Pros: Cute car. Very clever design. Easy controls.
Cons: We go through lots of batteries
My toddler son is OBSESSED with anything on wheels (that includes shopping carts, other people's strollers, etc). He had confiscated one of my older son's remote control cars but couldn't quite get the hang of the somewhat complicated controls. When I saw the Chicco - Child's First Remote Control Car on the shelf at our local Target I liked both the cuteness and cleverness of the design, and my son thought it was pretty cool too, so we brought it home.
The Chicco Child's First Remote Control Car is an adorably chunky little RC car designed for toddlers. It features a well-designed remote that is easy enough for youngsters to use. The car is made of a hard, shiny plastic that is fairly indestructible. The vehicle is bright yellow with blue, gray, and red accents, complete with a happy smiling face in front. The black wheels are made of a softer, rubbery plastic to give the vehicle better traction. The car is nearly 9 inches long and 5 inches wide, making it large enough to be fun for toddlers but small enough to not be a big hassle to store.
The controller in rather ingenious in that it can be stored as part of the car. Without the remote the car is a convertible with an open seating area, but with the remote stored on the car it serves as a hard top over the driver's seat and provides a bright red handle that little ones can use to carry the car around!
The controls themselves are cute and simple. There's a picture of a little boy molded into the control's face. The bottoms of the boy's shoes are each divided into 2 buttons -- his left foot (which is displayed vertically) controls the forward-straight and backward motion of the car and his right foot (which is displayed horizontally) controls the forward-left and forward-right motion of the car. The car only moves when a button is being pressed. Additionally there is a master on/off switch on the bottom of the car - the car must be turned on for the remote to work.
The Chicco Child's First Remote Control Car requires 6 AA batteries (4 in the car, 2 in the remote). The manufacturer recommends this toy for children ages 24 months and up.
Our Thoughts & Experiences:
My son is an absolute vehicle fanatic so it is hard to go wrong with a car in our house. My son is more than happy to lay on the floor and roll it manually, so he gets plenty of enjoyment from the car that way, but he does also enjoy playing with it as a remote control car as well (as does my elder son, age 5). The majority of our house has hardwood floors, and the car can absolutely zip through the rooms with ease. The car travels a bit slower on carpeting, but still manages to move at an acceptable pace, and can usually make the transition from floor to rug with ease.
I really, really appreciate the fact that the car only moves when a button is being pressed. My sister got him a toddler RC car for his 2nd birthday, but with that one it starts rolling forward as soon as it is turned on, and the remote only controls turning or shifting into reverse. My son hates it because he can't make it stop. With his Chicco car it stops and starts at his command, which is good because he like to go pick it up and set it down elsewhere before starting it rolling again.
There is a downside to the way the car works, however. If you leave the car turned on the batteries will wear down much faster. My smart little guy knows how to turn his car on so he can use the remote, but it is never very important to him that he remembers to turn it off. There are no outward signs that the car is on - no lights that shine, no noises, no automatic cut-off, etc. It is very easy to leave the car turned on, resulting in dead batteries. Still, I would much rather have dead batteries in a car that gets played with a lot than the full batteries on his other RC car (the one that starts running as soon as it is turned on, hence he never plays with it). That being said, when the remote is stored on the car it is sometimes too difficult for my son to remove it himself (you have to push a button and lift up at an angle to remove it), and he certainly can't lock it back into place himself, so we can usually tell when the vehicle has been played with and know to always check and turn it off as we attach the remote back onto the car.
The little vehicle is quite sturdy. It runs into walls, furniture, family members, and other toys with some frequency, but still hasn't shown any signs of wear or tear.
As with any RC car, there is a limit to how far the car can get from the remote before it stops working. My youngest typically doesn't let the car get very far from him as he plays, so this limitation hasn't bothered him very much, but my husband (big kid that he is) sometimes gets frustrated when he's trying to show off his mad driving skills to the boys.
+) Very cute!!
+) The remote control snaps into place on the car for storage/alternate play possibilities
+) The controls are very easy to understand and easy to operate
+) Very sturdy
+) In RC-mode, the vehicle only moves when a button is actively being pressed
+) Rolls well when pushed manually too
+) Built-in handle (when remote is stored on top)
-) It's too easy to leave the car turned on, running down the batteries.
-) Limited range (vehicle to remote)
I've been quite pleased with our Chicco - Child's First Remote Control Car. I think the design (both the ability to store the remote as part of the car and the 4 distinct directional buttons) is very cute and clever, and the controls are indeed easy enough for my 2 year old to operate with ease. My little guy adores it.