Pros: Durable, fun, lights and sounds, roof for shade. Great car toy!
Cons: I wish it had doors on both sides
There are Little Tikes Cozy Coupes all over my neighborhood, and when my child was born I just assumed that sooner or later he too would get one. Around my son's first birthday his father bought him a motorized Hot Wheels Bubble Tractor, and I figured that since my boy now had a battery-powered vehicle he would never have any interest in a foot-powered car like the Cozy Coupe. Boy was I wrong!
When my son was around 20 months old we went to a birthday party for a 4 year old. My little guy was fascinated with the boy's Cozy Coupe II. He was so thrilled with it that I knew what we had to do...
The Little Tikes Patrol Police Car is very similar to the popular Cozy Coupe II, with just a few minor differences. For those already familiar with the Cozy Coupe, you can skip ahead to the next section (where I'll outline the things that make the Patrol Car different).
What are the Cozy Coupe Cars Like?
For the uninitiated, the Little Tikes Coupes are cute, simple, very sturdy plastic cars for toddlers. We call the cars "Flintstone-mobiles" because they are foot-powered -- your child sits in the seat and pushes with his/her feet to move the car. The wheels are fantastic -- the front two swivel independently of each other, allowing the car to quickly change direction with your toddler. The car moves and turns with very little effort on your child's part. Roughly 3 feet tall, it is an excellent size for my not-quite-2 year old with plenty of head-room to spare.
There is a door on one side that opens and closes, allowing the toddler access to the driving compartment. A steering wheel, complete with a squeaky horn, is fun to turn (but doesn't actually move the wheels). The car has a roof as well, providing a bit of shade on hot Summer days. There is even a little storage bin (or trunk, if you will) behind the driver's seat. There is also a gas cap that can be opened and shut. Cute stickers complete the look, including headlights, a license plate, a speedometer, a gas gauge, and a rear-view mirror.
The cars go well indoors or outside (although going through grass is a more of a challenge than rolling across a hardwood floor). My boy can roll it very well on our aggregate driveway, on the sidewalk, on the dirt, etc. He has also used it indoors where it rolls extremely well and doesn't leave marks on the wood or linoleum floors.
So how is the Police Coupe different?
Well, for starters, the Police Coupe is colored like a police car -- rather than the red and yellow of the normal Coupe, the police version has a blue-plastic body and a white-plastic roof (along with 2 gray support bars). A metallic-faceted light bar, red on one side and blue on the other, goes across the top of the roof (note that it actually does not light up -- it is just there for looks). The stickers that adorn the Police Coupe have more of a police car look to them -- including various "911" and "Police" decals.
One of the more interesting differences is the police radio/walkie-talkie. Where normal Cozy Coupes have an ignition key, ours has a little gray CB-radio looking thing. The handset rests in a little holder and is attached to the car via a cord. It is lightweight and a good size for a toddler's hand. When you press the large yellow button on the front of the handset one of 3 different siren noises will sound. The sirens are not horribly loud or grating on one's nerves (in my opinion) -- I'm quite pleased with the sounds. There are 4 red lights across the top of the cb-radio/walkie-talkie that flash in various patterns when the siren sounds are playing. There is also a little trigger-button on the side of the handset -- the trigger doesn't actually make anything happen, but adds to the cb-radio feel of the device.
One important difference -- at our local toy store the Little Tikes Patrol Police Car cost $10 more than the regular Cozy Coupe II. Since the only real differences are the colors and the walkie talkie vs. ignition key, it is up to the consumer to decide whether or not the Police Coupe is worth an additional $10.
2 "AA" batteries are required (for the police radio, not for the car's mobility). The batteries are not included. The manufacturer recommends the Little Tikes Patrol Police Car for children ages 1? to 5. The maximum weight limit for Little Tikes Coupe cars is 50 pounds.
Our boy had his heart set on a Cozy Coupe-type car, so we really didn't spend too much time looking at competing toy cars (although we did look a bit, and nothing else really impressed us). We have other Little Tikes toys and are always impressed with their durability. We decided to go with the Police Coupe over the Cozy Coupe II for a few minor reasons. My boy is a fanatical button pusher, so we knew he would like hearing the sounds and seeing the lights when the button on the walkie-talkie was pressed. We also liked the fact that the Police Coupe looked a bit different than those red & yellow Coupes we see all over our neighborhood. The final reason was because our next-door neighbor is a police officer with the K9 unit -- our boy is used to seeing the "special car" our neighbor drives (and we knew our neighbor would get a kick out of our son having a toddlerized version of his police cruiser).
Of course the car is a huge hit with my son. I think his very favorite thing to do is get in and out through the door. He has recently become enamored with anything that is "just his size" -- too big for Mommy and Daddy but just right for him -- and this car meets those requirements quite nicely. He loves opening the door, climbing inside, and shutting the door behind him. Sometimes he doesn't even go anywhere in the car -- he just gets in and out and in and out. He also loves cars and steering wheels, so his eyes light up whenever his Patrol Police Car comes into view. He does have fun tooling around the house and the yard in his car (although he also likes it when Mommy or Daddy pushes him in the car). He also loves the police radio, even though he often plays with it as though it was a telephone (holding it up to his ear and saying "Hello").
I really wanted this to be an outside car (because the inside of our house is already running over with toys), however he loves it so much we now let the car be wherever he is, inside or outside. I see tons of neighbors leaving their Cozy Coupe cars outside all the time, but I was a little worried that leaving the Police Coupe out in the elements might cause problems with the cb radio, so I plan to store it in the garage (once we start enforcing that "not in the house" rule again).
My son's only complaint about his Police Coupe is that there is only one door. When the car was new, he often went to the side without a door and got very frustrated when it couldn't be opened. Fortunately it didn't take him too long to figure out that if one side didn't work, he should try the other.
There is definitely assembly required. My husband put it together outside of my (and my boy's) presence, but he reports that while it was a bit time consuming (a good 30 minutes) it was not difficult, with instructions that were clear and very easy to interpret. The most annoying part of the assembly was putting on all of the decorative stickers.
+) Very cute car!
+) Side door that is fun to open & close
+) steering wheel with squeaky horn
+) police radio/walkie talkie
+) siren sounds and flashing lights (on the walkie talkie)
+) gas cap can be opened and closed
+) trunk/storage compartment
+) Looks like a police car (complete with light bar on top)
+) Foot-powered (no batteries to buy or re-charge)
+) very durable
+) can roll across a variety of terrain (carpet, floors, aggregate, concrete, grass, etc)
-) I wish there were doors on both sides
-) Those darn stickers -- you always get wrinkles when they are applied to curved surfaces
-) It would be neat if the light bar lit up
-) Another "big" toy -- takes up some storage space
I thought we would get to bypass the self-powered kid-mobile phase when my husband got my son a Hot Wheels vehicle -- little did I know that the Little Tikes Patrol Police car would be such a big hit! It has a simple design, is very durable and sturdy, and my boy simply adores it!
Please visit my profile page to see a small picture of my son in his Patrol Police Car