Silver Cross Surf 2 2014

Our score

Mums' score

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In a nutshell

One of the most luxurious, lightweight and compact travel systems on the market.

  • Pros

    Forward or parent facing, very lightweight and compact for a travel system, all-terrain, spacious, comfortable, stylish, good suspension, excellent rain covers.

  • Cons

    No fold with seat on, very limited space in basket, expensive.

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Our review

Silver Cross is probably one of the most recognisable brands of baby products currently on the market. It’s been producing prams since 1877 and more than 10 million babies have used its products. Indeed, my mum tells me that I was one of them (though as the original workshop was in Yorkshire, this should maybe come as no surprise).

The name carries with it a sense of quality, so when I told my Mother-in-Law that her Granddaughter, The Sleep Thief, would be riding around in a brand-new Silver Cross Surf 2 this was met with a nod of general approval.

The stroller, before car seat, isofix, car seat, etc, costs £600, and with the accessories it’s closer to £1000, so not the cheapest model on the market, and if you’re considering it I’d test it first to make sure it’s the right pram for you.

For me I wanted to know how the car seat works in our car (a Ford), how easy it is to secure with a screaming baby, whether you can carry the seat one-handed, and how easy the pram would be to steer, fold away and carry.

My wife and I are both quite sporty. We live in a city by the sea, but with countryside nearby and relatives living in villages, so it was important that a pram should be lightweight enough to transport, whilst robust enough to handle pavement, grass and pebbled terrain.

We have already been using a Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe, which has served us well up until now, though it is a little on the heavy and unwieldy side, and which retailed at around £300 with all the extras, so I was a little sceptical before assembling the Surf 2, but keen to give it a go, based on the company’s reputation and the positive information online.

The Surf 2 has won a number of awards including a bronze in the Best Baby & Toddler Gear category with Pushchair Trader in 2013, two Prima awards (Readers’ Award Gold 2012 and Best Buy), a Mums Net Best of 2012, and a Junior Design Awards 2011.

See a video of the Silver Cross Surf 2 in action 

In the box

  • Chassis
  • Carry cot
  • Surf 2 seat unit (with harness to prevent baby from falling out)
  • Front and back wheels
  • shopping basket
  • Bumper bar, which is interchangeable between carry cot and seat unit.
  • Hood
  • Rain covers

Optional accessories

  • Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters - £30
  • Jogger wheel - £40
  • Parasol - £30
  • Surf summer pack - £85
  • Surf board -£75
  • Cup holder - £15

How was it out of the box?

The Surf 2 (with car seat, isofix and accessories) comes in five boxes, which on delivery was a little daunting, however it was surprisingly easy to assemble, and requires no tools (not even an allen key!)

The instructions are a little misleading early on, contradicting itself on occasion. According to the instructions, the carrycot is apparently both suitable and unsuitable for a baby who cannot crawl or sit up unaided, though this is probably just a typo.

Brute force is required for erecting the carrycot, but all in all it was fairly easy and took us about forty five minutes to assemble, plus another hour or so to try out all the features, of which there are plenty.

The hood and rain covers are separately packaged, and come in a range of quite striking and attractive colours.

We decided on aubergine as it seemed quite gender-neutral, should we have another baby down the line, not too garish, and wouldn’t show up dirt easily, and we’re really happy with the choice. I’ve got to say, on completion, that the Surf 2 looks great.

How compact is it?

On unpacking the box, I was surprised by just how compact the Surf 2 is.

The chassis, which is practically pre-assembled, folds right down and clips together so that you can easily carry it one handed and baby in carrycot/car seat in the other. The magnesium alloy chassis is not only pleasant to look at, it’s also incredibly light and very easy to store in the boot of the car, or stand up out of the way in a corridor.

We live in a town house, and always had to store the Graco in the garage as it was just too wide to leave inside the house, but this isn’t an issue with the Surf 2, and it would suit parents living in a flat, the frame being easily manageable upstairs (which, again, the Graco wasn’t for just one person.)

There is a clip which holds the chassis in place when folded, though this has perhaps been designed a little poorly, as if you’ve had the pram on muddy ground (like we have) there’s no way that you’re not going to get this all over your hands and clothes when closing the pram.

On the plus side, the tires don’t track too much mud and dirt, and are easily cleaned. The first time you close the clip be warned, as it’s also easy to trap fingers in. Still, this is really a minor complaint.

How easy is it to fold?

I haven’t seen a more compact pram when folded, though the downside is that you cannot fold the chassis with the carrycot, seat unit or car seat, which have to be removed for storage.

Still, it’s very easy to do, pressing just two buttons. Reassembling is just as quick, and all three seats fit quickly into the same brackets, with a minor exception of the car seat, which requires the Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters, included in our pack, but you can also purchase separately if required.

How was it to push?

The adjustable handle is very comfortable to use. It has a faux-leather cover and is easily changed to suit mums or dads of various heights. Steering the Surf 2 is a joy.

We’ve tried the Surf 2 over a range of terrain, from grass (big, overgrown fields), mud, gravel, hills, pebble beach and pavement. The Surf 2 coped with everything, including mounting the pavements, with ease, other than snagging on small tree roots and perhaps the gravel and pebbles, though what wouldn’t struggle with these?

There is a reasonable amount of suspension, and the Sleep Thief barely stirred when she was being jostled about on a country walk. The tires are apparently puncture-resistant, and do seem sturdy, though they are tires and there’s no guarantee.

I tried using the Surf 2 in a very cramped co-op, something our Graco would really struggle with, and this was a breeze.

How was interacting with baby in the pram?

Baby is kept close enough to you for comfort, and you can both see each other easily even when the rain cover is up.

One of the best things about the Surf 2 is the option to convert it to either forward-facing or parent facing, and as we’re still at too early a stage to have Sleep Thief facing away from us, it was great to have this option.

When your baby is old enough (after four to five months at a guess), you can move them into the Surf 2 seat unit, which has three adjustable positions and which was easy to adjust.

How was the newborn kit?

The newborn kit is of a very high quality, and the Sleep Thief was always comfortable, treating us to a few smiles and nodding off every-so-often, especially when we were out and about.  Though she also slept in the carrycot when we’d gone out for dinner.

The carrycot has a very nice removable mattress (hand wash suitable), and is incredibly roomy – more so, in fact, than her Moses basket, so using this would save on having to transport too much for trips, as Silver Cross state that this is suitable for overnight sleeping.

Whilst at ten weeks she has practically outgrown the basket, I imagine we would get at least another month-to-six weeks out of the newborn kit. The adjustable hood, whilst also being very attractive, does offer a lot of shelter both from the elements and light, and would be ideal to take on holiday or long trips.

What about storage?

The Surf 2 isn’t really geared towards shopping, and although the shopping basket is adjustable, you could barely fit more than a carrier bag of groceries in this.

It’s too small to fit our breast-feeding pillow (a Boppy), which is a bit of a downside. The frame would be more than suited to accommodate a shopping hook or two, however.

The car seat is surprisingly heavy, much more so than the Graco, though it is well-padded and, I would imagine, comfortable, though we have had a lot of tears on use.

The adjustable handle has a setting which makes it more secure when resting on the ground, something our previous model didn’t, which is a nice bonus.

The harness isn’t the easiest we’ve used, though, and it can be a little tricky to fasten, though adjusting the length of the straps is reasonably straight forward, accessible through the compartment where you store the instruction manual. Despite the weight, the seat is easy to secure in the car with either seatbelt or ISOFIX.

How was it in the rain?

Both Simplicity car seat and stroller come with excellent rain covers, which are just incredibly easy to put on and off, and these are easily stored ready for use.

It might sound daft, but this was really a highlight for us, as that on the Graco was a bit of a faff to sort in the rain, and would take a few minutes, whereas this takes seconds.

The aprons are interchangeable between carrycot and seat unit, and this is one of the major downsides of the pram.

The zips on the carrycot are a bit of a nightmare, and jam frequently when they reach any curves. Replacement aprons are available in a number of colours and designs, should yours break or you want to change the design later on, though this isn’t especially cost effective.

The quality of the apron material, however, is very good, and Sleep Thief was well protected from the elements.

How were the accessories?

There are a number of accessories that you can purchase, including parasols, seat liners.

The Maxi-cosi car seat adapters (retailing at approximately £30 if you buy a model without these included) allow you to quickly attach the car seat to the chassis to form a travel system, transferring sleeping baby from car to stroller without having to wake them.

Having tried this over rough ground in the rain, Sleep Thief was perfectly happy and the car seat’s rain cover is easy to see the baby through, and gives easy access to them. Excellent for short trips in nasty weather.

What about the jogger wheel?

Although I haven’t bought one yet, there is the added option of buying a Jogger Wheel for £40, removing the two front wheels and replacing it for a single one.

The wheels were very easy to attach and remove, and I can see no reason why this would be any exception.  

If it’s the same high quality as the rest of the Surf 2, then I expect that the jogger wheel would be a worthwhile buy if you’re hoping to run with your baby, as the pram is light enough to do so.

Who’s it well suited to?

The Surf 2 is well suited for parents who like getting out and about, especially off road, and is compact enough to suit most cars, as well as houses and flats short on space.

While it handles very well in tight spaces and is very compact, it’s not built for storage space. If you’re going to go on a shopping trip, make sure you have fitted shopping hooks.

In a nutshell

The steering and suspension is excellent, the materials are of a very high quality, and it’s a very easy pram to adjust to suit both baby and parent.

It isn’t the system to buy on a budget, however, and I’m not overly enamored of the car seat, but I would certainly choose this brand again, and I think most parents would be very happy with the Surf 2.

See how the Silver Cross Surf has evolved over the years: