Big City Garage
Wheels24's Lance Branquinho test drives this toy garage for us.
Price: R799

Where can I get it?

When Parent24 editor Adele Hamilton gave me a toy garage to take on vacation last December it nearly pushed me over the edge.

Driving home with the toy in its gaudy coloured kiddies packaging, only a week before my 10 year school reunion, was initially not a happy state of affairs for somebody prone to quarter life crisis management.

When I finally did get around to assembling the dual level play garage I was embarrassingly taken up by it – even more so than the kids.

It’s easy enough to assemble for a parent to quickly bring peace amongst warring siblings, yet contains enough pieces to keep your five-year old busy for about half-an hour or so if they were to build it without assistance.

Once assembled, there is a servicing bay on the bottom level to indulge in all your custom car shop fantasies, and a vehicle lift which slides up to both the first and second terrace parking areas. I never quite figured out why it had an illumination embellished helipad at the top though.

Beyond simply parking and displaying your toy cars, the best part of the parking garage levels is its access ramp functionality. I managed to line up three cars bumper to bumper after some practice and then got them careering at rapid pace down the access ramps from the second to ground level.

Best of all are the accompanying screeching tyre sound effects (courtesy of a battery driven speaker), which I can vouch for in terms of acoustic authenticity.
If you have a young kid who is keen on toy cars, and think a properly sized Lego garage is too dear and complex it’s pretty good.

We like:

Soft plastics are flexible enough for robust assembly (your kid won’t break it easily building it)
Very few small pieces essentially vanquish swallowing risk
Runs on only two batteries
Access ramps actually work properly, enabling proper toy car functionality

We don't like:

What’s the helicopter for?
Screeching tyre sound effects could become tiresome for parents
Takes up quite a lot of space in the car for a weekend away

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