Hot Wheels RC Cybertruck out now in Australia: Is it any good?
Tesla's bizarre reinvention of the ute isn't out yet, but Australians can at least play with Hot Wheels remote control Cybertruck.
When it comes to Tesla's Cybertruck, nothing is too weird. The window was smashed in on the Cybertruck way back in November 2019 by Elon Musk himself. I've previously outlined all the specs for this space age vehicle, but its truly unlike anything you've ever seen before. Unless you love science-fiction movies. Or Halo.
But it's Tesla, right? And it's Elon Musk. So, people are losing their heads over it despite the fact it looks like the DeLorean's fatter, older, balder brother.
To be fair, it's an incredible ute. Fast but with incredible off-road performance; as tough as a tank; it's electric so it's good for the environment (until you start bashing through it); and you can pair it with a Tesla ATV that can be driven right up into its slide-out tray.
It's like a toy come to life. Which is notable given it's just become life turned into a toy. Can the remote-controlled version of the Cybertruck deliver the same thrills? Will it end up in our list of the best remote control cars in Australia?
Release date and availability
The Hot Wheels RC Tesla Cybertruck lands in Australia on 16 September 2021. This is considerably behind overseas territories like the USA, so you may have seen this RC pop up elsewhere. It's a limited run, however, so you will need to get in quick. I was told by Mattel's representative that there are no plans for a secondary wave in the future – although this may change of course.
In Australia, the Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck RC will cost AU$199. However, when I checked on launch day, Target was selling them for $159, although I can't vouch for how long that deal will last. When it originally launched in the USA, there was a US$400 version for hardcore collectors. That had more bells and whistles than the version launching in Australia, which is more of a "toy grade" version. Don't be fooled by looking up the wrong product online.
How to get a Hot Wheels RC Tesla Cybertruck in Australia
The Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck RC is exclusively being released through Target. If you want to get a unit, be quick and buy it now. Given than it's a "limited edition" release, you can expect some to turn up on eBay, although you'll likely have to pay a premium.
Hot Wheels X Tesla Cybertruck
Mattel and its Hot Wheels brand need no introduction. The toy cars have been the favourite plaything of boys and girls for decades. I've still got my plastic tub of 100 or so cars from when I was a little grom, and there's no way my kids are getting their grubby little hands on them.
Hot Wheels has partnered with Tesla to create a 1:10 scale replica of the Cybertruck. As well as looking like the real deal, it comes with a replica of the Tesla Cyberquad ATV as well. It has working front and rear lights and a controller that mimics the design of the Cybertruck's steering wheel. The rims, tray and even the tyre tread are all on point, too.
And it looks to deliver the same performance of a sport car with the utility and functionality of a ute. How fast is the Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck RC? It can reach speeds of between 17 and 18 km/h.
I was able to get my hands on this exciting toy, so here's my Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck review.
What I like
There's certainly something novel and, dare I say it, cool about getting up close and personal with Tesla's exotic Cybertruck. I realise it's a toy version of the car, but knowing it's a replica, and knowing that the details are the same gives you a better appreciation of Musk's vision. I like the look of it a lot more now than I did when it was originally revealed.
The inclusion of the Cyberquad is a fun addition, too. My kids enjoyed playing with it as a standalone toy, as well as transporting it across the backyard and park in the back of the Cybertruck. While envisioning the controller as the real steering wheel helps add to the sense of immersion.
The Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck's suspension is strong and has a great response, and I found it managed to keep itself well balanced when whizzing around on bumpy surfaces. It's a bit of a challenge to roll it. Although I did when I went off roots and jumps at the wrong angle as you would expect.
The Cybertruck was easily the most fun racing around in sloping dirt. It's got enough power to kick up a spray of dust as it starts, stops and corners. Without being encumbered by grass or leaves, and heading down hill, it can get a bit of pace to it, too.
The simple backwards/forwards and right/left controls are simple enough for anyone to pick up and understand, even if they're not overly deep. And I liked that you can manually recorrect the steering alignment if it's not driving in a straight line.
I was also impressed by the signal range, which utilises a 2.4GHz signal. I drove it a good 50 to 60 metres across a park, then it disappeared over the edge and kept on going out of sight.
What I don't like
Looked at solely as a remote-controlled car – as opposed to a collector's item or a toy – the driving experience is a little underwhelming overall. On grass, my five-year-old could easily outrun it. The maximum speed is fast enough to be fun to play around with there's no doubt, but it falls short of being exhilarating.
You never feel like you're on a knife's edge as you weave between trees or over dirt mounts because it's not going fast enough for things to go terribly wrong if you slip up. You're not doing huge airs here. The thrill that comes from that tension, which is found in other remote-controlled cars around this price point, is missing.
You get about 20 minutes of driving time out of a three-hour charge as well. This isn't overly surprising when compared to other remote-controlled cars or even drones. But it's something to consider. Especially as you can't have a spare battery charged and ready to go; and charging requires a screwdriver to open the compartment.
To be fair, I was surprised by how much drive time I got out of an hour-or-so top up, so that's something to consider.
I'm also of the opinion that at this price, the controller should be more robustly built. It's light and very "plasticky," which in parents terms means easily breakable. Even the chassis of the Cybertruck itself is made of a plastic that doesn't feel awfully robust and certainly isn't weatherproof. Although I did hit a tree (twice!) at full pace, and it ate the impact without problem.
Is the Hot Wheels RC Tesla Cybertruck worth it?
The Hot Wheels Tesla Cybertruck remote-controlled toy is getting a limited release, and I think that lends itself well to the consumer that should get it. And that is the collector.
It's a niche partnership in many ways, but there's certainly an appeal to the design and the unique place its inspiration holds in the grander automotive market. I think if you intend to buy this toy as an ornament for your bookshelf primarily, then you'll find value in it.
If you're looking at it from the perspective of someone who wants a thrilling off-road RC car to thrash about, then you're likely to be a tad disappointed. I had a lot of fun driving it (while the battery lasted), but it doesn't have the top speed to offer the thrills required to keep me coming back time and time again. Especially when you can pick-up RC cars that can do that for $130ish.
As a parent looking for a fun toy for your kids, I can't see the point of spending this much money on an RC car given the battery life and questionable durability at $199. My kids enjoyed playing with it, and I had a blast doing it with them. Of that there was no doubt. But they moved on when the battery died without a second thought. I'd want more investment from them if I was to invest in a RC car at this price.
If you're looking to buy a remote controlled car for a friend, partner or child, why not compare your options. We have a list of the best remote control cars in Australia you can check out right now.