There are many characters in Cars, many of which are playable in Arcade mode. But to unlock a character, you need to buy them from the Bonus Features shop with your points.
A race car whose number is 95 after the year where Pixar release their first featured film, Toy Story. He is a race car sponsored by Rust-eze. He doesn't have any friends except for Mack when he was a racing car. He's the main playable character is most races.
A old and rusty tow-truck, he's been living in the junkyard for a while in Radiator Springs. After an incident when Lightning McQueen entered Radiator Springs and was messed up. Mater became best friends with Lightning McQueen because Mater knows that Lightning was a famous race car. He also appears in the Tractor Tipping mini game.
A blue car that lives in Radiator Springs. She first appears when Lightning McQueen is at court with Doc Hudson. Then later, Lightning McQueen becomes friends with Sally because Lightning McQueen thinks she is pretty cute and Sally takes Lightning McQueen on a ride to Tailfin Pass. She is a friend of Lightning McQueen and also she appears on the race where McQueen and Sally have to race through Tailfin Pass.
Doc Hudson is a big blue car and he is also known as famous for being as Fabulous Hudson Hornet when he won three piston cup races. His Hudson Hornet career ended when he got into a terrible crash when at the final lap of the 1954 race. He first appears at court, where he acts as a judge for Radiator Springs, where Lightning McQueen was accused. Also, he talks about Fabulous Hudson Hornet when Lightning McQueen goes into Doc's doctor house.
A big police car and the only police car in Radiator Springs. He always sleeps next to the "Welcome to Radiator Springs!" sign. He has to sleep next to it just in case of speeding cars entering Radiator Springs. The sign appears in the valley near Radiator Springs. He's very fast but it's easy to beat him for shortcuts at the race where you don't want the police car to win. He always look for speeders around the town of forgotten Radiator Springs.
A purple wide car, he is friendly to Lightning McQueen after the race car messed up Radiator Springs by accident. He has fire decals on his side. You can play him on arcade races if you like.
A green style car most known for owning Flo's V8 Cafe, which serves oil to cars that are hungry and thirsty. Flo is another friend of Lightning McQueen. Flo's V8 Cafe can be located next to the gas station at the 4-way intersection.
A bright green street racer who gets his name from an exetremely high rear spoiler.
The #86 racecar and Lightning's arch rival, a bright green possibly middle-aged car sponsored by HTB (Hostile Takeover Bank).
Lighning McQueen (Monster Tires)
Lightning McQueen fitted with monster truck tires.
A massive black monster truck only seen in Cars: The Videogame. His name is a pun on Count Dracula. He also has other resemblances to Count Dracula, a vampire voice and crooked teeth.
A faded green hippie van with rainbow decals. He's a friend of Lightning McQueen and a producer of organic fuel.
A brown army offroader, known for running a bootcamp for offroad vehicles. A friend of Lightning McQueen.
An old, green British car that often has races with Lightning McQueen.
A very old Ford Model T that runs a souvenir shop. She is a friend of Lightning McQueen. She is probably named after Tin Lizzie, a nickname for the Ford Model T.
Playable only for Piston Cup Races
A blue retired racecar and piston cup winner, Darrel now is a commentator for races. He is based on Darrell Waltrip, a retired race-driver and current race commentator.
The blue #43 racecar. He was sponsored by Dinoco but retired at the end of Cars. He was originally one of Lightning McQueen's rival's but grew to like him after he sacrificed his win to help The King after his crash.
Playable during certain races
A small, yellow Italian car that runs a tire store called Casa Della Tires. He is Guido's best friend and business partner and one of Lightning McQueen's friends.