Cars for Kids

Cars for Kids Cars for Kids
Comparison Tests

About 1905, when it became apparent that this new invention called the automobile would probably hang around for a while, versions of Daddy's new car began being built for kids.

By 1907, the slick Elite Junior, a little car built by Standard Auto Supply and Manufacturing of New York, was selling for $200, an enormous sum for a child's plaything. Power came from winding up a spring that projected out the rear of the car. Lots of cheap kids' cars, costing less than $10, were around -- the Green Auto Racer, the Speed King, and the Big Racer, all of which resembled Model Ts. There were even a few steam-powered cars for kids, as well as electric and gasoline miniatures.

But just as the Model T has evolved and changed into the cars we know today, children's cars have modernized, too. To see what's available these days, we rounded up four types of cars powered by four different sources -- foot to the floor, pedal, electric, and gasoline -- and let the children of C/D staffers do the test driving.

The simpler of the cars were the Deluxe Cozy Convertible for one-to-three-year-olds and the Cozy Coupe II for kids 18 months to five years old, both made by the Little Tikes Company of Hudson, Ohio. For kids two and older, we had an eye-catching Gendron Pioneer Roadster pedal car made by Pedal Car Classics of San Mateo, California. For kids three and older, we tried the Gaucho Grande from Peg-Perego in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And for preteens and teenagers, we had a gasoline-powered Plymouth Prowler from Midwestern Industries of New Paris, Indiana.

Test drivers included 18-month-old twins Jake and Alex Nevin, six-year-olds Madeline Csere and Joey Kiley, 12-year-old Lee Warner, who is the brother of road warrior Robin Warner, and Charley Betzig, also 12, a neighbor of the Cseres'. Okay, kids, start your engines.