Every F1 driver seems to have a junior career in karting listed in his biography.

Battery-powered cars for youngsters have been around for a while but the technology advances of recent years have made the latest models so much more realistic.

The F1 champions of the future will doubtless refer fondly to their ‘career’ in racing their powered-Mustang toy car!

The latest to bring race realism to these mini cars is the product of a Ford and Fisher-Price collaboration. They’ve created the new Power Wheels Smart Drive Mustang – a high-tech, fast and fun battery-operated ride-on toy.

The officially licensed Smart Drive Mustang is designed to delight budding performance enthusiasts with original pony car-inspired looks and performance, and it’s packed with safety features sure to make parents happy, too!

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Fisher-Price developed the scaled-down car, available in blue or pink, from real Ford design data. The result is an amazingly realistic Mustang – sized just for kids – that captures the spirit, style and high-tech features of the V8-powered Mustang GT their parents could drive.

“Mustang is one of our best-selling sports cars,” says Gary Collins, senior manager of design, Power Wheels. “For the Smart Drive Mustang, we wanted to amp up the realistic driving experience to make the feeling of getting behind the wheel even more thrilling for kids.”

The Smart Drive system is new for Power Wheels vehicles. At its core is the brand’s first computer-controlled powertrain, which opens up a world of features that make this Power Wheels Mustang a lot like the full-sized car:

• Traction control: The computer can monitor for wheel slip and adjust motor speeds to help keep the car going over wet grass or bumpy terrain

• Stability monitoring: A tilt sensor can detect when the car is reaching dangerous angles, turning off the motors to prevent rollovers

• Digital speed control and battery monitoring: A backlit LED touch interface can allow parents to easily control top speed, from 2 km/h to 8 km/h, and check battery charge level

• Slow start and stop: Instead of a simple on/off behaviour, motors can now ramp speed up or down – for fast starts and short stopping distances

Perhaps most fun of all is the built-in sound system. It features engine sounds recorded from a real Mustang, which rise and fall with vehicle speed – just like a real car. An auxiliary input jack allows kids to play their own music on the biggest speaker ever installed in a Fisher-Price product.

Shop around because prices are all over the map . . . but expect to pay around $500. The reward will come when your child hoists the world championship trophy.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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