The New York Times
called the Cozy Coupe the best-selling car in the world back in 1998. First sold in 1979, this ride-on toy by Little Tikes is now more than 30 years old. Still made in the USA, the Cozy Coupe is one of those classic childhood toys that kids across the country enjoy immensely.
For almost 3 years, I've had my eye on the Cozy Coupe, as my eldest daughter's daycare center had a few that seemed very popular with all the kids. Yet at $50, it just seemed way too expensive for a plastic ride-on toy. Extremely faded and dirty used ones were selling for $30 on my local Craigslist and that just offended my bargain-hunting sensibilities. Thus, I didn't make the plunge until I saw a special on-line sale of $25 with free shipping. At that price, it finally made sense! Having had a Cozy Coupe for a couple months now, it's no wonder parents and children alike love this ride-on toy. About the Toy
As pictured, this is a bright yellow and red plastic ride-on car. Like our other ride-ons, it has the rigid plastic wheels that are incredibly noisy outside on the driveway. The two front wheels can swivel 360 degrees whereas the two back wheels are fixed.
The Cozy Coupe is distinctive compared to other ride-on cars targeting this age group because it includes a roof over your child's head and a working door (with a safety lock!). We have the 30th Anniversary model, so the Cozy Coupe also has a face (two huge "cartoonish" eyes and a wide white smile that remind me of those Chevron cartoon cars). Other Cozy Coupe versions include a police car, a "princess" one (sky blue and pink color scheme), and a firetruck. I'm guessing that the other Cozy Coupe versions have similar features but note that I'm only describing the 30th Anniversary version of the classic Cozy Coupe.
There's also a gas cap that opens, a key that clicks when you turn it (and doesn't completely remove from the slot so your kids can't lose it!), and a steering wheel with a weak horn.
For parents, there's a slot/handhold at the back edge of the roof where you can push your child along. There are also 2 cupholders on the top back edge of the seat (for child or parent drinks!) but probably requires parental assistance (since it would require your child turning completely around to reach it).
Finally, there is a removeable floorboard that should be used for younger children so their legs don't drag along the ground when they're pushed. Older children can use their feet to move the car (a la Fred Flintstone!). Since I have both a 4 year old and a 14 month old, we regularly pull out the floorboard and then put it back in.
Assembly is supposed to take about 45 minutes per one website, but I had my then 13 month old crawling into and out of the shell, so I think it took me closer to 1 hour. The hardest part was hammering the valve cap onto the wheel assembly. It required balancing the whole car on its side with the 2 wheels on the axle and holding the actual valve cap with one hand while hammering with the other. After that screwing in the long screws into the roof and side panels seemed like cake (though truthfully, my shoulder was quite sore the next morning!). I recommend you consider an electric screwdriver and an extra pair of adult hands to make it go faster.Our Experience
I initially thought my 4 year old would be too old for this ride-on toy. Plus my younger daughter was just barely over a year old so I wasn't sure if this toy would just sit in our home for a little while. My fears were completely unfounded, as my 4 year old giggled excitedly when she saw the Cozy Coupe and immediately jumped in. Moreover, her younger sister walked over and tried to climb in right on top of her sister!
Since then, the two have to be compelled to share. My younger daughter has literally climbed into her sister's lap while she's already in the car. We have some crazy photos of it. Needless to say, both girls adore this car. My younger daughter can open the door, climb into the car, and then close the door. I was so amazed, so I think it's possible to use this before your child turns 1.5 year old. My older daughter even likes to push her sister around the house in the Cozy Coupe.
The main complaint I have is that the two front wheels swivel so much that when you pull the car backward, they swivel the wrong way. By this I mean that the outside of the wheel rotates inward, so you then have to manually swivel them back to the right direction to push the Cozy Coupe forward. It's only a problem when I'm pushing my younger daughter in the Cozy Coupe and too lazy to actually walk around the house. She will loudly complain (she's not yet talking but you know she's unhappy!) if I don't push her along so sometimes I just stand there and push/pull her. However, with the wheel issue, I usually end up just pushing her around the house.
Part of me wishes that the steering wheel horn was louder or that there were more interactive features, like on my older daughter's Discovery Exclusive Steering Wheel
. Still, that particular electronic toy gets annoying fast so I'm thankful the Cozy Coupe only has a clicking key and a weak push horn.Final Thoughts
Even knowing how much my girls love their Cozy Coupe, I would still balk at paying $50 for this. However, I think most parents can probably recoup at least $25 selling this on their local Craigslist, so you ultimately may only pay $25 for it. At $25, this is a great buy for kids.