Mario Kart 8: Best Characters


  • Mario Kart 8
    has a diverse roster of iconic characters, with more still to come, making it a beloved kart racing game.
  • Each character in
    Mario Kart 8
    plays differently based on their weight class and secret bonuses, so personal preference and stats play a role in choosing the best characters.
  • The game’s recent update introduced new characters and courses, allowing players to explore different playstyles and kart combos for each character.

Mario invites friends, foes, and cannon fodder to enjoy a friendly competition with one of the best kart racers of all time. Mario Kart8 has almost been the main entry in the Mario Kart series for a decade, and it’s not only the best Mario Kart maps that make this title so famous, but the fact that the Mario Kart8-character roster is filled with some iconic characters, with more yet to come.


Every Mario Kart Game, Ranked

With over 30 years of Mario Kart fun, it’s time to look back at the best Mario Kart games and rank every Mario Kart game so far.

Every character plays differently in Mario Kart8, and every fan has their preference. The best characters in Mario Kart8 might not be based on personal preference of their character, but on the stats that they have based on their weight class and secret bonuses.

Updated on March 23, 2024, by Jake Fillery: Mario Kart 8: Deluxe is brimming with content, and players who purchase the Booster Course Pack can find themselves with a total of 48 characters to choose from. Yet, with an amazing amount of characters from Mario’s past, and a cast that’s just as iconic as the red hat-wearing plumber himself, which of them ranks as the best racers in Mario Kart 8? There’s an abundance of choice, and many factors can determine the superior character, from personality, kart-build potential, and weight class, the best Mario Kart 8 characters bring the fun in all the right ways.

16 Toad

A Friend & Confidant, Toad Proves That Size Doesn’t Matter Behind The Wheel

  • Best Kart Combo: Biddybuggy / Rollers / Animal Crossing Glider
  • Weight Class: Light

Toad exists as one of the characters on the original Mario Kart roster. He’s a character as old as Mario and Peach, and will always be there to perhaps not save the day, but aid and celebrate when it is saved. Toad often brings a sense of bravery when the situation must arise, but he’s more than happy to simply shriek and cheer Mario on from the side. That is until the go-karts come out.

Toad isn’t scared to get behind the wheel and race his friends and enemies, and this light character may be small, but his appearance shouldn’t deceive racers, as there are plenty of stellar builds that can have him zoom into first place, as long as a heavy character doesn’t bash his kart and knock him off track.

15 Diddy Kong

The Fastest Monkey Behind The Wheel

Diddy Kong in Mario Kart Tour

  • Best Kart Combo: Ink-Striker / Rollers / Flower Glider
  • Weight Class: Medium

Diddy Kong has been absent for far too long in the Mario Kart community. He’s an icon and has featured in many of the party games over the years because of his good standing with Mario and of course, his best friend, Donkey Kong. Diddy deserves a spot back in the racing scene, since after all, he had his own racing series once upon a time.

Diddy sports his red shirt and Nintendo cap with flair and gusto, and he shows it all off proudly when he zooms past the competition thanks to his medium class. Hitting boosts is extremely satisfying with Diddy, as he will often cheer and make adorable noises, providing thrills with every ounce of speed.

14 Mario

The Titular Character Is Always Number One

Gameplay screenshot from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Best Kart Combo: Teddy Buggy / Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Medium

It doesn’t seem fair to not include Mario in a game about Mario Kart. The character is an icon and is easily recognizable thanks to his overalls, mustache, red-hat with his initials on it, and of course, his voice. Mario is a very versatile character in the medium class, providing plenty of options for play when it comes to racing across the many tracks of Mario Kart 8.

What makes Mario so fun is how accessible he is, and there’s a reason he’s on the box art, and the icon of the series itself. It’s not called Luigi Kart, and this fan-favorite plumber brings a modest level of cockiness when he inevitably boosts his way into first place.

13 Peachette

Present A Regal Cuteness Thanks To The Crown Mushroom

peachette in mario kart 8

  • Best Kart Combo: Teddy Buggy / Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Medium

Peachette is a surprising addition, considering it’s basically just Toadette with the crown mushroom. Nevertheless, Peachette is a cute choice to add to the game, although a tad wasted for the potential of other characters like Nabbit.


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Peachette is one of the Medium-class characters, so players have a pretty versatile style of play when it comes to using the best karts in Mario Kart 8.

12 Funky Kong

Bring The Funk Back Into The Karting Scene

funky kong mario kart

  • Best Kart Combo: Mr. Scooty / Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Heavy

Funky Kong returns, although not in the most triumphant of Kong fashions. For Mario Kart Wii, Funky Kong was not only a great pick because of his outrageously cool style, but for the undisputed fact that he had the best stats in Mario Kart, allowing him to pull off some truly impressive feats and race-breaking glitches.

Now, returning after all these years for Mario Kart 8, Funky Kong is a little rusty, but still just as fun. Whilst he may not be the ultimate choice that will dominate the race, his style and flair are still ever present in his character, so it’s always fun to bring him along.

11 Petey Piranha

Threaten Others Racers With A Sharp Chomp

petey piranha in mario kart 8

  • Best Kart Combo: Wild Wiggler / Azulre Rollers / Gold Glider
  • Weight Class: Heavy

Petey Piranha can chomp on the competition with the right kart combo. This character has been absent from the series for quite some time, so it’s nice to see this giant character get back behind the wheel, even if it’s a literal sentient plant that probably doesn’t have a driving license.

For a Heavy class, Petey Piranha has some fairly interesting stats that make them more of a unique choice compared to other racers. Sadly, players can’t use those big and sharp teeth to bite their opponents, as that’s reserved for the piranha plant item.

10 Baby Daisy

A Competent Choice For Those Who Prefer Lighter Racers

Baby Daisy Mario Kart 8

  • Best Kart Combo: Biddybuggy / Rollers / Waddle Wing
  • Weight Class: Very Light

As the happiest baby on the racing track, it’s clear that Baby Daisy doesn’t allow her adult variant or other larger racers to put her at a disadvantage. Baby Daisy is part of the Light class in Mario Kart8, and she has the best stats out of her other baby crew, including Luigi, Peach, Rosalina, and Mario in the baby gang.


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Baby Daisy might not be able to compete in speed with Heavyweight classes, but her speed compared to other Light classes is superior. Baby Daisy also has a reasonably good bout of acceleration, handling, and grip.

9 Waluigi

A Creepy Romantic Who Loves Wigglers & Winners

  • Best Kart Combo: Wild Wiggler / Azure Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Heavy

For the longest time, there was no greater threat to racers in Mario Kart8 than that of the Waluigi Wiggler. Waluigi is one of the best heavy-weight characters, with superior stats to most. Waluigi is a competitor in the racing scene that players should truly fear, especially if he was driving the Wiggler kart.

Waluigi is a character that requires a level of skill and understanding of the best karts in Mario Kart8, as Waluigi truly benefits from an array of vehicles to make him drift into the first place position, even if his turbo speed is rather slow.

8 Pink Gold Peach

A Fashionable Color Trend Reaches Princess Peach


  • Best Kart Combo: Wild Wiggler / Azulre Rollers / Gold Glider
  • Weight Class: Heavy

Players are introduced to Pink Gold Peach, as Mario Kart8 is her debut in the franchise. Much like Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach has a metallic paint coating that makes her stand out from the original pink dress-wearing Princess Peach.

Pink Gold Peach’s design makes her an icon for the kart racer, as there’s something rather nice about racing around in pink gold. Not only is Pink Gold Peach visually appealing, but her acceleration is a grand feat that will see her turbo boosts extend her into first place.

7 Shy Guy

Despite Being Shy, Bring Out Plenty Of Personality For These Colorful Guys

shy guy

  • Best Kart Combo: Biddybuggy / Rollers / Waddle Wing
  • Weight Class: Light

Shy Guy is an adorable villain for the Mario franchise. Not only is there a sworn secrecy of what is behind the mask for a Shy Guy, but it won’t stop his appearance or deter him from racing at high speeds that could risk the exposure of the face underneath.


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Shy Guy comes in many different variants, and players can truly enjoy many colors of the Shy Guy. Despite being part of the Light class of characters, Shy Guy has an acceleration that boasts superiority to most characters, ensuring some great speeds with turbo abilities.

6 Gold Mario

Brag About Completing All 3-Star Tournaments With This Golden Reward

gold mario in a gold kart build

  • Best Kart Combo: Biddybuggy / Rollers / Waddle Wing
  • Weight Class: Heavy

Whilst there is nothing particularly special about Gold Mario, the character himself is a complete flex against other racers. Whether it’s against couch co-op friends, online players, or just the AI-controlled racers, Gold Mario is a great choice due to the difficulty of unlocking him.

Players will need to complete each Grand Prix Cup on 200cc with Gold Trophies to obtain Gold Mario. This means every race must be beaten, on the hardest difficulty, in the first place. Gold Mario is a perfect choice for those that enjoy the shiny things in life.

5 Yoshi

The Adoring Dinosaur Comes In Plenty Of Colorful Variants

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Yoshi

  • Best Kart Combo: Teddy Buggy / Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Medium

This loyal green dinosaur will have players racing into first place in no time. Not only is Yoshi entirely adorable, and the dino loves to say his name in such a cute tone, but players can even customize Yoshi. This character can be played in many different colors, allowing for an army of Yoshi to invade the Mario Kart8 scene.

It may be in the best interest of players to invade the Mario Kart8 scene with this character, as he is a brilliantly consistent character. Players can expect an average position thanks to Yoshi, a medium-weight character who prioritizes acceleration and traction.

4 Wario

The Garlic & Gold Loving Fiend Cheats His Way To Victory

Wario in the Mercedes Mario Kart 8

  • Best Kart Combo: Sports Coupe / Button / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Very Heavy

One of the best Heavy characters in Mario Kart8 has to be Wario. Although this yellow hat, the garlic-devouring villain may be someone players want to avoid, they might not have a say in the matter, as Wario can easily leave lesser-skilled players in the dust due to his incredible speed and his stats.


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Not only does Wario have a great list of stats and skills, but he is an iconic character that players should enjoy playing. That is if they can withstand his gross behavior, in which he usually shows off his rear end and belches to other characters, begging the question of why Mario keeps letting him race.

3 Dry Bowser

A Mass Of Bones & Fire To Intimidate The Competiton

Dry Bowser in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

  • Best Kart Combo: Biddybuggy / Azure Rollers / Paper Glider
  • Weight Class: Very Heavy

Dry Bowser is the most metal choice for players to pick. What could be cooler and more evil than a skeleton version of Bowser, the most iconic Mario villain? Who knew that if Bowser’s skin melted off, he would become a better racer? Perhaps the loss of weight makes this heavy character even faster.

Dry Bowser may struggle with his handling, and the ability to drive in water and on air, but that doesn’t stop the power he has when his wheels are on the track, and the fire-breathing icon can quickly take the 1st place spot with potential ease.

2 Donkey Kong

A Dabbing Gorilla Who Exhibits Flair & Speed

  • Best Kart Combo: Teddy Buggy / Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Heavy

Whether he is a villain or a hero, Donkey Kong is iconic to the Mario franchise. There’s a reason that Donkey Kong has received many of his own video games from Nintendo, and the character’s staying power truly cannot be denied. Donkey Kong returns in Mario Kart8 as an ultimate racer and an excellent dabber.

With the correct kart build in Mario Kart8, players will see Donkey Kong truly thrive in the racing environment. Donkey Kong is a Heavyweight character, and his weight could deter his speed, but not his other stats, which allows for this gorilla to cross the finish line with ease.

1 Luigi

An Often Cowardly Brother Who Oozes Confidence Behind The Wheel

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Luigi

  • Best Kart Combo: Inkstriker / Azure Rollers / Cloud Glider
  • Weight Class: Medium-Heavy

As the wholesome younger brother to Mario, Luigi truly brings the heat to Mario Kart8. Luigi drops the scared persona that he usually has and instead equips a competitive nature, noted by his ice-cold death stare that he gives other racers. Whether he is passing them, or looking behind from 1st place, Luigi is a menace on the track.

Luigi may not be gifted with any secret stats that make him a god on the racing scene, but that’s exactly what makes him such a good choice. Luigi has average stats in the Medium class, meaning that he will always have consistency when it comes to his play style.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

April 28, 2017

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