The Best RC Vehicle for Your Six Year Old
My son has been driving little radio-controlled vehicles around the house for the past couple of years. Actually, my five year old crashed them into walls more often than not. The result was early termination for these ‘RC’ toys and some noticeable wear and tear for our baseboards.
As I considered the general wreckage, I must admit I felt some ongoing frustration. Not only because a number of baseboard paint jobs had been added to my to-do list.
But because the vehicles couldn’t hack it.
Where did everything go so wrong?
(I exaggerate slightly.)
But then I realized it wasn’t really my fault… in fact I hadn’t bought these toys.
They were gifts.
So maybe I could do better….
With the holidays coming up, I decided it was time for Daddy to strap in for a little online shopping…
The Perfect RC Car Design
So what exactly was I looking for?
- The vehicle ideally needed rubber tires placed in front of its plastic chassis.
(This would minimize impact damage.)
- The remote control unit had to offer variable speed control.
(As opposed to full throttle or reverse… and nothing in between)
I simply wanted a durable toy that could be easily controlled and not inflict significant impact damage. Is that so much to ask?
Flipping for the Stunt Car
But as I poked about, all of the cars I found were designed with plenty of race-car plastic out front that would likely snap off on impact.
(You can’t blame the toy designers…. That’s the way real cars are built.)
But then I came upon a different category of car – the ‘stunt vehicle.’ This design immediately seemed more advanced than what I wanted, except for the fact the car indeed had its rubber wheels extended to guard the plastic body.
It was exactly what I was looking for…
Say hello to the Carrera RC Mini Turnator. These cool wheels are considered an all-terrain stunt car. The yellow body (also comes in red) can do a flip and then continue to zoom about without skipping a beat…
- It’s 11.5 cm long
- Protected by ‘chunky’ pneumatic tires
- Operates on a 2.4 GHz frequency
- Runs for 20 minutes
- Takes 40 minutes to recharge
- And powers up with a USB cable… so you don’t have to perform surgery to regularly pull out the batteries from inside the car
It’s Just a Car
As part of the Mini Turnator description, I found the following proclamation:
Boys become men –
Men become boys
(Whoah – that’s some serious testosterone-based marketing.)
With a top speed of up to 20 km/h, it would seem to be a bit overpowered and overambitious for what my son needed in a simple RC car.
(I imagine if you smash its pneumatic tires into a living room wall at that top speed, there’s still going to be damage somewhere.)
That said, I think my son’s eye/hand coordination has come a long way since he pummeled his last RC vehicle.
(But then again, I shouldn’t forget that coordination has nothing to do with the pleasure that comes from the child art of crashing toy cars.)
The Fine Print
To complete my research, I downloaded the instruction manual. I took one look and immediately felt more comfortable when I uncovered the following caveats:
“Never operate the product on grass surfaces. There is the risk of grass hindering the movement of the axles, which can lead to the motor overheating.”
“Do not use the Carrera RC vehicle for transporting goods, persons or animals.”
And my favorite-
“Do not expose the Carrera RC vehicle to direct sunlight.”
(It can overheat.)
Okay, so this is really more of a child’s toy and not intended for older kids two to ten times his age.
(It’s rated 6+.)
The Carrera RC car is made by a Salzburg family-owned business.
And I’ve usually found German manufacturing to be a good thing.
(My boy adores his green Bruder Land Rover I got him last year.)
At $38.28 on Amazon, it’s double the price of any of a number of inexpensive toy RC vehicles you can find on Amazon. But you’d have to spend even more before entering the ‘hobby-grade’ category.
(Which my son isn’t ready for)
Don’t you think it’s strange that there isn’t much out there that fits this particular middle nitch?
(Maybe all of the other tech-savvy dads are buying RC quadcopters for their children this year.)
As it turned out, I couldn’t find any other RC cars that fit my specs.
So the decision was easy.
Strap In…This could be a Bumpy Ride
Yes, I’m bringing a spinning toy stunt car home. Is it the best radio-controlled vehicle for your six year old? Again, the Carrera is really the only one I could find in its class.
(Anyone else have another suggestion?)
I think the Mini Turnator could be more than I bargained for, and I’ll certainly have to own all the cascading results that come from its use. On the other hand, maybe I nailed it. Well see…
Regardless, my son is sure to love it even though he’s still a couple seasons away from his sixth birthday.
(What’s a few months among friends?)
Just don’t tell him it has a bigger, even more powerful cousin…
The ORIGINAL “Turnator”
If all goes well, I’ll be writing about that one a few years down the road.