Cars are playable vehicles in Diddy Kong Racing and Diddy Kong Racing DS. The cars vary with each character and are usable in all levels except Hot Top Volcano, Whale Bay, Pirate Lagoon, and Boulder Canyon, where the player must use a Hovercraft or Plane instead. Cars could also be used in Everfrost Peak in the original N64 version—however, it cannot be selected in the DS version. Each character has a different color car:
Cars can be customized in Diddy Kong Racing DS to help with handling, acceleration, and speed. Their hue colors can also be altered with a slider and because of this, all characters do not have unique car colors any more and start out with yellow cars.