At the risk of showing my age here, the first driving game I remember playing was Night Driver. Today's games, it's safe to say, are quite a bit better than that: photorealistic graphics, immersive audio and realistic handling deliver incredible racing experiences.
But the best driving games on Xbox Game Pass deliver exactly the same thing that Night Driver and its many successors did: the sheer joy of driving without the cost or consequences of the real thing.
Whether you're a fan of 80s rally cars or today's supercars, of off-roading, stunt driving or flat-out racing, these Game Pass games will get your motor running.
Also, if you're looking for great new titles to play, too, then be sure to check out T3's best new Xbox Game Pass games to play in February 2022 feature.
Forza Horizon 5
With a mighty 91% rating on Metacritic, Forza Horizon 5 has been dubbed “the best racing game ever made” by some critics thanks to its varied scenery, massive collection of cars and almost endless variety of challenges. There’s been a huge upgrade to the visuals and audio here, to the cars’ handling and to the available options and customisations, and moving it out of Britain and into Mexico has really added to the epic feel. From arid desert to volcanic peaks and even a football stadium there’s plenty of eye candy to look at – not that you can, because you’ll be too busy pushing your cars to the limit. The best racing game ever made? Quite possibly.
Dirt 5 is an astonishingly beautiful game that manages to combine elements of other racing favourites without feeling derivative, and while the gameplay isn’t dramatically different from the previous version there’s more than enough here to keep it feeling fresh for even the most dedicated fans of the franchise. It’s more of a gamer title than a racing simulator this time around, so while there are still differences in the way different vehicles handle there isn’t the same realism that you’d get from the likes of Forza. But that’s okay, because it means you get features such as Playgrounds, which enables you to make and drive really daft stunt tracks with predictably amusing results.
Art of Rally
If rallying is your thing, you’re spoilt for choice on game pass: thanks to EA Play you can get your driving hands on the older DiRT titles including DiRT Rally and DiRT Rally 2.0. But if you fancy something a little more, well, artistic, then Art of Rally is quite the thing. It’s a stylised love letter to the golden days of rallying – think Audi Quattros soaring over obstacles – featuring some of the most iconic rally cars ever raced and an unusual top-down view. Where many driving games try to deliver sheer sensory overload this is more stripped-back, more graceful and more nostalgic. If your idea of fun involves Sierra Cosworths or Renault 5 Turbos you’ll love this as much as its creator clearly loves the sport.