As the launch of this Stroller buggy approached, it quickly became the most talked-about pushchair on the planet.
Designed by GB (an amalgamation of brands GoodBaby and Cybex) it has won a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s “smallest commercially available folded pram”.
Mothercare has cornered its distribution in the UK’s markets and sell the stroller in store and online – and at £120 you do feel like you’re getting something very special for the same as you might shell out for a decent umbrella pram.
Unpacking the Mothercare XSS Stroller
It’s hard for me to explain to you how excited I was about getting my hands on this buggy, and when it arrived in its little cardboard box I could hardly contain myself.
The buggy was folded to its smallest size for transportation (that’s 34 x 14 x 32cm) and it arrived safely hidden away in its carry bag. There was only one first impression possible: wow, it’s tiny!
How is assembling the Mothercare XSS Stroller?
No assembly required! We were good to go within seconds of opening the box – hurrah! Well – I say good to go, it took over an hour to leave the house as I felt compelled to put it up and down a good 30 times with a ‘hey presto’ flourish. You know, just testing.
How does it compare to other compact buggies?
It is the lightest on the market due to its minuscule folded-up measurements mentioned above.
And it weighs a tiny 3.9kg thanks to its super lightweight construction, featherweight fabrics and no-frills design.
The carry bag is made of reinforced shopper-style nylon, so that adds just a few grams.
It’s true, there have been a couple of ultra-compact buggy launches before, although none are easy to find on the high street.
The Babyzen Yoyo 6+ is a worthy predecessor, weighing 5.6kg with a compact fold, although (at 52 x 44 x 18cm) it’s bigger and significantly more expensive at £369.
The Mountainbuggy Nano fits in a carry bag (but watch out for the muddy wheels which remain on show). At £249 it’s a comfy option but won’t fit in most airline overhead lockers.
The Aussie-made Quicksmart Backpack Stroller (£122) and still-in-development crowdfunded Omnio Rider (p£349) are the closest comparisons here.
How does it push when out and about?
The XSS (Extra Small Stroller) has taken what we can all imagine is a great concept in pushchair design – and made it work on a real-life, practical level.
I’m going to go on and mention some shortfalls – but don’t let that overshadow the fact that this buggy has given me a freedom while out and about that I have not had with any other pushchair.
I took the buggy on the train without the pit-of-the-stomach worry of what to do with the chassis if the luggage space was full.
We went to the circus and I popped the buggy in its bag under my seat in the big top – no need to worry if it was secure, while other kids’ transport was left at risk in the foyer.
And the biggest thing is that my starting-to-toddle son can explore outside for as long as he wants to – then I can pop him in the buggy to run a few errands before going back home. Money can’t buy that!
Saying that (shortfalls coming up) when I started using the buggy I felt quite nervous as the handles wobbled a bit where it hinges and it didn’t feel completely sturdy.
However my confidence grew the more I used it, and I began to trust it to withstand the rigours of city life.
There’s not much in the way of suspension for the baby, so cobblestones and tree roots are probably best avoided, but it is intuitive to use and takes corners with ease thanks to its lockable swivel front wheels.
It was fun to take out and about and negotiated pavements and crossings easily. I also can’t tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity to pick it up and climb a set of stairs.
How does it fold?
The XXS stroller has two folding options; both require a sort of shake-it-off flourish of (both) hands to magic it open – just like that. Watch the jaws of onlookers drop!
But it’s important to stress you should always take an extra moment to ensure the frame locks in place upon opening; after a while it does become second nature. I have had both this model and the GB Pockit fold in on itself more than once as my toddler climbed in.
I got the quickest configuration, which leaves a longer, wheels-out silhouette, down to about 17 seconds overnight (all that practice), and it does still fit in the travel bag at this size.
The smallest fold, suitable for popping under your seat in restaurants or in the overhead lockers on flights, requires the user to fold the back wheels in on the frame (mind you don’t nip your fingers!) before the main concertina fold kicks in.
This takes a few more seconds to get right but is still ridiculously quick in the big scheme of things.
One thing I would say, is that tucking in the pram’s plastic foot strap, and popping on the latch that keeps everything in place in transit, takes as long as the fold itself and does take both hands since it is fiddly.
But I think that will get easier with time once the newness of the buggy wears off.
Just as well – in those few seconds my son tries to make a run for it, even with a reins-style backpack attached. I learnt to unfold it in shop doors and side streets to keep him safer. But you know, it’s not the buggy’s fault my son won’t stand still for 20 seconds!
How easy is it to carry the buggy in the bag?
It is as easy as carrying a large handbag or canvas tote over your shoulder.
We walk round the woods happily and when he’s tired I’m able to easily carry him up in my arms while the buggy’s still over my shoulder.
In fact if you’re used to humphing bags around, you’ll probably completely forget you’re carrying it at all.
I found the bag was roomy enough to also accommodate a couple of essentials as well as the buggy, and the size and design of it wasn’t obtrusive (i.e., it didn’t hit off my shins, or slide off, or any of that palaver).
It will need a regular wash though (as will the buggy’s removable seat fabric) because those wheels are filthy!
Is it a suitable shopper?
This isn’t the right buggy to take on shopping trips. The shopping basket is smaller than average, advertised as able to accommodate a 2kg load, and don’t forget you’ll have to unload it completely if you want to fold it.
As someone who is accustomed to shoving five bags of shopping below, this was a culture shock! It’s also worth noting that if you’re often guilty of hooking your shopping basket over the handles in store (tsk!) or hanging your carriers over the back on the way home, you will not be able to do this with the Mothercare XSS stroller.
This isn’t me saying you will not be able to do this, but you do it anyway; seriously, the buggy will twist and/or tip with anything weighing much more than a packet of loo rolls.
However, you can find a way around it. My son and I toddle to the shops hand-in-hand with the buggy safely transported in a large daypack I had kicking about.
At the shops, I pop my son in the buggy – and the groceries go in the daypack when we’re homeward bound (the supplied buggy carry bag work is also strong enough and does the job almost as well).
Is the buggy comfy?
First and foremost, my 20-month-old son has made no complaints so far and looks as happy as Larry as he’s wheeled around, and his opinion counts.
I have some reservations, however. The buggy’s back and seat is really more of a reinforced fabric sling than an upholstered chair, although I do suspect it is more comfy than it looks.
With his winter clothes on, Ru did look pretty cramped, as the seat is narrow. Although there’s a handy sunshade (you just flick it forward and back, and it works well), there is nothing to shield him from the wind, or keep out the rain so the kids are pretty exposed.
I did try using a very lightweight rain cover (shh, it was from the 99p shop, don’t tell anyone) to keep him dry. Even though it was by far the flimsiest rain option out there, the sunshade sagged a bit under its weight… hmm.
It seems Mothercare in fact advise users not to use a rain cover at all with this buggy (I imagine the fear would be the plastic could sag too close to the child’s face). That’s all very well but have they advised the skies not to rain?
In addition, it proved tricky to use the buggy with a universal liner and footmuff since fitting it requires the very fiddly undoing of the three point safety harness straps each time.
He ended up in a snowsuit to ward off the chills, which was absolutely fine for occasional use but would not be practical for an everyday buggy.
Fabulous for sunny climes…but let’s remember these are British shores!
What age is it suitable for?
From age 6 months to 15kg (approx three years), however I’m going to say it would be a six-month-old with good core strength and a smallish three-year-old.
What about seat positions?
There is no recline or lie flat option, so it’s not suitable for newborns or toddlers who won’t sleep sitting up.
What’s in the box?
The buggy (already assembled)
The carry bag
Any additional extras?
No, and it’s not easy to add generic versions.
I love this buggy. I wouldn’t use it everyday, but it is a real hero product for frequent travellers, or anyone with a child who is just entering the exploring stage.
It’s a godsend to be able to whisk a buggy from nowhere when out and about with a toddler who’s come over suddenly sleepy, or make the same buggy disappear when you have nowhere to park it at events or on the bus.
It has made going on city adventures so much simpler. If you think you’ll go on one plane trip a year, buy this: you are ready for adventure.
The Mothercare XSS doesn’t do everything, by any means. But it is uniquely talented; what it does do, it does amazingly well.
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Child age (approx)
6 months to 3 years
Up to 15kg
Dimensions & Weight
H:99cm W:44cm L:75cm
H:34cm W:14cm L:32cm
Seat facing direction
Can fit into an air-plane's overhead compartment or store under a seat on public transport
Comes with it's own carry bag for easy transportation and 5 point safety harness with padded covers