Key features of the Maxi-Cosi Laika
Age suitability: From birth (with purchase of the Laika soft carrycot) to 15kg (approx 3 years)
Type of buggy: Compact stroller
Fold: One-handed compact fold
Travel system compatible: Yes, with a variety of Maxi-Cosi infant car seats
I imagine that nearly every parent in the UK has heard of Maxi-Cosi. However, the brand is mainly known for its super popular car seats. It also offers a range of pushchairs, with models to suit most requirements. The new Laika is aimed at the increasingly popular and crowded compact pushchair market.
The Laika sits about in the middle – price-wise – when it comes to ultra compact strollers. With an RRP of £249, it is cheaper than the Babyzen Yoyo (£369), or UPPAbaby’s new Minu (£450), but also more expensive than many. The Joie Pact, for example, has an RRP of £150 (although it is not quite as versatile as the Laika), and the GB Pockit+ retails at £180 (some might argue, it doesn’t provide quite the plush comfort as the Laika does). Interestingly, like the Yoyo and the Minu, the Laika offers the option of adding a travel cot or infant car seat, making it useable from birth, and potentially the only pushchair you will need.
Maxi-Cosi makes much of the Laika’s city living credentials. It is not necessarily just a holiday compact, but rather aims to make city life more straight forward: improved comfort for your child, while promising a compact buggy that allows you to navigate transport and eateries with ease.
You can buy the Maxi-Cosi Laika from John Lewis, Mothercare and Amazon
What were your first impressions of the Maxi-Cosi Laika?
My initial impressions were good, as the Laika arrived in a relatively small box and required no construction. It looks reserved but stylish and it is easy to get to grips with how it all works. It feels very compact.
How does the Laika compare to other compact strollers you have tried?
We have used the Babyzen Yoyo (see below, on the left) for many years, so it was our main benchmark to compare the Laika to. Admittedly, the Laika is more than £100 cheaper than the Yoyo, which is quite significant, but the price difference does show in some key areas. For example, it feels less sturdy and handles less smoothly.
How compact and lightweight is the Maxi-Cosi Laika stroller?
The Laika is very compact at only 66x47x27cm when folded, which makes it easy to fit in the boot of most cars and in a hall cupboard. When placed side-by-side with the Babyzen Yoyo, however, the Laika feels almost bulky and unruly. Unfortunately, it isn’t small enough to be considered hand luggage on planes.
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Although a light pushchair at only 7.45kg, it is quite a bit heavier than many of its competitors – some of which weigh in at under 6.5 kg. You especially notice this extra weight when carrying the pushchair with the very useful shoulder strap. This weight difference is made all the more noticeable by the lack of padding on the shoulder strap, meaning it can quickly start to dig into your shoulder when carrying it for any real distance.
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How is the Laika’s fold?
The easy, one-handed fold is the Laika’s strongest selling point. My husband likes to try and work out how to fold and unfold a pushchair without resorting to the instructions. Well, there was no sport here, as it was almost instantly obvious that it was a simple matter of pushing a button and squeezing a handle. This is so quick and simple that it’s a godsend when you have a baby in one hand and are trying to get the pushchair in the back of the car with the other. My only negative feedback about the folding mechanism is the clip that keeps the folded buggy in place. It takes quite a lot of force to clip in, so it takes a conscious effort to ensure it has engaged.
The easiest to fold buggies
Does the Laika fit in the boot of your car?
While not as compact as many of its rivals, once folded the Laika fits easily in the boot of a car, in the corner on public transport or in a restaurant. The stress reduction provided by a compact buggy in these situations makes me feel they should be part of every parent’s arsenal.
How easy is the Laika to push and manoeuvre?
The Laika is a very easy to push and manoeuvre, but it feels a little rickety with a little too much play in the joints after a very short period of use. It also feels like there is not much suspension. This led to a bumpier ride on less than perfectly smooth surfaces, but was by no means terrible. The small wheels mean that mounting a curb takes a forceful push down on the handle. This is a simple task with the lightweight Laika. However, the slackness which developed in the joints of the handle made me wince slightly whenever I had to do this. The handle is otherwise comfortable and the pushchair is easy to steer single-handed. The handle is fixed at a good height for a range of different statures.
Tell us about the seat – it claims to be one of the most comfortable compacts, would you agree?
Indeed. Another strong suit of the Laika is the seat, which is quite wide for a compact pushchair and seems comfy and well padded. The harness is easy to adjust with three different heights and is self explanatory. The seat’s reclining position is adjusted by a strap and buckle system which is quick and simple, but does require two hands to operate. When this is unclipped the seat lies flat which is great for naps.
In addition to the near-flat seat, there is also an adjustable leg support which adds to the comfort and flexibility of the seat. The Laika is suitable from birth to 15kg. This is approximately the weight of a 3-year-old, but I feel that larger 3-year-olds would struggle, as my little one looks quite long in the seat and has limited neck support.
How did you rate the hood?
The integrated sun canopy on the Laika feels sturdy and the fabric feels premium. It has a zip which allows you to extend it further, which we left unzipped all the time. There is no window in the hood for checking on your passenger, but the dimensions of the pushchair make it easy to crane your head around for a quick check.
How do you engage the brakes – do they work well?
The brakes are operated by a simple foot pedal on the rear axle – pretty standard, but they feel secure.
What’s in the box?
- Assembled pushchair
Any additional accessories available?
- Laika Soft Carrycot (£90)
- Modern Bag (£59)
- Parasol (£29)
- General Footmuff (£50)
- 2-in-1 Winter Footmuff (£65)
- Baby Cocoon (£49)
- Variety of Maxi-Cosi infant car seats
Is the Laika travel system compatible?
The Laika is compatible with travel systems via seat adapters which are available separately. We did not receive these for review so cannot comment from first-hand experience. I have however checked out the excellent videos on the Maxi-Cosi YouTube channel. From the video it appears that in order to use the travel system you need to remove the hood from the pushchair. This seems far from ideal.
How is the basket?
For a not so compact, compact pushchair, I found the basket to be a disappointment. It’s large enough to stick a few small items in, but you won’t be fitting much shopping or a change bag down there.
The Laika is a nifty little buggy with a fantastic fold, however its lack of robustness and heavier weight compared to competitors let it down. Nonetheless, we liked its versatility and it is definitely a good one to add in the mix, when hunting for a compact stroller. It is designed for city living and will help any parent short on space, or out and about a lot. A truly easy one-handed fold is worth a lot in busy city life!
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