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Joie is a mid-market brand that claims its products offer unique parent-friendly features using the highest quality materials – promising products that are safe, stylish and affordable.
The Versatrax is their latest pushchair, costs £300 and is a hard-working multitasker. Described as a 4-in-1 system, it can be used with a carrycot, infant carrier and forward or rearward-facing seat.
Similar products in the same price bracket include the Billie Faiers MB400 Bronze and Sage Melange Pushchair, £299.99 , Baby Elegance Venti 2-in-1 Pushchair by Rosie C in Grey, £319.99 and the CBX Leotie Lux Pushchair & Carry Cot, £349.99.
Laura Higgins is a mum to 2 children – Ross, aged 3, and 5-week-old Skylar. She tested the Joie Versatrax in a busy town centre, on bumpy, uneven pavements.
What were your first impressions of the Joie Versatrax?
I was surprised at how lightweight the Versatrax felt with the carrycot on. This is great for lifting the buggy in and out of the boot but made me think that it might not be very sturdy – particularly on uneven pavements.
What age range is the Versatrax pushchair suitable for?
The pushchair is suitable from birth up to 22kg, which Joie says is about 4 years old, while the carrycot is suitable from birth to 9kg.
I tried my 3-year-old in the seat to get an idea if this was right (he’s just over 13kg) and it was very snug. I would say the Versatrax wouldn’t be suitable up to the age or weight it claims to be.
What do you think of the carrycot?
The Versatrax’s carrycot was spacious, but not so large that a newborn would be lost in there. It fitted easily onto the chassis using the included adaptors. My baby seemed very comfortable in there – it’s very cushioned, but the lining was not very soft and didn’t feel very breathable so I used it with a sheet. It’s not suitable for prolonged periods of sleeping, so couldn’t be used as an overnight travel cot.
The mattress pad can be cleaned with a damp cloth, and the liner can be hand-washed and drip-dried. Being machine washable would have been handy, but then I used it with a sheet so it didn’t really need more than a hand-wash anyway.
The carrycot’s handle was on the hood, the same one used for pulling the hood into position, but a central bar would have made lifting the cot a bit more balanced.
There’s also a handy little pocket inside the carrycot, which is perfect for your phone or keys but is not something I’ve come across before!
What do you think of the Versatrax seat unit?
The seat was just as easy to attach as the carrycot and could be forward or parent-facing. The parts that were removable could be machine washed – really handy for when older children spill drinks or have an accident when potty training. It was lovely and padded and the leg rest was adjustable to make it more comfortable as children get older.
My only reservation with the Versatrax seat is that it didn’t come with a footmuff, which for me is an essential in colder weather, especially if you are using the seat attachment with a small baby.
The Versatrax seat unit is actually suitable from birth in the most reclined position, although I would be reluctant to use it with a newborn baby. My baby seemed a little lost in there, and if we were out for a long period of time I would prefer her to be in the carrycot, where she is more enclosed and cosy, and does not have to be strapped in.
Does the Versatrax seat recline?
Yes – the seat reclined and clicked into place easily, with a pull lever at the top of the seat.
Is the seat reversible?
The Versatrax seat is reversible so you can have it parent-facing or forward-facing. It’s very simple to change – you simply use the side clips to lift it out and pop it back in the other way round.
What did you think of the Versatrax seat harness?
I loved the padded straps which I think would have made being strapped in more comfortable.
With other buggies I have tried, the buckle can sometimes be a bit stiff, but this clipped in and out really easily. Also, you can adjust the harness with one hand – a helpful touch if you are trying to convince an older child to sit still while you strap them in!
How easy is it to manoeuvre the Joie Versatrax around town?
This was so smooth to manoeuvre around town. I didn’t feel like it was cumbersome when walking through a busy town centre (as some buggies can be) and the wheels allowed me to move it swiftly when needed.
How does the Versatrax pushchair ride on challenging surfaces?
I used this buggy on uneven pavements and it still manoeuvred very well without being too bumpy for my baby, and it felt pretty sturdy when going up and down kerbs.
I also found the Versatrax fairly easy to get in and out of the house, with both the seat and carrycot, thanks to the locking front wheels.
What do you think of the wheels?
I found that the Versatrax wheels handled well on bumpy, uneven surfaces and going up and down kerbs, thanks to the rubber outside and foam-filled inside. They seemed really durable.
Is the brake easy to use?
The brake on the Versatrax is a pedal that you simply press up or down with your foot. It wasn’t too stiff and was very convenient to apply as it’s to the side and not obstructed by anything.
How is interacting with your child when in the Versatrax buggy?
It was easier to interact with my child when using the seat, compared to the carrycot where she was obscured somewhat by the apron. I didn’t actually see this as a disadvantage, as I liked that she was protected in the Versatrax carrycot rather than exposed in the seat.
If she was slightly older then I would prefer to be able to interact with her more than I could in the carrycot, but then she would probably be in the seat at that point anyway.
How sturdy is the Versatrax pushchair?
The pushchair felt sturdy enough, which was surprising considering that it was quite lightweight compared to others I have tried.
However, after just a few trips out the Versatrax chassis had started to scuff. Although this wouldn’t impact on how well it functions, it might just look a little tatty if you decided to keep it for a second child, for example.
How much does the Versatrax weigh in each mode?
The Versatrax weighs just 11.7kg with the seat on, making it easy to manoeuvre and lift. The carrycot is only 2.97kg so it’s actually even lighter when used in this mode.
How easy is the Joie Versatrax to lift?
When used with the carrycot it was very light, as you need to take the cot off of the chassis to fold it. The carrycot itself is extremely light, and without anything attached the chassis is easy to lift into the boot of a car.
However, with the seat unit on it was a different matter – it was manageable, but considerably heavier. And there isn’t a clip or anything to hold the chassis closed when folded, so that – combined with the weight – made getting the Versatrax in and out of the boot tricky.
How does the Versatrax pushchair fold?
The Versatrax claims to fold in a flash using just one hand, which I should imagine is one of its main selling points.
- The seat doesn’t need to be removed, regardless of which way it is facing, you just use one hand to fold this in half, then use the central strap to fold it down completely
- However, there is a knack to it. In theory you simply lift the chassis by the strap in the centre and it will collapse. In practice, you need to give it a bit of a yank to release the lock, and a couple of times I did have to resort to using my other hand to press the clips in to release it
- The one-handed fold is actually easier to do when the seat is attached, perhaps the extra weight of the seat helps the clips to unlock
- The strap can then be used to carry the chassis, or it can be stored freestanding
Unfolding it is easy and can be done with one hand, you just pull up the push bar. When being used with the carrycot, this does need to be removed first.
What did you think of the hood on the Versatrax?
The hood on the carrycot can be pulled into 2 different positions and clicks into place. It needs a little bit of a tug on the handle to get it to click into the highest position. To push the hood back down, there are 2 buttons on either side that you press to release, but these are also a little bit stiff to use.
The hood on the Versatrax seat can be unzipped to provide extended coverage and did fold down quite far.
How compact is the buggy when unfolded and folded?
I was happy with how compact the Versatrax was when folded down, even with the seat attached. It was easy to fit into the boot of the car and store in the hallway at home.
What do you think of the shopping basket?
I was very impressed with the Versatrax’s basket. If you use the buggy for running errands, shopping or even days out, you’ll quickly realise how valuable a large, sturdy basket is.
This one held about 4 bags of shopping and was still easily accessible with both the seat and carrycot on – a problem I have encountered with other buggies. It also has a handy zip-up pocket for keeping essentials or valuables safe and close to hand.
What do you think of the Versatrax rain cover?
The rain covers for both the carrycot and seat covered the units completely and were quick and easy to pull on – perfect when I was caught off-guard by a sudden downpour!
How did you find using the Versatrax buggy on public transport?
I used the pushchair with the seat attachment on a bus and found it easy to get on and off with, and to fit into the space available. If I had needed to fold it down, the one-handed fold function would have come in handy. I think perhaps with the carrycot attached the journey wouldn’t have been quite as easy.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
I have an average-sized boot and the Versatrax chassis with the seat on fitted in nicely, with space for a bag or two to spare. With the carrycot, the fit was snug and it did push the parcel shelf up slightly.
What’s in the box?
- The Versatrax chassis
- Rain cover
- Cup holder
- Adaptors to use with the carrycot and car seat, both of which are sold separately.
Is it easy to assemble?
The Versatrax instruction booklet initially looked a bit tricky, as you had to keep referring back to images on previous pages. However, it was pretty self-explanatory to assemble and the images were clear to understand so it only took about 15 minutes to build.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the Joie Versatrax?
I would have liked to know that the seat attachment doesn’t have a foot cosy. When buying a stroller for an older child I wouldn’t have expected one, but with a push chair for a baby I would have just assumed that there was one included.
Is the Versatrax a stylish pushchair?
I would say that it’s a pretty stylish pushchair, and it looks modern with its woven fabric and faux leather handle. I liked the colour, Laurel, which I would describe as a sage-tinted grey. It is also available in a light grey (Grey Flannel), a dark grey (Pavement) and a navy blue (Deep Sea).
Who would the Joie Versatrax be most useful for?
This is a good buy for someone who wants to use a pushchair around town, with a baby or a smaller child.
Is the Versatrax value for money?
Given that some similar products are in the same price bracket as a second-hand car, I think that the Versatrax is very reasonably priced. I did feel that the quality wasn’t as good as some of the pricier models I have tried, but the quality of the materials didn’t prevent it from doing the job well. Certainly good value for money.
Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras?
The Ramble XL carrycot is sold separately (£99.99 on Amazon), but the seat is suitable from birth so it’s not an essential and comes down to what you would prefer for your newborn. The Versatrax is also compatible with 3 Joie infant car seats – the i-Level, the i-Gemm and the Gemm, all sold separately.
Where can I buy the Joie Versatrax?
I would recommend the Joie Versatrax for someone who is looking for a reasonably priced pushchair to take their child from being a baby into a toddler. I was happy with how it functioned, although there were a few things that could have made it even better.
However, if you’re looking for something to last you several years, and perhaps to be used for a second child, I’m not sure it would still look as smart second time round.
For more feedback on the Joie Versatrax, see our parent testers’ comments in the latest MadeForMums product test.
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Dimensions & Weight
|Dimensions||H:92cm W:65.5cm L:112cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:86cm W:65.5cm L:36cm|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 5 years – approx|
|Child weight||Up to 22kg|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats||
Joie infant carriers gemm™, i-Gemm™, i-Level™, and i-Snug™ with the included adapters or with other
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing, parent facing and parent facing (with carrycot/car seat)|
|Front wheels||Four-wheel suspension|
|Tyre type||Sweet Stride™ single front swivel wheels|