“ Brand: Kiddieland / Type: Ride-on Toy / Type: Ride on toys „
**Tow Mater Race 'n' Go Ride-On**
This was a gift Liam received for his first birthday and which he scoots around the house on at high speed, showing scant regard for pedestrians and a pitiful knowledge of the Highway Code. (He gets that from his Dad.)
It's a ride-on plastic car which can also be used as a baby-walker. It has rotating gears, a squeaky horn, an ignition key, a seat which lifts up so you can hide stuff (like one of the Mula stacking cups or Mum's car keys) and moving eyes. It also has a tow bar/hook to the rear.
It's a rather dull browny-orange colour but it does have colourful details on the "engine" area and a gawky-looking face at the front with buck teeth. I am not familiar with the Cars film, but a little Google-research shows me that it is pretty true to the original character.
This has been a very popular toy with Liam. When he first got it, he could already walk quite competently but he would still push it round the room using the handle at the back of the car. His cornering wasn't great but the radiators, doors and skirting don't seem to have come off too badly from the inevitable collisions.
He took a wee while to coordinate his movements sufficiently to manage to sit on the seat himself. Initially either his Dad or I, or one of his sisters, who lift him on to the seat - he could "dismount" by falling sideways without any help though!
Once his balance improved and he could climb into position himself, there was no stopping him! He would jump on and off his vehicle all day long, transporting himself around the house. At first he found scooting backwards easier, but thankfully, he soon mastered going forwards too.
**Storage and Boot Space**
The seat lifts to reveal a decent-sized cubby-hole, ideal for concealing and transporting toys, snacks and anything else you want to hide from the rest of the family! This, I feel, adds considerably to the play-value of this toy as there is scope for imaginative play as you pack for your holidays or load up your passengers.
The Tow-Mater, naturally, comes with a tow hook, which requires to be attached to the rear of the vehicle with two small screws (which are supplied, but which were very well concealed in the packaging and had to be salvaged from the bin in our case!) It is a wee bit fiddly to fit and you do need a slim screwdriver.
Liam hasn't really used the tow hook much to date, but I can envisage a day when I find him dragging all manner of things round the house tied to the hook in a unorthodox manner.
This toy is recommended for children aged 12 months+. It is pretty sturdy and stable on its wheels and we haven't had too many accidents with it to date. I did, just today, discover Liam trying to manoeuvre Tow-Mater on to the kitchen bench - I can confirm that poor Tow-Mater bounced on the kitchen floor and suffered no ill effects.
Tow-Mater can be yours on the road for £39.99 from Amazon just now, although I have seen him in the local supermarkets for considerably less. At full price, this seems pricey to me and I think that you are paying a premium for the Disney branding. That said, it should last Liam for a couple of years at least, if my experiences of the ride-ons that the girls had are anything to go on.
Liam loves this and it was a great present. The steering wheel does actually turn the front wheels and the handle on the back means it can double up as a baby walker (or can be used by one child to push another child - under careful supervision!)
I like the fact that it doesn't need batteries and is reasonably quiet other than the squeaky horn! The face on it is pretty cute in a gawky, goofy way and the storage space under the seat is a great bonus for added play value. The moving eyes are a little understated but the rotating gears make a very satisfying clicking noise.
I would recommend this but I'm not sure that the £40 price tag can be fully justified. If you were going to get extensive use out of it by handing it down from one sibling to another, or by using it in a nursery/daycare environment, then go for it, otherwise I would shop around and see if you can snag a bargain!
I'm going to give this four stars; it's a great toy but I'm taking one star off for the high price.