Graco Near2Me Travel System review
In a nutshell
A purse-friendly travel system with some standout features, but not for you if you have a tiny car boot or narrow hallways
What we tested
3.8A star rating of 3.8 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Comfort for child
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Adjustable seat height, huge storage basket, carrycot suitable for overnight sleeping, value of money
- Can’t be folded with the seat parent-facing, heavy, big when folded
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The Graco brand has been synonymous with affordable, well-designed and durable baby products for over 60 years, and the Near2Me travel system is no different.
It’s suitable from birth to around 4 years old (22kg) and has a unique height-adjustable seat, which makes interacting with your baby easier – and also saves your back, as you don’t need to lift your baby from an awkward height. Coming in at £475 for the pushchair, carrycot and SnugEssentials i-Size car seat, this travel system is at the lower end of the scale in terms of cost, but you wouldn't think it with its many features. It's no surprise then, that it was awarded Bronze in the MadeForMum Awards 2022 ‘Best Travel System Under £800’ category.
Mum-of-one Sharna tested the Graco Near2Me travel system in and around London, taking her 6-month-old daughter on the bus and for walks around the city.
My first thought was that it was big! It’s much bigger than the space-saving city pram I was used to, but it didn’t seem bulky to me – although some reviewers on Amazon and Bizziebaby did find the bulk and weight of it off-putting. I could tell that the pram was more on the budget side, but the leatherette piping, bumper and handle bar and the grey colouring made it feel more premium.
How easy is the Graco Near2Me travel system to build?
The chassis of the pram is relatively easy to set up; within 10 minutes I had unpacked, attached the wheels and opened the pram. The instructions are images without words, so it could be tricky if you’re not a visual person. Setting up the carrycot, I was a little confused at how to make the sides stay up, as the drawing in the instructions showed a sliding mechanism, which I couldn’t find. Words in the instructions would have helped to rectify the problem, but I got there in the end through trial and error.
What do you think of the Graco Near2Me travel system’s carrycot?
There is a wooden base in the carrycot and a firm mattress to keep baby in the optimal lying-flat position. My baby seemed happy to nap in the carrycot on walks in this cosy set-up. The fabric sides are soft, and it has an apron that covers baby. These soft furnishings are fixed on using hook and loop fasteners and metal poppers on the underside, and they feel secure.
My daughter is 6 months and under the weight limit for the carrycot. There was enough room for her to travel in it comfortably, but she now prefers to sit up and interact more with the world around her. The carrycot would have been great for up to around 6 months, and there is ample space for a newborn.
Does the Graco Near2Me travel system have any unique features?
It does! My favourite thing about this pushchair is the Slide2Me adjustable height feature. Once the carrycot is locked onto the base, you can slide it up and down the chassis using both hands, bringing baby towards or away from you. It was nice to have my baby closer to me, and not having to bend down to a low carrycot really helped when lifting my daughter in and out of the pram. MFM parent reviewer Jaya agreed that this was its main selling point and that it really added longevity, making it better value in the long run, as well as bringing your baby closer to you, meaning more interaction. While some pushchairs feature adjustable handlebars, there aren’t many on the market that feature full height adjustability.
How easy is the carrycot to add on/take off the Graco Near2Me pushchair?
The carrycot is very simple to attach onto the pram base; it slots onto the built-in adapters on the chassis and locks with a click. Just push the buttons in on the side to release the carrycot, and then lift. The handle is on top of the hood shade, which makes lifting feel a little lopsided. For me, the handle would have been better placed in the middle, to distribute my baby’s weight. The carrycot can be used for occasional overnight sleeping, which is a great feature to have on a pram at this price. Many of the more expensive carrycots are unsuitable for overnight sleeping. I also loved the fact that the carrycot is easily collapsible for practical and space-saving storage.
What do you think of the Graco Near2Me car seat?
Straight out of the box, the SnugEssentials i-Size car seat looked great. It has a sleek black design with added grey padding for newborns and a large canopy for shade or blocking out distractions. All the fabrics are machine-washable, which is a bonus if you have a dribbly or sicky baby. It’s also really easy to fasten baby into, with a 3-point harness that can be easily tightened in one quick move. My baby seemed very comfortable on short car journeys, and it seemed that there would be plenty of room to accommodate her up to 12 months.
How is the Graco SnugEssentials i-Size car seat fixed into the car?
The car seat can either be secured into your car with a seatbelt or by using the Graco IsoFamily i-Size ISOFIX base (sold separately). If you’re using the ISOFIX base, the car seat clicks on and off in seconds, and it has colour-coded installation indicators to let you know that it is correctly in place. The Graco Near2Me chassis has built in Click Connect adapters, so the SnugEssentials car seat just slots on with a click.
How did you find folding the Graco Near2Me pushchair?
The buggy is easy to fold with both hands; just push the buttons on either side of the chassis and collapse the frame. It did take a couple of times before I could do it without fumbling. I was disappointed that it couldn’t be folded with the seat unit parent-facing, which was the way I was using it. I needed to take the seat unit off altogether, or face it outwards, in order to fold the pram. It’s easier to fold without the seat unit on, because there is no fabric to get in the way.
How bulky is the Graco Near2Me pushchair when folded?
The buggy is not very compact when folded, and it’s heavy and awkward to lift in and out of the boot. I have a medium-sized car, and the pram took up most of the space; I had to take off the back wheels for the boot to close comfortably. Other reviewers on Amazon agreed that this was one of its main drawbacks, and that it’s not a good choice for those with small cars or hallways. The buggy does self-stand, so storing it at home was relatively easy, and it has an automatic folding lock, which keeps it packed neatly away.
Is it easy to push and steer?
The Graco Near2Me has a wide wheelbase and lockable swivel wheels, which make it feel sturdy; it pushed silently and smoothly on bumpy pavements and cobbles and through the park, and it was fairly easy to manoeuvre, even on grass. Large back wheels made mounting kerbs a breeze, and the pram took uneven surfaces well. Due to the size of the pram, it wasn’t quick to get around tight corners, and I did find it was a squeeze to turn around in small shops.
How well does the Graco Near2Me pushchair work on public transport?
Not great. I took the Graco Near2Me on the bus and found it to be very big and heavy to manoeuvre into the tight space allocated to pushchairs.
What’s the chassis like?
The Graco Near2Me chassis is large and made of matt-black aluminium and plastic. The aluminium felt strong and durable, but the plastic scratched easily. Overall, the pram is sturdy and well built. While I liked the design, for me personally it was too big. The back wheels are set wider than the frame and I have a small Victorian front door, so the pram only just fit through.
How do you rate the Graco Near2Me pushchair handle?
The handlebar has a tan leatherette finish, which makes the pram feel much more premium than its price suggests. It’s comfortable to hold, but unfortunately it can’t be adjusted. I found the handlebar was in the right place for me at 5’4”, but someone closer to 6’ may want it to be higher.
What do you think of the seat unit on the Graco Near2Me pushchair?
I liked that the seat unit could be used in a parent-facing orientation. Even though the seat can be used outward-facing from birth in its most reclined position, my daughter isn’t quite sure about facing outwards yet, and I prefer to have her facing me so that we can interact easily.
Is the seat comfortable for your baby?
There is ample space for a growing baby, and the seat unit can be used up to 4 years old or 22kg. Used with the footmuff, the pram looked very cosy, and the 3-position recline and calf support made sure my baby was very comfortable on our walks, and even managed to nap. The seat features an easy-release bumper bar for quick ins and outs, while the seat is easy to keep clean as it can be wiped down with a wet cloth.
What’s the hood on the Graco Near2Me pushchair like?
The large canopy hood was smooth to open and close, and bigger than I expected it to be; it covered my baby and shielded her from the sun with its UPF 50+ protection. It also features an easy view window so you can check in and keep an eye on your outward-facing baby.
What are the wheels like?
The pram has 4-wheel suspension and the wheels are made of a hard-wearing black EVA plastic. It has front swivel-lock wheels for easier manoeuvrability, but I still found that it struggled in tight spaces due to the size of the chassis. The wheels clip on and off easily with release buttons on the chassis, making it easy to detach them in order to fit the pram in the boot.
How good are the brakes on the Graco Near2Me pushchair?
The brake was in a very natural place for me, on the right-hand side at the bottom of the chassis. It didn’t get in the way when I was pushing, was very effective when pressed and held the pram completely still.
How do you rate the Graco Near2Me pushchair’s storage basket?
The basket is huge! I’m used to a small city pram with a tiny basket, so it was refreshing to have so much space. It easily held our bags after swimming and I was never worried about overloading it with shopping. Reviewers on Amazon and Bizziebaby agreed that the massive basket is one of this pushchair’s biggest draws, but also concurred that having to empty it to fold the buggy is a big downside.
It doesn’t have a cover or special compartments, but there are high sides to ensure nothing falls out; even up steep kerbs it managed to hold onto everything I put in. The only downside is that the basket needs to be completely empty in order for the pram to be folded.
What’s in the box?
If you're buying the travel system bundle you'll get:
- 1 x Near2Me™ pushchair seat unit with canopy & bumper bar
- 2 x chest pads
- 1 x pushchair chassis
- Front & rear wheels
- 1 x rear brake assembly unit
- 1 x luxury footmuff
- 1 x rain cover
- 1 x headrest
- 1 x harness pads
- 1 x crotch pad
- 1 x mattress
- 1 x apron
- Graco Near2Me carrycot
- Graco SnugEssentials i-Size car seat
- 3 x instruction manuals
What additional accessories can you buy for the Graco Near2Me?
- IsoFamily i-Size ISOFIX car seat base (not essential as the infant seat can be secured into the car with a seatbelt) £100
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Graco Near2Me travel system?
I would have liked to know that the pushchair is quite bulky when folded and that it would be a very tight fit in my car boot. I would also have liked to know that the footmuff fastens on the underside, so it can be a bit slow to open and get your baby out.
Who would the Graco Near2Me travel system be most useful for?
This travel system is perfect for any parents that use a car, are on a budget, or want longevity in a product, as well as for those who want to keep a close eye on their newborn. It would be ideal for parents who have no steps to get in or out of their house, as it is quite heavy to lift. Parents who do their shopping in person will be thankful for the huge amount of storage!
Is the Graco Near2Me travel system worth the money?
The travel system costs £475 in total – or you can buy the pushchair individually for £270. I think that is a fantastic price for a system with so many features. The footmuff and raincover are included, which isn’t the case with some more expensive prams. Being able to use the carrycot for overnight sleeping is a huge bonus too. The fact that this can be used from birth means that it’s a real bargain for anyone on a budget.
How does it compare to similar pushchairs?
|Product name||Weight (kg)||Adjustable seat height?||Folded size||RRP (£)|
|Graco Near2Me||11.19||Yes||H99xW66xD44||£474 (including car seat and carrycot)|
|Stokke Xplory||17.8||Yes||H105xW55xD30||£979 (without carrycot or car seat)|
|My Babiie Belgravia Travel System||18||No||H71xW57xD65||£599.99 (including carrycot but no car seat)|
|Kinderkraft Pram 3in1 XMOOV||14 (with carrycot)||No||H42xW65xD75||£329 (including car seat)|
Where can I buy the Graco Near2Me travel system?
It’s available at Graco.
For the price, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Graco Near2Me travel system is a big and sturdy no-nonsense pram with premium features. It does a great job of keeping baby safe and warm, it’s hard-wearing and the finish makes the pram feel more expensive. The Near2Me sliding function is the star attraction for me, and being able to bring your baby closer on walks is a great benefit to both mum and baby. I would recommend this pram to parents on a budget who are looking for a travel system that ticks all the boxes.
Sharna Valentine is a freelance journalist and stylist with over 10 years industry experience. She's written for national magazines and newspapers as well as reviewing baby and maternity products for Goodtoknow and MadeForMums.
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||H:119cm W:65.5cm L:94.2cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:44cm W:65.5cm L:98.8cm|
|Child age (approx)||Birth (with carrycot/cocoon) to 4 years – (approx.)|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats|
SnugEssentials i-Size infant car seat
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing and parent facing|
|Front wheels||Four-wheel suspension and lockable swivel|