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An Honest Review of the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme

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If you want to find an electric ATV that holds two kids, you might feel limited in your options. The Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme caught my eye because it held two kids, meant for ages 3-7 years old and up to 130lbs. So, I decided to take a look at it to see what I thought.

My First Impressions

boy and girl in dune racer

My kids were happy when the box showed up at our house. I had never ordered something like this online, so I had no idea what to expect. How huge would the box be? Would I be able to move it? Would putting it together require a bottle of wine and aspirin afterward?

power wheels unboxing

The box isn’t lightweight. While I didn’t have a way to weigh it, my husband estimated that it weighed around 50 pounds or more. So, you might have to find a way to get it into your home if you feel like you won’t be able to pick it up yourself.

I sat it next to my refrigerator, and you can see that when it’s standing up, it’s a decent size. Later, my kids used the box for a nice hideout. They love empty boxes almost as much as they love the toys that I buy them.

Opening the box felt a bit intimidating. I have a good deal of knowledge when it comes to putting furniture together. I put together entire bedroom sets by myself and nearly all of the furniture in my house by myself, but this sure felt different at first.

When I say that everything is separate, I meant it. Nothing was pre-assembled, and sliding open the box can shoot fear into your heart. I thought I would end up in a heap of tears on the floor five hours later. So, I dove straight into putting it together.


Putting It Together

power wheels assembling parts

Let me start by saying, putting it together wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It ended up taking about an hour and a half to install it completely, and that included sticker time. I’m not a fan of putting stickers on anything, so that was daunting for me.

While there were dozens of pieces, Power Wheels provided detailed instructions that were a lifesaver. Each step had pictures to go with it showing you precisely what to do. Two screws are different than the other ones, and that was a bit confusing. Power Wheels added a blue color strip to help identify those.

There were a few steps that I felt as if Power Wheels left out. For example, it doesn’t tell you what to do with the battery cord underneath the seat. If you don’t drape it outside of the rods, the seat doesn’t fit correctly. Also, some of the rods have strips over them, and it doesn’t tell you to remove them, but you need to do so.

Despite a few glitches along the way, I would say this is a beginner’s project. You do need to have an adjustable wrench and Philip’s head screwdriver. Otherwise, it comes with everything needed.

The Ages of My Kids

full view of power wheels

Before I get into the detailed review, I want to share my kids’ ages. Hopefully, that will help you decide if the Dune Racer Extreme would work for you.

Now, the age range is 3-7 years old, with a 130lb weight limit. We pushed the age range, but we never came close to hitting the maximum weight.

  • 9-year-old: 105lb
  • 7-year-old: 75lbs
  • 3-year-old: 40lbs
  • 18-month-old: 28lbs

In general, my 3-year-old was the most interested in driving it around the house. My 18-month-old just sat along for the ride. My 7-year-old tried it out a few times, but my 9-year-old only tried it once or twice to see how it handled a higher weight.


hood of dune extreme

The Pros of the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme 

There are a lot of things we love about the Dune Racer Extreme! My kids are truly in love, for the most part, with this ATV, so I have plenty of good things to tell you.

The Size is Perfect for Two Kids 

If you have two kids within the weight range, they should fit perfectly. My 3-year-old and 18-month-old fit great with plenty of room to spare as they get older. It’s a dual seater, but they aren’t separated. So, that means your older child will probably take up most of the two seats or one and a half seats. They really won’t notice, though!

Two Speed Lock Out

Here is one of my favorite features of the Dune Racer Extreme – the two-speed lockout. So, it has two speeds – 3mph and 5mph. The 3mph is ideal for new drivers and little kids. It was perfect for my 3-year-old who had never driven an ATV before.

To switch to the 5mph, you have to remove a screw at the base of the gear shift. So, your child can’t change the speed himself. That’s a nice safety feature. You might not think that 2mph more is a big difference, but it feels like a lot to a little child. I noticed the difference as I tried to chase my son down the driveway!

Reverse and Forward

The Dune Racer Extreme can go forward and reverse, which helps your child navigate around turns and objects. To change into reverse, your child moves the gear shift towards their body and then presses the gas. Then, to go forward again, move the gear shift toward the steering wheel.

Easy to Charge and Install the Battery

power wheels manual

We tried another ATV years ago, and the battery wasn’t separate. So, to charge it, you had to pull the entire toy close to an outlet. That’s a pain in the butt.

Power Wheels got it right when they designed the Dune Racer Extreme. You can easily remove the battery from the back of the ATV and bring it into your house to charge. It weighs a pound or two, but it’s small, fitting right on top of our kitchen counter.

To install the battery, flip down the back unit that holds the battery. To open it, press down on the button, and it flips open. Then, plug the battery in with the cord that is attached inside and slide the battery back into the housing unit.

To remove the battery, it’s the opposite. Slide the battery out of the housing unit and unplugged the battery. It’s so simple!

The Battery – Charging and Play Time 

Speaking about the battery, I thought it had a decent amount of playtime. Typically, I charged the battery overnight, but I think it charges in 10-12 hours, on average. The first time you use it, you need to charge it for 18 months. It worked out well that we put it together at night and let it charge until the next morning.

As for the power of the battery, Power Wheels used a single 12-volt battery. On average, we felt as if we got around 2-3 hours of playtime. That’s plenty of time for a single day.

If you use it at a higher speed, you won’t get as much time. When driving at 5mph, the battery might last for 90 minutes or even less if you’re closer to the maximum weight limit. All of the drive times are based on around 70lbs seated inside of the Dune Racer.

It Handles Terrain Well 

For the most part, I was pleased with how well the Dune Racer handled the terrain. We tried it on a few different ones.

Pavement

It handles pavement like a breeze, as you might expect. You can put it on the road, and it zips faster than it will on other terrains. You do need to be careful that the pavement isn’t wet or slick.

Grass

For the most part, we drove the Dune Racer on the grass on our property. It is slower on the grass, but it still drives quickly. So long as the grass isn’t wet, you’ll find that it drives well and has excellent traction.

Hills

Expect it to drive slower on hills. That’s natural since it’s relying on battery power to go up the hills. It will go down faster, but it went up the hill with over 70lbs of weight just fine.

Gravel

We have a gravel driveway, and it was able to pick up quicker speeds on the gravel than grass. If it were wet, then it would struggle, but that’s pretty normal. Otherwise, your child can drive this on gravel without any problems.

All The Little Details  

Power Wheels always does well with providing the little details that make a difference to kids. They might not mean much to an adult, but kids seem to notice the little things.

My kids loved how this ATV looked. The bright green color with all of the stickers made it look mature enough that he felt so cool driving it, but also still perfect for a child. It’s gender-neutral; both my girls and boys thought it was cool.

The little trunk in the front of the Dune Racer is a nice touch. It has enough room that your child can store some toys or snacks with him. Chances are you won’t be taking this ATV out for a ride on the trails, but it’s a feature that makes kids love it even more.

The bars on the side of the Dune Racer add an extra touch that makes the whole ATV feel even cooler. There is plenty of legroom for your kids. My 9-year-old was a bit scrunched up, but it fit my 3-year-old and 7-year-old perfectly. I was worried that my 3-year-old might not be able to reach the pedals, but he could!


The Cons of the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme

teen testing dune extreme

Yes, we love this ATV, but it did have a few things you should note before you decide to buy it. I didn’t think any of these would change my idea to buy this ATV, but it might change your mind.

Wet Terrain Isn’t Your Friend 

This goes for almost any kids electric ATV, but the wheels are plastic, so it won’t handle wet terrain well. If it had rubber wheels, that might be different. Wet grass and mud aren’t friends for this Dune Racer Extreme.

It Randomly Turns Off 

My kids are the ones who told me this; I didn’t notice it at first. Sometimes, when they pressed the gas pedal, it just wouldn’t go. The battery would be fully charged, but it wouldn’t work. Then, after a moment or two, they’d hit the gas pedal, and it would drive.

I have no idea if we just had a defective unit or if this is a consistent problem with all of the Dune Racer Extremes. It didn’t happen all of the time or daily, so it didn’t affect their experience at all. However, for the price, I wouldn’t expect it to happen at all.

Slower on Hills and Higher Weight 

This will be the same for almost any electric ATV, but it’s slow on hills and when there is more weight in the ATV. It’s normal, but if you want an ATV that has consistent power, then you need to consider a gas-powered one or pick one with a higher voltage battery.

Cramped for Bigger Kids 

back view of power wheels

If you’re aiming to get this for older kids, then you need to reconsider. The seat fits two smaller kids perfectly, but only

one big kid. Even then, it might be too cramped for a big kid. While the age range for this ATV is 3-7 years old, I think that it’s more fit for kids 3-6 years old. Seven years old might be too big for the seat to be comfortable.

No Seatbelts or Cupholders

If you want seatbelts, then you need to pick a different ATV. There are no seatbelts, and that could be a safety hazard for some kids. I wouldn’t let my 18-month-old ride in it with my kids when they turned up the speed. While the sides of the ATV are high, there are still risks, and seatbelts would have been an excellent addition.

Some parents wish that it had cupholders. There are no places to put their drinks or snacks. It would have been nice to see somewhere for the kids to put these items while driving around.


Unboxing and First Test Drive


Final Thoughts on the Power Wheels Dune Racer Extreme 

Considering the price, I hesitated to purchase this ATV. The details seemed great, but it’s not the cheapest dune-buggy style ATV on the market for kids.

Overall, I’m happy with the Dune Racer Extreme. I like the two speeds with the child-proof speed lockout. It fits two smaller kids comfortably, and it looks sharp, which is perfect for little kids. They feel so cool! It drives well on a variety of terrain, including hills, and gives my children plenty of hours of playtime with one charge. I couldn’t ask for more!


Photo and video credits: Bethany from www.familygrowingpains.com. Thanks, Bethany!

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