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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe characters, weight classes and the best kart combinations on Wii U

Piece together the best kart body, tires and gliders to lead the pack.

Mario Kart 8 characters and kart combinations is important for mastering the game and getting the best possible times, whether in harder cups, time trials or online - and if you want to steamroll over your friends locally, of course.

As you play through Mario Kart 8 and collect coins, you unlock a number of kart parts - tires, gliders and kart bodies - all of which have varying stats. And since each course is different, some combinations will work better than others.

If you need more help with other parts of the game, consult our Mario Kart 8 guide, tips and tricks page.

Mario Kart 8 characters and weight classes

Each character in Mario Kart 8 belongs to one of three different weight classes: Light, Medium and Heavy. As you'd expect, lighter characters have lower overall speed but also much faster acceleration, while heavier characters get off the grid more slowly but have a zippier maximum speed.

That said, within those classes there are differences, with a lighter and heavier version of each, which we've broken down below.

Note that the weight and shape of your Mii determines its weight classification, so can be part of any of the three categories.

Weight classCharacter
All Mii
Very Light Baby Daisy
Very Light Baby Luigi
Very Light Baby Mario
Very Light Baby Peach
Very Light Baby Rosalina
Very Light Lemmy Koopa
Very Light Dry Bones (Deluxe)
Light Koopa Troopa
Light Lakitu
Light Larry Koopa
Light Shy Guy
Light Toad
Light Toadette
Light Wendy O. Koopa
Light Isabelle (DLC)
Light Bowser Jr (Deluxe)
Medium Princess Daisy
Medium Princess Peach
Medium Yoshi
Medium Tanooki Mario (DLC)
Medium Cat Peach (DLC)
Medium Villager (DLC)
Medium Inkling Boy (Deluxe)
Medium Inkling Girl (Deluxe)
Medium Heavy Mario
Medium Heavy Luigi
Medium Heavy Ludwig von Koopa
Medium Heavy Iggy Koopa
Heavy Donkey Kong
Heavy Metal Mario
Heavy Pink Gold Peach
Heavy Rosalina
Heavy Roy Koopa
Heavy Waluigi
Heavy Link (DLC)
Heavy King Boo (Deluxe)
Heavy Gold Mario (Deluxe)
Very Heavy Bowser
Very Heavy Wario
Very Heavy Morton Koopa Jr.
Very Heavy Dry Bowser (DLC)
5x

Note Yoshi, Shy Guy and Inkling Boy and Girl all have different colour options.

How do I access characters in Mario Kart 8?

On Switch, all characters (with the exception of Gold Mario) are available from the get go - that includes all DLC and new Deluxe characters.

On Wii U, characters are unlocked after completing specific challenges, new characters are unlocked at random as you win cups. The only exception to this rule is the Mii character, who is always unlocked after you've won your eighth cup.

How to get the best kart combination for you in Mario Kart 8

When it comes to multi-track races, it's very hard to recommend an overall best kart setup, and you should experiment to find the balance of speed, grip and acceleration that works for you.

With that said, it's generally regarded that heavier load outs tend to perform better in the game thanks to its top speeds, so once you have become accustomed to the tracks with lighter characters (giving you more acceleration and thus, more room to catch up if you get knocked) it may be something to consider.

There are also special ghost times set by Nintendo staff that will give you a good idea of what kart pieces to choose before attempting a specific track.

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Select the View Ghost option from the Time Trials menu, then cycle to the Nintendo staff ghost that's included with every track in the game. Hit the + button on your controller to view a breakdown of the racer's preferred parts.

That's the basics covered. If you really want to set a blistering time for a course, Nintendo has revealed its top internal times to the creators of the official strategy guide for the Wii U version of the game.

Ghost data isn't available for these runs though, so you'll need expert knowledge of the track as well as blistering reflexes if you want to even get close to these times. When you're ready for a stiff challenge, see if you can beat the creators at their own game.

Need more help? Our Mario Kart 8 guide, tips tricks and everything we know about Deluxe can help improve your racing game. Elsewhere, we have a description of shortcuts on every course, a breakdown of characters and weight classes, unlockables including Gold karts and Gold Mario and an amiibo and Mii racing suit list.

Best kart combinations in Mario Kart 8 on Wii U

Note that the following list doesn't contain the DLC tracks, and was created for the Wii U version. With new kart parts as well as physics changes in the Switch edition - including the removal of the fire hopping technique - it's possible these may no longer be the strongest combinations for these tracks. We'll update this list in the coming days when we know more about the Switch edition.

CourseTimeCharacterBodyTiresGlider
Bone-Dry Dunes 2:02.028 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Bowser's Castle 2:15.686 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Cheep Cheep Beach 1:57.169 Bowser Sport Bike Slick Bowser Kite
Cloudtop Cruise 2:11.595 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
DK Jungle 2:14.917 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Dolphin Shoals 2:09.590 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Donut Plains 3 1:24.754 Morton Gold Standard Cyber Slick Cloud Glider
Dry Dry Desert 2:14.415 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Electrodrome 2:07.774 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
GBA Mario Circuit 1:35.290 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Grumble Volcano 2:10.129 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Mario Circuit 1:53.017 Bowser Sport Bike Slick Bowser Kite
Mario Kart Stadium 1:44.503 Bowser Sport Bike Slick Bowser Kite
Melody Motorway 2:06.354 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Moo Moo Meadows 1:31.643 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Mount Wario 1:53.516 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
N64 Rainbow Road 1:26.548 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Piranha Plant Slide 2:12.079 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Rainbow Road 2:15.895 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Royal Raceway 2:04.626 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Sherbet Land 2:02.291 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Shy Guy Falls 2:08.775 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Sunshine Airport 2:08.177 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Sweet Sweet Canyon 1:57.071 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Toad Harbor 2:11.578 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Toad's Turnpike 1:50.089 Bowser Sport Bike Slick Bowser Kite
Thwomp Ruins 1:57.193 Mii Gold Standard Slick Bowser Kite
Tick-Tock Clock 1:59.372 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Twisted Mansion 2:01.605 Wario Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Wario Stadium 2:04.685 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil
Water Park 1:48.231 Warior Sport Bike Cyber Slick Parafoil
Yoshi Valley 2:08.495 Wario Sport Bike Slick Parafoil

Additional reporting by Matthew Reynolds

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