Conclusion: Power Wheels Ford F150 Pickup Truck [rating:4]
After many hours of research and reading reviews of ride on cars for kids, I decided that the Fisher Price Power Wheels Ford F150 Truck was the best of breed for my oldest boy on his 3rd birthday.
Here are the primary reasons I chose the Fisher Price F150 truck over the other vehicles out there:
Two seats; we have two boys and this allows our younger boy to ride along with his big brother. The seats have velcro seatbelts that aren’t really intended to serve as a saftey measure, but they do seem to be holding up well enough to keep our 14 month old in the seat even though his feet are dangling. Another plus is that the head rest has a little ‘give’ in it soften the quick starts and stops for our little one.
Monster traction; one of the main complaints about ride on vehicles is that they are constantly loosing traction. The F150 Ford solves this by putting one electric motor on each of the rear wheels, so if one wheel starts spinning, the other takes over. It also has tires with deep traction grooves as opposed to the Cadillac Escalade power wheels – which looks like it is more suited for hard surfaces (asphalt).
Storage; the F150 has a truck bed with a working tailgate. My son loves to put his toys, pinecones, dirt, etc. in the bed and truck them around. I found that putting a heavy cinder block in the bed gives the truck considerable added traction around our bumpy back yard.
Secure Doors; some of the other ride-on vehicles I considered met my above requirements, but had open sides which make it easier to get in and out, but also make it easier for our one year old to fall out around corners.
A Couple Things worth noting:
Battery Charge Indicator: some of the product descriptions indicate that this truck has a working battery life indicator, and I had expected ours to have one only to find out that it doesn’t. I can see where it used to be, but it appears that they have removed that feature from the latest model – now there is just a sticker simulating a navigation screen where it used to be. You might be able to find an older model that does have it, but if this is important to you, then be sure to check w/ your seller first.
Seat Placement: the seats do allow for some forward/back adjustment, although it is not easy and must be performed during installation. By default, the seat is installed at the furthest-back position, which forces my taller-than-average 3 year old have to fully extend his leg and sit forward in the seat to depress the gas pedal. I recommend measuring your kid’s legs to take seat placement into account during installation. I haven’t adjusted the seat yet, but it looks like I’ll have to drill some new screw holes and make some other modifications to slide the seat forward.
Check out my detailed un-boxing and assembly photo essay below. Many Amazon reviewers complained about the assembly process. I’m fairly handy and have some tools and found that it was really pretty easy to put together. If you have any experience assembling Ikea furniture, you should be just fine. If not, you may want to call on your local handyman to help out.
I found the f-150 truck on Amazon for $319 with free shipping (summer 2010).
Fisher Price Ford F150 Truck Un-Boxing and Assembly Picture Gallery
Here is the birthday boy cruising around in his new Fisher Price Ford F150 Power Wheels truck: