The Best Toy Cars for Kids

From pinewood classics to remote-controlled racers, there's a speedster for every child.

by Steve Schiff
Originally Published: 

The thought of your days playing with toy cars, and the transition to the real thing, likely evoke equally warm, fuzzy memories. Apply those same thoughts to your child, though, and the warm fuzzies probably diminish by … oh, call it half. It’s true, they can’t stay young forever, but while they still are, these are the coolest, fastest, most high-tech toy cars for kids. Because once you have another driver to insure, you’ll be done buying toy cars for either of you.

Anki Overdrive

Anki Overdrive is 50 percent slot cars, 50 percent Mario Kart, and 100 percent you and your kid’s most coveted toy car this Christmas. Each smartphone-controlled intelligent robot car has a unique personality and driving style, plus customizable speed, defenses, and weapons. With artificial intelligence designed to feel like another human, you can choose to get dominated by your kid or the world’s smartest Matchbox car. And the track is flexible and magnetic, so assembly takes seconds and cars stay on forever — not the other way around.

Buy Now $150

Candylab Toys

These vintage-inspired, fast-rolling wooden toy cars for kids are the Pinewood Derby racers your dad would have built you if he was even a slightly competent whittler. Instead of a poorly-painted pine block, you’d have ridden to victory on the wheels of the GT-10, BLU 74, or Stinger. Hell, even the Camper would’ve gone down that track faster. Assuming you haven’t sprung for the life-sized one yet, these cars are your ticket to victory row.

Buy Now $25


Because a list of toy cars for kids without one entry based solely on looks would just be invalid. The Freedom, Heat, and Thunderlane are the newest (and most patriotic, authoritatin’ and quasi-Springsteen-y, respectively), but you’re probably going to want to buy everything Playforever makes. It all would just look so perfect in your kid’s elegant, minimalist nursery.

Buy Now $40 and up


The chassis, tires, and other elements of Modarri toy cars are interchangeable across the entire product line, which all use real springs and linkages in their independent front and rear suspensions. Between teaching your kid real-life car fixin’ stuff and letting them feel the road when “driving” with their fingers, you’ll have ample excuses to keep them away from the real thing for as long as possible.

Buy Now $20 and up


Automoblox (that’s “Automobile” + “Blocks” if it took you a minute to figure out the name, too) allows kids to customize their rides by mixing and matching modern design elements with old-school wood frames. Truly the ultimate toy car for the kid with neo-retro-chic parents. Available models include hot rods, police and fire vehicles, trucks, and even a sensible, minivan for dad.

Buy Now $9 and up

Wave Racers

These capacitor-powered track racers (no, not that kind of capacitor — those cars don’t need roads, remember?) don’t depend on launchpad height for their speed but on how fast your kid can wave their hand over the top of them. That movement gets the cars revved up to fly down the track. After that, it just loops on loops on loops.

Buy Now $120

Think Gizmos

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