Best ride on car for toddler of 2018 & Buying guide

Ride-on cars are one of the most iconic things that many of us remember from our childhoods! They’re fun, educational, and overall exciting for a young kid to explore with.

The fact that they have remained popular for so many years is a sure sign of their quality.However, not every ride-on car is a quality product.

 Some companies, like Little Tikes, are known for building quality products. Others made in back alley factories in China and exported for low prices… not so much. We’re here to help identify the best ride-on cars on the market through a combination of price, function, style and availability.

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What makes a ride-on car good or bad?

There are a lot of things that can impact the quality of a ride-on car, the most important of these being safety. If the safety specs aren’t listed on the product page or the tag at the store, this is an immediate red flag as lower-end distributors and manufacturers will tend to cut corners in order to save money.

One of the key things to remember is that, when considering a ride-on car, it’s always good to wait until your toddler’s at least a couple years old. Models certainly exist for younger toddlers but they have a tendency to outgrow them quickly, so unless you have a wide budget, then you’re going to have to buy another one pretty much right away.

Your child’s skill level is important

One of the best and most important factors in buying a ride-on car is your toddler’s level of skill. If they aren’t already learning how to use their body and developing their own dexterity skills then they might find a ride-on car to be a bit too much.

  • You can start your toddler off exploring mobility by getting a simpler ride-on toy like a rocking horse and evolving into a light foot-powered device that encourages the development of healthy motor skills

Where do you intend to use the car?

If the car is for use indoor or on relatively smooth pavement then you can get a regular car in the same vein as a Little Tikes car. If you’re planning to have your kid romp around on the lawn or off-road, it’s recommended that you get an all-terrain style vehicle. They can be a little more costly but vastly expand the area of which your child can comfortably explore.

  • If you live in an urban environment you should buy an ATV vehicle and let your child roam the backyard – it’s much safer than having them out on the street, even with your supervision, if there’s lots of traffic.
    • ATV vehicles give your child a lot more freedom. Another benefit of an ATV car is that they typically don’t have doors which means your child won’t outgrow them as quickly as they would with a non-ATV car. This can compensate for their higher price range.
  • If you don’t have a back yard there are cars made with softer treads that can be used indoors without damaging the floors (or causing too much irritation to any downstairs neighbours.)
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Do you look for education / excitement / entertainment?

There are cars made that cater to different aspects of your child’s growth. For example, Ram HD makes a rideable kid’s fire truck that has a working firehose so they can not only enjoy riding about, but enjoy practicing to be a fireman. Who knows – maybe this will spark their career interest?

  • In terms of education you should maybe avoid getting a battery-powered vehicle until your kid is familiar with how to use his or her feet effectively. Older toddlers can use battery powered vehicles without forfeiting much progress, as they’re usually more developed.
  • Entertainment values can be instilled on your child by purchasing a miniature model of one of your favorite cars. A lot of leading car brands make downsized versions of their most popular models to introduce kids into the world of auto aficionados.
  • Some cars come with battery-powered speech units that can sing or talk to your child. These are great for younger toddlers because they encourage the development of healthy speech habits and can promote an interest in music.

Safety levels are important

Ensure that you’re not getting a badly made car from an unknown manufacturer. This could lead to a lot of problems, not the least of which is your child getting injured. For some products it’s okay to trust an unknown brand who offers discount prices but in the case of buying something for your children it’s a good idea to trust reliable brands.

Fortunately, when you’re buying a ride-on car there’s minimal risk of your child choking on small parts, which is one of the biggest concerns for children playing with new toys. Cars with roofs on them also eliminate the need for wearing a helmet, though if you’re buying an open-topped ride-on vehicle like an ATV unit, you’re probably going to want to invest in a helmet for your kid.

  • Most cars, even battery-operated ones, that are made for toddlers are fairly safe in terms of how fast they go. No manufacturer that makes kid’s toys is going to ramp them up to go 50 MPH – that’s a recipe for disaster.
  • It’s important to always supervise your kid when they’re using a battery powered car and to keep a good watch on them when they’re using a foot-powered one.
    • The most imminent dangers are pools (they could fall in, get stuck in the car and drown) and high traffic areas, for obvious reasons. These issues can be fixed by erecting fenced areas between your yard and the road, or building a fence around your backyard pool if you have one.

Once you’re sure that you understand the basic safety requirements for your kid to have their ‘own’ vehicle, be it foot-powered or battery-powered, you’re ready to make a decision. But which ones are the best?

The best ride-on cars for toddlers

There’s a lot of selection but we’ve taken the liberty to sift through the shoddy models and determine which ride-on cars are the safest, most functional, and most entertaining units available on the market. The following models come in a variety of prices, so you’re sure to find something to suit you and your toddler!

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Best ride on car for toddler Reviews

1. Little Tikes Cozy Truck Review

This car’s a great option for both toddlers learning to control their range of motion, and toddlers a little bit older who want to power the movement of the vehicle with their own two feet.

How is this possible? The floorboard is removable – when it’s in place, control of the vehicle is up to the parents. Once you’re confident enough that your toddler can use it safely, you can drop out the floorboard and let them run rampant!

There’s also a drop-down tailgate so you can introduce your child to the awesome lifestyle of tailgate parties! (Or provide easy-access through more areas of the toy.)

This is a good model for introducing your kid to the world of automobiles as well. There’s a removable gas cap, a steering wheel and a fully functional horn (which is also useful for alerting you that your kid’s approaching you!)

The driver’s door opens and the tail and front end are decorated with decals. They can also be added to – which allows your child the chance to personalize their very first vehicle!

Pros

  • Removable floorboard suits different ages of toddlers
  • Drop down tailgate for easy access and more fun
  • Good introduction to automobiles – gas cap, working horn
  • Opening driver’s door

Cons

  • Not a very realistic model

2. LA Ferrari 12V Review

This is a model for parents who have a few more bucks to spend and who are interested in sharing their love of quality vehicles with their children. This is a resized version of the Ferrari with sliding doors, a realistic body and shiny paint. There are a lot of cool features included.

You can play music with this unit so your kid will be extra-entertained. There’s remote control access so if you find that your kid is straying too far from the designated play area, you can just turn them right back around and make them head back towards mommy or daddy.

There’s a seat belt included which is a fantastic opportunity to stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt to your child. If they don’t do up their seat belt, don’t let them ride – this will help develop a great habit!

The car comes in a couple different colours – yellow and red – with chrome-like wheels that are sure to provide extra appeal to both you and your child.

Pros

  • Realistic model
  • Attractive design available in several colours
  • Allows your child to play music as they drive
  • Remote control access

Cons

  • High price
  • Assembly is required

3. Power Wheels Lil’ Quad Review

This is a great example of the power and versatility of ATV-esque children’s ride-ons. It’s simple to use, attractive, and a great way to let your child roam around on grass or uneven surfaces.

There’s built in footrests to accommodate their little feet, as well as a storage area in the back for water or snacks. The unit is limited to forward propulsion of two miles per hour which is great because it prevents your child from driving off on you or putting themselves in risk of a high speed crash.

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The car starts with a simple push-button ignition and stops the same way, which isn’t too complicated for your little one to understand. A six volt battery and a charger for it are included as part of the package.

Pros

  • All-terrain vehicle that isn’t limited by the need for pavement
  • Battery and battery charger are both included
  • Limited forward speed prevents serious risk of injuries
  • Attractive design
  • The steering wheel is actually used to change direction which is great for educating kids

Cons

  • Difficult to charge the battery since you need to remove the seat
  • Factory included decals are not attached and you have to put them on yourself

4. PlasmaCar Ride-On Toy Review

PlaSmart has made a great innovation with this toy. Its forward propulsion is mediated by your child’s ability to crank the steering wheel left and right, which both limits the speed of which your child can move as well as building their muscles. On top of that, the speed limitation being based on your child’s input helps them learn a drive to improve their skills, both physically and mentally.

The design is simple and certainly not very realistic, but the price of the unit is quite affordable. It’s only functional on flat surfaces like pavement or the smoothest grass, which is good for people stuck in urban areas. Make sure you watch your child at all times!

Footrests are included for comfort and the unit supports over 100kg so not only will your child be able to continue using it as they grow up, but mommy or daddy (or even your grandparents) can jump on the unit and show your kid how much fun it is to ride!

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Supports a huge weight so your kid won’t outgrow it
  • Both parents and grandparents can use the unit
  • Speed is limited by your child’s strength
  • Innovative concept
  • Trains both strength and mentality

Cons

  • Not a realistic design
  • Company is known for shipping defective products and charging for a replacement

So which is the best?

Despite the company’s occasional habit of shipping a defective product, the PlasmaCar Ride-on Toy is the best choice of these toys for general use – for a few reasons.

  • Its large weight capacity allows the parents or grandparents of the toddler to ride it or ride a separate one alongside, proving how enjoyable it can be
  • The rate of speed is limited by your child’s strength. As they grow and mature, they’ll be able to go faster.
  • Inspires determination
  • It’s available for a price that’s more than reasonable

All of these awesome features overshadow the possibility that you might have to return the product for a new one. While richer parents might want to invest in something like the LA Ferrari, this is a good option for parents of all budget ranges and children of all sizes.