Saturday, April 4, 2015

Journey Girls and a Retro Cruiser

Kelsey and Meredith Try out Our Generations Retro Cruiser

Target's Our Generation "In the Driver's Seat Retro Cruiser". 

Our Generation released a new vehicle this year for 18” dolls called the “Retro Cruiser”.  Actually its’ full name is “In the Driver’s Seat Retro Cruiser”…cute.  The car retails for $90 at Target or on Target.com, however if you wait and watch you can get it for cheaper (Target just had a 30% off sale and they do that quite often).  This car is not like American Girl Julie’s car, it is made of cheaper materials and is smaller, but it is also only a third of the cost of Julie’s car.  Is the car worth $90, or should you save up for Julie’s car?

When you first get the car there are a few things you have to do to it to make it play ready.  There are instructions that come with the car that go over these steps, but here is a synopsis.  There is a cord to cut so that the doors open.  There are two more cords to cut so that the top canopy can come off (these are at the front, attached to the windshield).  There are two screws that have to be loosened to get the top off completely.  This is done by flipping the car on its’ side, finding the arrows that point to the screw holes, and unscrewing the screws with a Philips screwdriver.  

The red circles show the screw holes.


You can see the arrows here.
The screws have to be loosened, but don't come out.

















The screws don’t have to come out of the car, just out of the top.  While the car is flipped on it’s side, find the switch at the front of the car to turn the car on, instead of it being on test.  This makes it so that the lights, radio, and sounds work correctly.  Finally, attach the visors to the windshield.  Now the car is ready to go!


There are a lot of really cool things on this car.  Let’s start up front.  The hood opens to a very plastic engine.  It’s nice that the hood opens, but there could have been a bit more detail on the engine.  


Then again, how many times are you going to be looking under the hood?  And if you (and your dolls) are looking under the hood a lot…it means the car is breaking down a lot, and maybe it’s time for a new car.  

The cars engine is a bit under details (especially compared to the AG car), but it's ok.  And it's nice that the hood opens.
In all seriousness though, the lack of detail in the engine compartment is not a huge problem.  And having your dolls fix the engine, or check the oil level every once in awhile is neat.

The doors have little chrome door handles that turn to unlatch the car door.  These work to a varying degree.  


The driver’s side on this car works great; turn the handle down and wa-la, the door pulls open.  On the passenger side…not as good.  This door handle is kind of like the one on your first car in high school.  Pull it three times, push in on the door, and then pull out as you hold the lock up.  Okay…not that bad.  The handle does not always disengage the locking mechanism on the door.  It instead will go past the point of unlocking the door and make a clicking sound as it moves down.  

The light pink part holds the door closed.  It doesn't always disengage real well to let the door open though.
You can actually turn the handle all the way around in a circle, making a clicking noise as you go around…and never get the door to pop open.  So this one you have to pull the handle down until it shows resistance, then pull the door outward.  The door will pop open, but not as well as the driver’s side.

Finally, the rear rumble seat has another turning chrome handle.  This one does not operate the same way as the door handles do though.  It can be turned either way to undo the latch.  Unfortunately both ways are just as difficult to disengage the lock.  Luckily, it is not as tight as the side doors, so even if the lock is not all the way disengaged, you can pull and the seat will open.  

The light pink latch on the rumble seat is difficult to get to disengage, but even without it fully disengaged, you can still pull the seat down.
The rumble seat cannot be used for another doll.  However your favorite pooch would love to ride back here.   Or your doll’s groceries or shopping bags.  With no room in the car for bags…this is the place to put them.   It’s not huge, but it can fit a suitcase.


The roof can be taken off to make the car a convertible.  Having the roof off is also the easiest way to get your dolls in the car (more on that later).  The back of the roof slides into a few notches in back of the seats.  

This is the wear the roof connects to the car.  It stays in well, but you won't be able to pick the car up by the roof.
It then rests on the windshield.  It kind of connects, but not really.   You won’t be able to pick the car up by the roof, but it stays on well enough for playtime.

You don’t have to worry about this car rolling away from you.  Not only is it heavy, but the wheels roll very differently than any other car made for 18” dolls.  

The wheels are not attached to an axle, but rather spin around the molded plastic.
Instead of the wheels being attached to a rod or wire, the tire moves around a fixed piece of plastic.  This creates friction, which makes it difficult to push the car.  Not that it doesn’t move…it just won’t zoom on it’s own. 

That’s the outside of the car…now the inside.  There is a lot going on inside!   This car is wide enough to seat two dolls comfortably in it.  The Our Generation Jeep is so narrow that the dolls sit on top of each other and cannot put their arms inside the doors.   Not the case for the Retro Cruiser.  The dolls fit nicely, but are difficult to get in without the roof off.  

Kelsey and Meredith fit great inside the Retro Cruiser.  No fighting over elbow room.
If you keep the roof on you must open the door, slide your doll in with her feet all the way across the car, get her head inside the door frame, pull her feet over to her side of the foot wells, then straighten her up.  The first doll isn’t bad…the second one gets a little more difficult.  The new Journey Girls (Mikaella, Kyla, and Meredith) with the wider sitting stance have to slouch, because there legs can’t fit in the little foot wells.  The older Journey Girls do okay.  

It's much easier to get the girls in and out with the roof off.
With the roof off you just slide the dolls feet into the foot wells, sit her up straight, and she is ready to go.  The passenger is just as easy!

On the center console there are two drink holders and an armrest that opens to put a few little things in.   The gearshift moves back and forth, so you have to teach your dolls how to use a stick shift. 

The center console can hold Kelsey and Meredith's drinks as well as store their cell phone (no distracted driving).  It also has a great little stick shift that moves back and forth.
The glove compartment also opens, but nothing can really fit in it.  Maybe a folded up map, but nothing else.  Great that it opens; dumb that it is so small.  

Let me put something in the glove….oh.  Maybe not.

The dashboard is where all the neat gadgets are.  To turn everything on you have to push the little silver key in on the ignition.  When you do, the car fires up.  The headlights turn on as well as the taillights and the car makes the sound of an engine turning over and starting.  

Push the key to start the engine.  The car comes to life at that point with working turn signals, a horn, and a working radio!!!
Once the key is pushed in the rest of the electronics work.  Turn the steering wheel to the left or right and the corresponding turn signal will turn on, with a “click, click, click” sound.  Push the horn and it honks.  And the radio works!  The radio has four prerecorded songs that you can listen to by pushing the button on the left with the music note.  By pushing the right note button it changes the prerecorded song.  The arrow buttons in the middle turn the volume up or down.  There are two buttons above these four buttons with arrows pointing to the left and right.  These buttons control the FM radio that is built into the car.  By pushing them the radio will scan through the frequencies to find a radio station.  It’s not an awesome receiver, but it can pick up the stronger radio stations in the area.  It is a neat little feature.  It would have been really neat to have a headphone jack so that an iPod or smart phone could be plugged in to play music.  But…it’s still cool.  If the car is left alone for enough time it will turn off on it’s own or you can push the key in again.


That is the overview of the Retro Cruiser.  Your doll is ready to get her purse, hop in the car, put on her seatbe….wait no seat belt?!  Bummer, no seat belts!  It would be nice to have seat belts in the car.  It’s just another reinforcement to kids about how important it is to wear their seatbelts…and if dolly wears a seat belt, they may be more likely to also.  That’s not the only thing that could improve the car.  The design of the car is strange.  Cute, but kind of a weird looking car.  

What I think the car should look like.  Gives it more space for things to go in the car .
Different grille.  Both are nice though.
It looks like it was designed to be about 3 inches longer, but someone decided that it would cost too much to make it that way.  So they crushed it a little to make it the size it is.  The longer design would make it so that the top could be just a little bit taller, which would make it so that the dolls would be able to look out the front window better.  

Kelsey and Meredith have to slouch to see out the front window.
It would be nice if the wheels worked better.  The last thing is the fit and feel of the whole car.  The handles should work better than they do.  After testing three different cars, all of them had at least one door that was difficult to open.  All of them had an issue with the rumble seat.  One of the cars, the roof did not come off. 

With the optional sun visors on, Kelsey's vision is completely obstructed.  Yikes!  But cute!

All that being said, this is a nice car for the price.  The radio is really cool.  The working lights and turn signals are awesome.  The drink holders, opening armrest, and even the little, tiny, itsy-bitsy, glove compartment are all nice additions to the car.  The dolls fit well in the car.  And over all, the car is pretty darn cute.  It’s kind of a cross between a Mini Cooper and an old Hot Rod.  If you can find it on sale, this car is definitely worth getting.  If you have to pay full price, it is still a great car.  You can buy three and have your dolls have races for the cost of the American Girl car.

Kelsey and Meredith are ready to go on their next adventure in their new Retro Cruiser!

8 comments:

KAF FRUM said...

hopefully there are no speed bumps on their journey

A girl and her dolls said...

wow, this is an awesome car! I love all the details in everything!

Amari Mensah said...

Awsome cool Amazing

Nonna @ mommysdollclub.com said...

Great review! Thank you! This is very useful stuff. Your rendorings are pretty much what I was thinking would be improvements as well!

CuteDollLover14 said...

I just wanted to point out, that its a retro car, so thats why it didn't have a thing to connect your phone to cuz back then they didn't have that. Thats also why its small and it has that back seat, all things that were there or popular at the time.

Anonymous said...

light head light on the journey girl car is out.How do you fix it ?

Unknown said...

How do you fix the head light when it goes out

Pat Parker said...

I would like to know also