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10 of the best toy vehicles

From take-apart tractors and recycling lorries to stunt cars and rainbow buses, we've selected the top toy vehicles for boys and girls from 18 months to 6 years

10 of the best toy vehicles

Toy trains, planes and automobiles – not to mention fire engines, trucks, buses and boats: there’s something about toy vehicles that fascinates children of all ages.

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From the simplest, baby-friendly chunky car on wheels to the super-detailed, high-tech vehicles with motors and remote control trucks, they’re all great for honing hand-eye coordination – and having some seriously good fun.

With the help of our crack team of child testers, we’ve rated and selected the best toy vehicles, in a range of prices, for toddlers, preschooler and older children…

Here’s our pick of the best toy vehicles for children, as tested by kids and rated by parents

1. Bee Smart Wooden Vehicle Set, £24.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A set of 9 8cm-long wooden vehicles with rolling wheels, each of a different type, including a bulldozer, fire engine and black taxi. Comes in box with 9 ‘parking spaces’ for storage.

Why we love it: These chunky, colourful vehicles are the perfect size for toddler hands and made using non-toxic paint and responsibly sourced wood. Importantly, they are really robust: one of our testers took some of his for a dunk in the bath ­– and none of them emerged the worse for wear. Good price, too.

Available from: Bee SmartDotty Hippo and Amazon

2. Green Toys Car Carrier, £24

Age: 3+

What it is: A 32-cm long double-decker car transporter, made from recycled plastic milk cartons, that has a detachable cab and 2 slide-out ramps. Comes with 3 mini cars in different colours.

Why we love it: This toy ticks so many boxes: it’s eco-friendly, soft (no sharp edges to worry about), very durable, has no metal parts (great for outdoor or wet play) and it can even be cleaned in the dishwasher! Our child testers really liked the pulling out the ramps and zooming the cars up to the top platform.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Kidly

3. GeoSmart FlipBot, from £54.99

Age: 5+

What it is: A 30-piece STEM-inspired magnetic construction set that comes with 2 snap-in motors and a wireless remote – so you can build and drive your very own vehicle that zooms around, spins and flips. Requires 7 x AAA batteries.

Why we love it: Our child testers were impressed by the colourful parts and cool big wheels – and loved the idea of experimenting with constructing different versions of the vehicle, and then using the remote to see how whizzy each of their creations is. Our 8-year-old child tester Theo played with it for 45 minutes straight on his first go and since then he has been playing with it almost every day.

Available from: Bright Minds

4. Playmobil: The Movie Del’s Food Truck, £42.06

Age: 5+

What it is: A 100-piece set to make and accessorise a 27cm-high food truck with a removable roof and windshield, and fold-out side window. Comes with 2 figures, furniture and food.

Why we love it: We like the details on the truck itself (furnished with a sink, fridge and storage space) and the accessories (burritos, burgers and cooking utensils) – there’s loads to get the imagination going. Carine, mum of child tester Elani, 6, said: “My daughter made up lots of different scenarios. This is one of the most played-with toys we have in our house and we’ve only had it 2 weeks!”

Available from: Amazon

5. John Deere Build A Johnny Tractor, £19.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is:  A 20cm-high tractor that comes with a battery-powered toy drill (and 2 drill bits) so your child can take it apart and put it back together. Batteries come included.

Why we love it: It’s a great toddler-sized toy tractor and the fact that you can unscrew all the bits with your very own child-size drill nearly make our young testers die of excitement. Fantastic.

Available from: Amazon and Smyths Toys

6. Hot Wheels Track Builder Unlimited Triple Loop Kit, £34.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A car-racing set featuring a giant triple loop (the tallest one is 51cm high), 3 pieces of track, launcher connectors and a yellow ‘bin’ to catch the cars that flip into the air. Comes with 1 Hot Wheels vehicle and carry handle (and is compatible with other Hot Wheels Track Builder kits).

Why we love it: The tracks do look thin but, once assembled, the set is surprisingly sturdy and we like that you can picked up (by the handle at the top) and move it around without having to break it up first. And all the looping stunt action is brilliant! Our child testers were lost to the set for hours. Be warned, if you’re looking for more cars to add to it, that only the sports-style Hot Wheels cars will fit on the track.

Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos and The Entertainer

7. Audi R8 1:24 Radio Controlled Sports Car – Matte Black, £15

Age: 6+

What it is: A 5cm-high, scaled-down, remote-controlled version of a full-size Audi R8, complete with LED working headlights, rubber tyres, multi direction driving and a matte black paint finish. It has a 25m operational range. Requires 5 x AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: It’s nice and solid and impressively zippy, with a top speed of 8mph. Our child testers loved the lights and found the controls simple to use (one joystick for forward and back; the other for side to side) although they reported it can get a bit stuck on thicker carpet, as it’s so low to the ground. Be warned that the batteries do run out quickly – we reckon you get about 2 hours’ driving time per set.

Available from: Argos and Amazon

8. Wooden Recycling Truck, £26

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A 27cm-long, 16cm-high wooden recycling truck with opening back door and a tilting trailer box with sorting holes on both sides that match up with the wooden recycling items it comes with.

Why we love it: We like the bright colours and the nicely diverse (painted) recycling crew. Our child testers really enjoyed trying to find the right holes to post the chunky pieces of recycling through – the clothing one is a bit tricky! But best of all, of course, is making the trailer box tilt and throw all the pieces back out again.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe

9. Sylvanian Families Sunshine Nursery Bus, £22.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 17cm x 26cm x 12.5cm bus, fully kitted out with 12 seats. The seats and rainbow section upstairs are removable and can be turned over to make a slide or a seesaw – and if you take the pink lower-deck seats out, there’s a little paddling pool underneath. There are no Sylvanian animals passengers, though; you’ll need to get those separately.

Why we love it: This is completely adorable and kept our child testers enthralled for a long time. The added elements are really thoughtful and the children particularly liked turfing out top-desk passengers to make the seesaw. It’s a shame that no figures are included, unlike with the Playmobil offerings and the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller, but it is cheaper than all of those offerings.

Available from: Amazon and Sylvanian Families

10. Bigjigs My First Train Set, £9.99

Age: 3+

What it is: This 20-piece wooden train set that includes 8 pieces of wooden track, an engine, 2 carriages with magnetic couplings and freestanding items such as a house and trees.

Why we love it: This is the ideal starter set for little train spotters at a bargain price. The wood is lovely quality, really sturdy and it’s compatible with other wooden railway brands if you want to expand the track and add to their collection. Our toddler testers liked the little carriages and had quite a soft spot for the little dog.

Available from: Pram World

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