For pint-sized petrol heads.
Kids these days; if they're not grabbing your smartphone to text and Skype with their friends, their probably using their own. Kids these days, eh? Next they'll be driving around in their own little cars! Oh wait, they are. We review once such example from Kids@Play... the 12V Black Panther Battery-powered Car.
You know what we mean, right? This is one of those battery-powered, mostly plastic, mini cars designed for kids aged three plus. The Kids@Play 12V Black Panther Car is unique in that not only can it be charged and driven about by a single wee one, but Kids@Play have managed to create something that looks really cool and very realistic. It's part Batmobile, part high performance super car. And yep, we've had a butt-load of fun testing it.
First up; mum and dad. The 12V battery inside the Black Panther is stored under the seat and requires charging (adaptor included, with the charging port easily accessible next to the seat) for a good eight to ten hours. That long charge time is necessary, because once juiced up this thing can achieve 2.2 mph consistently for up to two hours. So leave you kid in this to roam free, and they'll end up 4.5 miles away from home. Best to pack 'em a lunch.
And the kiddos could definitely forget how far they have gone because not only does the Kids@Play 12V Black Panther Car offer a very smooth and comfortable ride, the car even has it's own stereo system. What may look like just a pretend radio to the left of the steering wheel, actually is a very real and functioning one, able to pick up FM stations. But that's not all. There is also a USB port to attach a flash drive with music on it, a Micro SD Card slot for the same, and an Auxiliary port so the kids can plug in your (or their) phone or mp3 player. The stereo speakers are capable of churning out quite a powerful sound – certainly loud enough to drown out the noise of the electric motor whirling away while in transit.
To get the car going is super simple. First (and this is one for the adults) the battery needs to be connected beneath the seat. The seat fortunately locks reassuringly firmly into place, so little fingers can't get in there to mess around with the battery or wires. Next the pint-sized pilot sits in the car, hoisting up the cool twin-linked doors to get entry. He or she then slaps the ignition button, pops the gear stick to the right of the steering wheel upwards (downwards is for reverse, while centred is neutral) then presses the accelerator floor pedal.
The Kids@Play 12V Black Panther Car zooms off at quite a pace and achieves it's top speed in no time at all. Handling is then managed by the very responsive steering wheel, while breaking is accomplished by simply taking your foot off the pedal – the car doesn't roll forwards, carried by momentum. Thank God.
Buckets of fun, the Kids@Play 12V Black Panther Car was totally adored by our kids and their friends, and the only thing we wished we could have had more of was space for them to drive it around. From a parents perspective it seems to be quite hard wearing, and although the wheels are plastic they have a tough rubber ring around them which makes contact with the ground, taking the brunt of the wear. Also the front and rear body pieces are fairly flexible, so even slight collisions with garden fences and sign posts on pavements won't do too much damage to the car itself. And yes, there is also a set of small caster wheels on the rear end, so mums and dads can hoist it up and roll it back into the garage for a charge up at the end of the day. That's much better than our real grown-up car!
For something truly unique and exciting for the kid who longs to get behind the wheel (and who also has an eye for motoring style) the Kids@Play 12V Black Panther Car is a definite investment.