||The rustler VXL has a lot of power without a doubt but at a price not so apparent until you race it. You are better off using it for recreational use than for racing.
The good: Power, durability (after upgrading to RPM parts which runs about $66), fast. Decent motor and ESC combo. A good basher for the price. Most replacement parts on the rustler are inexpensive and for the speed it is capable of, I consider it to be a good deal.
The bad: Understeer, the Rustler's heavy rear end gives it trouble turning quick enough, despite opening up the toe angle. Braking is required in order to make it turn better which is the area I noticed I got passed a lot when on the track. The stock parts (A-arms, caster blocks, bearing carriers, and even the drive axles) are fragile. You can expect to replace a part or two within days of owning it being that you run it hard or at the track. Jumps are what tend to be the most damaging. The rear wing can get damaged very easily, which is a really big gripe of mine. I've gone through two bodies where the wing did not last more than a few weeks before getting totally wrecked and unusable. Furthermore, its attachment to the body lends itself to pulling on the body during crashes making the body get damaged near the rear brake light areas. The body is attached by 3 body mounts with the rear one always taking severe abuse no matter what you try and do. I finally had to do a custom metal mounting hole that attached to the body by two screws on either side in order to make the body usable again. The front is very light, making the rustler pop wheelies (which in a show standpoint is neat to look at) easily and therefore losing control of steering, making it difficult to have it use the full power of a high discharge lipo battery without putting some weight on the front of the chassis. The suspension screws are prone to bending and 3 times now, I've had to purchase a complete set ($4.50 each) just because I needed to replace the screws that went through the front bearing carrier and caster blocks because they were getting bent and causing the wheels to separate from the body with minor crashes. Other dissapointing factors are the stock tires, they simply are not good. The front lobed tires do not have enough of power to steer the car, the rear tires are the jack of all trades, master of none, making them a mediocre tire used just to destroy in bashing and what not and then buy dedicated tires for each environment (pavement, dirt, all terrain).
Bottom line, the rustler is the faster version of a $200 design which has its many flaws. However, faster does not mean its as good as other better built designs from other RC companies that may not have as powerful motors/ESC's in that price range. If you are just looking for a basher to take around the block or the park and maybe a few races around the track that are not that serious or just some laps around it, this truggy is for you but expect to upgrade a number of parts before it becomes nearly invincible (aka a good basher) on the track.
If you decide to purchase the Rustler VXL:
Know that Traxxas has a very solid Customer Service. They replaced two of my ESC's free of charge after I sent them with a letter of what happened.
I strongly reccomend two heat sinks for the motor be acquired: Traxxas Fined Aluminum Motor Heat Sink #3822 and ST Racing Concepts Aluminum Heatsink Motor Plate #3691 to improve performance and longevity of the motor. Also, get the Traxxas Velineon ESC Cooling Fan #3340 for the ESC to do the same.
If you are tired of having your front end come up non stop, get a wheelie bar, it will help out a lot.
Acquire the right type of tires for the job, dont run dirt tires on concrete if you want them to last any longer than a week. Dont use monster truck tires on concrete if you are planning on pulling high G's and moving at the speed of light; use the right tires for the job.
A final note on monster truck tires, save yourself from stripping your spur gear when using monster truck tires by lowering your pinion/spur setup to 19/86 or something similar. For high speed runs on concrete with 3S lipo, go for 31/76, you may have to add weight to the front in order to keep the lightweight front from being blown over.