All Cars Movies In Order: Cars Film and Spin-off Film Series

The Cars film series is captivating and it’s exciting to watch anthropomorphic vehicles as the protagonists. The first film, ‘Cars’, was released in 2006 by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Productions, followed by Cars 2 in 2011. John Lasseter, Jorgen Klubien, and Joe Ranft are the masterminds behind this franchise.

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This movie franchise offers loads of laughter and tells a story about how hard work pays, how we should keep up with our loved ones, and passing on a legacy. The Cars franchise is the way to go if you’re looking for a family-friendly movie with young children.

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This blog post offers everything you need to know if you want to start watching the Cars franchise in the proper order and get on the journey to explore different Sparky adventures.

all Cars movie

All Cars Movies In Order

  1. Cars

    Streaming On: Disney+

    Director: John Lasseter

    Writers: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, Jorgen Klubien

    Stars: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Daniel Lawrence Whitney, Paul Dooley, George Carlin Michael Wallis, Tony Shalhoub, Jeniffer Lewis, Richard Petty, Joe Ranft, Bob Costas

    Genres: Animated, Sports, Comedy

    Cars (2006) on IMDb

    In a town populated with cars where you see the bugs as mini motors, Lightning McQueen the racing car is the star. On his way to an event, he unexpectedly came to a halt in the middle of Radiator Spring Town on Route 66 to repair some road damage. It was there he encountered the warm and welcoming community and learned a vital lesson about the value of true friendship other than winning races.

    The Dinoco 400, the final Piston Cup event, is now in progress. Three racers, Strip “The King” Weathers, the seven-time champion, Chick Hicks, a dependable runner-up who has turned to questionable strategies to win, and Lightning McQueen, an arrogant but gifted rookie are in a close race.

    To gain an advantage in the race, McQueen decides against changing his tires, but as he approaches the finish line, his tires fail, forcing a three-way tie between King, Hick, and McQueen. The piston cup schedules a second championship race in California to address this. Mac, McQueen’s trailer, is made to drive through the night by McQueen. When McQueen is expelled from the trailer due to a malfunction, he rushes and mistakenly damages property in Radiator Springs.

    Doc Hudson decides that repaving the road as community work will serve as his punishment. The Doc challenges McQueen to a race when McQueen rushes the job, which McQueen loses. When the road is finally fixed, McQueen becomes more accepting of them, befriends Mater, and even develops feelings for Sally, the Carrera.

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    Then, without giving Radiator Springs residents a chance to say goodbye, he is abruptly snatched up by his crew. Lightning loses a lap to distraction during the race because he couldn’t say goodbye. He concentrates when he spots his Radiator Spring companions in the pit. Chick crashes King with a PIT move on the last lap.

    McQueen pushes King beyond the finish line to complete the final race of his life because he doesn’t want King’s career to end this way. He reopens Radiator Spring to the public with the aid of the publicity that results from this.

    Cars movie shows a mix of all emotions beginning from winning as the only goal in life towards discovering the beauty that lies in true friendship with various adventures and hurdles that these cars with human-like traits face together is worth watching.

  2. Cars 2

    Streaming On: Disney+

    Director: John Lasseter

    Writers: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, Dan Fogelman

    Stars: Owen Wilson, Daniel Lawrence Whitney, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Thomas Kretschmann

    Genres: Animated, Spy, Comedy

    Cars 2 (2011) on IMDb

    Cars 2 continues the unprecedented experience of showing  Lightning McQueen the racer and his tow truck friend Mater as they travel overseas to the World Grand Prix. McQueen wants to win the championship, while Mater goes on an international detour where he meets spy Finn McMissile and spy in training, Holley Shiftwell.

    Following his fourth Piston Cup victory, McQueen is invited to the World Grand Prix by the Italian Formula race car Francesco Bernoulli, where only the environmentally friendly fuel Alinol is permitted.

    For the first race, McQueen transports Mater and the rest of his team to Tokyo. Mater makes a commotion at the opening party after eating wasabi, which severely irritates McQueen. Later, Mater breaks up an argument between Redline and a Lemon criminal car.

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    Redline installs a tracker on Mater after mistaking him for an American spy. Redline employees Finn and Holley mistake Mater for the spy due to the tracker and try to recruit him. Zündapp, the head of the Lemon cars, kidnaps Redline and kills him after telling him that Alinol will catch fire if struck by an EMP.

    The lemons have transformed a camera into an EMP bomb to stop the race. Three racers’ motors blow after being ignited by the camera at the event. Lightning comes in second place behind Bernoulli in the race. McQueen wins the second race despite a couple of cars exploding and blocking the track.

    Due to recent events, Alinol’s owner Axelrod decides against using it, but McQueen disregards his decision and uses Alinol in the third race. When the lemons hear this, they become enraged and vow to eliminate McQueen. Mater and his spy companions overhear this talk, but Mater blows their cover, leading to their abduction and being left to be crushed in Big Ben.

    The lemons’ backup strategy, a bomb in Mater’s radiator, is used in the race when the EMP on McQueen fails to function. When Mater discovers the bomb, he confronts Axelrod, who is revealed to be the mastermind. Back in Radiator Springs, it is found that Sarge switched McQueen’s organic fuel for Alinol, which explains why the EMP failed.

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    Cars 2 shows Mater being mistaken for a spy and tension builds up. It’s interesting to watch the sequence of events surrounding this confusion, Mater’s escape from the prison and joining McQueen, and races happening in Japan, Italy, and the final race being held in France.

  3. Cars 3

    Streaming On: Disney+

    Director: Brian Fee

    Writers: Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, Jonathan E. Stewart

    Stars: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Daniel Lawrence Whitney, Armie Hammer, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Bonnie Hunt, Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington, Bob Costas, Margo Martindale 

    Genres: Animated, Sports, Comedy

    Cars 3 (2017) on IMDb

    Cars 3 follows up showing Lightning McQueen being asked to move out of racing as the new generation of fast cars replace him showcasing blazing speed and advanced features. Saddened by this, he approaches a young technician, Cruz Ramirez for help but she has her own plans for winning the race.

    Five years after the World Grand Prix, McQueen has won the Piston Cup seven times and is currently lagging behind more modern vehicles. McQueen pushes himself too far and crashes when Jackson Storm passes him, which results in his elimination from the competition. McQueen requests permission to race from Sterling, the new owner of Rust-Eze, four months later. Cruz Ramirez, who instructs McQueen in cutting-edge technology, is paired with McQueen by Sterling.

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    The race simulator is damaged by McQueen. Sterling tries to persuade McQueen to call it quits, but McQueen agrees with Sterling and stakes his career decision on the outcome of the next race. Although McQueen begins training in various methods, he always ends up instructing Cruz.

    Unintentionally revealing McQueen’s identity in a secret race, Cruz infuriates McQueen so much that he smashes his possession. Cruz informs McQueen that he wanted to race too but was never able to do so out of frustration. Feeling bad, Lighting goes to Doc’s mentor, who informs McQueen that coaching others can be just as much fun as racing.

    Lightning begins to pick up new skills to pass Storm in the race with Cruz as a teammate after realizing he will not be faster than Storm. Lightning climbs the leaderboard during the race, but in the middle of it, he switches out Curz for him. At first wobbly and uneasy, Cruz eventually takes first place.

Cars Spin-off Film Series In Order

  1. Planes

    Streaming On: Disney+

    Director: Klay Hall

    Writers: John Lasseter, Klay Hall, Jeffrey M. Howard

    Stars: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Priyanka Chopra, Teri Hatcher, Brad Garrett, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roger Craig Smith, John Cleese, Carlos Alazraqui, Anthony Edwards, David Adkins, Val Kilmer

    Genres: Animated, Sports, Comedy

    Planes (2013) on IMDb

    Dusty Crophopper is a crop duster plane who dreams of being a racer. After Dusty qualifies for the championship due to a technicality, Skipper, a war veteran plane decides to mentor him. During the training, Dusty realizes he is scared of heights which hinders him in the first race causing him to finish last.

    During the second race, Dusty saves another plane from crashing but ends up in last place due to it. After taking some advice from a friend, Dusty takes some shortcuts through the third race and finishes in the first place. When he comes to know that his friend had set him up by making him take a dangerous route, he ends their friendship.

    Since Dusty kept winning, Three-time winner, Ripslinger tells his lackeys to hinder Dusty in the race. Due to a rainstorm and bad timing, dusty crashes and is towed back to Mexico.

    When Dusty decides to give up, the friends he made in the race donate parts to him and he re-enters the race. Plotting to take Dusty down again, Ripslinger’s evil plan is stopped by Skipper. When Ripslinger slows down to pose for the camera, Dusty rushes past him and wins the race.

  2. Planes: Fire And Rescue

    Streaming On: Disney+

    Director: Klay Hall

    Writers: John Lasseter, Klay Hall, Jeffrey M. Howard

    Stars: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Danny Mann, Teri Hatcher, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, Regina King, Wes Studi, Dale Dye, Corri English, Danny Pardo

    Genres: Animated, Sports, Comedy

    Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) on IMDb

    After his first win at the championship, Dusty has become a successful racer. Dusty is a very old model so his replacement parts are not easily available and since he stresses his engine a lot, Dottie attaches a red light to his dashboard.

    Trying to test his limits, Dusty causes an airport fire and it is shut down by the government. Dusty decides to take firefighting training to help reopen the airport. At first, the commander is not impressed by Dusty’s lackluster performance.

    When Dusty finds out that his racing career is over due to the unavailability of parts, he is devastated. When a thunderstorm and lightning cause a big fire the team at the park is successfully able to blow it out, but when VIP planes fly too low, the fire reignites. Dejected, Dusty puts himself in a dangerous situation where Blade saves him from getting injured in the process.

    When the two get the news of an elderly couple stuck on a burning bridge, both of them push themselves to save the elderly. After successfully saving the couple Dusty’s gearbox gives out and he crashes into the water. Waking up five days later, Dusty is impressed to see that he is fitted with a completely new and custom gearbox, and is certified as a firefighter.


The Car Movies are regarded as some of the best Pixar movies  to date and is a mainstay of many viewers’ childhoods. The story is a very beautiful coming-of-age story that depicts the challenges of a gifted rookie and how he works his way toward success.

It concludes with the same character being left behind due to technological improvements and him coming to terms with it and forwarding his legacy to the newer generation. A must-watch for anyone looking for an animated journey with bucket-loads of laughter, beautiful visuals, and a heartwarming story.

Cars Movies According To IMDb Ratings

  • Cars (2006) – 7.2 by 438K Votes
  • Cars 3 (2017) – 6.7 by 108K Votes
  • Cars 2 (2011) – 6.2 by 200K Votes
  • Planes: Fire and Rescue (2015) – 5.9 by 19k Votes
  • Planes (2013) – 5.7 by 47k Votes

Cars Movies According To Box Office Collection

  • Cars 2 (2011) – $559.8 Million
  • Cars (2006) – $462 Million
  • Cars 3 (2017) – $383.9 Million
  • Planes (2013) – $240.2 Million
  • Planes: Fire and Rescue (2015) – $147 Million


Will There Be A Cars 4?

No. The chances of a sequel to the Cars trilogy are slim to none as the last movie wrapped up the story of Lightning McQueen very well and nothing official has been announced about Cars 4.

How many movies do Cars have?

There are a total of 3 Cars movies in the Cars franchise. Cars (2006), Cars 3 (2017), Cars 2 (2011).

How Old Is Lightning McQueen?

In the original Cars movie, McQueen is in his early to mid-twenties. In Cars 2, he achieves the pinnacle of his profession. In Cars 3, he is approaching getting old and retiring.

Who Does McQueen Love?

Lightning McQueen’s love interest is Sally, whom she first meets after he is given community service after destructing Radiator Springs’ main road. Doc Hudson, the judge, is persuaded by Sally to order Lightning to perform community service by mending the road.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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