As a parent and a Hot Wheels collector, my young kids are often curious as to why I spend hours on end gawking at my own collection. Its only natural for them to be curious as to what can hold their dad’s attention for that long, and want to be a part of it. Often times, they will play alongside me with extra cars I’ve bought for mail-in promos that I will let them rip open while I photograph and write about Hot Wheels. This year we’ve spent a lot of time at home — for obvious reasons. I wanted to get them a Hot Wheels track set that I saw play value in. The 2020 rendition of the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage caught my eye as it delivers on several fronts.
First, the HW Ultimate Garage delivers on classic Hot Wheels fun as it is both a track set and a storage device for their vehicles. You can literally fit over 100 vehicles on it (just like the box states). In terms of actual parking spots/slots for your Hot Wheels vehicles, I counted 87 spots. So if you want to race cars down the tower unimpeded, you can safely park 87 vehicles. The track aspect of it is awesome because the cars race from the top to the bottom — around the whole tower — on a playset that is as tall as my 2-year-old.
Build Time: 32 minutes
As a parent, I find it helpful in online toy reviews to know how long it takes for a normal person to build the product. From the moment I emptied to box to the time I put the last piece in place, it took 32 minutes. That may seem long, but nearly 15 minutes of it was me trying to meticulously apply the 20 or so stickers with a degree of perfection. I think I did alright, and if this was Christmas day and this was their gift, I probably would applied the stickers after the kids played with it for the first time. My first impression with the HW Ultimate Garage was noticing how well the pieces fit together while delivering a firm snapping sound to confirm you put the right piece in the right place. It is something I relate to quality and this set delivers on that.
Upon completion, the HW Ultimate Garage had a very empty feel to it without the cars. I did take a minute to wiggle the pieces and did confirm the firmness of the connections. Time to load it with Hot Wheels…
I chose to load the garage with #Hot Wheels iD vehicles because 1) the line is a good cross-section of Hot Wheels vehicles, and 2) because the HW Ultimate Garage is designed to work with the Hot Wheels iD Portal — it even has its own app! More on that in a minute…
According to my list, I have 78 #Hot Wheels iD cars, and I was able to fit them all on the HW Ultimate Garage with ease. After all, there are 87 parking spots. I will note that in order to get these photos, I did have to build the set and stage the photos in my garage as the moment the kids saw the box, they claimed it as theirs. My iD cars are in my collection and I intended on keeping them in mint condition. I am proud to announce that the sturdiness of the garage helped maintain their condition even after I mistakenly bumped into the set while taking the pictures.
Obviously, as a collector, my guilty obsession was staging the garage with the cars, and it is something I could see more mature kids doing as well. As for my kids — who are 6- & 2-years-old — their fascination was with sending the cars down the towering track. The storage slots in the tower offer a great way to store collections of cars in a vertical format while the parking on the various levels is a cool way to put your more treasured cars on display. I found myself putting my favorites on the top-level of the parking garage, out of the way of the robo-dinosaur…
Yes, the robo-dinosaur is very prominent on the 2020 HW Ultimate Garage. It is large, green, and falls 3 stories chomping through the mangled track. As the cars race down the winding track, they must successfully avoid the Hot Wheels eating dino, or else they will be swallowed. The only way to get the cars out is to unhinge the hatch on the dino’s underside and watch your car drop into the dino waste hole molded into the base. My kids got a huge kick out of it when dad chuckled while discovering this easter egg.
Playtime: 2 hours
Robo-dino and winding track set equated to two hours of quality playtime with my son. I’m sure if I gave him the set, the play value would have been less, but with dad, he and I played for two hours straight. That right there was a solid start to the return on play value for a set that costs $99 and took 32 minutes to build. Thanks, Mr. Robo-Dinosaur!
As with most Hot Wheels sets, this one doesn’t need a power supply to run. The robo-dinosaur uses gravity — and a series of gears — to slowly glide down a vertical track on one of the towers. There is a crank on the left side of the garage that allows kids (or you) to bring him (or her) back to the top. What triggers the robo-dinosaur tirade is the yellow trigger on the backside (seen below).
So… a classic two-car drag race can trigger a robo-dinosaur tirade, which prompts a whole bunch of laughter from the kids involved. Sounds like dad found the best Hot Wheels toy out there this upcoming holiday season! I will say that the elevator does bring a bit of suspense as you crank it up to the top knowing what is about to go down — literally. Of course, the collector in me romanticized the idea of two classic muscle cars racing down this parking garage. The inside lane clearly has an unfair advantage, but the view from the backside added to the initial suspense. Nerd alert! 😉
As if that all wasn’t enough, two of the levels include police speed traps that are triggered as the cars race down the garage. From a nostalgic sense, it brings you back to the Hot Wheels City Sto N Go that had the same feature. The police cars don’t really gain enough momentum to make the ensuing jump, so their presence only adds to the robo-dinosaur carnage … sorry for the spoiler.
The base of the HW Ultimate Garage is a heavier plastic than what is used on the various levels. It provides a great foundation for a sound structure — especially when used on a flat, hard surface. The design of the base is catered to the HW City vehicles as I kept placing them on it by nature. There is a gas station, auto garage, car wash, and even a tunnel through one of the towers.
I believe this is one of the first sets to have #Hot Wheels iD compatibility. The HW Ultimate Garage even has its own app! The Hot Wheels iD Portal you see here is not included with the set, fortunately, there is a molded plastic piece that does come with the set which you can put in its place. Since I did have the portal, however, I decided to try out the app. It was clearly designed for someone much younger than me, so when I let the kids try, they enjoyed washing the car and changing its wheels.
Overall, the new 2020 HW Ultimate Garage is worth picking up in my opinion. The initial playtime was around 2 hours (with dad), and each time they’ve touched it since has been in the 20 to 30 min range (without dad). The thing I really liked about the 2020 rendition of the ultimate garage is the smaller footprint compared to the garages of years past. Also, since my son has taken a liking to Hot Wheels and dinosaurs, the theme of it was spot-on for this household. Hopefully, this review helped you in deciding on whether or not to purchase the garage, and if you have any questions for me in regards to this playset, please leave a comment below!
Great write up Brad!! Now that my little one is older we’ve been racing her cars down a table that I rig up using her foam building blocks. I’ve been contemplating getting the good old fashioned race strip BUT this looks much more entertaining by far. You’ve got my attention and with XMAS around the corner I think this is the way to go! Thanks so much
Yeah, it’s been lots of fun so far! It hasn’t left the living room. I hope all is well with you and your family.
Great photos! Don’t see many writeups about Hot Wheels ID. Added a bunch of HWID to my wishlist.
I’m still holding off on getting more playsets. I found out the hard way that Hot Wheels sets and hard floors don’t mix–unless one likes chipped cars and crooked wheel axels. Probably should find a nice living room carpet first.
We only play with cars that are meant to be destroyed. The collectible cars stay in my room. 😉
Love this kind of reviews. Thanks Brad!
This is a great review. Although I don’t seem to have as much luck getting it to work. The dino will not drop!
Do only HWID cars work for the portal? We have the app without the portal (so far) and can’t get the racing aspect to work in the app. Do you know if getting the portal will activate those modes?