- What: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
- When: 18 months to 5 years
- Why: Kids adore them, super durable, great resale value
- Where: Amazon or secondhand
My toddler obsessed over these giant foot-powered cars. Everywhere we saw them, he grabbed one and I had to pry him out kicking and screaming. I thought it might make my life easier and his more pleasant if we owned one.
As I discovered, they cost a lot brand new, retailing around $50, so I started stalking online ads, sales, and secondhand stores. We went to donate a bunch of stuff we didn’t need and saw a Cozy Coupe being unloaded into the donation bins for the store. I haunted that place every single day, trying to score. And let me tell you, kids ride on toys at secondhand shops turnover a surprising amount. It took four days all told, but we got super lucky. After striking out on the previous three tries, we packed to leave for a four day road trip. I sent my husband over the morning of our departure with very little hope, only for him to return triumphant. We had to hide that giant thing until we got back from our trip, or my toddler would’ve never left the house.
We’ve logged so many hours in it and stored it outside the entire time. Our weather doesn’t get too nasty here summer or winter, but our coupe in particular has certainly seen more than its fair share of moisture. All three of my kids like to give it a car wash, and that happens almost every day in the summer. The rest of the year, we get enough precipitation of one kind or another to keep it filled with water and much heavier as a result. Honestly, I’m not sure how much of the water in ours comes from my kids “filling” the gas tank, and how much comes from rainfall.
In either case, ours still looks great, and it wasn’t brand new to start. I couldn’t find them used for less than $35, so they clearly hold their value to either pass along and resell after you’ve finished. (We scored ours for $15 at Goodwill, so it was worth the wait and extra effort.)
The door opens on one side to simplify getting in and out, though my kids often tested both side. The coupe sports a small gas tank door that opens on the side for quick fill ups, and the covered roof gives kids some shelter from the elements. I know some people use them exclusively indoors, and the plastic wheels roll great on lots of different surfaces including carpet and hardwood floors but we didn’t have that kind of real estate inside. It travels just as well over our patio, grass, and pavement.
The steering wheel turns, though that has nothing to do with the actual steering. Kids provide all the power by moving their feet (except when it’s parent powered courtesy of a handle on the rood), and the front two wheels rotate independently of each other. A bright red button honks the horn and a place to insert a key (ours didn’t come with a key, but it wasn’t brand new either) that also turns.
In the back, it has room for two cups in holders in the boot, though my kids mostly fill that with dirt, rocks, and water, not for any practical purpose. But if you did take it for a stroll on the sidewalk, you could take a water bottle or snack container with you. The roof also has a super convenient handle built into it, in case your little one isn’t up to moving the big car on their own yet, or they get tired before you get home. I would never consider loading this thing into a car for trips to the park, because unlike the Strider balance bike, it does not pack well. Our coupe has never left the backyard in almost two years, but we’ve still put plenty of miles on it.
It turns out you see these things everywhere for a reason. Kids love them. In case you’re not a fan of the original red car with a yellow roof, Amazon also offers a pink princess version, a police car, a dark blue truck with a yellow roof, and a green dinosaur style, as well as blue sport version with a smaller more transparent roof material, two doors that open, a bigger parent handlebar, and a removable floor for the car.