I have to confess I had never heard of ABC Design before testing out this buggy but the German company has been producing buggies, car seats, highchairs and accessories for 25 years. It has won a number of awards for its designs and sells in more than 40 countries. The Cobra Plus pushchair is an all-terrain buggy packed with features – including the first adjustable suspension system I’ve ever seen on a pushchair – promising to provide the ultimate ride whatever the terrain.
The basic package includes a chassis and parent/forward facing seat unit, which is suitable from six months to 15kg.
To use from newborn, it can also be used with the Carrycot Plus (£150) and the Risus 0+ Infant Car Seat (£120), both sold separately. And it’s compatible with Maxi Cosi, BeSafe iZi Go Modular and Cybex car seats when used with adaptors. At £550 for the chassis and seat unit, it’s a mid to high-end stroller comparable to the Mutsy Igo, which retails for £525, the Britax Affinity2 (£499.95) and the BabyStyle Oyster2, which is around £550 but includes a carrycot for that price.
But all the extras can add up if you’re looking for a travel system that will take you from birth to toddler.
Buy the ABC Design Cobra Plus from Toys R Us, Mothercare, and Kiddies Kingdom.
A good-looking pushchair with a slightly masculine feel – it seems to have been designed with dads in mind too, which is no bad thing.
As soon as I saw the graphite grey seat and leather effect handle and bumper bar I knew my husband would love it.
Extra features like the three-level adjustable suspension system also have that dad-appeal, while clever designs like the hand-release brake, one push wheel lock and easy folding mechanism make it a joy to use.
It was very easy to put together straight out of the box and I quickly figured out how it all worked. Everything felt very intuitive and I barely needed to glance at the instructions, but they were clear and helpful for the aspects I did need to check.
Watch the Cobra Plus in action
How does it compare to other three and four-wheeler pushchairs you have used?
This is the first time I’ve used a three-wheeler pushchair and although in general it was light and easy to push, it didn’t always feel quite as steady as the four-wheelers I’m used to.
When bumping up kerbs it had a tendency to tip a little to one side, and with my three-year-old holding onto the handle I felt I had to work harder to stop it veering off in his direction.
My understanding was also that three-wheelers were better for off-road, and the Cobra Plus is billed as an all terrain buggy, but I didn’t notice a huge difference from a four-wheeler.
How comfortable does the Cobra Plus feel for your little one?
Very comfortable. My 19-month-old little girl watched me build the buggy and was desperate to get in as soon as it was finished – she obviously thought it was a stylish ride.
Once in she was very happy – the seat unit is roomy and has a memory foam interior and padded shoulder and crotch pads which made it very comfy, as well as a length adjustable leg rest.
How easy is it to recline the seat and switch it from front to rear facing?
Simple push buttons on each side of the unit made it easy to switch between the four recline positions, so when she nodded off while out and about I could lie her back without disturbing her.
The seat unit release buttons are large and intuitive to push up.
Is the hood protective from the sun?
A large hood, with UPF 50+ protection, kept her well protected from the sun while the coverable parent viewing window meant I could keep an eye on her – she enjoyed peering up at me through it too.
What age child is the Cobra suitable for?
With just the seat unit, the Cobra is suitable from six months up to 15kg, which should take you up to about three years. I tested it with my 19-month-old and it was perfect for her with plenty of room to grow.
If you buy the Carrycot Plus (£150), the Cobra Plus can also be used from birth – plus the carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping with its breathable base and airflow design.
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Is it affordable for what it is?
At £550 for the chassis and seat unit alone, the Cobra pushes into the higher end of the market, and extras like the carrycot and car seat hike the price up higher, so you could be paying more than £800 to get a full from-newborn travel system.
With popular brands like the Cosatto Wow coming in at £599.95 with a carrycot included, the Cobra isn’t for those on a tight budget. But it would suit parents with a bit more to spend on some clever features and a stylish finish.
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What do you think of the height of the buggy?
I’m average sized and it was a good height for me. My husband, who’s taller, also had no issues and the adjustable handle gives a range of options from 83cm to 109cm in height.
Is the frame strong and durable?
Although the buggy as a whole feels light, the frame seemed very strong and durable. One of my favourite things about this buggy is that everything felt well-made and as though it was built to last.
What is the weight of the buggy like?
The buggy weighs 13.2kg but felt light and was nicely compact when folded up. I’d been struggling with a bulky old travel system before and in comparison getting the Cobra around and in and out of the car felt like a breeze.
What do you think of the fold system?
I loved it! The fold system on some buggies can take a while to master but with the Cobra the seat unit simply lifts off with a squeeze of the handles, and the chassis folds easily with another quick push of a button.
How compact is it when folded?
It all folded up compactly and securely, and easily fitted in the boot of our VW Passat. You do need to store the chassis and seat unit separately, so those with very small boots or limited space in their house may struggle.
But it’s easy to remove the quick release wheels, which can help squeeze everything into a smaller space. Folded it measures 37 x 60 x 80cm.
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What are the basket and storage pockets like?
The under seat basket is nice and roomy and had plenty of space for bags and lunchboxes on the nursery run, or a mid-week top-up shop.
There’s also a small inner pocket which I kept the instructions in and is handy for little objects that might go astray.
How easy it it to push?
In general it was smooth and easy to push, and very easy to manoeuvre, but that was using it predominantly on city roads. As mentioned before, the three wheel outline made it feel a bit wobbly mounting kerbs. It also didn’t make as much difference as I had expected tackling more uneven surfaces such as cobbles, grass or bumpy paths – it could handle them all without too much difficulty, but it wasn’t noticeably smoother or easier than with a four-wheeler.
It had no chance on the beach, but I’ve yet to find a buggy that can take on sand.
What did you think of the adjustable suspension?
Although I tried adjusting the suspension a few times, this didn’t seem to make much difference. If anything, a springier suspension made it harder to push. I may just not have got it, but the adjustable suspension seemed like a bit of a wasted feature to me.
How was the Cobra Plus on public transport?
On a quiet train journey the Cobra was fine – I kept my daughter in the buggy and luckily someone was on hand at each end to help me lift it on and off. Inside the train I was able to find room to park it out of the way.
However, it wouldn’t be ideal for crowded trains or for hopping on and off buses as you would have to fold and store the chassis and seat unit separately, all while trying to hold on to a toddler.
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What did you think of the wheels?
They were fine for our use, which was mainly around town or strolls in the park, and I thought the swivel system on the front wheel made it handle beautifully. But I would have expected an all terrain buggy to have bigger, chunkier wheels for off-roading and these didn’t really feel up to the job.
Tell us about the brakes.
It took me a while to get used to the hand operated brake, but once I did I really liked it. It was easy to snap on with one finger.
Taking the brake off was a bit more fiddly but that’s probably a good thing as there’s no chance of releasing it by mistake – or a small child doing it for you, which my three-year-old would given half a chance. And it means you can’t kick it as you walk along, which is a problem with some buggies.
What age child is it best for?
It was perfect for my 19-month-old, so I would say it’s probably best from around 12 months to three-years.
This is a good-looking buggy and, aside from a few niggles, it’s got some nifty features that make it stand out from the crowd. Although it’s billed as all terrain it’s more suited to city life and would be ideal for style-conscious, urban parents with a little more to spend. I enjoyed using it and would recommend it to friends – as long as they weren’t planning much off-roading.
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