Best driving games out now

Are you a fan of virtual racing? These are the top ten driving games out now

It’s a sad (and probably sensible) fact of life that you can’t really take your car to the limits on public roads these days. You could always take your car to a trackday, but to do so regularly can get expensive – both in entry fees and vehicle maintenance.

The obvious solution is to enjoy driving from the comfort of your sofa with one of the many driving games available. There’s a whole range – from simple car games for kids to play, to hardcore racing simulators best enjoyed with a steering wheel and pedal combo. All of them vary in difficulty too, with the more simple arcade racers being easy to pick up right away, while the more realistic car games often have a steep learning curve before you find yourself clipping apexes with the best of them.

We’ve chosen games to cover most of the bases – so a high-end PC or a current-gen games console should give you plenty of choice. That doesn’t mean you have to immediately rush out and buy a new console, though. A lot of these games are just the latest in a long-running series. If you’ve got an older gaming system, try one of the predecessors – Gran Turismo 6 on the PS3 or Mario Kart Wii on the Nintendo Wii are both great games which hold up well even today.

> The best racing games of all time

Most of the games on this list offer some online capability, too, letting you race with other gamers around the world. But in the majority of cases, you’ll have almost as much fun playing solo.

But which ones should you spend your hard-earned cash on? Here are our top ten best driving and racing games out now…

DiRT Rally 2.0

Available for: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The highlight of almost any Dirt Rally game has to be the incredibly realistic physics engine. There’s a steep learning curve, and each car has authentic handling characteristics which need mastering on a variety of surfaces. It’s not just quick-fire racing, either – you’ll have to master endurance tracks, as well as taking care of your car with maintenance and resource management. The second Dirt Rally game, released in early 2019, applied improved graphics, tweaked physics and more detail throughout.

Buy DiRT Rally on Amazon for PS4, Xbox One and PC

Forza Horizon 4

Available for: Xbox One, PC

Eight years since the Horizon series first hit our screens, the fourth installment brings the industry's best open-world driving game to Great Britain, allowing players to explore the picturesque roads of Britain in any one of 450 models, spanning the Mercedes-Benz Unimog to the iconic McLaren F1.

Though it does see the usual graphical improvements, new cars and a fresh UI over the third game, seasonal changes are the major switch-up for Horizon 4; every Thursday, players are treated to another season, altering handling characteristics depending on the weather conditions, whilst entirely shifting the landscape each time.

Buy Forza Horizon 4 on Amazon for Xbox One and PC

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Available for: Nintendo Switch

No, Mario Kart is absolutely nothing like real-world driving. In fact, it may be the least realistic driving game out there, with a lax approach to physics which sees karts, bikes and quads drifting at a moment’s notice, chugging along underwater and even flying through the air, all the while dodging inexplicably hazardous turtle shells and banana peels. It’s this crazy atmosphere, though, that makes Mario Kart one of the best local multiplayer party games of all time – and the latest version, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch, is the best instalment in the series so far.

Buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch on Amazon

Project Cars Game of the Year edition

Available for: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Another great game available across all three major platforms, Project Cars is impressively deep and detailed, with stunning graphics and all the variety you could possibly want. Everything from ancient Formula 1 cars to modern prototypes is available, and each one is accurate – plus there’s a range of true-to-life tracks. A series of updates and downloadable content has kept things fresh since launch, too.

Buy Project Cars Game of the year edition on Amazon for PS4, Xbox One and PC

F1 2019

Available for: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Though choices for F1 simulators are admittedly limited, it’s hard to deny that the F1 series offers the best experience of them all. F1 2019 astounds with its depth, as it’s packed full of official cars, drivers and tracks, and offers a truly demanding racing experience which will delight diehard fans. On the track the physics are impressive and a great number of parameters are affected, including tyre wear, DRS, fuel mixture and a clutch-based start procedure.

Buy F1 2019 on Amazon for PS4, Xbox one and PC

Grand Theft Auto V

Available for: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

Though you do spend a lot of your time firing at police, committing various crimes and generally causing a ruckus, driving’s been a cornerstone of the GTA series since its inception. With a vast library of realistic-looking cars (most with humorous names) and a massive overworld to drive them around, you don’t even need to progress through the story to have fun playing GTA V. Better yet, almost seven years since its launch, Rockstar Games is still releasing fresh, free content for all to enjoy, the most recent being open-wheeled racers…

Buy Grand Theft Auto V on Amazon for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC 

Assetto Corsa Competizione

Available for: PC

A follow-up from the standard Assetto Corsa game, Assetto Corsa Competizione was launched in 2018 as an official simulator for the Blancpain racing series. Offering all cars and tracks found in the current calendar, it boasts a level of detail you’ll struggle to find elsewhere, coming with dynamic weather, an entirely new, improved physics engine, night driving and more.

It’s currently only available on PC, but watch some gameplay and you’ll probably understand why it requires all the processing firepower you can throw at it...

Buy Assetto Corsa Competizione on Steam for PC

iRacing

Available for: PC, OS X

A subscription-based racing game might seem like madness to less hardcore racing gamers, but for the true aficionado iRacing is absolutely incredible. That’s because you never have to race against a dim-witted AI – every race is against real people online, and you’re able to take part in massive worldwide tournaments to really test your mettle.

Buy iRacing on Steam for PC 

TrackMania 2

Available for: PC

Another game that throws physics out of the window, stunts are the name of the game in TrackMania. It’s a franchise to share with friends online, swapping tracks and showing off your creations – all while flying through the air performing ridiculous loops, rolls and flips. It’s an arcade-style racer, designed to be easy to pick up, and works well even using keyboard controls. Great fun.

Buy TrackMania 2 on Steam for PC 

Gran Turismo Sport

Available for: PS4

This is a bit of a cheat, as the 13th instalment in the Gran Turismo franchise isn’t due out until later this year. But no list of racing games is complete without a GT title and the previous instalment, GT 6, is getting old now. The PS4 game is described as the first in a new generation, and promises seamless online play, incredible graphics and realistic handling and physics.

Buy Gran Turismo Sport on Amazon for PS4 

WRC 8

Available for: PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch

Launched in late 2019 as the official game of the World Rally Championship, WRC 8 rivals the Dirt Rally series with realistic mixed-surface handling physics, dynamic weather, 100 stages, the entire current WRC line-up and more. There’s also a strong eSports following behind the series, with competitors racing at events around the globe for varying quantities of prize money.

Buy WRC 8 on Amazon for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch

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