UPPAbaby Cruz Pushchair

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In a nutshell

A versatile buggy, great for city use and packed with functionality and style - it's easy to use and looks great, but extras can add up

  • Pros

    Very sturdy frame, beautiful fabrics and finishes, enormous shopping basket, extendable hood with built-in UV shade and window, compatible with carrycot and car seat (purchased separately), extensively adjustable

  • Cons

    Expensive, need to buy carrycot to use from birth, will only collapse when rearward facing, doesn’t perform well in conjunction with buggy board, rain cover doesn’t fasten on

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Our review

Key features of the UPPAbaby Cruz pushchair:

  • Age suitability: 6 months until 15kg (approx. 3 years)
  • Type of buggy: 4-wheeler pushchair
  • Weight: 9.8kg
  • Travel system compatible: Yes
  • Cost: £519.99 – UPPAbaby Cruz pushchair, seat unit, sun canopy (UV50+ protection), raincover, shopping basket, insect net and carseat/carrycot adaptors
  • Lie-flat carrycot: Sold separately at an extra £229.95 for use from newborn

An updated version of the bestselling buggy loved by celebrities like Reece Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker, this very smart-looking buggy is the latest incarnation of the UPPAbaby Cruz.

What's the difference between the UPPAbaby Cruz and UPPAbaby Vista pushchairs?

The Cruz is the smaller, lighter, single version of the very popular UPPAbaby Vista, which can convert from a single to a double pushchair.

The Cruz (from £519.99) can only be used as single stroller (although it is compatible with the UPPAbaby buggy board, known as a PiggyBack – more on that partnership later) but it contains many of the same great features of the Vista, including fully reclining, spacious and reversible seat and roomy canopy, plus an extra-large storage basket.

The key differences are the lighter chassis, smaller wheels and narrower footprint, making for a more compact ride and smaller fold.

Winning the silver gong in the MadeForMums Awards 2017 for best newborn pushchair over £400, judges highlighted its ease of use, comfort and manoeuvrability.

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 looks sleek

The 2017 Cruz – all sleek yet sturdy metal frame, luxurious textiles and leather finishes – sets this buggy apart from its competitors, such as the BabyStyle Oyster 2 (£399) and Bugaboo Bee5 (£549).

It looks stately and, I’d say, is the pushchair equivalent of a classic car – classy, well-built and eye-catching.

In terms of specs, it’s heavier than some (9.8kg vs the Bee5’s 8.9kg), taller than them all (100cm) and the widest of the bunch (56.5cm, to be exact).

Pushing the buggy around my not-so-posh part of town made me stand straighter and feel smarter – just as an expensive coat or bag can instantly upgrade a high-street outfit. But would the buggy’s sophisticated exterior be matched by its performance?

You can buy the Uppababy Cruz from John Lewis, Natural Baby Shower, and Kiddicare.

This is an updated version of the UPPAbaby Cruz, how does it compare to the older version? 

UPPAbaby Cruz 2015 vs UPPAbaby Cruz 2017

Overall, the buggy looks smarter, thanks to new and upgraded fabrics and finishes. It also boasts new, sturdier wheels. But otherwise the specifications remain the same. 

What is new on this updated version? 

The first thing that stands out on the Gregory model (£599.95) I tested are the leather trims. Made from REACH-certified 100%-natural leather, the covers on the handle and bumper bar add a chic and exclusive touch to the Cruz’s existing regal look – its spacious seat perched high on its confidently curved frame.

The second thing you spot is the invitingly soft textile hood – a clever combination of multi-coloured threads of different thickness woven into the softest bluish-white mélange fabric that feels reassuringly dense and protective.

Other, less obvious changes, include new solid polyurethane wheels that replace the hard rubber ones on the previous model, better-quality material on the pop-out sun visor, meaning it’s less likely to crease, and a locking mechanism on the chassis that holds the frame together when it’s folded. 

What is the same on this buggy?

The chassis and seat are the same as the 2015 model, as are the dimensions and impressive functionality of the seat (forward and rear-facing, five reclining stages), the generous shopping basket and telescopic handlebar. 

How does it ride in the parks, over tree roots, up hills, how is the suspension? 

While the four-wheel suspension holds up well on uneven pavements and gravel-strewn paths, it doesn’t perform quite as well when I take it onto the heath. 

When pushing the buggy over tree-roots and bumpy ground, 18-month-old Rocco seems to be absorbing much of the impact – I can see his head flopping with every jolt. And because the buggy is too heavy for me to carry up and down more than a few steps, I have to bump it on its back wheels on flights of stairs, which makes Rocco bounce around in his pushchair. 

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 with buggy board

Pushing uphill is tough as the buggy is heavy, especially when fully loaded with baby, buggy board plus toddler and shopping, but on the plus side, it’s a great upper-body workout. Going downhill is slightly scary as there is no wrist strap to secure your arm to the buggy so I cling on for dear life and dig my heels in to counterbalance the weight in front of me. 

How does it work as a city buggy, on transport, and how does it do in shopping aisles or when out and about as a typical urbanite? 

The Cruz is noticeably smaller than its older sibling – the Vista – which means it is easier to steer through narrow spaces.

However, it’s got a bigger footprint than the Bee, which took some getting used to; I misjudged its width on our first few outings (apologies if I ran your feet over!) It won’t fit down particularly narrow shop aisles but will comfortably fit into most shops and restaurants. 

Best buggies for London (and other big cities)

The biggest problem, though, was its lack of manoeuvrability. If I stopped with the front wheels turned to the left or right, I had to push it in the same direction to get it to move, otherwise it wouldn’t budge without considerable force applied with both hands, which wasn’t always possible.

This meant I regularly got stuck and had to back up to straighten the front wheels and then change direction, which was frustrating at times and dangerous at others (for example, if we were about to cross a road).

As the test period wore on, I found the inability of the front wheels to pivot or swivel easily from the stopped position increasingly frustrating. 

Watch the manoeuvrability of the UPPAbaby Cruz 2017

The main issue the buggy posed on public transport was access. While the large back wheels mean it’s easy to tilt the buggy up to enter or exit a bus, the weight of the buggy makes it difficult to carry it up and down all but the shortest flight of steps. Given my local station is only accessible by two flights of narrow steps, I found accessing the platform with this buggy challenging.

But once on board, the relatively narrow frame makes it easy to wheel through the carriage and secure brake ensures it won’t slide around, no matter how bumpy the journey.

How compact is it?

Unless you put it next to a Vista, you’d struggle to identify this as a compact buggy. Unfolded, it’s 94cm long and 56.5cm wide; the Bee5 is a mere 53cm wide and 85cm long.

10 of the most compact folding buggies

How easy is it to store?

It takes up too much space for us to store in our narrow hallway and we don’t have a cupboard large enough to keep it in, even folded. But in restaurants, it seems to slot easily into the space of a regular chair. 

Is it affordable for what it is?

At £600, this buggy is definitely at the higher end of the market but it looks every inch the part – from its sturdy and sleek frame and beautiful chambray fabric canopy, through to its butter-soft leather handle and bumper bars. In short, it’s an expensive buggy that looks like an expensive buggy.

Is it suitable from birth?  Do you think it is suitable for a newborn?

No, at least not without purchasing the Infant SnugSeat (£37.99 from John Lewis) or Carrycot (£229.95).

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 carrycot costs £229.95

This is a potential drawback and does push the price of the buggy up but if you’re planning on using the carrycot, which is suitable for overnight sleeping, for more than one child – or selling it on – it’s probably worth the outlay. That said, the adjustable footrest, which is effectively the end portion of the seat unit, can be tilted in multiple positions, including tilted up, creating a cradle position that small babies will love. And because the seat can be forward-facing (it just pops out of the frame stem and back in the other way around), it may be suitable for younger babies.

What do you think of the seat size?

Very generous. It’s 48cm wide, 50cm high and 24cm deep so feels spacious, even for an older child. A smaller baby (under nine months) may find it too big so I’d recommend the infant insert (sold separately). Unlike the Bugaboo Bee, which has a seat that extends two ways, this seat is fixed but will easily accommodate a large toddler up to 15kg.

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What do you think of the height of the buggy?

At 100cm or 1 metre, this buggy is statuesque and the telescopic extendable handlebar extends to 106cm off the ground, making it particularly suitable for taller parents.

Is the frame strong, durable?

Yes, very. I’d say this is one of the main selling point of the buggy. It comes with a two-year guarantee (extendable for a third year on application) but I imagine the buggy would last for far longer. In fact, I reckon you could easily expect it to last for two or even three children – great for growing families, to pass on to friends or sell on in the future.

What do you think of the fold system?

It’s intuitive and very easy to complete but you definitely need two hands – one on either side of the frame to gently pull up the plastic buttons that enable the frame to collapse. It’s billed as a one-step fold but that’s only true if the buggy is in the right position – forward-facing with the canopy pulled back.

  1. First, you need to apply the brake
  2. Extend the adjustable handlebar to the highest position
  3. Pull the ‘triggers’ on each side of the frame
  4. Pull the top of the buggy towards you
  5. The pushchair folds in half.
  6. For more a more compact fold, press the side buttons that control the angle of the footrest and press it down and away from you.
  7. The frame automatically locks with a simple piece of plastic.

To unfold the buggy, you also need two hands – one two tilt it forward and the other to gently pull back on the plastic lock. Then, with one hand, you can rotate the frame in an upward motion to open the buggy. 

It took almost no practice to make these operations smooth, making this an absolute joy to collapse and unfold. 

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Is it a one-hand fold?

No

What do you think of handle? 

The handle on the Gregory is covered in butter-soft full-grain leather that’s been hand sewn and given a perforated pattern for extra grip.

Like the leather on the bumper bar, its REACH Certified, which means toxic chemicals have been restricted during the manufacturing process, making the finished product completely safe for you and your child.

It also makes pushing the buggy particularly pleasurable, since natural leather is more breathable, flexible and durable than faux-leather materials such as vinyl or vegan leather.

The handle feels substantial and hard wearing - unlike the handle on my Bee, which I’ve had to replace the clips on, this one seems like it will last as long as the frame.

It has three height positions, the tallest of which is too long for my over-six-foot husband, making this buggy ideal for tall mums and dads.

The biggest issue with the handlebar – and one that impacts on the whole buggy – is that the button to control the handlebar height is in the centre of the handlebar, on the inside (facing the seat). This poses two problems. The first is that it makes it almost impossible to steer single-handedly, since to get a stable grip on the buggy you need to hold the middle of the bar.

The second is that, when the buggy board is attached, if the passenger is as tall as the handlebar, he or she stands a good chance of bashing his or her head into the button every time the buggy stops, starts or goes over large bumps. This happened on several occasions, until Tyler learnt to brace himself and I remembered to put my hand over the button, which didn’t make for a carefree ride.

How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?

Rocco could not wait to climb into the seat once the buggy was built and was very happy with the opportunity to ride so high up (compared to his normal wheels).

He fell asleep in the seat without any complaints when we were walking over his nap time and I found I had to wake him up otherwise he would’ve stayed asleep in there for hours.

As the wheels tended to glide over most urban terrain (uneven paving stones, low curbs, stony paths), he enjoyed a smooth ride. But over bigger bumps (steep curbs, up and down steps), the suspension didn’t perform as well and Rocco seemed to get jostled about a fair bit.

Meanwhile, 4-year-old Tyler got to grips with the buggy board. He wasn’t impressed with its lack of seat or with how little suspension it provided compared to the buggy it was attached to, but by far the most off-putting aspect was that he kept bashing his head into the handlebar button.  

How is interacting with your little ones when in the buggy?

Incredibly easy. In the parent facing position, Rocco was closer to my face than in his usual buggy. And in the world-facing position, the peek-a-boo window in the hood, which allows you to unroll part of the hood fabric and fasten it into place with a toggle, revealing a mesh-covered window, allowed me to talk to Rocco.

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What do you think of the hood?  Can it be used as a sun protection?

The hood is fantastic. It feels substantial but incredibly soft, stays in place without the noisy popping sound that the hood on our Bee makes, which can disturb a sleeping baby, and provides excellent coverage.

Two genius additions are an integral UV-shade which provides UPF50+ sun protection and goes down to the bumper bar and a mesh-covered window that allows you to check on your baby without having to disturb him (by pulling the hood back or stopping the buggy). It can be adjusted for taller toddlers by simply sliding it up the frame, giving you an extra 5cm of clearance.

What are the basket and storage pockets like?

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 basket is very spacious

Fabulous. The capacious basket – which takes 11kg - is possibly the buggy’s stand-out feature; it’s big enough to comfortably fit in all the boys’ nursery gear, including a lunch bag and clothing bag each, my bag and assorted water bottles, coats and sundries. Thrillingly, the basket includes three integral pockets, which are perfect for storing things that you need to be able to grab in a hurry, such as a water bottle, packet of wipes or snacks.

What do you think of the rain cover?

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 raincover doesn't fasten

Disappointing. It is designed to fit snugly over the buggy but it doesn’t fasten on so my 18-month old was able to kick it loose while I was pushing him along in the rain.

Consequently, his feet and the bottom of the seat got soaked. I don’t imagine it would stand up to strong winds, either, and the exact fit means the back of the seat is exposed to rain if the seat is in the upright position, while the under-buggy basket is equally exposed to the elements.

Tell us about the brakes.

The one-step is on the bottom bar between the rear wheels. It’s flip-flop friendly so won’t hurt your feet or scratch your shoes. I found it was a tad higher than I’m comfortable with – but I’m short. I noticed it took a few days to ‘bed in’ – initially, taking off the brake wouldn’t immediately unlock the wheels and the brake required another tap, but that soon wore off.

Does it fit in the boot of your car?

We don’t have a car so I couldn’t test this out but I can say with confidence that it will not fit into the boot of a Peugeot 107 as my Bee can’t fit inside one! Folded with the seat in place, it’s 94cm long and 56cm at its widest point, although you can remove the seat, taking its folded height from 35.5cm to 30.5cm. And if you remove the 21cm-high rear wheels, it becomes narrower still. 

It will fit into larger boots however, such as BMW-type cars.

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What age child is it best for?

Six months to three-years old. From newborn with the addition of an infant Snug Seat or carry cot (purchased separately). The maximum weight the seat unit is designed to take is 15kg, although the whole thing feels sturdy enough and is plenty big enough to take the weight of a heavier – and therefore older – child. 

What’s in the box?

  • Frame
  • Seat unit
  • Four wheels
  • Rain cover
  • Bug cover
  • Large Basket
  • Large canopy with a SPF50+ sunshade
  • Maxi Cosi/BeSafe iZi Go Car Seat Adaptors
  • Bumper bar

What other accessories can I buy?

  • Universal Carrycot £229.99
  • Snugseat insert £37.99
  • Cruz Piggyback Board £119.95
  • Changing bag £64.99
  • Carrycot stand £144.99

Is it easy/hard to build the product? Instructions useful? How long does it take?

This is the simplest buggy I’ve ever built – it’s so easy, my four-year old was able to work it out without even looking at the instruction booklet. From his vantage point on the sofa, he talked me through fixing the four wheels to the frame before flipping the frame over and installing the toddler seat to the base with a click. The whole thing was up and ready within five minutes, which is very impressive, especially as this was at 8am, just before the nursery run (and it’s always a run for us).

Of course, in the interests of safety and quality control, I did read the instruction booklet, which is a pleasingly slim manual featuring clear pictures and minimal text depicting every function, including the most basic (page 10,  for example, shows how to apply the brake, with a drawing of a foot touching the brake pedal).

Although many of the operations, such as reclining the seat, are intuitive, I had to refer to the instructions for others, including adjusting the foot rest and harness, and these were all clearly illustrated and very easy to follow.

What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?

That it’s tricky to steer with just one hand and having the buggy board attached makes it uncomfortable to push as the board projects into your walking space. I also found having the buggy board flipped out and in use made it tricky to access the brake, which can be dangerous.

Who would the product be most useful for?

First-time mums who like to stroll and shop as you can pack A LOT into the under-buggy basket. It’s perfect if you live in a part of town with narrow, bumpy pavements as the four-wheel suspension makes for a very smooth ride. And it’s ideal for mums who like to take their little ones out to cafes and restaurants as the seat is at table height. 

Is there anything unique about this product?

Aside from the real-leather finishes on the handle and bumper bars and the luxe textiles on the hood, the capacious shopping basket (holding up to 11kg, evenly distributed) is the stand-out USP of this buggy.

Is the product value for money?

I’m not convinced. The sturdiness of the frame and quality of the finishes and fabrics, along with the multiple variations of handlebar height, seat recline, footrest position and harness height, justify the hefty price.

However, the fact that it cannot be used from birth without the addition of a specific seat insert or carry cot, and the difficulty of using it with another small child in tow (either on the PiggyBack buggy board, holding your hand or being pulled along on their scooter), detracts from its value.

Almost £600 seems like a great deal of money for a buggy that can’t be used (without additional accessories) from birth, isn’t recommended for children over three and isn’t compatible with an older child riding on the buggy board or requiring one of your hands to hold/be pulled along by.

Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras, which all add up or is everything included?

If your child is six-months or older, you’re good to go as everything is included – the frame, wheels and seat, along with the hood and UV-shade, plus insect net. For smaller babies, the Infant SnugSeat is a good addition as it supports baby’s neck and back in the toddler seat. Or the lie-flat carrycot is an extra £229.99 to use this buggy from newborn. You could splurge on a footmuff, snack tray and cup holder – UPPAbaby have every conceivable accessory covered.

MadeForMums verdict:

This strong, sturdy and stylish buggy looks and feels expensive – and the quality of its components and finishes largely justify its considerable price tag. It has several commendable features, including a very useful extra-large storage basket and capacious hood with integral UV sunshade. Plus, it’s built to last, which is ideal if you want to use it for subsequent babies, and gives a smooth and supremely comfortable ride on most urban terrain. However, while the finishes and frame are of the highest order, design flaws let down its performance. Crucially, I found it difficult to steer with one hand and tricky to turn the buggy round sharp bends, both non-negotiables when negotiating busy city streets with a second child in tow.

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