Though the most critical driving experience in a young person’s life will come from behind the wheel of their very first car at 16, if you want to get junior some driving time and foster his or her love for all things automotive at the youngest age possible, nothing less than a good pedal car will do. Pedal cars like the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and Garton Kidillac are perhaps the most iconic of the bunch, but they’re unlikely to score you as many dad points as Land Rover’s latest project, a pedal car version of their venerable Defender.
The toddler-friendly Defender is a product of Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) Special Vehicles Operations, the guys behind the Lightweight E-Type recreations and the beefed-up Land Rovers in the new 007 flick. Compared to those, the pedal car must have been a much more lighthearted task, but the hand-built vehicle boasts some impressive touches. Each model is built with a rolled-edge aluminum frame, complete with its very own chassis number. The cars are also painted in Loire Blue, a color offered on the real thing. On the inside, the Defenders feature door-sill plaques, detailed gauges and plush, leather dash, seat and door sills. It might just be better equipped than a regular Defender.
Besides the physical efforts of your child, the Defender goes via a running gear with both forward and reverse functions. It also has functioning spring suspension, brakes and even a parking brake. Traversing the sandbox in the pedal-power Defender should be a breeze thanks to the knobby (albeit narrow) rubber tires that are true to the original Defender’s go-anywhere ethos.
The new pedal car will go on sale next year at a price of £10,000 (about $15,340) which, unlike a regular Defender, we suspect will be far easier to import to the US. It’s meant for children seven years old and under, but even when your kid outgrows it, it should become a great showpiece for your garage, even with the inevitable scrapes and dings it will receive through usage. Consider it a limited-edition reminder of the passion you and your child share, courtesy of Land Rover.