping you get a feel for the Hot Wheels expansion, various early tasks and achievements give you a bit of a tutorial in Hot Wheels lore and history. A rather nice one is called Hot Wheels: A History of Speed. As your drive around, Horizon gives you the background on individual Hot Wheels cars that are now available to drive.

However, there’s a lot of artistic license going on. For one thing, you can keep the throttle mashed 90 percent of the time. This is a Hot Wheels track, which means a broad U-shaped “road” with curbs about two feet high. You can’t fly off the track (or at least I didn’t intentionally try), but brushing the retaining wall does slow you down. So, try to drive clean if you want to win. A new Stunt Steering assist feature also helps with tilted or inverted track pieces.

The same camera views are selectable here, from in-car (my general choice) to on-dash to the bumper cam and the always popular trailing behind. There are also ways to hit super high velocities (I pinged 300 mph at one point) with motion blur for an added sense of speed. G-Forza has been added to the HUD display too. This is an artificial horizon-like G force meter that helps you navigate extreme banking and vertical loops. The jury seems to be out on its overall usefulness (at least so far via online forums), and it didn’t really aid my driving all that much.

Meanwhile, the Hot Wheels Park Tour is a mission-based achievement that not only gets you around the entirety of the new expansion area; it levels you up so you can unlock some truly spectacular cars like the COPO Camaro and the Hennessey Venom F5.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
Available on Amazon

Hot Wheels Creation Kit & Academy

Ironically enough, probably the most fun you can have with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels doesn’t involve driving but building. You can create your own Hot Wheels tracks and adventures using the Hot Wheels Creation Kit in the EventLab. It features over 80 track and stunt pieces that you can snap together, and Horizon didn’t stop there. The EventLab blueprints you create in the base game’s Mexico map that use Hot Wheels props can be played by people whether they bought the expansion pack or not.

Of course, they also added a bunch more cars with this expansion, which we will list below. Some of them are Hot Wheels, but a number of the new vehicles are so tempting and desirable. There’s a slew of Porsches (a Singer 911, the “Pink Pig” 917, and *gasp* a Schuppan 962) and one I really want to get my hands on, a Brabham BT62.

It’s worth noting the only way to get some of these cars is to go through the Hot Wheels Academy. The Academy raises the stakes for you, and as you move up, rank by rank, you get medals, new cars, and other rewards such as car horns and cosmetic upgrades.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Verdict

Available on Amazon

Admittedly, I’m more of a sim guy, so racing toy cars on a giant toy track isn’t exactly my jam, but it is fun, and it bought back fond memories of being a kid. I also bet Microsoft has a massive hit on their hands with Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels, as many gamers will love this. Not only is the gameplay oriented towards that arcade-centric level of fun, but the driving dynamics are suited towards a controller and not a wheel and pedals.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is included as part of the Expansions Bundle, which retails for about $35 on Amazon at the time of this writing. If you don’t already own Forza Horizon 5, it’s also available on Amazon for about $43 at the time of this writing. 

Longtime Automoblog writer Tony Borroz has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, in addition to working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He lives in the northeast corner of the northwestern-most part of the Pacific Northwest.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels – New Cars

  • 1949 Hot Wheels Ford F-5 Dually Custom Hot Rod
  • 1957 Hot Wheels Nash Metropolitan Custom
  • 2000 Hot Wheels Deora II
  • 2005 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang
  • 2012 Hot Wheels Bad to the Blade
  • 2012 Hot Wheels Rip Rod
  • 2013 Hot Wheels Baja Bone Shaker
  • 2018 Hot Wheels 2JetZ
  • 2018 Hot Wheels Chevrolet Camaro COPO
  • 1964 Porsche 356 C Cabriolet Emory Special
  • 1971 Porsche 917/20 #23
  • 1990 Porsche 911 Singer DLS
  • 1993 Schuppan 962CR
  • 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Gunther Werks
  • 2021 Hennessey Venom F5
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #5 Veloce Racing
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #6 Rosberg X Racing
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #22 JBXE
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #23 Genesys Andretti United
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #42 XITE Racing Team
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #44 X44
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #55 ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #58 McLaren Racing
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #99 Chip Ganassi Racing GMC Hummer EV
  • 2022 Extreme E ODYSSEY 21 #125 ABT Cupra XE
  • 2006 Mosler MT900 GT3
  • 2018 Subaru WRX STI ARX Supercar
  • 2019 Brabham BT62
  • 2020 SIERRA Cars ALPHA #23 Yokohama
  • 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula-S
  • 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee