* Prices may differ from that shown
My son loves Disney cars so we decided for his birthday we would buy him the remote control lightning McQueen. The car is an exact copy of the character from the program, bright red in colour, and a fantastic size. The one we purchased it the one widely available at toys stores, and not the exclusive from the Disney store. My son was overly excited when he unwrapped his present to find the car inside; it definitely has the wow factor on first appearance to any child.
We did not receive any batteries with the car meant we needed 8 AA batteries for the control and car which was a pain. As this car has sounds, lights and of course races along the batteries run down very quickly. We had to change ours within two days, and so we decided to invest in some rechargeable batteries for it. I would advise to purchase some rechargeable batteries as even with Duracell we found the batteries run down very quickly, and as you need so many just to get the car moving it would be expensive to keep replacing them.
There are a number of phrases, and sound effects received with this car and they can be activated by pressing one of the buttons on the controller. Each is a different colour, and there is also a boost button to speed up lighting while he is moving across the floor. I thought this may be a gimmick; however it actually does speed up when the button is pressed. My son's think this is the most fantastic feature of the car, and it is definitely an improvement on others we have owned. It helps with role play, as this means they can recreate races from the film or create new stories. Al the buttons are easy to press, and my son has figured out what to press to hear his favourite sounds. The characters voice is of course the same from the TV show, and it includes a number of phrases both from the original cars movie and the second film.
The controls are very simple there is a button to push forward and back on the left, and a button to press left or right on the right. This means the car can move in all directions so little one does not have to become frustrated that they cannot move the car where they want it to go. The boost button sits in the middle of the controller, and above it sits a speed level indicator which flashes while the car is in use.
The car moves along the floor with ease, the tyres are solid and work well. It can be used on carpeted floor, and unlike other cars we have owned it actually performs just as well on all floor surfaces. It is rather speedy, and when the batteries are fully charged it moves very quickly across the floor. It can be pushed along manually by little one but to be honest my children never do this, they love that they can race it around with the remote, and find it far more interesting this way.The headlights on lightning come to life while it is being driven along; with sound effects included this car has proved to be really popular. The car rumbles as it moves along, with random phrases and sound effects being played. It is a little noisy but not overly so I feel the need to hide the toy to save my head. There is no volume switch, but there is an on off switch at the bottom of the car which is essential to save the batteries.
The car has a lot of features to keep little one interested including, lights, sounds and the general size and function of the toy. It is recommended from four years plus, however my two year old son often uses his big brothers car with no problems at all. The car is very easy to control, but I can understand the age recommendation as the antenna could easily be snapped which could cause some danger for little ones. It does not just appeal to younger children as my nephew who is eight years old always seeks this toy out when he comes to stay, so it does appeal to a large age range.
It runs on two different frequency's which is great as we recently purchased the Finn McMissle version of this car, and this allows both my sons to race their cars without one controller driving them both. A downside is the antenna, it is just too flimsy so on a number of occasions it has been bent, and almost snapped completely off. There is nothing to really hold it in place so it cannot be stored in a toy box as the weight from the other toys could easily break it. When racing this car with other characters from the series, we do find that lighting is a lot quicker. He is also a lot bigger than the Finn Mcmissle version we purchased from the Disney shop, which seems to explain the price difference between the two. We also find that this car is a lot easier control than the others, with simple controls that even the smallest child would be able to pick up very easily.
Durability of this car is great, although the antenna is a little flimsy the rest of the car is made from thick durable plastic. This car has been crashed a number of times, and received a lot of use yet still works perfectly. We have owned this for around fifteen months now, at first it received play every single day without fail but now it has been a little neglected. It does still get used a few times a week, which for a toy we have owned for over a year I still think is fairly good.
I would recommend this toy but I think the price tag is a little steep. We paid £40 when the film was first released, and I believe this is too high for what you get. It has dropped a little in price now meaning you should be able to pick it up for around £25-£30 which is a little more reasonable, but you do need to factor in battery costs on top of that. My children absolutely love this and despite my son receiving it for his fourth birthday over a year ago he still loves playing with it. There are a number of different characters available, however we found that lighting was the biggest hit as of course he is the main character. Your child does not need to be a cars fan to love this, there are lots of different features of this remote control car that makes it a little better than others.
My little boy is 6 and he absolutely loves all things Disney/Pixar, such as Toy Story and Cars. We were visiting a friend a few weeks ago, and her little boy had a remote controlled toy car from the movie, which my son really enjoyed playing with. My friend told me that she had bought it from the Disney Store and that it had cost £25, so we decided to look for one the next time we went to Birmingham.
The Disney store actually do a selction of remote controlled cars in this range, including Mater the tow truck, Finn McMissile the spy and Francesco the Italian Formula 1 racing car. My son went straight for his favourite character, Lightning Mcqueen, the red racing car who is voiced by Owen Wilson in the movie.
The car came in a brightly coloured cardboard box, with a large transparent window at the front so that you can see the toy inside. You can also access the buttons on the remote control before you open the box, so that you can hear a Demo of the car talking. The car talks in the original voice from the film, and also lights up underneath as it moves.
*By the way, just a word of warning about buying things at Disney Store: The store does not provide free bags, so if you are buying this and forget to bring your own bag from home, they will charge you an extra £2.50 for a big bag to put it in. Boy, that mouse must be really rich.....*
When I got the box home, I had to wrestle with it to get it open. I'm sure that the people who put toys in boxes are all sadists! The car was attatched to the box, with several twisty bits of wire, which had to be snipped to release the car, and of course, just as you think you have snipped the final wire, there are a bunch more underneath! I also was really worried that I was going to snip one of the wires to the car, as this has happened to me in the past when unpacking toys!
Because the controller was in Demo mode, it was wired directly to the car. The wire just needed unclipping and discarding before I inserted the batteries, which I was relieved to find were included with the toy. Now this toy takes a LOT of batteries and is very heavy on batteries, hence the title of my review. The main controller itself takes a single 9V battery, the same type that you use in smoke alarms. The car takes 6 (yes, 6!) AA batteries, which fit into a compartment underneath that can only be opened by a screwdriver. Then, the toy was finally ready to play with!
The car itself is an excellent replica of the movie character. He measures 10 inches from tail to nose and 4 inches across, which is about average for a remote controlled car. He is a lovely bright red colour and has "eyes" where his windscreen should be and a "mouth" where his front bumper should be. His body is decorated with various sponsorship stickers and transfers. He has a red "Piston Cup" sticker on his bonnet and a fiery motif along his sides featuring his race number, number 95.
The tyres are quitte rubbery to the touch, which makes them able to handle most surfaces quite well. There is a cute Toy Story reference on the tyres, as they are branded "Lightyear", which is one of Pixar's many in-jokes.
Just in front of the rear wheels there are two transparent lights, which glow yellow when the car is talking. The car also has working headlights at the front, which light up when he is moving, and two red rear lights, which also turn on when he is moving.
The toy has a small flip switch underneath to turn it on and off.
The controller is designed to fit small hands and is a joystick design, with the main stick in the shape of a steering wheel. The controller is red like the car and has two yellow buttons on the side: One to control the car voice and one to give a turbo boost when the car is moving. The controller also has a flip switch on the back to turn it on and off to retain power.
The overall feel of the toy is a little flimsy, and it does not feel solid and well made. It does not look like it is built to last very long.
Firstly, I will discuss the voice function. This is enabled by pressing the clearly marked "voice" button on the controller. The car has various sayings, such as:
"Ha Ha, That's what I'm talking about!"
"Great, See you soon, amigo"
"Woah Woah Woah!"
"I'm sticking by you the way you always stuck by me!"
"You are the bomb!"
"Trust me, you gotta trust him."
"You don't know how happy I am to see you!"
.....And several more!
When the car talks, he jiggles from side to side and lights up as he talks.
Now let's talk about movement. The car moves quite well across carpet, but moves best on a hard surface, such as a laminate floor. Moving the car is easy, but steering requires a little practice.
To move the car forward, you simply push the stick forward. This is not completely intuitive, because the stick is shaped like a wheel, so your first instinct is to steer it rather than push it forward. To reverse the car, you pull the stick back toward your body.
Steering is more fiddly and is controlled by steering the wheel itself. In other words, as you push the stick forwards, you also have to turn the wheel (extra hand, anyone?) to steer him left and right. This could be really tricky for very young kids, who the toy is aimed at and even my older son, who is 10, has only just got the hang of it. The car certainly would not be great at manoeuvering around a tight obstacle course. You simply don't have enough control, or a tight enough turning circle. On the other hand, most little kids will be happy making it go backwards and forwards and making the car talk, as well as crashing him into the furniture, so I guess everyone is happy!
The car also has a turbo boost button, which you activate by pressing the yellow button on the side whilst the car is moving. This makes him go really fast, which the kids find very exciting and fun, although you have to be careful that you don't crash the car when it is going really fast, as this may damage it.
And here I come back to my title again, which refers to the woefully short battery life. Very early on, I realised, to my horror, that my usual rechargeable batteries were not going to be any good in this car. In fact, the oringinal demo batteries lasted about 3 hours continual play and my rechargeables only lasted about half an hour. I knew I was going to have to bring in some serious batteries, so legged it to Wilko's for an 8 pack of Duracell AA's which cost be another £5. I put the batteries in, placed the car on the ground and pushed the stick on the controller....
The wheel on the controller snapped off and landed on the floor. Well, I did say it didn't look well made...
At this junction I had one of two choices: Take the car back to the shop and get it replaced, or bin the controller, remove the batteries and just let my son play with it as a normal, although expensive, toy car.
In the end, I decided to get it replaced, and I must say, the Disney Store were excellent, with customer service second to none. Honestly, the staff were fanstastic and replaced the item without any hassle at all.
So I then went through the whole wrestling the box routine all over again and we are now in a happy place with a working car once more.
We have had the new car almost a week now, with no major problems so far (yet). My son adores the car and as well as using it to race around the floor, he also makes up little imaginative stories with it and even made it a little house out of a cardboard box.
I am still worried about the quality of the toy. It surprised me, as I have bought lots of things from Disney store in the past and have always found them to be really high quality items which seldom break. This toy however, looks like it is made of quite thin plastic, a bit like cars you buy from the pound shop, and I really worry that bits of plastic may snap off the toy.
I think that the toy is ideal for kids between 4 and 7. Any younger than that and i think that the child would be too heavy handed and break the toy. Any older and the child would enjoy the way the car moves, but may find the character a little babyish. My older kids aged 8 and 10 really love playing with the car, but I don't think they would admit it to their friends.
My son has learning difficulties which mean that he has coordination problems which can lead to him being quite rough and heavy handed with his toys and they often break. I am really hoping that he takes care of this one, as I would be a bit embarrassed going into Disney store with another broken car.
I also worry about how much the toy is going to cost me long term, as the Duracell batteries that I put in earlier in the week are already starting to die and sometimes I need to switch the car off for an hour to give the batteries time to recover and start working again. I explain to my son that the car needs a rest!
On the plus side, I am very impressed with the variety of the things that the car can do, such as the way it lights up, whcih is great fun now the dark nights are drawing in, and also the way that it talks a variety of phrases with the original voice. The car also moves pretty well, and whilst it is not the most sophisticated R/C out there, it will certainly keep kids entertained for several hours, or until the battery runs out!
Would I recommend this toy? That is a tough one. I think it is pretty good for the money and will definitely appeal to fans of the movie. It is certainly my son's favourite toy currently. I just feel that the downsides to the toy are quite major issues and I would bet that I am not the only person who has had to return one to the store. Because of this, I can only really award the toy car 3 Dooyoo stars out of 5.