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Key features of the Silver Cross Reflex stroller
- Age suitability: birth to 25kg (around 5 years)
- Type of buggy: Travel system
- Weight: 8.5kg
- Fold: Not a one-hand fold but very simple to use
- Travel system compatible: Yes
- Total cost: £250
In the world of buggies, the new Reflex pushchair, by trusted Brit-brand Silver Cross, is a revolutionary invention: a compact umbrella-fold stroller that also converts into a rearward-facing pram and travel system (compatible with Silver Cross’s Simplicity car seat).
Silver Cross is a quality heritage company dating back to 1877 with the Royal seal of approval. No wonder Kate Middleton was spotted pushing Prince George in one of its classic designs.
Today it still sells old-style ‘nanny’ prams as well as a raft of modern designs including its popular Wayfarer travel system and the award-winning lightweight Pop (cheaper than the Reflex, at £140).
The new all-singing, all-dancing Reflex is a great idea in theory – but how does it operate in practice?
Out of the box:
The pieces easily slotted into place, then the Reflex was ready to unfold. Next I attached the hood, which has clips that slide onto a bracket on the chassis.
You have to give it a good nudge to make sure it’s fully engaged (if it isn’t, I found that the hood will quickly fall out of place). Then I was ready to go.
How comfortable is the Silver Cross Reflex for baby?
The Reflex is pretty slimline at 61cm wide, a major plus in my book as I have a skinny hallway. However, despite its modest proportions it seems fairly roomy inside, and Autumn looked like she had plenty of space to grow on every side of her.
The seat feels more spacious than on my Maclaren XT (which is 49cm wide). Autumn quickly looked very comfortable, thanks to the quilted liner, and snoozed in this buggy happily.
One big plus: I really liked how easy it is to raise and lower the ergonomic backrest. Simply push the slider mechanism on the backrest and voila, it goes down, right to completely flat, which means, even as a pushchair, it can be used right from birth.
To raise, you simply lift the seat to your desired position and it locks. I found the seat simple to adjust with baby in situ too. You do have to remember to raise the back before folding though – which I absent-mindedly forgot a couple of times.
I personally love that you can choose multiple positions, ideal for a baby of Autumn’s age, who wants different options at different times, but isn’t ready to sit bolt upright.
The slider’s accessible position behind the seat also meant I didn’t have to bend down to floor level to adjust position, which can be tiresome, not to mention hard on the knees.
The designers of the Reflex have also included a multi-position calf support, which is instinctive to use and offers versatility for different ages.
I can see how handy this will be as Autumn grows bigger. It’s ideal for older toddlers with dangly longer legs, but means they can still comfortably stretch out when they nap.
What was the harness like?
The Reflex has a five-point harness which kept Autumn nice and secure. It’s reasonably easy to use, however, it felt a teeny bit ‘plasticky’ to use. You also need to insert four quarters into the central mechanism, lining up two pieces on each side to engage.
I have to confess, I found doing this quickly while Autumn was screaming something of a trial at first, and I found myself lightly sweating on several occasions. I also found this design meant the harness pads kept slipping out of place. The release button is fine though.
I really loved the Reflex rain cover – this folds down to a small package, is made of nice smooth plastic, with a black lower half, attached easily with studs and is elasticated at the bottom for a fast fit. I attached it in a flash when I encountered an unexpected shower – result.
Did it keep baby’s back cool?
One smart design feature on the Reflex is that the seat back and frame are separated, keeping little ones comfier as well as cooler on hot days, as air can stream freely behind the seat.
Certainly Autumn never seemed sweaty, even on the balmiest of the spring days that I wheeled her out on.
I also checked her back and neck after a long sleep under the muff in her cardie and hat: again nice and cool.
And the hood and padded apron?
I was particularly impressed by the absolutely huge size of the hood on the Reflex – not only is it UPF 50+ for sun protection, it unzips easily to sit further forward on sunny, windy or drizzly days. This was great as my baby can’t bear the sun or wind in her eyes.
In fact, it comes so far forward that it created a little dark ‘tent’ that helped Autumn sleep on bright days.
I also found myself constantly peeking through the handy clear window in the hood (located under a flap) to see how she was getting on.
I was particularly impressed by the padded apron, which has a luxurious look and feel. Foot muffs are sometimes an extra cost, but here it’s included in the basic price. It was quick to attach using press studs, looked and felt great and kept Autumn incredibly snuggly.
The downside – no zip to increase the top opening, which can make it trickier to use when slotting baby in place; it often ended up dragging along the floor as I undid one stud and wrestled Autumn into place.
Using with older chidren
The Reflex can accommodate children up to weight 25kg or 55lbs. I tested it out with a friend’s little girl, aged 4.
Even though she’s at the older end of the pushchair’s spectrum and fairly tall, the Reflex still felt surprisingly easy to steer and not too heavy.
She said she felt comfy, and looked secure. Here the calf support came into its own; I adjusted it into a more ‘bent’ position and her feet rested happily on the foot strap. I’d have no problem using this buggy with an older child.
Super-duper LCD lights
It also features a quirky design detail – twin LED safety lights to improve your visibility in the dark, the equivalent of a cyclist’s night-light.
These round attachments on each side of the buggy’s frame (at driver’s height) come on when you press the central button for four seconds, and apparently have up to 72 hours life in them.
Having the lights at the side rather than in front seems to make sense as this is what a car would see first when you cross a road – I often have a terrible fear about pushing my buggy out into the road at busy junctions.
OK, I admit it, I felt a bit silly walking down the street with these gizmos flashing (you can also choose to have them on constantly) and encountered a few bemused stares. They do seem a little gimmicky.
Would they help you be safer at night than common-or-garden reflective piping though? Possibly, especially if you live somewhere where you’ve crossing lots of busy roads late.
Let’s face it, half the year many of us are wheeling our babies round in the dark. Any innovation that helps our babies to be safer is a good thing so perhaps we’ll all have them soon.
How was storage?
The grocery basket is a little tricky to access when the seat is flat, but elasticated side panels improve access at the side. Yes, it’s on the small side, but in line with similar models. I managed to squeeze a small supermarket shop in (my gooseberry pie got squashed though…!).
There’s also a handy – and fairly roomy – Velcroed pocket at the back which I used to stash some baby wipes and a muslin to catch dribbles.
I also found it a quick place to stash a bottle of drink or croissant when my hands were full and I didn’t have time to start packing things away in my bag.
Is the Silver Cross Reflex easy to push?
Yes, this is a lightweight buggy, so while it’s a doddle to push, inevitably the ride and steering isn’t as smooth as for bigger, heavier three-wheelers or those with larger all-terrain wheels. You do notice the bumps as you push, and so presumably did Autumn.
However, I didn’t find it too jittery wheeling Autumn across a variety of surfaces including smoother pavements and shop floors, bumpier tarmac and the undulating grass and paths in my local park. It was also easy navigating the narrow aisles of my local supermarket.
Autumn certainly looked reasonably comfy. You can also lock the front wheels – just press the grey clips on each wheel with your foot. This was quick and easy to do on the Reflex (not so on some buggies I’ve tried), and I found it smoothed out a few of the bumps over the green.
I also found it mounted kerbs with ease and grace, and without disturbing Autumn’s naps, tipping her too far forward or breaking my back or wrists. I successfully navigated tight corners and bends with no fuss.
It passed the public transport test, too. I used the Reflex on the London Underground, which can be daunting with a baby at the best of times.
As with mounting kerbs, it was easy to tip up into the Tube train carriage, and as it’s fairly compact, I didn’t feel I was taking up too much carriage space.
A kindly fellow passenger helped me lower it onto the platorm again, but the Reflex is small and light enough that you could potentially lift the whole thing down yourself.
Its modest weight also meant I didn’t feel too stressed taking it on the escalators; anyone who has ever stood behind a buggy holding it in place, going either up or downwards, knows it can feel a little precarious, but the Reflex felt both light enough to manage, but not so flimsy that your baby isn’t well protected.
I also liked the fact you can adjust the handlebars: I’m a shortish 5ft 4 so high handles give me arm ache. The bars were easy to slide up and down, using release buttons.
However, while the handlebars have a softish rubbery underside I found the harder front a little harsh and unforgiving on my fingers, wrist and hands after a longer period of pushing.
What were the brakes like?
The Reflex brakes are easy and instinctive to use – just press one of the red pedals, located by the rear wheels on the the left and right (both wheels will lock, as the brakes are connected by a bar).
Raise the catch back up with your foot on either side to release them. (One neat feature of the Reflex is that some key controls are red, meaning they’re easy to find fast.)
How do you fold the Silver Cross Reflex?
Another major plus for me – the Reflex is a doddle to fold once you have the knack, and can be done in seconds. I used it on the hectic school run, when I’m inevitably late and need to get going fast, and the Reflex measured up really well.
To fold, raise the rear locking catch, sandwiched between the rear wheels, with your toes (I tried this in soft slippers too, and it was fine), then press a side red clip down at the same level, and down it goes (just push the handlebars floorwards).
Two clips on each side hold the folded buggy securely in place. A quibble here for me though. The two clips meant I couldn’t unfold this buggy one-handed (some buggies in this style have one clip).
Having to bend right down to loosen both clips felt a bit of a hassle, especially with Autumn tucked under one arm.
The bumper bar is great – it easily slots into the front, offering extra protection and a place for little hands to grip.
Plus it meant I could attach Autumn’s favourite toys, not always possible for this buggy style, resulting in many a lost teddy. You can also fold the Reflex with no need to remove the bar, which is fab
Was it portable?
The carry handle on the side means you can easily carry this buggy around. I’m first to admit I’m a total weakling, but I found this buggy, at 8.5kg, light and portable.
Some comparable models like the Maclaren XT are lighter (6.8kg), but this weight still felt manageable to me. Folded, it also fitted into our smallish car boot no problem – thumbs ups all round. (You can’t stand it up on its end though, but that’s umbrella folds for you.)
Is the Silver Cross Reflex suitable for a newborn?
While the Reflex can be used from birth (as the seat goes completely flat), the truth is many mums would rather see their new babies – and their babies would much rather see them, not the patch of pavement in front.
Even though Autumn is getting more curious, she still really only has eyes for mummy. So next I tried the Reflex accessory pack, which converts the Reflex into a rear-facing pram.
Everything you need comes in a clear plastic carry bag containing a separate hood, the baby nest, an apron and harness pads. First you connect the hood, then zip on the apron (this took a short while for me to figure out the right way up), and attach the nest itself. I did have a few niggles assembling this.
The nest felt slightly fiddly to attach to the chassis. This was the only time I found the instruction manual confusing, and I split a nail in the process of trying to attach the nest’s tabs to the studs on the chassis.
Another minor niggle: the press studs on the Reflex generally have to be pressed quite hard, though I understand it’s probably to stop little hands meddling and keep things secure. The nest itself is made of lovely soft cream quilted bamboo jersey padding, which would suit a sleepy newborn perfectly, and curves cosily around the head.
Autumn certainly looked very comfy and secure, with the Reflex original padded apron also attached to keep her warm. She definitely enjoyed being able to face rearwards and see mummy again while out and about – and I really enjoyed being able to see her.
She inevitably seemed a bit lower down than in some prams, but personally I didn’t find that a huge problem as we could still make eye contact easily.
Undone, I found the harness kept slipping out of the nest’s equally soft harness pads and I had to keep reattaching – slightly irritating.
The nest harness feels a tad cheap and fiddly too. Perhaps the main drawback for me is that the hood is quite small. On one occasion I had to return to the house and switch buggies as the sun was shining in Autumn’s eyes and she was crying.
However, it would be churlish to complain about any of this too much, £75 seems like a smallish price to pay for such an ingenious idea that extends the life of your buggy – and it really is very cosy.
The baby nest is perfectly serviceable for what, ultimately, is quite a brief period in your baby’s life.
Is the Silver Cross Reflex travel system compatible?
Yes, it is! I also tried out the Reflex with the Isofix-compatible Simplicity car seat, which was very easy to use and also creates a rear-facing buggy.
To attach I first made sure the buggy backrest was fully flat, then inserted my smart car seat adaptors into the same slots used for the bumper bar, waiting for the ‘click’.
I then put the car seat on top, ensuring it locked into place. A little padded apron for extra warmth easily attached on top with elastic loops. Autumn seemed pretty happy with this arrangement as it enabled her to face mummy again, but at a higher level – around my mid-thigh height.
The travel system element means the Reflex is perfect for that early stage when your newborn is sleeping in the car and you don’t want to wake her in transition. I felt very stable wheeling her about, the extra weight of the seat if anything making the buggy feel sturdier and she looked smart and happy.
However, at first I didn’t find the Simplicity seat massively easy to lift off, and it took me a while to master the little buttons on each side that release the seat – a little stressful at first, but I eventually got the knack.
Also, at the moment, the Reflex only works with the Simplicity, a potential drawback, but other adaptors could potentially become available. (I can also imagine mislaying these little adaptors so I made sure to keep them in a safe place!)
How easy is it to clean the Silver Cross Reflex?
It comes with a smart matching padded seat liner, which adds extra comfort and protects the seat from spills, plus squidgy harness pads.
You can hand wash these if they get grubby. (In fact, after a few days of using the buggy, I realised that one of the other colours might have been more practical; Sand is a creamy beige that shows dirty fairly easily)
What do you think of the the pushchair style?
The Reflex is pleasingly chic for this type of functional, everyday pushchair. It comes in a choice of cool colours – I was tempted by the funky purple and zingy lime, but chose Sand, a modern neutral that’s more interesting than black.
Is the Silver Cross Reflex value for money?
I know countless mums who bought expensive bulky prams or travel systems to use with their tiny newborns only to wind up a year down the line, forking out for a Maclaren or similar compact lightweight umbrella-fold.
In the long run, the Reflex could potentially save £100s of pounds – plus alot of storage space and time spent shopping.
There are, of course, cheaper lightweight pushchairs out there, but they generally feel cheaper or are suitable only for light use.
The Reflex felt sturdy and good quality enough to be used as a hard-working day-to-day buggy; time will tell how it bears up over a longer period.
I’d happily take it on holiday and use it in all manner of weather conditions (except mud or snow). The cool colours and padded apron and seat pads give it a more luxurious feel and modern metropolitan look, too: I felt proud wheeling my Reflex around town. However, for me it was let down slightly by the harness.
I’m a long-standing user of a Maclaren Techno XT and many of the features on the Reflex are comparable – the fold, multiple seat positions, the basket and so on. Maclaren may be kings in this market, but the Reflex is a solid alternative.
In the box
- Pushchair chassis
- Rain cover
- Padded seat liner
- Shoulder pads
- Harness pads
- Padded apron
- Car seat adapters
- Two front wheels
- Baby nest accessory pack £75
- Simplicity car seat £130
- Simplicity Isofix car seat base £125
The Silver Cross Reflex is compact, relatively affordable and, most crucially, versatile. It looks chic and modern, and is easy to steer, fold and carry.
If you’re on a budget but looking for reasonable quality, and don’t want to keep buying different buggies as your baby grows up, then, with the added accessories to create a rear-facing pram for smaller babies, the Reflex could be ideal.
It would be good for a no-fuss urban mum who lives in a small space, and doesn’t have the money or inclination for a bulkier pram or high-end travel system.
It may not offer the comfort and luxury of some pricier options, but if you don’t mind a few lumps and bumps, then this stroller is a sensible choice.
We’ve got more super lightweight buggies below…
More about our reviewer…
Cheryl Freedman tested the Reflex with her four-and-a-half-month-old baby girl, Autumn, small car and skinny hallway in a normal busy week of seeing friends, supermarket sweeps and school pick-ups.
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|Child age (approx)||Birth to 8 years|
|Child weight||Up to 25kg|
Dimensions & Weight
|Dimensions||H:107cm W:61cm L:100cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:35cm W:61cm L:86cm|
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing|
|Front wheels||Lockable swivel|
|Accessories included||Includes reversible seat liner, harness pads, raincover, shopping basket and Simplicity Car Seat adaptors|