Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure gets down & dirty with satisfying off-road racing

We jumped into a wide assortment of off-road vehicles and hit the dirt running in Forza Horizon 5's rally-themed DLC expansion.

Image via Xbox Game Studios

Forza Horizon 5 has been a gift that keeps on giving since it came out in 2021, giving players the wide open expanse of the Mexican countryside to explore. It got even better last year with the Hot Wheels DLC expansion adding zany tracks, cars, and cosmetics. In 2023, Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games are keeping the Horizon Festival going strong with a dirt rally-themed expansion in Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure. We sat down to this expansion and enjoyed the heck out of a vast new area, new vehicles, and plenty of dirt-in-the-treads racing activities in which to partake.

Welcome to Sierra Nueva

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure’s premise is that three of the game’s main NPCs, Alex, Ramiro, and Alejandra, want to get some dirt rally racing into the Horizon Festival. To that end, they take the player to the new Sierra Nueva map to set up a variety of races and events. The Sierra Nueva map is huge, bringing 38 in-game miles worth of new real estate to Forza Horizon 5. It contains a vast variety of terrain, too. You’ll be jumping dunes in the desert, jetting between palm trees (or through them) in the forest, hugging turns on mountainside roads near a quarry, and more. Forza Horizon 5’s scenery has always been a high point of the game and Sierra Nueva adds delightfully to the package. This map is vast and beautiful.

All of that beauty makes a good foundation for a large collection of enjoyable events and races. Rally Adventure is an offroad-centered DLC, but even in that, there’s quite a bit of variety to explore. Soon after your arrival, Alex, Ramiro, and Alejandra start competing dirt rally teams that you will choose between. Don’t worry too much about the choice as you play through all three teams eventually.

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure screenshot of a dune buggy racing offroad.
Source: Xbox Game Studios

Alex’s team focuses on traditional dirt rally races, featuring mostly offroad terrain. Alejandra prefers pavement and her rally events feature more regular road racing with some offroad mixed in. Finally, Ramiro’s team focuses on some of the most extreme conditioned rally races, featuring night drives through a variety of weather conditions and rough off-road terrain. The three flavors of dirt rally are quite a bit different and it makes moving between the teams and seeing what their events have to offer a blast. Moreover, completing assignments for them entitles you to various rewards, including unique cosmetics and vehicles that can only be won by racing a certain team’s events.

It also provides a lot of content for players to test their off-roading mettle. The main crux of Rally Adventure is Horizon Rally races. In these, you don’t faceoff directly against other cars, but rather against timed checkpoints. With the terrain being so ridiculous, the other outstanding feature of this mode is the directions. Your team captain will ride around in a helicopter in front of you and tell you what’s coming, whether it’s easy or hairpin turns, jumps, or other moves you need to make to stay on the rugged and often hazard-filled courses. This is a great way to learn each track the first time you approach them, although you can still keep the game’s race line guidance features on if you want the extra help seeing where the race is going.

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure screenshot of a night rally race
Source: Xbox Game Studios

It doesn’t end there, though. You can also return to an event and engage in Horizon Races, which are proper head-to-head competitions against other drivers. There are also gimmicked races such as Pickups & 4x4 and Retro Rally, which challenge you to complete the same race with a few special conditions such as using pickup trucks for the former and classic cars for the latter. Each team in Rally Adventure has about eight races and a final team captain race in which you face off against the group’s NPC to win their team-branded vehicle. That’s not even including special tasks such as jump and drift challenges between the various races. All of this is to say that Rally Adventure brings a ton of activities to Forza Horizon 5 between about 27 races and a variety of ways to challenge them.

As should be expected, Rally Adventure also brings a fleet of unique off-road vehicles into Forza Horizon 5’s collection. It kicks off things by letting you try out the Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum before sending you off with options like the 2001 Ford Focus RS and 1973 Hoonigan Volkswagen Baja Beetle Scumbug. Some of the other standouts of Rally Adventure’s collection include the 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP and 2020 Jimco Hammerhead, but each of the cars you collect in Rally Adventure bring an interesting approach to the technical and demanding tracks this DLC offers.

Gonna need more than one car wash

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure screenshot of a vehicle getting big air off a jump overlooking a mountainside.
Source: Xbox Game Studios

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure features a lot more of everything that makes the base game good, brought to a vast new map and set to an extremely fun theme. The off-road racing of the new Sierra Nueva map is a blast whether you’re running across sand dunes in the night or pushing through the mud and foliage of the mountain forests. There are a ton of different races to explore, a huge collection of rewards for completing them, and a great variety of new cars to earn and take back to these fantastic tracks. Whether you get it as part of Forza Horizon 5’s Premium Edition, nab it alongside the Hot Wheels DLC, or pick it up on its own, Rally Adventure packs a lot more quality content into the game at a reasonable price.

These impressions are based on a PC copy of the DLC provided by the publisher. Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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