One of the biggest attractions when we bought our current home was the garden. The garden is a lovely size for my two boys to play in and I often find my friends coming over with their children for play dates. The garden on its own isn't much fun therefore at the start of summer 2011 I started investing in more garden toys for my boys to enjoy and share with their friends. When I mentioned this to one of my aunties she very kindly gave us the Little Tikes Grand Coupe which my cousin had outgrown and was taking up space in her garage.
***Little Tikes Grande Coupe***
The description of the Little Tikes Grande Coupe Car is that it is "Excellent Outdoor fun! Looks great with its sleek rounded contours and a roomy interior".
The Little Tikes Grande Coupe is a rounded plastic toddler car. Overall it is 83cm long, 49cm wide and 86cm high. The car has a rounded bubble shape to it. The "body" of the car is made from bright green plastic and has large black tyres. There is a wide door on the left hand side of the car which opens for a child to climb in and out of. There is also a pink plastic "boot" section for a child to store items in. There is a petrol cap on the back of the car which opens and closes. Inside of the car is a bench type seat and the bottom of the car is open for a child to push themselves along using their feet. There is an "instrument panel" which consists of a steering wheel that turns and move the car and in the centre is a working horn. There is also a turn-able plastic key which makes a clicking sound. Over the top of the car is a bright yellow plastic bubble roof.
Little Tikes state that the Grande Coupe is suitable for children aged over 18 months.
The toy is more expensive than the popular Cosy Coupe from the Little Tikes range at £69.99 (rather than £44.99 for the Cosy Coupe). This is partially due to the Grande Coupe being slightly larger in its overall size and it is larger inside therefore can be used by older children too. At almost £70 new this is not a cheap toy however I do not think that it is overpriced and expensive as it can be played with for a number of years and in the case of our car is still going strong after 5 years. Even buying second hand you can buy one for around £20-£25 therefore you have the potential to sell the product on once your child no longer plays with the toy.
The toy was given to us as a gift so we did not have to put the car together. Although I do not have direct experience of putting together the Little Tikes Grande Coupe car I know from close friends and my uncle (who put our Coupe together initially for my cousin) it is not the easiest of tasks. The Coupe comes in a number of different parts and the instructions are not as clear as they could be as to how the side panels, roof and wheels are put together. At our toddler group the mum's who had bought this toy as a Christmas present for their kids all agreed that their husbands (who had the job of assembling on Christmas Eve in most cases). Took around 30 minutes to an hour to fully assemble and then place the stickers onto the toy.
Once assembled the toy is ready to use and can't be folded away in any way. As a result this means the toy is quite a bulky object to store therefore could be an issue if you have a lack of storage space. Our Little Tikes Grande Coupe is stored in the shed or under a cover in the garden however the reason we did not purchase a second Little Tikes Coupe for my twin boys was due to space and I felt two of these toys would have been a storage nightmare alongside other toys.
The Grande Coupe once put together is very sturdy and made to an excellent quality. The car moves along very easy, the panels do not feel like they could come apart and even if a child is on uneven ground it does not tip over in the same way lighter ride on cars can do so as a parent you feel a little more confident about a child's safety.
My boys starting playing with the Grande Coupe at around 16 months old. This was younger than the "recommended" age however they had been playing in similar toys at toddler groups for a few months and they were walking very steady on their feet. My boys are both very small for their age (at the very bottom of the growth charts for weight and height) but had no issue climbing in and out of the Grande Coupe car at 16 months old. They understood that they should sit on the seat inside of the car and use their feet to push along in the open bottom of the car. Whilst sitting they could just touch the floor with their feet although for the first few months both of them could only master the art of moving backwards in the car. So play time often involved me or Mr Lools pushing them forwards. However once they got to 18 months old they were able to manoeuvre themselves forwards or backwards and steer the car and move around the garden.
I did have a slight fear when they were younger that they would injure themselves by falling off the seat whilst the car is still moving and then get trapped in the open bottom of the car but this never occurred. The design of the seat actually seemed to tilt them back slightly when they were sat and moving about in the car. The car has rounded edges so there are no sharp corners or sections that they can bump heads on. The door is also rounded so every during squabbles over who was getting inside of the car between my boys, the door never would trap little fingers as they pulled the door to the car shut on each other.
At 18 months old my boys biggest attraction with the Grande Coupe was to simply climb in and out of the car opening and shutting the door and moving around the garden shouting "weeeeeeeeee". Over the summer as they got older they started to play more imaginatively and enjoyed the different features on the car and I felt played a little more imaginatively. They would open and shut the petrol cap, honk the horn on the steering wheel and enjoyed turning the key. One of my sons gets particularly frustrated that the key can't be removed however if it could be removed I feel it would become lost very easily.
My boys really love playing in this car and although an "outdoor" toy it can be used indoors too. I tend to keep for outdoors as although we have a long open plan living room that is reasonably spacious I do not trust my boys and know they would be continually ramming the furniture in the car. All of the toddler groups have at least one Coupe style Little Tikes car which are used inside of the community halls / play centres that we go to.
As a direct comparison to the more popular Cosy Coupe car which is very similar to this car from Little Tikes not only is the Grande Coupe £20 more expensive and a different colour (the Cosy Coupe is Red and yellow) and it is slightly larger. The Grande Coupe is 6cm longer, almost 10cm wider and 5cm higher. Obviously this requires a slightly larger storage space however this makes the Grande Coupe larger inside. Older children or larger toddlers can fit into the Grande Coupe a lot easier and it is easier for them to get in and out.
My friends little boy has brought their Little Tikes Cosy Coupe to play in the garden alongside our Little Tikes Grande Coupe so I have been able to compare the difference between what seem two very similar toys. When playing in the garden there were 6 children aged between 18 months and 7 years old (2 18 month olds, a 2.5 year old a 3 year old, a 5 year old and a 7 year old). My friends 7 year old is an average size for his age and couldn't fit inside of the Cosy Coupe but could get in and out of the Grande Coupe and the 5 year old managed to fit in but legs were so squashed he couldn't move in the Cosy Coupe so well but could in the Grande Coupe. The three year old child could fit into both models however as he is quite big for his age he did start to look quite squashed and did not have much room inside of the Cosy Coupe. The Little Tikes Coupe cars in my opinion are probably more of a toddler toy aimed at children aged between 18 months and 4 years but children of 5 years old probably find them a fun toy. I feel although slightly more expensive the Grande Coupe would last a child longer and they are less likely to outgrow the toy as opposed to the cheaper Cosy Coupe model. For children that are tall for their age the Grande Coupe in my opinion is probably the better option.
There is no difference to the height of the seat so younger toddlers can use both cars just as easily although I did find at 18 months old my boys had to stretch forward a little more to reach the steering wheel when inside of the Grande Coupe more so than they did in the Cosy Coupe.
Durability wise like most Little Tikes outdoor toys the Grande Coupe is made from very hard durable plastic. Our Grande Coupe is second hand and is around 5 years old. The previous owner had this to use for 4 summers and my boys have used it for a summer now and it is still in excellent condition and looks almost new. The bright green and yellow plastic sections are still very bright and have not been faded by the sun, despite regular play and the car on a lot of days has spent most of the day in direct sunlight. When not in use the Grande Coupe has been stored in a garage or under a cover in the garden so has not been directly exposed to the conditions all year round. Even so the nature of the plastic material means you can wipe over the plastic very easily with a cloth to ensure the toy is kept clean.
All of the parts inside of our Grande Coupe are in full working order. The Grande Coupe has been used on concrete patio and grass (and pavements). The wheels are very hard wearing but have started to wear down slightly. This is not excessive but in my opinion the only clue to show that this car is not brand new.
This is definitely a toy that I would recommend and I feel children young and old enjoy for many years. The Little Tikes Grande Coupe is bright colourful and its rounded design makes it easy for even young toddlers to get in and out of without causing any injury to themselves (or other children). The bright colours are attractive but because of the yellow and green colour it is a unisex toy that is suitable for boys and girls.
The car comes with instructions to set it up but the Little Tikes cars are notorious for being slightly time consuming and confusing to put together and most of the parents at the toddler group we attend have less than positive experiences of putting one of these cars together (usually in the pre-Christmas run up) . Thankfully our car was given as a gift already assembled but the main downside of this toy is that it is a bulky toy that takes up a lot of storage space. This is the main reason we did not purchase a second Little Tikes Grand Coupe so my boys could have one each we simply did not have the room.
At £69.99 the Little Tikes Grande Coupe is not the cheapest of toys but I feel it is excellent value for money and will last a lot of years of regular play. The Little Tikes Grande Coupe we own is around 5 years old and previously owned by my cousin. My auntie stored the car outside under a cover and it was used for 3 summers and the coloured plastic is not at all faded. The plastic is so durable it looks as new despite my cousin regularly playing with this toy and my boys have both been very rough with this car bashing it into walls and other static objects.
A great outdoor toddler toy.
This foot powered coupe has sleek, rounded contours and a roomy interior. The instrument panel includes a large steering wheel, clicking key and working horn. Age range: From 18 months.