The Cybertruck is now a $100 RC toy you can buy Friday. I took it for a spin
My test drive didn't, uh, last very long.
Bridget CareyPrincipal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
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You'll be able to drive a Cybertruck by this September -- well, a remote-control toy model, that is. Mattel worked with Tesla to create the Hot Wheels R/C Cybertruck set, a one-10th scale version of the stainless steel, straight-out-of-science-fiction electric pickup truck. And it comes with a little Cyberquad as an accessory. (Yes, the ATV fits in the bed of the truck.)
The $100 remote-control car goes on sale this Friday at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET) on MattelCreations.com. The site is where Mattel flaunts its more artsy side, periodically dropping limited-edition collectables.
In early 2020, Mattel Creations launched with a presale of a high-end, hobby-grade collectors' model of the Hot Wheels R/C Cybertruck, also at 1:10 scale. Priced at $400, it sold out within hours. Orders for that model began arriving to customers this month.
After the success of the first Cybertruck collectable, Mattel is launching a toy-grade model with fewer features at a fraction of the price. The toy version has working lights and travels at about 10 mph. The remote control is shaped like the Cybertruck steering wheel. The controls are pretty basic -- two thumb toggles, one for going forward and backward, another for steering left and right.
I took it for a spin on a basketball court, having the car zip around my kids' feet as my 2-year-old son tried to chase it. Running the truck backward at full speed, I quickly jetted it forward and instantly knew something went wrong.
It's supposed to accelerate with its two back tires, but at that moment, something disconnected and now only one tire moves. Our playtime was over.
I reached out to Mattel about it, and the company shared this statement: "The version provided to CNET was an early-phase product sample. Fans will receive a final version of the latest 1:10 Hot Wheels R/C Cybertruck to ensure they can enjoy the best play experience possible."
I'll also be sending back the unit so Mattel's team can investigate issues with my model.
If you get your hands on this collectable, you may want to be a little gentler on your test drives (although the box says it's for ages 8 and up). You can see my experience for yourself in my video, embedded above.
And things could be different with the final version, which Mattel says will be shipped to customers on or before September 15.
Having it break was quite the bummer. Was I too rough with an early model? Are "collectible" toys just not made for that kind of play?
Whatever the case, Mattel happened to also send me a sample of its high-end model that sold out last year -- and at four times the price, it certainly had more power.
Able to reach speeds of 25 mph, the collector's model included four-wheel drive, plus more details like a functional pull-down cover for the truck bed, a working tailgate and cracked window stickers for the authentic "reveal" experience.
Not wanting to end the afternoon on a total disappointment, I took that collector's edition "off-roading" at the park to kick up some dirt and get some laughs. And that one could certainly haul.
Hopefully in time Mattel will come out with more lower-cost models of the Cybertruck that can handle some rough kid play. (Or in my case, mom play.)