Since the first matchbox car appeared in the 1930s, toy cars have been a staple of playrooms everywhere. It makes sense: the shrunk down versions of things that go vroom make it possible for kids to engage with those big, loud, fast machines they see nearly every day. They’re also great vessels for creative play (a car must have a destination) and fit into narratives kids create with other toys. To that end, we’ve rounded up our picks for the best toy cars available now, from classic models to new favorites. All prove that toys that go vroom aren’t running out of gas any time soon.
Fast & Furious 8 Diecast Dom’s Plymouth GTX Vehicle
The Fast and the Furious franchise is eight films deep, with at least two sequels, one spin-off, and a Netflix animated series in the works. This die-cast car, a model of the GTX Dom Toretto drove in The Fate of the Furious, is a great gift for any fan of the series or kid who has a thing for old-school muscle.
LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Rocket Rally Car
Lego-loving kids can assemble this set into a rally car, jet truck, or quad bike, all of which are small enough to fit in little hands. The blue wheels and lime green body look cool and, because it’s Lego, you know that it’ll be easy to reconstruct in the event of a gnarly crash.
Hot Wheels Marvel Avengers Iron Man Armor-Up Launcher
You’ll have some kids at “Iron Man,” but even those who are obsessed with the Marvel Comic Universe will have a good time with this toy. The key here is the included launcher, which uses a spring to blast the car forward onto the included ramp or, if you’ve got some lying around, Hot Wheel track.
Hot Wheels 2015 Batman Bundle Set
The Batmobile is arguably the coolest car in movie and comic book history, something that hasn’t changed over the decades even as its design has evolved to meet the times. This collection of six diecast metal models of various Batmobiles is a great choice for any big fans of the Caped Crusader.
VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Starter Pack
The Tech Go! Go! Smart Wheels system is a great choice for kids not yet old enough for Hot Wheels, which are very easy to swallow. This set, which has a suggested age range of one to five years old, comes with pretty basic fire truck, ambulance, and rescue helicopter toys. They’re great on their own, but if you pop 2 AA batteries into each one they’ll light up, make noises, and inform your kids of such important facts as “H is for Helicopter.”
Matchbox Jurassic World ’93 Jeep Wrangler
A version of this toy with the vehicle Chris Pratt drives is available, but we’re more of Sam Neill fans around here. This vintage Jeep, a 1:24 replica of the vehicle in Jurassic World, is a good introduction to the older Jurassic Park movies for the dino-loving kid. It’s made by Matchbox, but is far larger than a standard Matchbox car. Kids can play with and carry it around with one hand, but it won’t fit in their pocket.
Hot Wheels Basic Car 50-Pack
Toy cars are always more fun when you have more than one. After all, you can have a neck-in-neck race or massive pile up with just one car. This set of 50 Hot Wheels will set you back, but in the end you’ll be paying less than a dollar per car. They’re individually wrapped so you don’t even have to give them to your kids all at once. The set includes a solid mix of vehicles, both classic and new models. Just be sure to pick them up because, man, will these things do damage if stepped on.
Automoblox Mini X10 Timber Pack
Automoblox is a relatively young brand of toy cars with wooden bodies, plastic connectors and wheels, and rubber tires. Kids can assemble and disassemble them as they please. We like this kit in particular because it comes with a couple of bonuses: a trailer and a motorcycle, each of which fits nicely with the standard Automoblox style.
Tonka Classic Steel Might Dump Truck
Tonka trucks are an American classic. Never has blaring yellow looked so much like red, white, and blue. This dump truck is made of steel and carries a lifetime guarantee. Treat well, this thing’s so tough that your kids can pass along this truck to their own.
The Incredibles 2 Incredible Car & Mr. Incredible Action Figure
Like any Pixar release, the long-awaited sequel to The Incredibles brought with it a slew of new branded toys, including this set. Mr. Incredible fits inside this convertible, which has a plastic flame that rotates in the back and dual working missile launchers in the front.
CoolToys Custom Take-A-Part Car Playset
The coolest part of this toy is the included electric drill, which lets kids assemble, disassemble, and reassemble the car. The whole thing is held together with plastic screws at various points around the body of the car, which also includes motion activated lights and sounds.
FLYTECN Pull Back Vehicles
Who needs batteries when you’ve got hands? To operate this vehicle, all kids have to do is hold it down and pull it back towards them. The engine will ratchet back as they pull, building up energy that shoots the car forward once they let go. This particular version can flip over and keep right on going, so the potential for experimenting with different ramps and obstacles is pretty great.
RoseArt Wooden Speedway Racers Craft Kit
This is the car to get if you’re raising an art-obsessed kid. The set includes three plain wooden cars, paint, and stickers. Half the fun is in coming up with a design, painting the car, and finishing the job with some stickers. The other half is in taking the one of a kind vehicle out into the world, perhaps in a race with the other two cars that come with the set.