You may not have heard of iCoo, but if you’re a fan of stylish baby products then this brand is likely to be a very appealing. A subsidiary of Hauck, iCoo is almost in complete contrast to its parent company – it’s high-end and high-fashion.
In fact if you visit the iCoo website you’ll be dazzled by the glitzy lifestyle images of the buggy being pushed on marina beside a super yacht or strolling on a runway next to a private jet – as you do!
Side-eye inducing imagery aside, the iCoo Acrobat (launched this spring) promises a more upmarket pushchair than any of Hauck’s previous buggies.
Faux leather trims, plush linings and a striking copper-coloured aluminium frame mean the Acrobat is likely to turn heads, while its clip-in car seat and one-hand fold system makes a trip to the shops a breeze.
Aesthetics notwithstanding, the iCoo Acrobat is also an award-winning buggy, having scooped a Plus X 2015 Award for quality, design and ease of use.
So does the iCoo Acrobat SND have the WOW factor that Hauck wants?
Definitely! I loved the look of Copper Edition. With its racing green and earth brown fabrics, copper-coloured frame and faux leather finish.
I’d describe the overall look of the Acrobat as being quite grown up. This may not be to everyone’s taste (especially if you’re drawn to the jolly, quirky designs of brands such as Cosatto), and my husband described it as looking a bit “image conscious”.
Personally I think it’s a really smart-looking travel system. I have to say, though, I was initially really impressed to read about the leather trims in the press release and website, but when I double-checked Hauck said it is actually faux leather.
They pointed out real leather would not be practical but I was still disappointed after seeing it described as the genuine article.
Looks aside, is it a practical pushchair?
Yes, design-wise, there are some really thoughtful, useful inclusions (a front-zipping rain cover, hood pocket, a mesh window in the car seat hood) and it’s lovely and light when pushing a newborn.
Even with a car seat attached I’d be confident I could carry it up a flight of stairs. Although not as dainty as some models (like the 7.5kg Baby Jogger City Lite Pushchair), at just 9.5 kg the pushchair is light enough to load into the car with ease.
And as the frame feels nice and sturdy, and I’d be confident this would see my child through from newborn to toddlerhood.
As a travel system it works really well, minor niggles aside. I love the fact I can transport my newborn from the car to the pushchair without disturbing her.
The fact that it folds up so neatly into the boot makes it a really good option for driving to the shops. It’s obviously a bit larger and heavier with the car seat attached, but still good.
I really like the fact the car seat has its own cosy toes, meaning you can keep your baby warm without spoiling the look with a mismatched blanket.
It is well padded, with a headhugger and a bronze-coloured pad in the bottom to create a flatter surface for newborns, so your little one would have a very comfy ride. I also really liked that you can unzip the hood to open up a mesh window so you can see your little one and help the air circulate around them.
Is it easy to get the Zero Plus car seat on and off the buggy?
Very – the car seat clips into the pushchair chassis using the same slots that the bumper bar fits into.
You simply clip in a converter on each side and then slide the car seat on top where it clicks into place.
To remove the car seat – simply squeeze the clutch-style clip at the back of the chair and lift it out. The seat did stick a couple of times so you have to squeeze it quite firmly. We forgot the converter clips on our way to the shopping centre so had to turn back.
I’d like to say it wouldn’t happen again but just in case I’ve resolved to keep the converter clips in the car from now on.
What about fitting the Zero Plus car seat into the car?
I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any instructions on fitting the car seat into the car in the instruction booklet, or on the website and video I was referred to when I asked for them.
There’s a small diagram on the side of the seat itself, so I copied this, threading the seatbelt across the front, through a hook on each side, and around the back, through hooks on the back of the chair. As the picture only shows one side of the car seat I had to guess whether the belt went over or under the back left hook (it felt more secure going over it) but I would have been much happier knowing which Hauck advised.
I also couldn’t see anything in the instructions about how to adjust the car seat’s straps and it took me a while to figure it out.
You have to push a button underneath the front of the seat and either pull the straps to lengthen them or pull a single strap at the front of the chair to tighten.
You can also adjust the straps to a higher shoulder position as your baby grows, but again, I couldn’t find instructions on doing this.
Is the Acrobat pushchair convenient for shopping?
Impressively so! I took it to a shopping mall with my newborn and this is where the Acrobat really comes into its own. It was so easy to push one-handed around the mall’s smooth surfaces, even with the car seat attached.
Gliding around corners and along aisles was a breeze, and it even negotiated the crowds of bank holiday Primark without any difficulty! The hood pocket is perfect for a zipped but accessible place to store your purse and phone, and basket is great for smaller items.
The car seat doesn’t fill the whole of the pushchair seat, leaving a small space where I could stash my coat, which was a bonus.
It’s also perfect for a trip to smaller, independent stores. I used it on a trip to our corner shops and was delighted to find I could easily access narrow aisles, which were awkward or completely inaccessible to my Baby Jogger.
How easy is it to push?
On flat ground, the Acrobat is a dream to push even one-handed. You can lock the front wheels by simply pushing down on the front reflectors, or allow them to swivel 360 degrees.
In swivel mode, it glides along and takes corners beautifully. Locking the front wheels provides more stability but you would need to raise them slightly to turn a corner, so with a heavy toddler so I prefer unlocked.
Going up and down kerbs was easy with my newborn daughter as both she and the pushchair are so light.
But with my toddler or when using the car seat I found the pushchair was so front-loaded I had to pause and really push down hard on the handle to raise the front wheels even slightly.
The Acrobat’s front wheels are larger than the rear ones, for “exceptional quietness” according to the press release. To be fair it didn’t seem noisy at all, but I found these larger wheels made mounting the kerb annoyingly hard work, which is not ideal when you’re on a road.
The handlebars are adjustable, but only between 98cm and 101.5cm – a difference that feels almost pointlessly small.
As I’m fairly tall (5’8”) I extended it to the maximum length and still found myself stooping slightly to push it after a while into the journey, while my husband complained it was a bit uncomfortable.
On the plus side, a rain cover is included in the package, which covers the pushchair really well. You can even unzip it at the front, so you can get your baby out of the pushchair without having to lift off the dripping cover to reach them.
There’s also a light reflector on each side of the front of the buggy, which is great if you’re out late on winter afternoons or walking a cranky baby in the evenings.
What about when it’s pushed on different surfaces?
As said earlier, on smooth, flat surfaces like pavements and shopping malls it really is a dream to push.
But it did feel a bit rumbly on gravelly pavement, perhaps because it is so light, and I wondered how that felt for the baby, but she slept through it.
Pushing it on the grass at our local park was OK, with its lightness helped along by the large front wheels, but there was definitely some resistance so I wouldn’t take this on country walks.
Tells us about the brakes.
The brake is in the centre of the bar at the bottom of the pushchair, and really easy to click on or off with one foot (even wearing flip-flops).
It firmly immobilises the back wheels and you can lock the front ones for added stability.
However, as the PU wheels are very smooth I found I could push it on the wet playground path, even with the brake on. It actually slid down the mud and artificial grass slopes, which was worrying.
It boasts a one-hand fold system, but is it one handed?
It is! A big plus point here.
You just push the hood back and lock the wheels, then press the button on the pushbar, twist it forward and push down.
As you do so, the back wheels fold towards the front ones, until it locks into place as a compact, folded frame.
Once folded, it doesn’t always lock into position, which was a bit annoying as sometimes I would lift it by the handle (i.e. to load into the car) and it would unfold, so you have to push it quite firmly when folding.
Unfolding it is almost as easy, you just have to unhook the latch on the left-hand side of the chassis before reversing the process. Lefties beware – a small niggle is that the button is on the left-hand side of the twistable section, making it slightly easier to use if you are right-handed.
Is it compact when folded?
Yes! This is another real plus point for the Acrobat. It folds up to a nice size (just 33cm deep and 68cm high or 90cm high with the hood attached) that would easily fit under the stairs or in a porch, ideal if you are in a flat.
The fact that it folds so small means if you’re really short on space it wouldn’t be too much of a faff to fold and store regularly rather than leaving it set up.
It’s so compact I think it would fit into most car boots, and Hauck also claims it’s easy to store on a plane, although I didn’t test this.
How comfortable does it feel for your baby?
The seat unit looked very comfy for both my seven-week-old baby and my 22-month-old toddler as it’s nicely padded, and the faux leather seat liner is cosy and soft but firm enough to provide support.
It takes up to 15kg and my tall toddler looked quite snug but they both seemed quite happy on their respective journeys, and the baby had plenty of space to stretch out.
The five-point harness has padded pieces to prevent the straps from rubbing delicate skin, and it stood up well to a wriggly toddler straining to escape.
On the down side, I found when it was unclipped the left strap separates from the waist strap, which was quite irritating as I had to reassemble it each time. I may just have been unlucky and it was fine for the baby, but it could make strapping in a feisty toddler that bit trickier.
On one occasion when I was strapping my toddler in all five points fell apart so I had to clip each piece in separately, including putting the strap padding back on as it kept slipping off, and pushing the headrest up as it kept slipping down. This was fine while she was calm, but if she was having a strop it would be very difficult.
How is interacting with your little one when in the buggy?
The pushchair’s seat is fixed to world-facing (front), meaning interaction with your child is not great, which is a bit of a shame when they’re tiny.
However, there is a clear panel in the back of the hood which meant I could keep an eye on my baby as I walked, and my toddler prefers to face forwards so it’s not a deal breaker for me.
When used as a travel system, with the rear-facing car seat attached, interaction was great – it was lovely to have the baby facing me as she was close enough to recognise my face and smile.
Would you recommend it for use from birth?
Yes, I used it for my seven-week-old baby and she seemed quite comfortable in both the pushchair (in the seat’s flattest position) and the car seat.
The pushchair reclines to a fairly flat position, and has plenty of padding so she looked well supported, and the car seat’s head cushion and seat cushion also reassured me she was safe and comfortable.
What are the basket and storage pockets like?
The basket is handy to use for small purchases or even your changing bag, but if you chose to store the rain cover in there then space is pretty limited.
I stashed a coat and a small bag in it on our shopping trip, and I really like the fact it’s very easy to access from the sides and back.
The hood pocket was brilliant for storing my purse when going round the shops, or the various baby paraphernalia (muslins, books) I end up grabbing on my way out of the house.
Would you travel abroad with it?
Yes, I would take the Acrobat on holiday. It’s so lightweight I would be happy using it for air travel and on holiday, especially as it’s so easy to fold and unfold in seconds. It also folds up so small that I’d be confident we wouldn’t have any trouble fitting into in the boot of any hire cars.
Is it good value for money?
As far as ‘luxury buggies’ go, the Acrobat is at the lower end of the market. Saying that, at £599.99 for the Copper Edition, the Acrobat SND can’t be considered a cheap single travel system.
But you do get a lot of extras for your money. A rain cover, hood, footmuff, shopping basket and bumper bar are all included along with a car seat boasting with its own cosytoes.
Its smart faux leather finishes and plush padded seat add to its appeal as a premium ride. No additional accessories are available to buy but frankly I don’t think you’d need anything else. At the time of writing, Amazon was selling it for £449.99 so it’s worth shopping around for a discount on what feels like quite a steep price.
What’s in the box?
- Bumper bar
- Seat liner and headrest
- Rain cover
- Car seat with cosytoes
- Car seat adapter clips
Is it easy to build?
No, I didn’t find the diagram-only instructions that easy to follow and would have appreciated a little text to explain what some of the illustrations meant.
Assembling the basic structure was pretty easy and took less than five minutes – simply unlock the main frame, pull it up and click on the wheels, then extend the pushbar. What took me more time were smaller details such as adjusting the straps or attaching the cosytoes.
The iCoo Acrobat SND is a good-looking travel system which can be used from newborns up to 15kg. It’s best for chic city dwellers that are short of space at home and looking for a durable, nippy, compact travel system that will take them from browsing the shops to a European mini break.
However, if you’re looking for a robust ride to take the effort out of mounting kerbs and handling rougher rural surfaces, this probably isn’t for you.