The best toy cars for children

Help them build an enviable collection of toy cars with our favourite picks

A selection of diecast toy cars

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

I think it's pretty safe to say that the majority of CAR-reader childhoods were filled to the brim with toy cars. Whether it was Dinky models of Austin Cambridges, '60s muscle cars given the Hot Wheels treatment or remote-controlled buggies you'd rag around the back garden they all shaped a passion.

Help nurture this passion with the very best toy cars on sale today. We've done the research so they can have all the fun.

The best toy cars

Hot Wheels 54886 10 Car Pack Assortment

Rrp: $13.99

Price: $11.60
Alternative retailers
Walmart$17.54View offer

Hot Wheels is the best way to build a cool collection of diecast cars. I mean, what other pack of toy cars could include a Jaguar F-Type, JDM drift-spec Mazda RX-7 and a Twin Mill (a twin-engined concept Hot Wheels designed themselves).

They're reasonably priced, look fantastic and are durable enough that a child won't snap one in half after a rough playtime. There are some awesome accessories you can buy too (including the famous Hot Wheels loop) meaning there's a near-endless amount of fun to be had.

This ten car pack includes a random selection of cars making it a perfect gift for any young petrolhead. They're also suitable for children over the age of three.

We're big fans of the Porsche 911 here at CAR but the price means a real one may be out of the question. This impressive rendition of a 991 generation 911 Carerra S from Playmobil may well be the next best thing.

Not only does this model look really impressive, but it's also made of durable plastic and will be suitable for children aged four and above. It features working lights (you'll need to provide the three AAA batteries) and it's also really easy to customise. Remove the roof, add a set of spoilers or change the alloys with ease.

Just be warned, this 911 model is so impressive it may be commandeered away from children for the parents to play with. There are more licensed cars from Playmobil too, including the Porsche Taycan and a very cool-looking VW Campervan.

Tonka Steel Classic Mighty Dump Truck

Rrp: $47.05

Price: $37.77
Alternative retailers
Walmart$20.60View offer
Target$29.99View offer
Blain Farm & Fleet$32.99View offer
JCPenney$39.99View offer

Tougher than most city cars, the Tonka truck has been a staple of outdoor play for over 70 years. Made of steel and designed to be rough-housed through mud, sandpits and even ponds, these trucks have been proven to be tougher than almost anything else on four wheels.

This dump truck model is a must for a child obsessed with construction. There are also earthmovers and bulldozers available to complete the set. This truck is suitable for children aged three and over and there isn't much chance it'll ever break.

Everyone loves a game of Mario Kart. Since the first game was launched in 1992 it quickly became the best-selling racing game of all time, beating the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. Mario Kart 8 (the newest in the franchise) is one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch.

Bring the game into the real world with this twin set of model cars. At 1:43 scale they aren't the biggest, but they are very well made and come with pull-back action making them perfect for an impromptu drag race across the kitchen floor.

The best car kits:

LEGO 60288 City Great Vehicles Race Buggy Transporter

Rrp: $42.48

Price: $38.90

Lego car sets are really something else. Take a look at this transporter set. It includes an awesome-looking (and steerable) Baja buggy, a detailed trailer and an SUV that has a striking resemblance to the Land Rover Defender 90.

Our favourite thing about Lego however is the ingenuity it can nurture. Once they've built the Lego set they can spend hours playing with it or build something else with the kit. There is nothing stopping them from combining the buggy and SUV to make some green and purple, eight-wheeled off-roading monstrosity. That's the beauty of Lego, the only limit is their imagination.

There is something deeply satisfying about making your own model, no matter what age you are. Airfix has an excellent array of starter sets that are ideal for children to do. This classic VW Beetle is made of 53 parts and comes with two paintbrushes, six pots of paint and a tube of poly cement.

We wouldn't recommend they assemble it by themselves (they're guaranteed to make a mess) and it can be a really fun bonding experience for children. And once you've done the Beetle, there are a whole host of Airfix cars and planes you both can tackle together.

The best remote-controlled toy cars

Off-roading an RC car in your garden is a simple but fun way to pass the time. Small decorative pebbles become massive rock-crawling jobs and wet flowerbeds make awesome mud pits. With one of these RC stunt cars, you can do all of that thanks to the very chunky tyres, 4WD system and the fact it can be driven upside down.

If outdoors isn't to your liking, you can also use it in the home. It comes with a rechargeable set of batteries and is suitable for children aged six and over.

My First Scalextric
Price: $70.55

We're unabashed fans of Scalextric here at CAR. There is nothing better than racing a buddy around a track, desperately trying to keep your car from shooting off into the nearest skirting board. This smaller (1:64 scale) Scalextric set is designed with children in mind.

As standard, you make a figure-eight track complete with a bridge but these pieces are compatible with all 1:64 scale Micro Scalextric products making it a great starting point for a larger track. It includes two cars with controllers and should provide hours of fun.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.

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