Skip to Content

Cars on the Road Review: Why It Should Have Been A Movie

Cars on the Road is a collection of cute shorts following everyone’s favorite dynamic duo — but it just might have worked better as a movie.

Cars on the Road review

PREHISTORIC PURSUIT – Disney and Pixar’s all-new original series “Cars on the Road” follows best friends Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) on a cross-country road trip where every stop is its own adventure—including a pulse-pounding dino park visit. All nine episodes of “Cars on the Road” begin streaming on Disney+ Day, Sept. 8, only on Disney+. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Cars on the Road is a collection of nine shorts that follow Mater and Lightning around the country on a road trip as they head to Mater’s sister’s wedding. The two go on several different adventures which have them meeting fun and new characters along the way — and fans might just see some of their favorites pop up as well! These shorts each tell an individual story, but due to the length of each one, and the cohesive story that is bookmarked by the first and final short, Cars on the Road just might have worked better as a movie.

From a prehistoric dinosaur park, to a haunted hotel, to a circus — these shorts send Mater and Lightning to many unique places. All nine of these episodes showcase the friendship and bond that this dynamic duo has, and it truly is great to get to spend so much time with them. Fans will get to see them get closer as they are put in different situations. They discover how much they really mean to each other, which is a wonderful outcome and message.

That said, each of these episodes clock in around ten minutes long, and that is where the downfall is. Collectively this is ninety minutes of Cars and trust us, that isn’t a bad thing, however this is the length of a movie, which might have been a better choice. With just a little bit of tweaking this could have become a full length feature film. Even a straight to streaming film, but at least audiences would know what they are in for when they hit play. 

If not a movie, then the shorts should have been edited to be no longer than six minutes. Clocking in at about ten minutes each is just too much. Especially when it could have worked as a cohesive plot for a film.

But this is not a movie, it is a collection of nine shorts. It should be noted, however, that they need to be watched in order. Not only does the first one set everything up for the journey, and the final one tie everything together neatly, there are certain characters who show up early on and come back in a later episode. So watching them out of order would make them a tad confusing, and maybe even less enjoyable. 

Cars on the Road is definitely made for all ages, but it should be noted that there are some parts that might be a bit scary for a younger audience. Overall though, it has that same lovable charm that the film franchise has. Speaking of the films, it is incredible to see how animation has changed over the years. These shorts are visually stunning and such a difference from the first movie. 

These shorts are packed with great lessons, with each one teaching either Mater or Lightning (or both) something about themselves and the world around them. Be sure to stay through the final credits too because the theme song is catchy and perfect to dance along to.

That said, after you complete the series, several of the episodes are fun enough to be watched time and time again! Kids who love Cars will love this series. There is certainly room for there to be more in the future as Mater and Lightning could always go on another road trip! This is a great kicking off point for many more adventures to come.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NEXT: Cars 3 Activity Sheets

Cars on the Road poster

About Cars on the Road

The Disney+ Original series follows Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and his best friend Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) as they head east from Radiator Springs on a cross-country road trip to meet up with Mater’s sister.

“The series is a romp across the country with Lightning McQueen and Mater,” says director Steve Purcell. “Like any real road trip, every day is a new mini-adventure with unexpected twists and turns.”

Cars on the Road is produced by Marc Sondheimer. The series’ episodes are directed by Steve Purcell (Eps 1, 2, 8), Bobby Podesta (Eps 5, 6, 9) and Brian Fee (Eps 3, 4, 7). Composer Jake Monaco created the score for all nine episodes.

In celebration of Disney+ Day, Disney and Pixar’s original series Cars on the Road will debut exclusively on the streaming service Sept. 8, 2022.