After having a great time playing with the Max Minis from Jakks Pacific for the past week, we were very anxious to finally try out the original, the BIG one, the Max Tow Truck. The truck looked great in the box. The boys were full of oohs, ahhs, and manly grunts. Little Max’s voice dropped an octave and became coarse when expressing his enthusiasm to get going. The Max Tow Truck is a fairly small toy with big claims that it can pull up to 200 pounds. It comes with a sturdy plastic tow chain and hook. The tires appear to be deflated, but the instruction booklet explains that is the method for gripping the ground. The three operation modes include: towing, pushing, and climbing. Towing is activated by pressing a lever on the top/back of the truck. Pushing is activated by pressing the front bumper. Climbing is activated by pressing the siren button on the top of the truck. There are recorded voice prompts indicating when to activate the lever to get the truck moving within each operation mode. We took the truck outside for a series of challenging tests.
First, we put Max (the kid) on his Kettler, which is a solid, heavy trike. The Max Tow Truck chain and hook attached easily, the truck was set to tow mode, and off they went….slowly but surely. Yes, the Max Tow Truck can tow a lot of cargo, but at turtle speed. Next, we hooked up the Disney Cars Lightening McQueen ride-on. This time Max Tow Truck repeatedly prompted us to press the tow lever. We’d press it to go, and the toy would repeat that activation was required. Finally, off the truck went, pulling an empty Lightening McQueen. When Max (the kid) hopped in, the towing capability was brought to a halt. Max Tow Truck was no match for a ride-on toy with a 30-pound passenger. We think that if the wheels of the ride-on were free-spinning, towing would be possible, though. Feepy hopped on his Razor scooter, with hopes that he’d be towed. Unfortunately, the slow speed of the tow truck combined with cracks in the sidewalk wouldn’t allow him to maintain balance. He switched to a skateboard, and that worked really well. Feepy’s quite a bit bigger than Max (the kid) and he was cruising faster. To test the pushing capability, mom hopped on the skateboard. The truck nudged the board along fairly well, but again at turtle speed. The best push test was with Max (the kid) on the Wheelie bug, which is a ride-on toy with highly mobile caster wheels. The climbing test was somewhat of a disappointment. The truck handled well over the lawn, some flat-lying rocks, and landscape material. However, it did not break plane very well. We set up the skateboard at about a 30 degree angle. The front tires climbed well, and the truck would appear to almost surpass the obstacle, but when the back tires hit the board, the truck would topple over. We tried over and over to complete a successful climb, but it just didn’t happen. We had a lot of fun as a family testing out the maximum capability of the Max Tow Truck. The toy is built to be tough, and it digs down to perform, but the slow speed at which it tows the maximum load makes the spectacle somewhat underwhelming. However, the kids were impressed, as they are with most things on wheels. This would be a great toy for a child who loves tow trucks and wants to create smaller towing play scenarios. The truck easily pulls and pushes lighter wheeled toys and cargo. Even though we didn’t feel the Max Tow Truck performed heavy-duty scenarios with big gusto, we think the truck would definitely perform well for everyday kid-constructed play.