Toadsworth is not a playable character; he just drives the Parade Kart at the award ceremony. Items in red must be unlocked first.
|Baby Luigi||Lightweight||Chain Chomp||Rattle Buggy|
|Baby Mario||Lightweight||Chain Chomp||Goo-Goo Buggy|
|Birdo||Middleweight||Birdo's Egg||Turbo Birdo|
|Bowser||Heavyweight||Bowser's Shell||Koopa King|
|Bowser Jr.||Lightweight||Bowser's Shell||Bullet Blaster|
|Diddy Kong||Lightweight||Giant Banana||Barrel Train|
|Donkey Kong||Heavyweight||Giant Banana||DK Jumbo|
|King Boo||Heavyweight||Random Item||Boo Pipes|
|Koopa Troopa||Lightweight||Triple Shells(Red/Green)||Koopa Dasher|
|Luigi||Middleweight||Green Fireball||Green Fire|
|Mario||Middleweight||Red Fireball||Red Fire|
|Paratroopa||Lightweight||Triple Shells(Red/Green)||Para Wing|
|Petey Piranha||Heavyweight||Random Item||Piranha Pipes|
|Toad||Lightweight||Golden Mushroom||Toad Kart|
|Toadette||Lightweight||Golden Mushroom||Toadette Kart|
|Yoshi||Middleweight||Yoshi's Egg||Turbo Yoshi|
In general, lightweight karts are accepted to be the strongest in the game due to their longer mini-turbo. Picking two lightweight characters allowing access to the lightweight kart below that fits your driving style is the recommended strategy if you do not specifically need a larger kart.
The Barrel Train, with its high top speed is faster than any other kart when used by a player capable of consistently performing Mini-turbos without driving off the track. Its heaviness also means it gets knocked around less than other lightweight karts. The main drawback of the barrel train is its lack of traction making it one of the more difficult karts to control which can be compounded by its high speed. Its acceleration also is lackluster for a light kart which means that you'll lose a lot of time if you are hit by items or crash into obstacles often.
The Toad Kart is the best off-roading Kart in the game. It has a high top speed, and the same long mini-turbo of the other lightweight karts. It recovers speed much more quickly than the barrel train, so it is a good choice for courses with lots of bumps or if you expect to spend a lot of time in the grass.
The Bullet Blaster is similar to the Barrel Train in that it has Top Speeds, Acceleration, and off-roading closer to the Heavyweight Karts than the other lightweight karts, it differs in that its weight is actually lighter than the rest of the lightweights. This means that it gets knocked around by nearly every other kart in the game and, combined with its height means that it bounces around a lot and can be hard to control. This can, however, be taken advantage of by a skilled player. All in all the Bullet Blaster is very fast kart if you can control it correctly, but is a little too similar to the Barrel Train, making it a second place finisher in most situations.
The Toadette Kart has the fastest acceleration in the game, which can be useful in some situations, but is mostly just an easy to control kart for players newer to the game. Its low top speed hinders it too much otherwise. Goo-Goo Buggy has similar stats, and can be used in these situations as well.
Green Fire is one of the best Mediumweight Karts. Its high top speed competes even with heavyweight karts. Its statline is actually quite similar to the Barrel Train's, but it loses out as it has the shorter mini-turbo of a medium kart. It's a good substitution if you want a medium character or their item though.
Waluigi Racer is the Toad Kart of the Medium Karts. It has the same excellent off-roading, and a better top speed, but is otherwise inferior to the toad Kart.
DK Jumbo is probably the most balanced of the heavyweight karts. It leans into the strengths of a heavyweight without being quite as crippled by the terrible off-roading and acceleration of the Koopa King. It is still rather weak in these areas though, as well as having the terrible mini-turbo of a heavy kart means that you're better off with the Barrel Train if you don't need the space for a heavy character. If you have them unlocked, the Piranha Pipes perform similarly with slightly better off-roading.
The Boo Pipes are the exact opposite of the Barrel Train, a heavyweight kart that performs like a lightweight! They have remarkably high acceleration and off-roading which is atypical for a heavy kart, but unfortunately retain the bad mini-turbo of a heavy kart, which makes them tough to recommend, as you may as well just drive a light kart at this point. If you really want a kart that handles like the Toad Kart but is capable of ramming people off the road, this fits the bill.
The Parade Kart is strange. Characters of any size can ride it, it doesn't work well off-road, but it has good top speed and average acceleration. It also has a long mini-turbo like a light kart. Overall, it's pretty good in terms of its stats, but its excessively large size can make it difficult to maneuver. It can be thought of as similar to the Wario Car with better acceleration and mini-turbo. It's probably the best Kart that heavy characters can ride.
Characters do not affect the stats of the Karts outside of which size Karts are available to choose from. So in time trials it's only a matter of personal preference as long as they are the right size for the kart you want to use. In Grand Prix your characters affect which special items you get, and also affect which characters are available for the CPUs to choose and thus which special items they can get.
Baby Mario & Baby Luigi have access to the Chain Chomp item, which in addition to being a very powerful item that grants you a good deal of speed and can smash a large number of opposing racers out of your way, is also useful for pulling off a number of advanced tricks. The fact that it is only available to racers near the back of the pack, and can misfire quite badly if used carelessly are disadvantages though.
Bowser & Bowser Jr. have the giant Bowser Shell item, which is one of the most disruptive items in the game. It's sometimes worth picking one of them just to limit the number that get thrown by CPUs.
Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong have the Giant Banana item. While relatively basic, it can still be used quite effectively, especially against CPUs which have limited pathfinding and may not be able to steer out of the way at all if you place it correctly. Its ability to block shells when thrown behind you is also a great asset. Its most important feature however, is its great availability. It can turn up even when you are in first place, and most likely to be the target of red shells. Hanging on to it can also reduce the rate at which CPU players obtain powerful items.