Vehicle-based side missions are a staple within the GTA series.
These vehicle-based side missions are the ones players get when they press a specific button whilst in a specific vehicle. As one might expect, this list isn't about regular missions a player goes to that heavily involves vehicles as a core part of the mission. Instead, it will include missions pertaining to vehicles like taxis, ambulances, and police cars.
The GTA series is full of vehicle-based side missions, as it's often integral for players seeking money on the side. More often than not, these missions tend to be legal and more moral than what players usually would expect from a GTA game. However, this isn't always the case; sometimes players might do a vehicle-based side mission that seems on par with what players expect from the GTA series.
Top five vehicle-based missions in the GTA series
#5 - Firefighter
Firefighter is a staple among the GTA series, appearing in most games (only absent in GTA 4 and GTA 5). The Fire Truck is an impressive vehicle in its own right, as it is not only fast, but also capable of blowing past most other vehicles it rams into. As a bonus, the player can use its siren to make other vehicles move, allowing the player an easy driving experience.
As for the mission itself, it's essentially just putting out fires. Using the water hose is surprisingly smooth, and this vehicle-based mission is often completed rather quickly. Players can also use the water hose to knock down pedestrians for fun, although it is essential if they're on fire in some GTA games.
#4 - Pimping
Considering how integral prostitutes are to the series, it is surprising that only GTA San Andreas features the ability for the player to act as a pimp. There is some mission variety in Pimping, as the player essentially delivers the prostitutes to a location like a taxi driver, but may also have to defend them from rowdy clients or try to take back money from cowardly ones.
All the player needs to do this vehicle-based mission is a Broadway, which is a fairly common vehicle in GTA San Andreas. Pimping cannot be done in the countryside (likely due to how small that area is and how easy it would be to complete), but players can choose to do it everywhere else. Pimping is basically Taxi Driver, but with more style.
#3 - Noodle Punk/Pizza Boy
Noodle Punk and Pizza Boy are virtually identical side missions, except one takes place on the Noodleboy throwing boxes of noodles while the other one has the player on a Pizzaboy throwing boxes of pizza. Pizza Boy appears in both GTA Vice City and Liberty City Stories, while Noodle Punk only shows up in the latter.
The time limits are pretty forgiving for these vehicle-based missions, especially since the vehicles are reasonably fast and agile enough to get around easily. Players can listen to their favorite radio stations without having to hear silence or the same dispatch radio over and over again, making it superior to similar vehicle-based missions.
#2 - Brown Thunder
Brown Thunder is identical to Vigilante, except that it takes place in the Hunter. The single-player story is effortlessly broken by the presence of the Hunter, as it's an aircraft that can shoot infinite rockets and mow more than anybody with its machine gun. This also makes it the best vehicle for completing Vigilante (Brown Thunder shares the rewards with Vigilante).
Unlike regular Vigilante vehicles, the player is practically uncontested in the air. GTA San Andreas provides more counterplay for players causing too much destruction, but games like GTA Vice City have no limits to how far the player can go. One can destroy any criminal with the Hunter seamlessly, without worrying about being too slow like they would in a Rhino tank.
#1 - Burglar
In terms of sheer dynamics, the Burglar side mission from GTA San Andreas is at the very top. Not only can it be lucrative for a player's wallet, but it's surprisingly fun to do. More often than not, vehicle-based missions are rather repetitive and involve the player going from point A to point B a number of times. By comparison, the Burglar side mission gives the player more freedom to choose which homes to rob, and how they should rob it with their trusty black Boxville.
Players aren't required to take everything from a single home. Likewise, players can opt to kill the residents with a silenced pistol to make the robbery happen faster. However, the main risk to this side mission is how easy it is to attract three-stars for playing recklessly. There are more moving parts to this vehicle-based mission than other like-minded missions in the GTA series, which makes it arguably the best one.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.