Silver Cross Surf 3 travel system

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In a nutshell

Stylish and well-designed travel system-compatible pushchair which converts from 4-wheel to 3-wheel trekking mode, and is super comfy for newborns

  • Pros

    Stylish, converts to all-terrain, comfy carrycot, integrated basket fold, springy suspension, sizeable hood with pop-out sunshade, compact chassis fold, forward and parent facing

  • Cons

    Small shopping basket, collapse little tricky, seat removal before folding, no swivel option on trekking wheel.

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Our review

It’s the British brand that the international buyer recognises. Well known for its classic-style prams and loved by the Royals, Silver Cross has managed to establish itself as a real contender to the modern must-have brands like Bugaboo, Uppababy and iCandy.

Silver Cross has a loyal celebrity following and you don’t have to look too far to see the brand carrying the tiny offspring of the stars.

From Kate Middleton’s choice of the Sleepover Elegance for baby George, to music mogul Simon Cowell and singer Geri Horner both selecting a Silver Cross Surf: Aston Martin Edition, there’s no shortage of high profile fans.  

The Surf model first launched in 2010 with the aim of combining comfort and convenience. The new and updated Surf 3 claims to offer that, along with the versatility of a trekking wheel which you can switch over for country walks and rural adventures.

Winning the silver gong in the MadeForMums Awards 2017 for best travel system package over £500, it can convert to a travel system with the use of the Silver Cross Simplicity infant car seat.

At £845, including a carrycot and toddler seat, plus car seat adapters and much more, it competes with other travel system compatible pushchair packages like the Joolz Geo (£828) and iCandy Peach all-terrain (£860), but is less expensive than the Stokke Trailz (£1233).

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As a big fan of all-terrain buggies, I wanted to see whether it could deliver. Myself and my 8-week old daughter Isabella took our grey Surf 3 out everywhere from the school run to football pitches, for riverside walks and of course, out shopping.

Buy the Silver Cross Surf 3 from Silver Cross, Mothercare and Direct2Mum.

First impressions?

Wow. It’s designed to impress. A showstopper buggy that looks and feels high quality and that comes with all the extras you might not even think you need. The Surf 3 is well-packaged which can mean the difference between arriving unbroken and intact. I chose the grey which looked understated, classy and not too fussy.

What’s new about the Surf 3?

The big difference is the addition of the trekking wheel. The new package includes an extra wheel which switches the Surf 3 from a 4-wheeled city buggy to a 3-wheeled all-terrain model. This wheel was previously only available to buy separately with the Surf 2 for £40.

Silver Cross Surf 2 v Surf 3

Plus, as with most new updated ranges, the Surf 3 offers a new set of colours which include Vintage Blue, Vintage Pink, Vintage Red and Silver.

Is it easy to fold and unfold?

The fold on the Surf 3 is far from intuitive. That said, it becomes easier when you know how. And as tricky as the fold may be, you can still achieve it with one-hand, providing you’ve removed the seat unit or carrycot first.

It feels like there’s a lot to remember to fold the Surf 3. You can’t collapse it unless you apply the brake. You have to press the black button on the handle to fold it. You have to press the red release button on the shopping basket. Annoyingly, I forget all three.

Two things to be aware of. Firstly, don’t let go of the handle before pressing down on the red release pedal. It’ll drop and hit the ground, and could damage your handle. The lovely, chrome detail on my handle got scratched when this happened.

Secondly, the basket ingeniously folds with the chassis, but it also covers the red release pedal so it can be tricky to engage. But because it’s bang in the middle of the chassis, you know where to feel for it.  

Unfolding the Surf 3 is much easier. There’s still a knack to it but it’s a simpler process.

  1. Undo safety clip.
  2. Raise handle
  3. Click
  4. Pull back handle
  5. Click.

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Can it be easily stored?

The Surf 3 has one of the most compact and flat folds which is ideal considering neither the seat unit or carrycot flatten or collapse.

When folded, it measures L71cm W58cm H28cm, so it’s perfect if you’re short on space at home or need to get it in a small car boot.

Surf 3 in car boot

Also, the wheels are easily removable - within seconds - so that’s another spacesaver. The shame is, you can’t store it upright, vertically. 

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What’s pushing the 4-wheeler like?

The air-filled tyres and springy suspension make this buggy smooth to push.

As a 4-wheeled urban buggy it easily moves around obstacles and mounts kerbs.

It passed my supermarket test in manoeuvrability – namely one hand pushing the buggy and the other holding the basket - with flying colours.

At my kids’ school summer fayre, it went effortlessly from inside the assembly hall to the outdoors on the field, where I used the lock on the front wheels to get a sturdier, less bouncy ride. For that usage, I question whether you ever need to switch to three wheels.

The handle is high enough for tall or shorter people to comfortably push with 4 height positions. I’m 5’5”. With a press down of the handle button and pull up, it adjusts in seconds to a height comfortable for my 6’4” husband. Though on a hot summer’s day the handle, made from leatherette, could make your hands feel a bit sweaty and slippery. That loses a little of its appeal for me.

Is the trekking wheel worthwhile?

It’s quick and easy to switch the click-in trekking wheel on the Surf 3. I took my 3-wheeler riverside to try it out. The bigger wheel does make steering over sticks, stones and bumpy ground easier. But it’s locked with no option of switching to swivel like the smaller wheels. So when you come off, off-road on pavements and in shops there’s a lack of steering control. Walking the aisles at Tesco, I had to rely on the suspension to turn and direct the buggy. Not great for your wrists. I can imagine travelling on a bus with the trekking wheel wouldn’t be fun either.

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Is it a comfortable ride?

Most definitely. In most cases Isabella is oblivious to any bumps thanks to the suspension which soaks up any uneven surfaces and doubles up as a great bouncer. There’s ample leg room and space in the carrycot for Isabella. And the soft padding adds to her comfort as I think plush padding on the seat would. I have, however noticed a light but constant clinking coming from the wheels. It’s just my personal bugbear really as it’s not loud enough to wake the baby.

The hood and apron pack which fit the seat unit and carrycot are great, well-padded to protect Isabella on a windy day and wipeable for those mucky days.

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What do you think of the hood – does it provide sun protection?

Silver Cross Surf 3 hood provides UPF 50

The large hood and pop-out sunshade block out the sun and create a little darkness to get Isabella off to sleep and stay asleep. The label on the back of the large peep-window says ‘UPF50 sun protection’ and Silver Cross say the hood has a cooling mesh on the inside which means the baby should be protected and cool too.   

Is it suitable for a newborn?

Yes. With the Surf 3 carrycot which is part of the package or the Simplicity car seat which you have to buy separately. I can see why Silver Cross say the carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping. It’s super-soft mattress and comfy lining make me wish I could take forty winks in it. myself. so it’s a godsend when visiting friends and family.

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The bumper bar on the carrycot doubles up as a convenient carry handle but it can also block your vision of the baby lying down which is minor. The apron is fastened down with zips and two clips either side of the carrycot. The clips are secure but fiddly so don’t expect to get to your little one with speed when your little one’s having a mare or being sick.

Is it good for a toddler?

Yes. And all the features that come with the seat unit indicate it should grow with your child. It’s fully reversible so forward or parent-facing is an option, the straps can be adjusted to 2 heights and there’s a 3-position recline of – upright, middle and lie-flat.

I tried the seat out on my friend’s one- year-old, Marley, who is by her mum’s admission big for her size.

The seat looks wide and roomy but I was surprised how Marley made the seat look a lot smaller. I suspect Marley could grow out of the seat by 24-30 months while an average size toddler would have a lot longer.

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The middle seat position was the one Marley least wanted to wriggle out of. The 5-point harness clips firmly into place. The straps and adjusters are quite rigid so there’s no chance of them loosening. Marley’s legs were too short to reach the bottom of seat. But the footrest looks a bit of a let-down. It’s really just a ridge rather than an effective step that a toddler can comfortably rest their feet on.

What’s storage like?

Mmm. Silver Cross describe the basket as ‘deep’ but I beg to differ, especially compared to the generously-sized Uppababy Vista basket.

The Surf 3, as with no2 and the original, looks to have the smallest basket of all the Silver Cross pram range. It can just about fit a standard loaf of bread, 1 litre carton of milk and a container of formula.

Surf 3 basket is small

And even then, it’s a challenge to get items back out. And with no extra pockets or pouches to stash away the quick-to-hand stuff like dummy, muslin and wipes, it’s doubly disappointing.

I tried using my buggy clip but with a couple shopping bags on the end it felt a bit tip-heavy. Besides, the clip can’t grip onto the leatherette and drops down to the side of the handle.

Is it lightweight?

Weighing in at 11.3kg in total, the Surf 3’s magnesium alloy chassis (7.5kg) is one of the lighter buggies among its competitors but you still need two hands to carry it.  

If you’re looking for a lighter travel system you wouldn’t do badly by choosing the Surf 3. It compares to the iCandy Peach, which is 8.4kg for the chassis and wheels.

What did you think of the brakes?

Silver Cross Surf 3 has click on click off brakes

The click-on, click-off brake system is easy to use. The traffic light colour coding of green release button and red brake button instinctively works. Though I think the release button could have been a little bigger.

What’s in the Box?

  • Chassis
  • Carrycot
  • Seat unit
  • Trekking wheel
  • Hood and apron
  • Raincover (bag incl)
  • Car seat adapters
  • Shopping Basket
  • Cup holder
  • Bumper bar

Optional Extras and Accessories

  • Simplicity car seat £150
  • Simplicity car seat rain cover £15
  • Isofix Base £145
  • Pram parasol £35
  • Changing bag £50
  • Reversible seat liner £45
  • Luxury seat liner £60
  • Buggy Board £75
  • Universal winter pack £100
  • Summer Pack £100 (at time of review reduced to £50)
  • Maxi Cosi car seat adapters £30

Is it worth the price tag?

The Surf 3 is expensive but for that price at least you can get some longevity. Everything, bar the Simplicity car seat, is included. You get double usage with the apron and hood as they can be used on the carrycot and seat unit. You get a dual-purpose buggy so there’s no need to buy a separate all-terrain buggy.

Plus it’s an attractive item for resale as all Silver Cross accessories can be used across the Surf range.

MadeForMums verdict:

The Surf 3 is for the style conscious adventurer but perhaps not the serious countryside walker. And with its high-shine chrome, leatherette details, graphite or silver chassis and nice touches like the pull-out sunshade, cup holder and bag for the raincover, the Surf 3 appeals to the yummy mummy crowd too.

It feels solid, well-built and comfortable in the places where your child needs it. The air suspension makes it a joy to push. Add the trekking wheel and you’ve got one of the most attractive 3-wheelers on the market.

However, I can’t help but wish the trekking wheel had a swivel option and that Silver Cross had worked at making the shopping basket more substantial. But small basket aside, this good-looking buggy is definitely a keeper.

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