Toy cars are a pillar of most children's playtime. Whether it was racing Dinky and Matchbox cars around the living room rug, plunging Tonka trucks through mud in the garden or 'crash-testing' Lego cars into a skirting board, they help foster amazing memories.
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Even if you're not that into cars nowadays and only see them as domestic appliances on wheels, everyone enjoyed playing with them growing up. Help create these memories for your children (or treat yourself to a nice dollop of nostalgia) with our top choices of toy cars.
The best toy cars
Playmobil 3911 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Everyone loves playing with toy cars and this Playmobil Porsche 911 Carrera S is thoroughly impressive. Not only does it look excellent and have working lights (you'll need three AAA batteries for these), it's also made of high-quality plastic meaning it's safe for children aged four and up.
Playmobil may not be the first brand you think of when looking for toy cars but they're perfect. Highly detailed and exceptionally well-made, they're both child-friendly and genuinely authentic at the same time, a rare thing to find with kids toy cars.
The best part about this model however is the customisation you can add. Remove the roof, add a more aggressive set of spoilers and even change the alloys. This set also comes with cool accessories, including a jack, dealership parts and two figures.
Hot Wheels 54886 10 Car Pack Assortment
An obvious choice when it comes to toy cars, a selection of Hot Wheels will get raced around a lot and will give hours of enjoyment. A 1:64 scale, they're never going to take up too much space and the reasonable prices mean they'll very quickly build up a collection of awesome diecast cars.
As iconic now as they were when launched in 1968, Hot Wheels are a proven children's favourite thanks to their robustness and how easy they travel. An awesome selection of accessories (including the infamous loop) is available too.
Perhaps the best part about Hot Wheels is the sheer number of cars available. From classic racers and modern sports cars to custom dragsters and crazy concepts there is something to tickle the interest of anyone. This pack of 10 will include a random selection of vehicles making it a perfect gift.
KandyToys 36 Piece Die Cast Metal Toy Cars
Sometimes nothing can beat sheer quantity in a child's mind so presenting them with 36 diecast cars to play with will definitely be appreciated. These cars may lack the detail and design of other model cars, but they're sure to be a lot of fun to play with. Each set comes with a wide variety of car styles, from sporty coupes to open-wheel race cars.
Nintendo Mario Kart 8 Pull & Speed Racers - 2 Pack
Drag your kids away from playing Mario Kart 8 on their Nintendo Switch for a couple of minutes by introducing Mario Kart into the real world. This set comes with two karts featuring different Mario characters and features pull-back motion making them great for drag races.
Some reviews note they are smaller than the picture describes (they're 1:43 scale), but they're incredibly well made and children seem to love playing with them. They're suitable for children over the age of three.
Tonka Steel Classic Mighty Dump Truck
The Toyota Hilux of the children's toy world, Tonka trucks are designed for all the abuse an eight-year-old can throw at it. Made of steel and designed for use in mud, sandpits and other suitably mucky places these toys are next to indestructible and should easily survive the worst your garden can throw at it.
Designed for ages three and up (and lacking any small parts) these are an awesome gift idea for anyone obsessed with building or construction. Alongside the dump truck shown here, there are earthmovers and bulldozers to play with too.
The best car kits:
Lego 60288 City Great Vehicles Race Buggy Transporter
No list of car-themed toys for kids would be complete without at least one Lego product. Get two vehicles for one with this cool transporter set. Included in this set are an SUV, trailer and a steerable Baja buggy. It's suitable for children aged five and up will give them hours of fun. The SUV also gives us Land Rover Defender vibes.
The great thing about Lego is the imagination it inspires. Once they've assembled the set the fun doesn't stop there. Watch them play with it, modify it and even completely destroy it. Lego sets are all about having fun and this kit is ideal for any young car fan.
It also teaches them to think logically and how to properly follow instructions. It even helps with concentration and problem-solving.
Airfix 1:32 Scale VW Beetle Starter Gift Set
Although Airfix is better known for plane models, it does have a nice range of cars to assemble and paint. This classic VW Beetle is a great starter set for children with a skill level rating of one. It comes with 53 parts to assemble, poly cement, two paintbrushes and six pots of paint.
It's also a great way to teach your children the skill of painting and following instructions. If a VW Beetle isn't to their taste there are a number of other cars available, including the Aston Martin DB5 and Mini Cooper.
Although adult supervision will be required unless you want your kitchen table repainted or given an immovable VW bumper decoration.
Salt Water Powered Toy 4x4 Car
Inject some science into their fun by building a salt water powered car. Build the car (with adult supervision) and marvel as it's powered by nothing more than a few drops of salt water. The chunky tyres and four-wheel-drive make it ideal for uneven surfaces and five drops of water will give it a 15-minute running time.
The best R/C cars:
Paw Patrol 6054190 Chase Remote Control Police Cruiser
The perfect first R/C car for someone obsessed with Paw Patrol, this faithful replica of Chase's police cruiser. The controller couldn't be simpler to use, making use of just two buttons (one for forward, the other for reverse and steering) making it great for younger children.
It's suitable for children over the age of three and only requires five AAA batteries to work. There is even a fire engine version driven by a Dalmatian called Marshall.
My First Scalextric G1150 Mains Powered Race Set
Introduce your kids to the addictive world of Scalextric at a young age with this beginner set. Made up of 18 pieces, the compact 'eight' track features a bridge and slots together very easily.
Two cars are included (yellow and red) and they each come with a power-adjustable controller. This set is also compatible with all 1:64 scale Micro Scalextric products making it a great starting point while providing a lot of racing fun.