Toy cars have been at the top of wish lists for Christmas, birthdays or any other occasion that can can justify a present, for almost as long as wheels have been turning. However, while early toy cars were predomenantly handmade wooden affairs, the modern automotive toy connoisseur has a wide range of car-based treats to choose from.
The options start with miniature vehicles from the likes of hot wheels or matchbox before working up to remote control racing cars and raising the stakes all the way to electric ride-ons – which may well need a small garage of their own for storage.
What’s more, being an adult does not mean you have to abandon your love of toy cars. Scalextrics, hobby grade RC cars and let’s face it, a full-size sports car, can all be categorised as toy cars aimed at fully grown humans.
Below then, you will find a collection of the best toy cars for boys and girls broken down by age group and then further by price. That way, if you are looking for a small, cheap present for a friend or relation, or big expensive gift for the special someone in your life, you should be able to find a suitable toy car on our list.
Best car toys for babies
Below £10: VTech My 1st Car Key Rattle
While opening a car will probably be done via facial recognition by the time the newborns of today are driving, a set of large, brightly coloured rattly keys is a great way to entertain your little one right now.
Between £10 – £45: Say Hello Car Activity Centre
This may appear to be more of a toy for the car, rather than a car toy, but nonetheless it is a great toy to keep the smallest of humans happy when travelling. Who knows, it may even provide useful practice for when the recipient takes their driving test in a few years’ time.
Best toy cars: toddlers
Below £10: Lego Duplo My First Tractor
Family favourite Lego launched a toddler-friendly range called ‘Duplo’ way back in 1969, and as nothing brings generations together quite like building blocks, it’s only fitting that one of the motoring-based sets made it onto our list.
Between £10 – £45: VTech Toot Toot Drivers Garage and Tow Truck
The VTech garage offers toddlers their first taste of multistory parking. However, to maintain their sweet innocence, the Toot Toot set is devoid of extortionate fares, wheel clamps and angry motorists trying to park.
£45+: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Red
These foot powered cars can be seen up and down the land as they prove an incredibly popular mode of transport for toddlers and small children. Starting at £50 for the standard car, you can turn it into the ultimate garden cruiser by adding a trailer for an additional £25.
Best toy cars for small children
Below £10: Matchbox 5 vehicle set
The quintessential car toys are scaled down versions of your favourite real cars. While Matchbox cars aren’t as crazy as their Hot Wheels brethren, they do offer an excellent likeness to the cars kids see on the road every day. Bear in mind that your children will probably prefer a Lamborghini to Daddy’s Astra, though.
Between £10 – £45: Micro Machine World Series
Rated at Pegi 7, Micro Machines World Series (MMWS) is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. MMWS offers table top tracks to battle your way around in your tiny racer. What’s is perhaps most appealing to parents is that there is an offline multiplayer mode where up to four people can pit themselves against one another on the same screen.
£45+: Jaguar F-Type Electric Ride on Car
For those young ones who are already counting down the days until they get their licence, there is the option of an electric ride-on car. This 6V F-Type has a run time of 1-1.5hours, weighs just under 10kg, and will take 8-10hours to fully recharge. Rather entertainingly, it comes with working headlights, horn and MP3 facility.
Best toy cars for teenagers
Below £10: Uncut car key
While this gift will thoroughly depend on your and your son/daughter’s sense of humour, a blank car key could be a great prank present, tricking them into thinking there’s something very special for them outside on the driveway. Be warned though, should it backfire you may well scar them for life.
Between £10 – £45: F1 2017 (Special Edition)
The 2017 F1 title may have been won by Mr Hamilton, but what is the best way to celebrate the apex-clipping, KERS-assisted, drama-filled F1 season that motorsport fans have been treated to? The 2017 edition of the game is £44 on PS4 and Xbox One, and is suitable for all ages 3+.
£45+: Nitro RS4 3 EVO+ 1969 Ford Mustang
This ready-to-run nitro remote control car is by no means cheap. However, it is hobby grade, so provided you have the knowhow to fettle with the engine and keep on top of maintenance, this packs a whole lot of fun into a mighty small package. Definitely one for those nearing the end of their teenage career.
Best car toys for ‘big kids’
Below £10: Furry Dice
Guaranteed to lower the value of a vehicle at 20 paces, furry dice have been popular with motorists for a long time. Love them or hate them, they can bring a little joy to the most boring of traffic jams.
Between £10 – £45: 1/24 Bugatti Chiron diecast model kit
Ideal for those who like puzzles, a diecast model is an excellent toy project for those who have neither the garage space, nor the time for a full-blown project car. Also, with adult supervision these can be excellent gifts for multiple generations to be involved with.
£45+: Abarth 124 Spider
Price: from £26k
Arguably the ultimate toy, a completely unnecessary and highly impractical sports car finishes off our list. The Abarth 124 Spider not only represents a revival of an iconic name, it also shares a platform with the MX-5, so is a very well engineered sports car indeed. All you need now is someone to buy it for you.