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My sister bought this car for my son for his second birthday. I knew immediately why she had chosen it.....it comes with a man to drive it. My son likes all his cars to have a man! This can be anything, we have a wooden hedgehog colour matching game which you take the 'prickles' out to play it. These prickles are often "man" or he will use playmobil people or jigsaw pieces, so long as there is something behind the steering wheel he is happy! So, once we had wrestled the car out of the packaging (during which time the initial excitement had faded a little for him), his face lit up again "Man!" he exclaimed! My sister knows him well! Wow is not a range I have come across before. Those of you who have read my previous reviews are probably starting to realise I am a fan of wooden earth friendly toys and tend to avoid plastic toys. However, once a toy has been bought for my children I am not going to let it go to waste! I now know that Wow pride themselves on making durable toys that don't break, don't use toxic materials and don't use small parts in their toys. This particular toy is suitable from just 18 months and I think this is the case for most of their toys which is nice, so many toys now are suitable from 3 years for safety reasons due to small parts, but we all know children will enjoy playing with them from a much younger age! The car itself is nice and chunky; its weight implies (as Wow claim) that it is not going to fall apart anytime soon. The only part of it that is not plastic is two rubber strips around each of the back wheels; presumably these are to give it a bit of traction when going over rough terrain! It is friction powered (no batteries - yay!), so a small amount of pressure when you push it forwards makes it go quite a long way. The detail on the car is painted on, with the exception of two 'Wow' stickers on either side. At the back of the car is a metal tow bar that I presume other toys from the Wow range can be attached to. On one side of the car there is a petrol cap, when you press the petrol cap the yellow car roof pops open. It does say on the box that man can do this, he does have very round fists which fit nicely into the curved shape of the petrol cap - though he has to be floating in the air to reach the petrol cap in the first place! But so far this is a feature that doesn't interest my son. He is quite happy pushing the cap himself. Inside the car there is a sticker to represent the dashboard (steering wheel, torch, notepad and walky talky) and two holes for the passengers. One of these is obviously for "Man", but the only other character that comes with the set is "Dog", but dog doesn't fit into either of these holes. Dog has his own hole on top of the yellow roof, where he sits happily behind the blue lights. The second hole in the car causes quite a bit of confusion for my son, who tries to ram dog into it, getting very cross when he doesn't fit. Man will fit into either hole, but obviously only fills one at a time! I suppose if you own a range of Wow toys then you might have another person for this hole, but I still think it would be better to include a second person with this toy for those (like us) who don't own anything else from the range. Man, is very friendly looking, smartly dressed in a blue police uniform and quite solid. He feels like he will be around a long time. Dog, however, is much lighter and more delicate (hollow!) than man, and feels like he will crack under the first foot that stands on him! This is quite a nice little set and comes out of the toy box almost every day to join the traffic jam that stretches across our living room floor. I quite like the fact that apart from the noise of the motor it doesn't make any other noises, such as a siren. My little boy makes enough noise without additional sound effects! It's currently on sale at Amazon for just under £9 which I'd say is a reasonble price if it lasts as long as Wow claim it will. I'm afraid it loses a star for putting two holes in the car and providing only one person, and for the hollow dog!
Now that my little boy has reached twelve months he is much more mobile and is showing a lot of interest in pushing along cars and we have passed on all of his sister's car toys. However there is always room for one more car and he received this car as one of his first birthday presents. ***The Car*** It comes in an open fronted cardboard box with the car and the two figures nicely displayed inside against a bright cardboard backdrop. Sadly this is one of those toys that really make you work to get them out, usually with a desperate child whinging and trying to help you, whilst only really getting in the way. The car is fixed into the cardboard inner with a large piece of black plastic and two of those infernal wires to secure it all in place. The two figures are fixed with another wire each and it took me more than ten minutes to release the set from its box, fingers and ears sore from the wires and the whinging. The police car feels very solid and is a bit heavier than I was expecting. Made of solid moulded plastic it is brightly coloured and has no sharp edges, its very safe for young children to play with. It doesn't seem like it would break easily, the only weak spot would possibly be the flip up roof which does feel slightly weaker than the main body of the car. The wheels are fixed into the body of the car so that the axles are completely hidden by the base and there the space between the wheel arches and the wheels are too small to allow a little finger to get trapped. At the back of the car is a magnetic hook which is compatible with the rest of the Wow range of toys, which is extensive and includes a combine harvester, ambulance and recycling truck. The flip up lid has a space on the top for the dog to travel and two further people sized spaces on the inside. The only other thing in the inside is a sticker showing the steering wheel and a few pieces of essential police equipment such as a radio and notebook. The flip up lid is worked by a small yellow button on the side of the car shaped like a fuel cap that is not immediately obvious on first viewing the car. The box claims that the policeman figure can be used to depress the button as well as a finger. The two figures are smaller and lighter than I was expecting and the dog is almost the same size as the policeman. I have no doubt that it won't be long before they are separated from the set, but they are not essential to having fun with this toy. One of the big pluses for this toy is that is doesn't need any batteries, at all, ever (wooohoo!); instead it has a friction powered motor inside which does the hard work for you. Wow toys class this as a toy for children aged between 18 months and 5 years old. They claim that it will help younger children with their motor skills and sensory stimulation and older children with learning, social interaction, role play and imagination. ***Our experience*** My son was very taken with this from the very first time he saw it and is in fact pushing it around my feet as I type this review. At about twenty-five centimetres long and twenty (ish) high it is slightly bigger than the car toys he usually pushes around, but he doesn't seem to mind. It took him a while to work the button to flip up the roof and he needed some guidance but now can do it by himself, to his evident pleasure. He loves putting the figure into the car and taking it out again, but it is quite difficult to shut the roof when both the policeman and the dog are in the car, causing frustration after a while. Obviously the dog is just not supposed to be travelling in the car! The dog travels quite happily on the roof now, as long as there aren't too many bumps on the road - I think its only a matter of time though before it ends up underneath a piece of furniture after a high speed crash. The policeman has turned out to be quite inefficient at opening the roof with the button, as the button is set too high for him to stand on the ground and do it. In addition his hand and the button are quite smooth and with the force required to push the button it isn't a very easy process to accomplish. We have given up and only use a finger now. The two figures that come with the car are small enough to slide underneath all sorts of things and I think its pure luck that they haven't become permanently separated yet, its definitely going to happen though given enough time. The motor is very strange and we struggled for a while to work out exactly what you have to do. It isn't a pull back motor but instead you have to push the car forcefully, or 'rev' the car by pushing it forward a short distance, lifting it and repeating the action before letting go. The instructions on the box aren't very clear and for those who are too tired or drunk or [insert excuse here] it can be a bit hard to work it all out. My little boy hasn't got the hang of it yet and is happy just driving it himself, although it makes an alarming clicking noise when he is driving it backwards by accident. I don't know if this is damaging the workings inside but we have noticed a decline in speed since he has been doing this and it has started to click a little when it is driven forwards as well. When working properly it does go satisfyingly fast and far, building up speed as it goes along, especially on our laminate floors. It can also tackle small bumps such as the little pieces of wood between rooms and so far has managed to stay upright despite repeated high speed ricochets of furniture! The one disappointment that we have is that it doesn't have any lights or sounds to it. It is supposed to have a 'realistic engine noise' which may be the whirr of the motor as it runs, but we remain unconvinced - perhaps the noise it makes running over the laminate floor is drowning it out. ***Summary*** This is a nice toy with lots of features for the price. It is chunky, sturdy and well made and would definitely appeal to children from the 1-3 year age bracket, especially with the passengers and the flip up roof. The lack of batteries is a major plus point for me, but the motor would take some children a while to work out as it isn't very intuitive. The potential damage and the clicking noise caused when the car is driven backwards is a concern and we were sad to see that there are no noises or lights with this car. Overall I think that this is a four star toy and we are definitely eyeing up the rest of the range, especially the ambulance and the combine harvester. ***Price*** Amazon have this toy at £10.99 and I know my parents-in-law paid £12.99 from a local shop as they left the price sticker on the box! Amazon also stock a large range of the other Wow toys and we shall definitely be getting some more of these for Christmas.