Joining the supercar scene on your child’s playground is the new McLaren GT Ride-On, the fourth car in McLaren’s children’s toys for neophyte drivers, those age 3-6. Previous toy cars were modeled on the McLaren P1, 720S and Senna.
“We aim to inspire the future generation of supercar enthusiasts,” said Hayley Robinson, Merchandise, Licensing & Partnerships manager for McLaren Automotive, in a statement. “We’re proud to develop and encourage younger minds and seek to create the next generation of drivers, engineers, and automotive designers.”
McLaren’s new toy GT Ride-On sports authentic details
The 12-volt version of the McLaren’s GT is no mere poser, however.
Like the big boy’s toy, this miniature McLaren has the same dihedral doors and a functional trunk for storing essential items. Inside, the GT Ride-On comes with working instrument panel controls.
Its key starter triggers McLaren engine sounds. It even moves like a McLaren, thanks to its accelerator and brake pedals and integral rear brake lights — just like a real McLaren, just not as fast or pricey.
Of course, being 2021, what’s a toy car without tunes?
So, the McLaren GT Ride-On can has an infotainment system that can play tunes from a USB device or an SD card. An MP4 display screen is optional. No, really. It is.
The GT Ride-On is offered in six McLaren colors: Burnished Copper, Silica White, Onyx Black, McLaren Orange, Amaranth Red and Burton Blue.
Interested? Prices range from £163 ($223) to £234 ($320) depending on options.
McLaren follows other automakers onto the playground
McLaren is not alone in attempting to influence developing minds.
For example, Porsche offers a Baby Porsche designed by Porsche Design of America for children ages 18-36 months. Painted Miami Blue, this diminutive Porsche is made in Germany, just like motorized Porsches, and features a mechanical horn and low-noise tires. It’s made of “high-quality plastic,” and costs $165. It’s also offered with functional headlights and taillights for $215, and painted red.
Other Ride-On cars, similar to the McLarens, are made by Costway and available through retailers such as Walmart. So if McLaren or Porsche aren’t your preference, there’s always a Mercedes-Benz ML350, Mercedes-AMG, Bentley, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Mustang, Land Rover Discovery, or Maserati, among others.
There’s even a John Deere tractor. Not to be outdone is Radio Flyer, which makes a pint-sized Tesla Model S powered by a Lithium Ion battery, just like the actual car. It has forward and reverse gears, an MP3 sound system and a functional frunk. It can even be recharged, although a 120-volt outlet is more than enough.
Most Ride-On cars are powered by 6- or 12-volt systems and cost between $170 and $600.
Benefits beyond playtime
While most children thrill to driving a smaller version of what their parents drive, government research shows that these “power mobility devices” can benefit children with motor disabilities, i.e. poor eye-hand coordination resulting from any number of issues.
The study found that combining ride-on car training with an adult-directed, social interaction programs improved children’s social and mobility functions after nine weeks.
Of course, as with any toy, it’s important for parents to decide if their children can safely play with rid-on toys without injuring themselves. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers guidelines to help them decide.