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Not all ride-on cars are ideal for tough terrain. However, the Power Wheels Dune Racer is an off-roading beast that's guaranteed to give your little one an amazing outdoor experience. Besides having some really great features, the Dune Racer boasts a unique design that'll leave your child feeling special.
The Power Wheels Dune Racer stands out from a host of other ride-on cars due to its performance. This ride-on car has some of the best tires around to allow for extreme (but safe) outdoor adventures. Its open cockpit and two-seat design also make it a great toy for children.
Curious about the Power Wheels Dune Racer's features and whether it's a good toy for your little one? If so, then I've got you covered. In this extensive review, I'll examine the powerful ride-on car, discuss its pros and cons, and provide a detailed buyer's guide section for this power wheels model.
What Is the Power Wheels Dune Racer?
The Dune Racer is a uniquely shaped ride-on car manufactured by Fisher-Price. This low-riding Power Wheel has superior features that make it unique compared to other toys within its range.
While it can be used indoors by small children, this mean-machine is best-suited for the outdoor environment. Featuring Fisher-Price's unique Monster Traction system, the Dune Racer can smoothly navigate past wet grass, hard surfaces, gravel, rocks, and other rough terrains. Put simply; this is the perfect companion for your little outdoor adventurer.
The primary concept behind this unique ride-on car's design was to allow children to enjoy the outdoors. As you'll notice, the Dune Racer comes with extra-wide, well-treaded tires. The tires' width helps increase overall stability when cruising over rocks and raised surfaces, while the extra-treaded tires enhance the grip. Additional grip means the toy will have enough traction to move smoothly past surfaces without the ‘slippery wheels syndrome.
The Monster Traction system, combined with the wide tire profile, makes the Dune racer a great ride-on car for outdoor adventures. Although other ride-on trucks can also handle rough terrain, not too many are designed to have the balance and control that come with the Power Wheels Dune Racer.
For increased stability and safety when driven, the Dune Racer features a sturdy steel frame. The frame is built from high-quality steel and won't get easily damaged, even when your little one aggressively rides past rocks and other tricky terrains.
Is the Power Wheels Dune Racer Spacious Enough?
Another great feature that makes the Power Wheels Dune Racer an amazing option is its spacious cockpit. You don't need to worry about your little adventurer sharing the ride with his or her sibling since the ride-on toy is designed to fit two.
And it doesn't stop there. The cockpit area is pretty spacious, ensuring your adventurer and his sibling(s) have enough leg-room even as they grow older.
Don't be fooled by the Dune Racer's compact design. This capable toy has a well-hidden storage compartment located at the back. The extra storage space allows for the storage of pretend toys and other items that your little one might deem necessary for an outdoor adventure.
However, the only problem with the storage compartment is its relatively limited space. Don't expect your child to fit extra large toys in the compartment. Either way, it can still come in handy and help to store a couple of your child's favorite pretend toys.
Is the Power Wheels Dune Racer Fast Enough?
Courtesy of its powerful 12V battery, the Dune Racer can manage a maximum speed of 5mph, which is more or less an average speed. Although not the fastest ride-on car in the market, its speed is enough to give your little adventurer an exciting time out there.
Besides 5 mph, the Dune Racer can also manage a safe-enough 2.5 mph speed. The option to choose between two speeds gives your child the freedom to either ride fast or maintain a slow-steady speed.
And as a naturally concerned parent, you'll love the high-speed (parent-controlled) lockout. This allows you to set the Dune Racer to a 2.5 mph maximum speed before your child is old enough to drive fast.
Does the Power Wheels Dune Racer Look Attractive Enough for Your Child?
When buying ride-on cars for children, the external appearance is equally important to the toy's internal features. Getting powerful but unattractive ride-on cars for kids might leave them unhappy (and unsatisfied) since, after all, they're still children.
The Power Wheels Dune Racer doesn't disappoint when it comes to its external appearance. It comes in different colors, meaning you can get one that satisfies your little one's preferences.
The stylish, unique design also makes it a must-have for kids who love to stand-out from the rest. It doesn't have the usual sedan-ish appearance. Instead, it features an aggressive, low-profile, sporty design that's bound to leave your kid excited about outdoor play.
The chrome accents are flashy in design, which makes the Dune Racer more appealing to children. Although meant to enhance safety, the steel safety bars also add to the ride-on car's overall beauty, thus enhancing its uniqueness.
Moreover, the extra-wide tires also add to the beauty of this off-road monster. It's not the largest or sportiest ride-on car out there, but its appearance is bound to thrill any little adventurer. The hidden storage compartment also makes the Dune Racer an ideal option for children, especially when they want to show it off to friends.
Ideal Age for the Power Wheels Dune Racer
Ride-on cars usually come with age recommendations. The Power Wheels Dune Racer is meant for boys and girls between 3-7 years. While a younger child can also use the Dune Racer, it is highly advisable to let him or her ride indoors for safety purposes. The rule of thumb is to limit the outdoor usage of the Dune Racer when dealing with young toddlers.
For children aged 3-4, try to make use of the high-speed lock since it's parent-controlled. This will allow you to limit the dune racer's maximum speed to just 2.5mph, thereby enhancing your child's safety during play.
However, once you're sure of your child's driving skills, you can switch gears to the maximum speed by removing the max-speed lockout. Continuous play will allow your child to improve his overall skills, which means he'll be playing at the 5 mph maximum speed.
In terms of weight, the Dune racer can handle a maximum load of 130 lbs (59kg). And as a 2-seater ride-on car, it's best not to exceed the weight limits. This means your little one won't be able to tag a same-age friend when seven years as the total weight surpasses the suggested limit.
While surpassing the weight limit by a couple of pounds won't do much harm, it can affect the battery's durability and the Dune Racer's overall performance.
Is the Power Wheels Dune Racer Safe Enough?
Fisher-Price Power Wheels have a solid reputation of never compromising safety in their design. The Dune Racer doesn't disappoint as it comes with a ton of amazing safety-enhancing features.
First, its low-profile design allows for increased stability when cruising on unstable off-road surfaces. While it doesn't come with spring suspension to improve comfort during play, it's wheel system is made from quality materials, which makes pressure absorption possible.
For increased safety during play, the ride-on car features Fisher-Price's famed Power-Lock Brakes that allow for instant braking once your child removes his or her foot from the pedal. This prevents you from worrying too much about your little one hitting rocks and trees when driving outdoors.
The parental speed lockout also allows you to regulate your child's maximum forward speed. This feature comes in handy when dealing with young children (under 3years) who are yet to learn the Power Wheels Dune Racer's proper handling.
Besides having a sturdy enough steel frame, the Dune Racer also comes with strong sidebars that enhance your child's safety when in the cockpit. The sidebars also provide hand support, ensuring your little adventurer remains safe throughout his outdoor expedition.
Entertainment Features of the Power Wheels Dune Racer
Although this extra-powerful, off-road ride-on car scores highly in terms of performance, it ranks low when it comes to dashboard entertainment. It doesn't come with an MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity, or a real FM radio to keep your child entertained.
The dashboard appearance is also pretty basic, which fails to complement its unique external appearance. Overall, I think more entertainment features should be incorporated in future Power Wheels Dune Racer releases.
The Advantages of the Power Wheels Dune Racer
Spacious 2-Seater Ride-On Car
Not too many ride-on cars are spacious enough to accommodate two children. However, the Power Wheels Dune Racer is meant for space as it can comfortably fit a passenger and a driver. The legroom is also sufficient enough to accommodate the needs of your ever-growing adventurer.
Comes With a Secret Compartment
Children love playing with their friends and toys. And while most ride-on cars usually come with storage compartments, not a lot have hidden storage areas. The Power Wheels Dune Racer has a storage compartment strategically hidden under its hood, making it possible for children to carry their favorite toys and gear.
Features Fisher Price’s Famed Monster Traction System
For an off-road vehicle to cruise past rough terrain, it's necessary to have powerful tires with enough traction. The Dune racer doesn't disappoint as it comes with one of the best tires in the market. Their high level of traction ensures the electric toy car can cruise past gravel, wet grass, mud, and even rocks with relative ease.
Kids love anything that screams and shouts attention! And you can rest assured the Dune Racer will draw all the attention to your little one. The Dunce Racer's ice-cool chrome-coated accents, coupled with its low-profile design and wide tires, make the car a great gift for your little one.
Manages 5 Mph Forward Speed and 2.5 Mph Reverse Speed
Some ride-on cars don't come with a reverse function, which sort of takes the fun away from outdoor driving. However, the Power Wheels Dune Racer can manage two forward speeds and an impressive 2.5 mph reverse speed. This allows your little adventurer to reverse comfortably in case he or she needs to change directions.
Comes With Enhanced Safety Features
The presence of a Power-Lock braking system means the Dune Racer will come to a standstill when your little one stops stepping on the pedal. Additionally, the high-speed lock (parent-controlled) allows you to regulate the maximum speed during play. This gives you the peace of mind that your little one will be safe, especially before he or she gets used to the toy.
The Disadvantages of the Power Wheels Dune Racer
Doesn’t Come With a Parental Remote Controller
Remote-controlled ride-on cars are among the safest, especially when dealing with little children below three years. Unfortunately, the primary safety-enhancing feature in the Power Wheels Dune Racer is the high-speed lock.
The Seats Aren’t the Most Comfortable
The Power Wheels Dune Racer comes with bucket seats, which aren't the most comfortable seats out there, although ideal for outdoor driving. And since the seats aren't of the highest quality, chances are they'll start to depreciate in quality, especially after repeated usage.
Cannot Cruise Through All Terrain
Although the Dune Racer can smoothly cruise past tough surfaces, it isn't powerful enough to navigate past extra rough terrain. The manufacturers often want to paint the ride-on car as the ultimate off-roading beast, but as you'll notice after repeated usage, the Dune Racer has its own limitations.
Tires Subject to Wear and Tear
Granted, the Power Wheels Dune Racer has some of the best tires you'll find in a ride-on truck. But similar to real car tires, the Dune Racer's tires will eventually start to wear out over time.
And the worst thing about the Dune Racer's tires is the more it's driven on tough terrain, the faster the treads will wear out.
The dashboard is pretty basic and doesn't come with a host of features like FM radio and MP3 player. The ride-on car also doesn't come with Bluetooth connectivity features or a port to plug in a USB player or SD card. This means driving and role-playing are the only forms of entertainment your child can manage with this car.
Power Wheels Dune Racer vs. Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme
The Power Wheels Dune Racer is very similar to the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme. Not only do they come with similar 12V batteries, but they can also achieve a maximum forward speed of 5 mph and a reverse speed of 2.5 mph.
Other similarities include the presence of a secret storage compartment, side rails that provide arm support, and the Power Brake system. However, although similar, these two ride-on cars have some differences.
The main difference is that the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme comes with slightly wider tires for increased balance during outdoor play. The Dune Racer Extreme also features squared rear fenders and a cover underneath to provide additional protection to the electric components below. On the other hand, the regular Dune Racer doesn't have a cover underneath and is characterized by its rounded fenders.
Power Wheels Dune Racer or Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme: Which One Should You Get?
On the Fisher-Price website, you'll find that the Power Wheels Dune Racer is around $30 costlier than the Dune Racer Extreme. However, these two ride-on cars don't have significant differences.
I recommend going for the cheaper option if you're looking to save up on some dollars. But if you're determined to get the original Power Wheels Dune Racer, then be prepared to pay $279.99 instead of $249.99, which is the cost of the Dune Racer Extreme.
Power Wheels Dune Racer: A Complete Buying Guide
Although buying a ride-on toy might appear straightforward, it can prove daunting, especially if you aren't aware of the basics to be on the lookout for. This section will discuss important things to consider when shopping for a ride-on toy like the Power Wheels Dune Racer.
Your Child’s Age Group
Never attempt to purchase a Power Wheel without considering your little one's age. As stated on the Fisher-Price website, the Power Wheels Dune Racer is designed for children aged 3-7. This means you should consider purchasing the toy only if your child is within the recommended age group.
And since this ride-on toy doesn't come with a remote controller for parents, it isn't advisable to purchase it for children under 1.5 years. But if you want to buy it for a 2-year-old, be sure to limit the toy's usage indoors, at least until he gains the necessary skills and confidence to ride outdoors on his own.
Power potential not only applies to the Power Wheels Dune Racer only but also on all Power Wheels generally. You'll need to be careful to choose a ride-on toy that suits the age of your child. The Dune Racer is only available in 12V, meaning its speed and cruise potential can prove risky for small children with no driving skills.
If your baby is still in his or her infant stages, then perhaps it's best to start with a 6V ride-on toy as it's slower and significantly safer compared to 12V cars or trucks.
Most ride-on cars use age-range to determine the appropriate size. Due to this, it is crucial to pay attention to the size of the electric car you plan to purchase. Luckily, the Power Wheels Dune Racer has a spacious cockpit with enough legroom for your growing child.
Besides the cockpit area, be sure to check on the overall space of the car. The Dune Racer is a 2-seater ride-on toy, meaning it can easily accommodate your little one and his or her best friend.
While it doesn't come with a super spacious rear, it still has a secret storage compartment, which allows for the storage of toys and other accessories your child might deem necessary.
Kids don't care much about performance as they do about appearance. Get your child a unique, visually appealing ride-on toy, and he or she will wax lyrical about the ‘gift of the century.' The Power Wheels Dune Racer doesn't disappoint when it comes to appearance as it features a unique, adventure-inspired external shape.
But if you opt against buying the Dune Racer, don't hesitate to choose the type of toy your child loves. Fisher-Price has many cartoons, series, and movie-themed Power Wheels that you can get your little prince or princess.
Safety is arguably the most important consideration to make when buying a ride-on car for your child. After all, your little one will probably spend hours outdoors putting the toy to good use. Despite moving at considerably low speeds, these cars can still hurt your child if not properly managed.
The Power Wheels Dune Racer has some impressive safety features. From the Power Brake system to the high-speed lock (parent-controlled), your child's chances of sustaining injuries are considerably low.
Thanks to the high-speed lock, you can limit Power Wheels Dune Racer's maximum speed to 2.5 mph until you're confident of your child's ability to drive safely at 5 mph.
However, the Dune Racer doesn't come with a remote control or seat belt, which is a bit of a disappointment, especially considering it's meant for aggressive outdoor play.
Don't be in too much of a rush to buy a Power Wheel without checking tire quality. The Dune Racer stands out when it comes to tire quality as it has large, well-treaded tires. While these tires are meant to be driven on hard surfaces, they can also wear out fast if constantly driven on tough terrain.
If you prefer to purchase another ride-on car instead of the Dune Racer, check on its tires. Low-quality tires will almost certainly require you to replace or make upgrades in a matter of months, if not weeks.
As mentioned earlier, I feel the Power Wheels Dune Racer greatly disappoints when it comes to entertainment value. It has a pretty basic interior and doesn't come with additional features like FM radio, MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port. This means you cannot play music or educational stories while your child is riding outdoors.
Were it not for its superior outdoor performance, then I would have given the Dune Racer a lower rating. But it makes up for its subpar internal features with its impressive outdoor capability and superior, well-treaded tires.
The Power Wheels Dune Racer isn't the costliest ride-on car in the market. However, its $279.99 standard price (as listed on the Fisher-Price website) is still significant. But if you want a cheaper Dune Racer, then I recommend going for the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme, which costs $249.99.
You can also find cheaper ride-on vehicles if you're operating on a budget. Be careful as you look for cheap alternatives, as most cheap ride-on cars are made from low-quality raw materials.
Considering you'll be spending a considerable amount on your child's ride-on car, it's highly advisable to go for products made from high-quality, durable materials. Luckily, the Power Wheels Dune Racer is made from high-quality plastic and metal.
Although the Dune Racer is designed to last, you shouldn't allow your child to misuse or mishandle his new toy. It's important to take proper care of the toy by charging when needed and making replacements when some parts are damaged. The best way to prolong the life of your child's ride-on car is to teach him or her to be responsible for the toy.
Quick Power Wheels Dune Racer Maintenance Tips
- Recharge the battery fully: The durability of Power Wheels batteries depends on your charging frequency. Never store a Power Wheel Battery when empty, as it might lead to gradual damage. It is advisable to allow the battery to charge for 12-14 hours until it's fully charged. Using a half-charged battery is a sure recipe for disaster, especially if done frequently.
- Check on charging time: Undercharging or overcharging your child's Power Wheels battery isn't advisable. I highly recommend checking the charging instructions to know how long you should charge the batteries. Overcharging can damage the inner plates as a result of excess heat.
- Remove the battery when repairing the Power Wheels: Whenever you're repairing a broken part or even replacing tires, it is advisable to remove the battery first. After removing the battery, place it on a dry stable surface to eliminate the risk of injury due to falls.
The Power Wheels Dune Racer is a great toy to get your little adventurer. Not only does it have a unique, sporty design, but it also comes with high-quality, well-treaded tires that allow for increased traction. It's a great Power Wheels for Big kids, but you can also see our 2-year-old drive the Power Wheels Dune Racer here.
Although it doesn't come with a remote controller for parents, the high-speed lock (parent-controlled) allows you to regulate your child's driving speed when cruising outdoors. The Power Wheels Dune Racer is a great toy for children between 3-7 years and has an extra comfortable cockpit that can fit both the driver and his assistant.