British brand Joie is “100% committed to sharing joy with new parents worldwide”, pledging “the highest standards of design, engineering and safety” for all its products, which range from pushchairs and car seats to travel cots and highchairs.
The Evalite Duo is Joie’s second double buggy, following on from their incredibly popular Joie Aire Twin. The Joie Evalite Duo is a tandem buggy, which means the children sit one behind the other, rather than side by side, as they do in the slightly heavier Aire Twin.
Helen Copson is a mum to 19-month-old twins and a three-year-old. She tested the Joie Evalite Duo out on walks to pre-school.
What were your first impressions of the Joie Evalite Duo?
How light it is. Even in the box it was easy to lift and very compact, so I had high hopes that it would be as good as advertised. A double buggy can never be as lightweight as you want, but this one was as good as any I’d seen.
Is the pushchair easy to assemble?
It was a piece of cake – I watched my husband put it together and it only took him about 15 minutes. It comes with a massive 102-page manual containing dozens of diagrams which even I could follow!
Is the Joie Evalite Duo suitable for newborns?
Yes, the rear seat reclines to a flat position, or you can attach a car seat onto it. I personally wouldn’t put a newborn in such a lightweight buggy, so I’d definitely use a car seat. The Joie specifications say it can be used up to 15kg, but my three-year-old was desperate for a ‘ride’ and he was fine in there, too.
Is the buggy compatible with car seats?
Yes, it is, and if you use Joie’s own Gemm and i-Gemm, you don’t even need adaptors – great news if you have newborns.
Is the Joie Evalite Duo easy to fold?
It’s relatively easy. You need to make sure the hood on the front seat is folded over forwards, then push the button on the handle, tilt the buggy onto the back wheels and it slowly collapses down. A latch on the left-hand side then clicks in to hold it together. It takes a bit of practice, although that’s probably just me!
How compact is the Joie Evalite Duo when folded?
It folds down quite tightly, but purely because of its design it is still fairly long. It is 45cm x 56cm x 99cm folded.
How easy is it to store?
It’s supposed to stand up on its own, but the front wheels seem to have a mind of their own – more than half the times I folded it, it fell over.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
Yes, but I have a big car – I’m not sure how easily it would fit into smaller ones.
Is the Joie Evalite Duo lightweight?
At just over 10kg, it’s one of the lightest double buggies on the market.
How easy is it to push?
Surprisingly easy, and pushing my 19-month-old twins in it was much easier once the front wheels were unlocked. Also, the Joie Evalite Duo is long. Although it’s narrow like a single buggy, and manoeuvres and steers very well, it’s tricky trying to turn around in tight spaces when you can’t see the front end. I also didn’t feel comfortable pushing one-handed, which was a pain as I often need to hold my three-year-old’s hand at the same time.
How does the Joie Evalite Duo handle uneven ground?
It wasn’t great on rougher terrain or gravel. Mounting kerbs was fine, but the handle is very high and doesn’t adjust, so I’m lucky to be tall enough to be able to push it down to lift the front end at kerbs.
Do the wheels work well?
The wheels are fine, although they work best on a reasonably smooth surface.
Is the brake function good?
Yes, the brake is operated by a small pedal near the right rear wheel. It’s easy to apply and not stiff or awkward.
Is the basket large and easy to access?
When we first assembled the buggy, I was amazed at the size of the basket – it’s seriously big and accessible from all sides. But then I put one of my 19-month-old twins in the rear seat and his legs hung down into it so much that he was practically kicking the bottom. If I were to load it up with my usual twin and preschooler paraphernalia, he’d have no room for his legs, which is a shame. If you had a younger child in the back seat, especially if they were fully reclined, the basket would be amazing. I guess it depends on the age of your children.
How do you rate the handlebar?
The handlebar is quite high, which is fine for me as I’m 5ft 8ins, but it could be too tall for shorter people, and unfortunately it’s not adjustable.
Can the seat units be adjusted independently?
I love the seat units. My twins fit in them nicely with plenty of room to spare. The seats are padded for comfort and they recline easily and independently. The rear one reclines to a flat position with an easy clip behind it – which is a lot simpler than others I’ve seen – and the front one has a push-bar on the back which you simply squeeze in to recline. The seats are very high up too, which means both twins can see clearly – unlike other tandem buggies where the rear or bottom child has a limited view.
How protective are the hoods on the Joie Evalite Duo?
The hoods are large and cover a sizeable proportion of your child, especially the front one. These are great sunshades, or if you get caught in a shower.
Is the frame strong?
This is a lightweight buggy, so the frame doesn’t feel particularly sturdy. Having said that, I’ve used flimsier lightweight buggies than this, so I’m quite impressed.
How is interacting with your twins when using the Joie Evalite Duo?
This is probably one of its downsides. The baby in the front is so far away from you that you can’t interact with them at all, and unless they’re lying flat and you use the peek-a-boo window, you can’t see the rear baby either underneath the hood.
Do you like the look of the Joie Evalite Duo?
Yes, compared to some buggies, this is a stylish, sleek piece of equipment. There is a choice of four colours – coal, deep sea, grey flannel and lychee (bright red), so there’s something for everyone. We had a grey flannel one and I really liked it.
Are there any extras to buy?
You could buy the Gemm or i-Gemm car seats, but there’s nothing you need to buy before using it. It comes with the rain cover, which is great.
What would you have wanted to know before buying this buggy?
How long it is. It’s great that it’s so narrow, but it is very long, especially if you have a toddler in the front with their legs overhanging. It’s difficult to see where you’re pushing it.
What would the pushchair be most useful for?
This would be perfect to take on holiday as it’s reasonably compact when folded – unlike our Mountain Buggy, which takes up two thirds of our (big) boot. It would also make a good ‘second’ buggy, as it’s narrow enough to fit through my front door and small enough to be kept inside, which is easier than putting the children in a buggy outside, especially when it rains.
Is the Joie Evalite Duo good value?
Yes, I think so. I’ve learned very quickly that you get what you pay for with buggies and although it’s not the cheapest double you can buy, for something around the £250 mark, it’s pretty good.
How does it compare to other double pushchairs you’ve used?
The Joie Evalite Duo is completely different from my ‘main’ everyday pushchair, the Mountain Buggy Duo. It is nowhere near as strong, but it also costs less than half the price.
Would you recommend it?
I’d recommend it for a second buggy and for the convenience of the school run or nipping out in uncrowded streets. If you only have one buggy and want it to do everything and drive well on all terrains, I’d say this one probably isn’t sturdy enough.
What’s in the box?
two buffer bars
I loved how lightweight this was, without feeling too flimsy. It was ideal for the quick walk to pre-school on normal pavements, but it’s not great off-road on gravel or cobbles. It folds down easily and the basket is huge – so long as your child’s legs aren’t dangling into it. But the main thing to be aware of is how long this buggy is. It steers and turns well, but there’s no way you’re going to be able to manoeuvre it easily in a busy cafe or shop. It’s good value for money and more stylish than some of the alternatives, but I’d recommend it as a second buggy, not as your main one.