As a father, one of your primary responsibilities — nay, duties — is to make the neighbor kids jealous (and their parents anxious) by filling your garage with loud, expensive, borderline obnoxious “ride-on” toys. At the top of that list are go-karts, electric scooters, battery-powered cars, and anything else that you will have to chase frantically after one day.
The good news is there are more riding toys on the market right now than ever before. We’re well past the Barbie Corvette and Power Wheels Wrangler days, as luxury auto manufacturers like Tesla, McLaren, and Morgan have all started selling tiny versions of their popular models. The bad news is, they’re not cheap.
Still, for every $8,000 Morgan EV Junior, there’s a $200 Audi A8 Spyder GT. And a bunch in between. Which is why we rounded up 14 of them, including a sweet dirt bike and a hipster food truck, that will have your kids cruising the neighborhood in style.
A battery-powered replica of McLaren’s speedy $1.35 million P1 Roadster, this single-seat convertible in Volcano Yellow features an electric drivetrain, three-speed transmission plus reverse, and dihedral butterfly doors guaranteed to impress everyone in first grade. It also comes tricked out with working lights, a functional speedometer, push-button ignition, and a sound system loaded with nursery rhymes. As if that’s not enough, the company also teamed up with Step2 recently to release an even smaller, toddler-sized $80 push-car version of its sexy 570S.
A dune buggy-styled kart from Dutch outdoor specialists Berg, the Revolution is built rough and tumble with 15-inch all-terrain tires, double ball-bearing steering, back-pedal brakes, and swing axle suspension to handle the roughest of road conditions. Since pedaling through mud and muck can be hard work for a 5-year-old, the Revolution boasts three gears to make it easier. Since kids don’t always follow directions and may make a wrong turn at that fallen tree down by the creek, there’s also a reverse gear. Plus, mud guards to keep all the slop from kicking up along the way.
The Rollplay Grill N Go Food Truck is a hipster parent’s dream, a 6-volt, ride-on vehicle for kids ages 2- to 5-years-old. It has an extendable serving window for selling fake burgers and dogs. The driver-side door opens so they don’t have climb in, it features realistic sound effects, and it tops out around 1.3 mph, so there’s little danger of them tearing out of the garage and hitting the cat. And, because toddlers are often poor drivers with little comprehension of forward and reverse, the truck features 360-degree EZ Steer technology so they can smoothly turn their way out of corners and away from walls.
For only $71,000 less than the grown-up model, your 3 to 8-year-old can zip around the neighborhood in a miniature, battery powered replica of the Tesla Model S. The base model’s equipped with all the bells-and-whistles that kids have come to demand in their luxury vehicles: Forward and reverse, a trunk, a working horn and headlights for night riding, and a sound system/audio jack. But what you’re really looking for in a cul-de-sac cruiser is a fast-charging, lithium-ion battery that lasts way longer than the PW Wrangler you drove in 1986.
Razor SX500 McGrath
Jeremy McGrath was like the LeBron James of motocross back in the ’90s, and the Razor SX500 electric dirt bike was designed with his flawless riding style in mind. The twist-grip acceleration control, hand-operated disc brakes, and dual suspension give it an authentic dirt bike feel, and your kid can rip continuously for up to 40 minutes on one charge. Or until they really hurt themselves.
Famed British automaker Morgan Motor Company shrunk down its electric 3-wheeler, the EV3, and spared no expense in the process. The EV3 Junior is custom built out of lightweight carbon fiber and tops out, unlike many of its competitors, at a speedy 10 mph. The seats are hand-stitched leather. The lights work. The dash is fine wood. Not only that, but it needs a real key to start, and there’s enough juice in the battery to take your progeny on a lovely 10-mile road trip up the coast.
Go-Bowen Electric Sahara X ATV
This pint-sized ATV has a key-activated governor to manage speed, so your kid can graduate from you walking alongside (under 5 mph) to a brisk jog (up to 10 mph) as he or she gets more confident. With two hours of continuous runtime, this thing can cover a ton of ground. It’s aided by rugged four-wheeling features like off-road tires, full suspension, steel chassis, chain drive, and disc brakes.
The Plyfly is a Pinewood Derby-style go-kart that you snap together by hand (preferably like a euphoric Boy Scout while your family looks on, bewildered). It arrives in three boxes ⏤ one with the deconstructed wooden frame, one with the fully constructed engine, and one with the hardware ⏤ and it can be assembled in a few hours. The 2.5-horsepower model goes 17 mph, while the 4-horsepower model tops out at 25 mph. Go earn that “Involved Dad” merit badge.
Razor Crazy Cart
Drifting gets downsized into a kid-sized package with the Razor Crazy Cart. This compact skidding machine is designed to fishtail like a carp, and it can slide sideways or backward with a yank on one of the drift bars (picture tiny E-brakes on either side of the seat). The cart itself is on the lighter side at just 55 pounds, tops out at 12 mph, and lasts 40 minutes on a single charge. An anti-tip front caster wheel makes it stay rubber-side down.
This rugged four-wheeler has “birthday present from Grandpa” written all over it. Based on the 1948 Land Rover Series 1, the Toylander can carry a driver and two passengers over variable terrain (read: neighbor’s flowers) with ease. Sure, it arrives in a kit and can take between 40-60 hours to assemble, but the payoff is a one-of-a-kind rig with authentic details like a folding windshield, pneumatic tires, a sturdy swing axle, and a functional tailgate.
Actev Arrow Smart-Kart
Actev is a Silicon Valley go-kart startup looking to be the “Ultimate Driving Machine” for those who just learned to spell BMW. The Arrow Smart-Kart has a rigid steel frame, two independent 120W electric motors, obstacle avoidance technology (remember, this is a go-kart), and a contoured seat with dual speakers. Most striking is the fact that parents can control the cart via the mobile app. In other words, if Junior guns it for a busy intersection, the engine can be instantly disabled. Or, as you like to call it, the “buzzkill switch.”
Infento Constructible Ride
There are two kinds of dads: Those who recoil in horror at the phrase “some assembly required” and those who say “challenge accepted.” For the latter, there’s the Infento. This fully modular kart system arrives at your house in a giant kit, IKEA-style. Then you put it together while drinking beer and cursing. The pieces can be configured into several different karts, scooters, and sleds. And, as your kid grows, you can purchase all kinds of add-ons to keep up with his or her interests. Unless they’re no longer interested in being awesome.
Kid Trax Audi A8 Spyder GT
With LED headlights, a racing-style bucket seat, working FM radio, slick spoiler, and all kinds of authentic Audi details, the Kid Trax A8 Spyder GT is the perfect ride for the mid-preschool crisis. Unlike a real Audi, its max speed is 2.5 mph — or roughly the speed of you sharing a narrow sidewalk with a tiny vehicle. It’s an entry-level option for ages three and up, but maybe one day, if you wish really hard, it will grow up to be a big car.
The Daymak Blast C5 Ultimate is an all-electric kart that’s more supercar that simple rider. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds and costs more than the average annual income. It’s designed by a Canadian company that makes electric motorcycles, and the 220-pound Blast is propelled mostly by a liquid-cooled 48-volt/10,000-watt brushless DC motor. Mostly. Because the C5 is also tricked out with 12 Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) motors ⏤ four behind the driver and eight built-into the body ⏤ that provide an extra 440-pounds of thrust. They’re made to order and take 60 days to build.