Forget Hatchimals: This Year, Your Child Needs a Mini-Tesla
• Key Details: A high-end ride-on toy for children from three to eight years old (weight capacity, 81 pounds).
• Price: $499
• Why It’s Worth It: As an adult passing by our road test exclaimed: “It’s tight.”
A collaboration between Radio Flyer and Elon Musk’s auto company, the Tesla Model S for Kids arrives tricked out with a few bite-size bells and peewee whistles, as befits a luxury car aimed at people who, sounding out the phrase, may pronounce it "loo-ex-yoo-ree car." Beyond the 130-watt-hour lithium-ion battery under the rear hood, it features a working MP3 sound system and working LED headlights. There’s also a horn, but it will require only a modicum of technical skill and a simple pair of wire cutters to nip that problem in the bud.
Despite these standard features—and such optional extras as a $20 vanity plate, a $50 car cover, and a $60 premium battery—what really defines the toy’s extravagance is its size. Measuring 52 inches long and 28.5 inches wide, the mini-Musk-mobile takes up a generous bit of space. Even if you have the square footage to spare, there remains the matter of carrying the thing in and out of the house. The nanny will not be pleased to lug its 40 pounds up the stoop of the brownstone.
Clearly, the most likely places for a city kid to ride this thing are, 1) in a circular driveway at his parents’ second home, and 2) on a custom-designed racecourse at their third.
The best thing about the Tesla Model S for Kids is that it tops out at six miles per hour. This rate of speed is slow enough that a parent can feel secure about not forcing the driver to wear a helmet and look like a dork. But also it’s fast enough to serve as a kind of pace car: You can train for a marathon and supervise junior at the same time.
There’s a slight problem with the car’s construction. Shoddy is too strong a word, but the fact remains that piloting the vehicle over cobblestones once caused the trunk lid to bump ajar and twice caused a rim to pop off. While that’s my only complaint, I also must offer a parental warning: Do not permit your progeny to drive this whip to a crowded playground unless you’re ready and able to teach an intensive seminar on how to share.