There is a great site http://www.one18th.com/
with seperate forums for each model of 1/18th cars off road and on road.
The problem you will have buying any of the reccomended electric touring cars is difficulty of maintainence and repair. You hit a curb and you will have to dissasemble your front suspension (possibly the whole frnt end of your car) replace a part(s), if you are lucky you can find the part locally.
I bought a TC car already built because I wanted to avoid the 'hassle' of building a kit. In the last two years I have disassembled and reassembled the car a dozen times. I am like a special forces guy and his M16. I believe I could rebuild an XXX-S in the dark underwater.
If you like the 1/18 mini truck you can customize or hop it up, there are a few places where they race them. If you really like it and what to get invovled in competitive racing, you will have the experience to make a good decision on what 1/10 scale to get. A majoirty of the skills and knowledge you will gain from the 1/18th truck/buggy will directly translate into 1/10th on road.
The three packages I would look at are the Losi mini-t Ready to Run(RTR) for $99. The Duratrax Vendetta 1/18th Buggy or the Team Associated RC18t. You will find more info and comparisons at the url I listed at the beggining.