Review: Tonka Ricochet RC Car

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My son has it tough. He comes home from school now and asks if “Anything came from UPS” and most of the time he’s disappointed – just some dumb phone or something. But a few days ago he was pleasantly surprised. Inside a big old box was a Tonka Ricochet RC Car, a remote control car with a few crazy tricks up its sleeve.

The car runs on a rechargeable 9.6 volt battery and lasts about fifteen minutes on one charge – something easily flustered parents should consider. To remove or insert the battery you have to unscrew two small screws on the top of the car, a chore that could soon become onerous. However, all that power is necessary. This little car goes from zero to “Let’s make it drive again, Daddy/Mommy!” in 5.4 seconds.

The car runs in two configurations. When it is flat it zooms back and forth and sort of twists to turn left and right in an organic, twisting motion that is actually kind of creepy. When it is in suspension mode its more like a monster truck and is a little less maneuverable. The remote control, powered by one 9 volt battery, is nicely designed and, as I discovered, the soft wire antenna will not shatter a rear-projection TV screen if a toddler begins smacking the two together.

The car can flip over and still drive. There is little difference between the “red” and “green” sides.

I haven’t been a big fan of remote control cars simply because they’re usually cheaply made and the remote is often separated from the controller and lost, rendering the toy useless. While I’m not about to say that this $79 car will suffer the same fate, but it is very solidly built and the remote is rugged enough that you don’t have to throw it away immediately. Generally it’s a Tonka truck with a big battery, which should guarantee a few years of play.

The car also includes a link to Tonka Garage, a Club Penguin-esque kids website that lets you drive your own truck across various terrains. The less said about this the better, however, as kids should probably be outside playing with RC cars instead of inside playing on your laptop. Just sayin’.

Bottom Line
If you’re not a fan of RC cars, this thing is different and may make you change your mind. It’s rugged, a bit expensive, and quite cool for the first few hours, if not for a few months. The included rechargeable batteries will save you a fortune in D cells although it’s kind of a pain to pull the battery out. If it comes down to this and another, less-rugged RC car, this is the one to get.

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