Do Forza Horizon 5 Locations Exist in Real Life?

Open-world car game has its latest edition set in Mexico. While FH5’s graphics are definitely stunning, are the location depictions accurate? Let’s give them a look

Among all car games, the open-world type has always been my favorite. Besides offering regular races, it gives you the chance to just drive. By following the road with no destination, you can simply enjoy the car. You can practice drifting, push its gears to the maximum, delight yourself with the engine sound… You can even test how modifications work, such as upgrading its brake system or its transmission.

Forza Horizon 5 is particularly interesting because it represents Mexico in its open world. More precisely, it condenses several touristic regions as if they were parts of one big city. In this article, we compile a list of those places compared to the real ones. And we took the opportunity to take some in-game snapshots using cars which AutomoBible has already featured in other articles. I hope you enjoy the reading!

Atlantes de Tula, Hidalgo

The game makes it hard to get the Atlantes and the AMG Hammer on the same picture (source: FH5)
The game makes it hard to get the Atlantes and the AMG Hammer on the same picture (source: FH5)

There are four anthropomorphic statues on top of the Tlahuizcalpantecutli temple. They are around 4.5 m tall and are symbols of the Toltec culture made in basalt. While the statues represent the Toltec society’s history of war success, their size and complexity also prove how skilled those people were in terms of working with stone. These statues were discovered in 1940 in the ancient city of Tula.

1987 AMG Hammer Coupé

The German tuner was born as an independent company. Back in the 1970s, it managed to create design trends of its own; paired with heavy performance upgrades, they made the base cars incredibly better in many ways. The Hammer is considered the pinnacle of AMG’s work before it became a Mercedes-Benz subsidiary. It was a tuning package you could buy with the new car or have it installed in a used one.

Interesting facts about AMG Hammer

  • There are rumors that only 13 units of the AMG Hammer (five coupés) went to the USA.
  • In FH5, the region around Atlantes de Tula features one of the drag strips in the game.
  • The Hammer was the last car AMG created by itself before the Mercedes-Benz takeover.
  • Earlier this month, a coupé was sold in an auction for a surprising price of $762,000.

Barrancas del Cobre, Chihuahua

The Meyers Manx crossing a river during dry season (source: Forza Horizon 5)
The Meyers Manx crossing a river during dry season (source: Forza Horizon 5)

Almost four times as large and twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. The Mexican canyon has a train line of its own, named El Chepe. It goes inside mountains, crosses several cliffs, and goes over rivers. There are so many beautiful sights that the route became a touristic spot on its own. You can also enjoy horseback riding and mountain bike riding and observe birds and fish and visit local communities.

1964 Meyers Manx

The concept was simple: take the VW Beetle’s powertrain and platform and replace its body with a smaller and sportier one. As it turns out, people loved that simplicity: the Meyers Manx made dune buggies a big market niche around the world. While their sales dropped in the 1990s, the original maker is now trying its chances again with a fully electric version. It is going on sale soon as a premium compact vehicle.

Interesting facts about Meyers Manx

  • The original project allowed you to buy everything separately and assemble it by yourself.
  • In FH5, the Copper Canyon’s elevations and tight turns make it a challenging region to drive.
  • The Meyers Manx 2.0 EV will be available in a beta program before going on normal sale.
  • FH5 offers a Forza Edition Meyers Manx with much better performance than the original.

Cascadas de Agua Azul, Chiapas

2015 Vauxhall Corsa parked next to the Blue Water waterfall (source: Forza Horizon 5)
2015 Vauxhall Corsa parked next to the Blue Water waterfall (source: Forza Horizon 5)

There is series of waterfalls in the middle of the Mexican jungle. In that region, the Xanil river is smoothly divided in two parallel streams with rock formations between them. The tallest falls reach around 6 ft (20 m) in height. Since that water is rich in calcium carbonate, it gradually covers those rocks and fallen trees in limestone. The government has made it an area of flora and fauna protection since the year 2000.

2015 Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Whether under the British brand or the German twin Opel, the Corsa has been a success in the compact market for decades. In fact, there was a time when it went global. Forza Horizon 5 chose the last phase under GM ownership. The following generation was created by PSA with focus on electrification. The car is now related to the Peugeot 208; somehow, both managed to achieve great market performance.

Interesting facts about Vauxhall Corsa

  • The first generation went to the UK as Nova to avoid confusion with “coarse” in English.
  • In 1998, it became the best-selling car in the world considering its many regional versions.
  • Nowadays, the model is only European and has received its first fully electric powertrain.
  • The Opel counterpart to the VXR version is GSi, which has been replaced by OPC lately.

Dunas Blancas, Coahuila

Buick GNX jumping over dunes in the game (source: Forza Horizon 5)
Buick GNX jumping over dunes in the game (source: Forza Horizon 5)

In the nature reserve of Cuatro Ciénegas, there is a special dune region. Dunas Blancas is named after its soil made with calcium formations; instead of sand, you get snow-white crystals which can reflect sunlight strongly enough to hurt your eyes. Nevertheless, they make the region look like it is permanently snowy. In FH5, it is perfect to get a 4×4 vehicle and jump from dune to dune to get many Ultimate Air skills.

1987 Buick GNX

The fact that it is a special edition of a sporty version of a regular car already says much. Buick partnered with McLaren in the 1980s to create a limited-edition muscle car so as to attract younger customers. With a turbocharged engine and sinister looks, the GNX sold out immediately and became a collector’s item ever since. Do not look for it in any other color than black, though; that restriction is part of its charm.

Interesting facts about Buick GNX

  • While the Grand National had regular production, Buick only made 547 units of the GNX.
  • Many owners never drove their GNX the way they should to keep it in a good condition.
  • Dunas Blancas is a great region to drive playfully; the many jumps make it hard to go fast.
  • In FH5, the region is prone to have sandstorms which minimize the player’s field of vision.

Ekʼ Balam, Yucatán

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado parked next to an ancient structure in Ekʼ Balam (source: Forza Horizon 5)
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado parked next to an ancient structure in Ekʼ Balam (source: Forza Horizon 5)

This archaeological site is close to Chichen Itza and used to be the seat of a Maya kingdom. It is famous for housing the tomb of king Ukit Kan Lek Tokʼ. While it was a reference in the region during the Classic period, it eventually declined. Exploring the remaining structures has allowed scientists to create theories about how the region was invaded and explanations about how inhabitants fled from it over time.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

The car selected here is the only muscle car ever sold with front-wheel drive. Then again, it is true that the maker changed it over time. The Toronado received substantial improvements in terms of elegance and luxury that made it a personal luxury car. Sadly, it suffered with the tough environment of the 1970s and underwent drastic changes to adapt. Oldsmobile sold it through four generations up to the early 1990s.

Interesting facts about Oldsmobile Toronado

  • In FH5, the front-wheel drive makes it easier to control than other muscle cars of its time.
  • The 1966 Toronado had such long doors that they had secondary handles for the back seat.
  • In the game, the region around Ekʼ Balam is surrounded by tall trees and slippery dirt roads.
  • The third-generation Toronado had a diesel engine which was plagued by mechanical issues.

Misión de Santa Rosalía de Mulegé, Baja California

Honda Civic Type R in front of the Catholic mission in Mulegé (source: Forza Horizon 5)
Honda Civic Type R in front of the Catholic mission in Mulegé (source: Forza Horizon 5)

Founded in 1705, this religious institution catered to the Cochimí people up to 1717, when a hurricane devastated the region. Fifty years later, the Franciscans took over Baja California’s colonization and built a stone church. However, by that time there were few people living in the region and the venture failed to attract more. The mission ended in 1828 and the church building has been extensively restored.

2017 Honda Civic Type R

While the Japanese car did not create the hot hatch niche, it certainly became one of its best members. The Type R has been present in half the Civic’s history, which has just turned fifty years old. It is a series of performance variations that feature lighter body, stiffer suspension, and tuned engine and suspension. In the Honda Civic, it has always come with a manual transmission, whether with five or six speeds.

Interesting facts about Honda Civic Type R

  • The 2017 car has the most aggressive design yet; the following Type R is more subtle.
  • Only the 2007 generation had a sedan version; it was the only body available in Japan.
  • The current engine debuted in 2015 and received small upgrades with each generation.
  • In North America, the Si version offers less performance at a more affordable price.

Playa Azul, Cozumel

Porsche 944 Turbo at the Playa Azul (source: Forza Horizon 5)
Porsche 944 Turbo at the Playa Azul (source: Forza Horizon 5)

While Dunas Blancas is famous for its sand, Playa Azul attracts tourists with the color of its water. There are countless hotels and resorts facing its beautiful bright blue waters and clear sand. The whole region is so clean and peaceful that it is almost paradisiac. In Forza Horizon 5, there is a long open region at the coast, but you might prefer to speed through the long stretches of paved road right next to it.

1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

In the 1990s, Porsche made a counterpart to the 911 with more refinement and less performance. The 944 was an improvement on the 924 and used a sportier body with more elegant lines. It received continuous upgrades over the years, from the S trim level with more equipment to the Turbo to deliver better performance. Porsche eventually replaced it with the 968, which was yet another evolution of the project.

Interesting facts about Porsche 944

  • The model became Porsche’s best-selling sports car before the introduction of the Boxster.
  • Black Fuchs wheels were a common optional item owners added when ordering their 944.
  • Playa Azul is the starting point of Goliath and Colossus, which are the longest FH5 races.
  • The 968 was supposed to be a second facelift on the 944, but Porsche changed its mind.

Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato

1976 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Guanajuato (source: Forza Horizon 5)
1976 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Guanajuato (source: Forza Horizon 5)

With just over 72,000 inhabitants, Guanajuato city has the same name as its state. After the early years as a source of gold and silver for Spain, it became the place of important conflicts towards the Mexican independence. Nowadays, it is a popular destination for university students and hosts several cultural events. The Festival Internacional Cervantino has become the most important of its type in the country.

1976 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Simply considered the very first hot hatch. By making a city hatchback more beautiful and agile while still appropriate for running errands, Volkswagen hit a sweet spot. The GTI founded a market niche that made fans and competitors in the whole world. The model was one of the first that VW assembled in the USA. It has also spawned the GTD, GTE, and R variations over the years – the latter is even more powerful.

Interesting facts about VW Golf GTI

  • FH5 has one example of every Golf generation produced so far, whether in the GTI or R.
  • The Golf GTI had its first upgrade in 1991 with the VR6 engine. The first R32 came in 2002.
  • The GTI went to Brazil in the 1988 Gol. It was the first car with an electronic fuel injection.
  • Narrow streets and tight turns makes Guanajuato the toughest region to race in FH5.

Tulum Ruins, Quintana Roo

Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth at the Tulum ruins (source: Forza Horizon 5)
Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth at the Tulum ruins (source: Forza Horizon 5)

If you ever get tired of admiring Playa Azul, take a look at the Mayan ruins which have become a popular tourist sight. They are located on 39-ft (12 m) tall cliffs along the coast. The Mayan civilization lived at its peak from the 13th century to the 15th and even resisted the Spanish invasion of Mexico for some years. The most famous temples of that region are named Descending God, El Castillo, and Frescoes.

1987 Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth

Back in the 1980s, homologation specials were all the rage. Some racing categories required automakers to build a given number of cars to sell to people as they were. The Sierra RS was born in 1986 with that purpose, but Ford Motorsport was not happy yet. In the next year, the special edition RS500 Cosworth came to life with a secondary rear spoiler, extra air intakes, and a heavily upgraded 224-hp engine.

Interesting facts about Ford Sierra RS

  • In FH5, it belongs to the Retro Saloons category, which is one with the fewest members.
  • The Escort RS Cosworth actually used the Sierra’s platform too, only with a new body.
  • The Tulum ruins are merely decorative in the game; there are no relevant events in it.
  • Ford took the Sierra to North America as the Merkur XR4Ti, a short-lived new division.

Valle de las Ranas, Chihuahua

In the game, it turns out that it is quite hard to find a rock shaped like a frog (source: Forza Horizon 5)
In the game, it turns out that it is quite hard to find a rock shaped like a frog (source: Forza Horizon 5)

While Mexico has many ancient buildings for tourists to contemplate, it also has some attractions created by nature. This region gets its name from some rock formations which are oddly similar to – you guessed it – frogs. You can also enjoy the region by hiking, horseback riding, and cycling. Even though you can do all that on your own, locals recommend you to seek a tourist guide for a better experience.

1998 Dodge Viper GTS ACR

The second generation of Dodge’s hypercar had a coupé for the first time. The GTS became famous for its “double bubble” roof and a more powerful version of its famous 8.0L V10 engine. When it comes to ACR, the acronym stands for the performance package that included adjustable suspension, exclusive 18″ BBS wheels, improved engine output, and the removal of air-conditioning and stereo system.

Interesting facts about Dodge Viper

  • All versions of the Dodge Viper that appear in Forza Horizon 5 come with coupé body.
  • Valle de las Ranas has many large rocks that make in-game driving quite challenging.
  • The stripes are a famous GTS trait. The 1996 model would only come in blue and white.
  • The ACR package survived up to the last generation of the Viper, released in the 2010s.

Real life tech specs of FH5 cars

Car nameProductionBodyEnginePowerTorque
AMG Hammer Coupé1986-1988Coupé6.0L V8385 hp417 lb-ft
Buick GNX1987Coupé3.8L V6 T276 hp360 lb-ft
Dodge Viper GTS ACR1999-2002Coupé8.0L V10460 hp500 lb-ft
Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth1987Notchback2.0L I4 T224 hp204 lb-ft
Honda Civic Type R2017-2021Hatchback2.0L I4 T306 hp295 lb-ft
Meyers Manx1964-1971Buggy1.6L H488 hp86 lb-ft
Oldsmobile Toronado1966-1970Coupé7.0L V8385 hp475 lb-ft
Porsche 944 Turbo1985-1988Coupé2.5L I4 T217 hpN/A
Vauxhall Corsa VXR2015-2019Hatchback1.6L I4 T204 hp181 lb-ft
Volkswagen Golf GTI1976-1983Hatchback1.6L I4108 hp103 lb-ft
Author Profile

Danillo Almeida has explored his passion for cars in two distinct ways. The first one is his graduation course in Mechanical Engineering, which will hopefully lead to a job position in the field. The other one is expressing his knowledge and opinions on the matter through writing. Almeida has already contributed to blogs, stores, and websites in general writing automotive content in many formats.

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