This is mostly a gripe about the assembly and QA of the Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe and not so much whether your child will love it, which I think they will. My rating, and this article reflect my experience in assembly, not my child’s enjoyment thereof which will be a separate review.
First off, you’re advised to have a power drill/power screwdriver and a hammer. You can make do with a regular screwdriver, but you don’t want to. Trust me.
We were given this as a gift by a houseguest in advance of Maggie’s birthday party, and it sat around the house for a couple of days in the unopened box.
One day I came downstairs and the contents of the box had been emptied and laid out for me to assemble. I should have done a complete inventory of all parts, but I only did the inventory of all the small parts on the assumption that all the large ones would have been packaged. I was mistaken.
Thirty minutes into the build I’d already been cursing that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason in some of the parts bag placement and was getting tired of all the screws going into plastic that was happening.
To give you an idea of the parts – these are what I remember being: 4 wheels, 4 hubcaps, 6 axle washers, 8 pound-on axle end caps, steering wheel, key hole assembly, plastic key with anchor, eye front/back plate, two headlights and taillights, one rear axle, one left, one right axle, 5 stickers, 2 front posts, top of roof, 2 rear posts, 2 rear post anchor screws, driver’s door, driver’s door lock, 2 floorboard anchor points, floorboard, 7 screws, 8 spacers, small tool to hammer on, big tool to hammer on. I’m betting I’m missing something but that covers the majority.
There’s a lot of hammering axle ends, and if you screw up like I did on the left and right wheel assembly you’re going to have to pull the ends off and that’s going to require more tools. In my case I ended up with a double blood blister and a serious hatred of the company.
I got to the point where you attach the two front posts and two back posts to the car/roof. That’s when I discovered the front posts were missing. The package says packed with care and pride by E Luna, so I guess this person is proud of not having included the front posts. I guess it could have happened post-shipment, but the box did not appear to have been tampered with. Then again I don’t know what the box looked like coming out of the factory so who knows.
This lead to the thing having to be packaged up somewhat and carried back to WalMart by the purchaser. They wanted to swap things out but after a build that long the gift giver knew I wanted just the front posts so I could finish this thing. Another hour of time wasted I’m guessing.
Front posts from a different box in hand, the assembly finished before baby’s birthday party. I mean it’s not like she would care, she’s one year old, but man. When you purchase $4 of plastic and packaging for nearly $70 you sort of expect an easier assembly.
What could be improved
I did some thinking on this and believe I came up with several ways to fix this, make it less expensive to produce, less of a hassle to the parents.
Eyes: the eyes currently require four screws to drill into the plastic, and then two screws to fasten the eye front to the eye back. This could be simplified using the same type of plug they used for the keyhole, or one giant plastic screw behind the eyes. There’s no need for power tools for this part.
Wheels: While pounding caps on the end of axles is no doubt fun for some, the end caps could be screwed on. Thread the axles and use a standard bolt. Throw in one of those bolt spacers to keep the thing from popping off. You mess up on this, you unscrew the bolt, no need to pound the end cap off. No need to wake the baby with pounding or screaming.
Axles: place a colored piece of tape on one of the axles to indicate which one is right, and which one is left.
Door: was there any reason this part wasn’t completely pre-assembled? It didn’t save on shipping space the way it came.
Stickers: they’re not applied, and when you’re bloodied up after assembling you’re not particularly good at sticker placement. Perhaps pre-apply them?
Rear canopy struts: don’t make them twist-in. Make them screw-in. The soft bubble plastic isn’t particularly good at doing what you want and I had to mold it back to get the things to attach correctly.
That’s about it – it wasn’t a fun assembly, it took too long, too many parts, too much guessing. The assembly book is a manual. It’s absurd.
This is coming from someone who loves building Legos and had an erector set as a child. With small tikes in the area, this becomes a project.
The Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe is available from Amazon for $62.76. It’s probably worth it for the kiddos, but you’re going to need to set aside an hour or two of completely undistracted time to assemble and read the directions.