Since I (allegedly) won't fit in the 2015 Ford F-150 Power Wheels, I roped my cousin's kid into helping me review it. He rated its attributes on a numerical scale; Looks? "Nine. Actually, 90." Functionality? "F150." Ok, I see what you did there you cheeky little bastard... this isn't going to be easy.
The rating system quickly devolved into a "free association exercise," but here are little Rhys' main takeaways after a few days crunching leaves, carrying his stuffed dog, and giving his younger sister rides in the 2015 Ford F-150.
- Stability: "Driving it."
- Speed: "Starts with S."
- Ease of use: "Pretty good."
- Color: "Blue. I like it."
- Size: "Whoa. Good."
- Favorite feature: "Controlling it."
- Would he recommend to his friends and colleagues? "Yes. They would like it."
- Could he translate his sister's feedback? "She liked it because it went [noise that sounded like "PKEW!!!" with enthusiastic arm movements] and back around."
Since 100% of automotive purchases by four-year-old kids are influenced by their parents, Rhys' mum Kelly was kind enough to elaborate on whether the Power Wheels F-150 is a solid distraction or just a big plastic pain in the ass.
Here are her thoughts after taking delivery, putting it together, and letting her kids go hog wild with the tiny truck.
First Impressions & Assembly
I got a call from the delivery guy asking if his tractor trailer would fit down my little suburban street... this set the tone for the impressive size of this thing. He was very nice and accommodating and left it where I asked (I was at work).
"Had to wait several days for the weekend to put it together, which really helped build anticipation as we had to maneuver around the behemoth of a box to get in and out of our real cars. Luckily, on Friday night I finally opened the box and realized that the battery needs to charge for 18+ hours before first use, so we got that started. I should note that it was next to impossible to locate the instructions packet among the many parts; had to take pretty much everything out first.
We set about the assembly on perhaps the coldest morning of the season thus far. I think the whole thing took about an hour; Rhys did like 10% "helping" with various tools and 90% playing in the now-empty box. Assembly was reasonably easy (or would have been if not for the frozen fingers) and directions straightforward; my only complaint is that there are SO MANY STICKERS, and they are each supposed to go in a specific location, and Rhys was not going to let me get away with half-assing the sticker application step. (As an aside, he thinks the number of stickers is completely appropriate.)
We did not have the C batteries required to operate the radio, and we haven't yet gotten around to purchasing them, so we can't comment on that feature.
[Author's note: I gave the stereo a try. It does indeed make noise, and it's got a little 3.5mm jack (iPhone headphone size). But if you don't feel like buying the batteries, and I know you don't, go ahead and stick your phone in the truck while your tyke runs around the driveway with this thing. Of course, if you want to let them run hog-wild through miniature mud bogs with Dire Straits on blast, you're gonna have to sack up and get some Cs.]
The First Ride
After all the anticipation, Rhys was a little nervous about initiating the maiden voyage. We loaded up some stuffed animal pals to help ease anxiety, and he was good to go. He immediately got the hang of operating the pedal, steering, and shifting, and all apprehension immediately went out the window. (Side note: he's generally not very compliant when it comes to photos or posing; the smiles in these pix are totally genuine.)
I really like how you have to remove a screw (easy to do) to make "advanced use" (faster) mode available. This way we could let Rhys fly free on "beginner use" mode while he got used to it; it also made it more exciting to do the ceremonial screw-removal later and ACTIVATE FAST MODE (his words). After his first experience in advanced mode, his comment was "Whoa, that was an explosive drive."
We immediately noticed that the rear wheel traction was not great. The fact that our yard contained an entire fall's worth of leaves at the time may or may not have contributed. Anyway, we pretty quickly figured out that a few heavy-ish rocks in the back helped weigh it down and improve traction. Rhys also enjoyed loading up on sticks, pumpkins, and other objects.
I wasn't at all sure what little sister would think, but her general approach to life is "EXTREME" so I shouldn't have been surprised when she loved being a passenger, fast mode and all. The seat belts are just velcro and fairly flimsy, so I made her hold a stuffed bear to serve as an "airbag" if needed. Luckily for all, not needed.
We have limited terrain changes in the yard, but it did OK on the small incline and large-ish tree roots. Traction still occasionally a factor, even with the added weight.
It didn't do great in the snow, although Rhys did enjoy trying. Lots of discussion of whether/how some sort of plow unit could be affixed to the front...this feels like a potential project for his grandpa.
Build Quality And Battery Life
After picking up the truck from Rhys and Kelly, I poked and prodded it to see how it'd held up against abuse from a couple of rug rats. The truck looked and felt sturdy; proving something of a challenge for my scrawny ass to lift into and out of the bed of a real 2015 Ford F-150.
It didn't balk at being bashed around the bed over highway travel, tossed onto the deck somewhat carelessly, or ridden around by my ass at about thirty pounds over the "maximum recommended weight limit." I was more impressed by how much juice it had; the thing kept zipping around after I took a few laps down the driveway, only stopping when I overcooked the motor trying some ambitious hillclimbs.
Look for a more complete review on how the Fisher Price F-150 held up against adult asses and strenuous "off-roading" soon.
Here's the rest of the Rhys and Marin's photo shoot, for a more complete picture of how the miniature workmobile held up against their antics.
Images and impressions via Kelly Crowley