Reviews

Best Toy Cars: Race Anywhere Anytime

Imagine a world where anything is a race track with these fun toy cars

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON March 25, 2021

Toy cars became popular in the 1950s, and since then they continue to dominate sales. You can find nearly any style, shape, and color for kids as well as adults. While originally designed for children, toy cars remain one of the most sought-after collectible items on the market. Check out some of the most popular toy cars available.

Best Overall
Hot Wheels 10-Pack
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Summary
Summary

This pack of Hot Wheels features 10 1:64-scale vehicles that are made of heavy die-cast material. They're designed for those ages 3 and up.

Pros
Pros
  • This set is a great value and features a cool variety of vehicles that are durable and fun to look at and play with
  • Children with small hands have no problem using them
Cons
Cons
  • Not all of the vehicles in the pack work well on a track
  • Some sets only come with nine vehicles instead of 10
Best Overall
Hot Wheels 10-Pack
Best Value
Matchbox 9-Car Gift Pack
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Summary
Summary

This toy set of nine quality and tough die-cast vehicles makes a great collector's item or a playset for kids of any age. The cars are 1:64 scale and around 3 inches in size with varying designs and colors.

Pros
Pros
  • Each pack features a one-of-a-kind and unique vehicle not available as a standalone item
  • They can take a beating as well
  • The wheels rotate without issue, and speed along the floor with ease
Cons
Cons
  • A few of the cars may be standard vehicles and, therefore, not particularly interesting
  • The pack will also vary on the types of cars you get
Best Value
Matchbox 9-Car Gift Pack
Honorable Mention
Matchbox Online 20-Pack
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Summary
Summary

This Matchbox set features 20 realistic 1:64-scale vehicles, including cars, trucks, and tractors. It also comes with a small Matchbox poster.

Pros
Pros
  • It's an excellent starter set
  • The vehicles in the photos are the exact ones you receive
  • The cars are also durable and long-lasting
Cons
Cons
  • The selection doesn't include any rare or exotic vehicles
  • The cars are packaged together in molded trays and not individually
Honorable Mention
Matchbox Online 20-Pack

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Benefits of Toy Cars

  • Entertainment. A toy car is a great way to entertain children and can expand their imagination during playtime. They can even be fun for a collector or car enthusiast who may want to set them up around the house or trade them with others.
  • Stress relief. Having a toy can be a good way to relieve stress or calm down a child. They are mobile and can be taken anywhere, plus many include noises or sounds for added pleasure.
  • Fellowship. Toy cars can help bring people together who enjoy vehicles. Hobbyists buy and trade them to build their collection, while kids can trade them with their friends or race them against each other. They can also be used to teach and develop a child’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination, or problem-solving skills.

Types of Toy Cars

Handheld

A handheld toy car is one that is powered by the person playing with it. They do not feature any type of motor, battery, or wind-up ability to make them move. You simply use the power of your hands or another force to make them glide across any smooth surface with ease.

Motorized

These types of toy cars are powered by batteries, remote control, pull-back components, or by winding them up. Once powered on, they move on their own until whatever is providing them with power runs out of juice. They are typically more expensive and maybe larger to accommodate room for the extra components.

Top Brands

Matchbox

Owned by Mattel, Inc., Matchbox began selling toys in 1953. The company was introduced by Lesney Products and got its name because the boxes the toys came in were similar to matchboxes. It makes die-cast models of toys, planes, and cars, such as the Matchbox 9-Car Gift Pack.

Hot Wheels

Also owned by Mattel, Hot Wheels began in 1968 by creating die-cast toy cars. The company licenses real-life vehicles to use as the base for every car it creates. The original Hot Wheels cars were made by Elliot Handler. One of the best sets to get today is the Hot Wheels 9-Car Gift Pack.

Garage Toy Cars Pricing

  • $1-$20: Toy cars are typically sold one car at a time, and you don’t have to pay very much for individual vehicles. Generally, cars in this price range will be hand-powered.
  • Over $20: When you get to this range you will start seeing box sets and motorized toy cars. You may also find some that are sought-after collector’s items or mint condition in their original boxes.

Key Features

Mobility

One of the most important factors you should consider when buying a toy car is how well it moves. Toy vehicles powered by hand may be cheaper but can only travel so far by the force of your wrist. If you want cars that travel further without expending much energy, you should consider a toy car that has a motor.

Material

For children, it’s important to have a toy car that won’t easily break or fall apart. It’s best to get them a toy that stays together, so the child won’t eat or swallow small pieces. A toy car that is built to last is also sought after by collectors, who prioritize build quality.

Other Considerations

  • Extra Components: There are extra components you can buy for toy cars to help them move. A track allows you to set the car on it then let it go without fear or worry of it colliding with something valuable. Plus, it’s entertaining to watch them race around.
  • Style: One of the best things about toy cars is there is a wide variety of them. You don’t have to stick with the same vehicle forever. If you want a more wacky and colorful racer, some feature famous characters and odd vehicles. Or you could choose a toy car that resembles an actual sports car or truck.

Best Toy Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Hot Wheels 50-Car Pack

Whether you’re a kid at heart or looking for the perfect gift for the young car enthusiasts in your life, there’s no better choice than the Hot Wheels 50-Car Pack. This impressive, extensive set includes 50 different Hot Wheels cars — hours of fun in one really awesome set. Each 1:64 scale vehicle included in this pack features realistic details and authentic decorations. And it’s all packaged in a molded box, with individually packaged cars. It’s really a Hot Wheels fan or collector’s dream set.


Designed for ages 3 and up, this Hot Wheels pack allows anyone to display, race, and use their imagination for hours on end. They can be used with other Hot Wheels toys, including race tracks and garages, for immersive fun.

Best Value
LEGO Speed Champions Ferrari F40 Competizione Building Kit

It’s no secret that LEGO building sets can be expensive — but you can actually buy the LEGO Speed Champions Ferrari F40 Competizione Building Kit on a budget. This affordably priced set allows kids (and adults who love LEGOs or Ferraris) to have hours of fun with nearly 200 individual parts and pieces. It offers step-by-step instructions to create a miniature version of the impressive Ferrari F40 Competizione that measures 1 x 5 x 1-inches in size.


With everything needed to build a DIY Ferrari, this LEGO set even includes a minifigure decked out in Ferrari racing gear and a helmet. The vehicle is functional too; it can be rolled or raced, and it includes a cockpit, removable windshield, and interchangeable spoilers and hoods so the Competizione can even be turned into a classic F40 road car.

Best Remote Control Toy Car
Growsland Remote Control Car

Who doesn’t want to get behind the wheel of a sporty car and zip around at high speeds? Well, you might not be able to climb inside the driver’s seat, but you can recreate that experience with the Growsland Remote Control Car. This fully functional RC car is sleek, stylish, and aerodynamic. It’s built on a 1/18 scale, and it comes with a 27 MHz controller that allows you to drive forward, reverse, and make left and right turns at a maximum speed of five miles per hour.


This RC car is hours of fun for kids and adults alike. Built tough enough to survive even crashes and falls, the car features strong ABS plastic on its exterior and is scratch-resistant. It rides smoothly, and you can use it indoors or out.

Most Immersive
LEGO City Tuning Workshop Toy Car Garage Building Set

Here’s a toy car set that offers endless fun: the LEGO City Tuning Workshop Toy Car Garage Building Set. Designed to be an addition to any LEGO City building sets or sprawls, this toy comes with an impressive array of cool vehicles and buildings that kids — or adults — can create on their own. With nearly 900 pieces, you’ll get the chance to build a toy garage, a camping trailer, a tow truck, a hot rod, and a rocket-powered motorbike. 


Once you have all the parts and pieces in place, this LEGO toy car set gets even cooler. It includes seven minifigures, including popular LEGO City TV characters. The garage and tow truck really work, meaning you can operate the engine hoist, lift cars with the included jack, and pick up broken-down vehicles with the tow truck. It’s immersive, it’s cool, and it’s fun to build or play with.

Honorable Mention
Melissa & Doug Car Carrier Truck & Cars Wooden Toy Set

This toy car set is recommended for children from 3 to 6 years old. The set is tough, durable, and designed to last. It includes a car carrier truck and four little vehicles children can load on the track and transport around.


The thing that makes this set special is its wooden construction—sturdy and high-quality materials prove to be super durable. They also make handling the little objects easier for the youngest ones. Additionally, the four colorful cars are easy to load on the two different levels on the truck. The action will not only be fun for children, but also build fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination.


The track grooves are not very deep, making the cars roll off the track easily and almost immediately after trying to wheel the truck. Another thing that might bother you is the quality of the paint, which can chip easily.

Honorable Mention
WolVol Transport Car Carrier Truck Toy

This set includes a car carrier truck and six little cars. The truck is colored in vibrant colors and has 28 empty slots to load many vehicles on its levels. It is ideal for children who are 3 to 12 years old. 


All the pieces in this set are made of plastic and look very realistic. The truck is 20 inches long and allows for easy access during playtime. It also has a built-in carrying handle that slips in and out for easy transportation and storage. When it comes to the included semi-metal cars, they come in different models and colors to make things more interesting for children. 


The set does feel a little flimsy due to its lightweight construction. The plastic material is not that thick or durable to withstand heavy pressure and a lot of abuse. The truck itself is quite reliable, but the included cars are fragile. 

Honorable Mention
Rastar RC Car 1/14 Scale Ferrari

Rastar's 1:14 scale red Ferrari has manual butterfly doors, headlights, stereo equipment, and much more. It looks just like the real vehicle and offers full functions with the included controller, allowing you to go forward and reverse, turn left and right, and stop.


The remote control has a range of up to 98 feet, and the vehicle speeds up to 5.1 mph. Users love how easy it is to operate the car as well as its quality construction. This toy Ferrari is made of top-notch ABS plastic that's resistant to damage. It doesn't scratch easily, and the paint stays on through all kinds of conditions.


All Rastar cars work on the same radio frequency, and unlike most other RC vehicles, you can't change it. If you get two cars to race, one controller will operate both of them, which is inconvenient for those who want to get several Rastar models.

Honorable Mention
Antsir Car Model X 1:32 Scale

This vehicle is suitable for playing and perfect for complementing toy car collections. It's a Tesla model that has many features to offer and is available in four colors. Thanks to the sturdy construction containing alloy, ABS plastic, and rubber, the vehicle proves to be reliable and durable.


The model plays music and activates lights when you open the doors—all you need to do is to put in the included three batteries. Another great thing about this Tesla model is the realistic detail. The vehicle looks just like the real model, and most collectors will be quite satisfied with the design and budget-friendly price.


However, the car scratches easily and might get damaged when used for playing. Also, the working engine's sound is not correct for the electric vehicle, and the alarm sounds just like a smoke alarm. These things might annoy detail-oriented car enthusiasts and collectors.

Honorable Mention
Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Track Set

If you know a young car geek who loves watching cars speed, race, and fly through the air, the Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Track Set is the perfect toy. This cool set features a double figure-eight shaped track designed to race Hot Wheels model cars. It stretches over 5 feet wide and includes high-speed boosters so cars can launch at high speeds. This track is even designed to send Hot Wheels flying into the “crash zone” after performing stunts. It’s even equipped to race multiple cars simultaneously, making it a great toy to play with alone or with friends. When playtime is finished, the entire track folds up in just a few steps so it’s perfectly compact and neat to store.

Honorable Mention
Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage

Hot Wheels playsets get bigger and better each year — but right now, nothing can top the Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage. This crazy big garage and driving track can actually hold more than 140 Hot Wheels cars, and it stands over 2 feet tall. It’s designed for Hot Wheels fans who have huge collections, and it offers plenty of room to race, drive, and play. It even includes multiple play zones. But the benefits and exciting features of this impressive set don’t end there. It also comes with a jet plane and a landing pad, a car wash, a tune-up garage, and a race track. Oh, and kids will love the working elevator that can carry up to 23 cars at one time.

Tips

  • There are toy cars that can be collected as a set. However, finding them in one collective pack is difficult. You can buy cars individually to complete a set and improve the value.
  • Be wary of any small parts that may come loose on the cars. While they are able to withstand some punishment, over time many parts can come loose and fall off, which can be a choking hazard for small children.
  • There are multiple toy cars to collect, and they can be used for more than just rolling across the floor. Many can be set up to create little towns or villages for more imaginative play or as a way to show them off.

FAQs

Q: How do I clean a toy car?

Those in a display case can gather dust, while kids can do a number of different things that can make the cars sticky or dirty. You can gently rub the car clean and reach grooves where dust or dirt may gather by using a damp Q-tip or washcloth. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow away dust.

Q: Do all toy cars have wind-up gears?

While many toy cars feature an ability to be self-propelled by pulling them back, others do not. Check with the manufacturer to see if the car you’re looking at can be wound up.

Q: Can you open the hood and doors on toy cars?

This will depend on the type of toy car you are considering. You can find vehicles with functional doors and hoods, but they may be more expensive.

Final Thoughts

For one of the best toy cars for children or collectors looking to complete a set, consider the Fisher-Price Disney Mickey & the Roadster Racers

The Hot Wheels 10-Pack also makes a great gift at a cheaper price with realistic-looking vehicles.