An updated version of Silver Cross' lightweight stroller, the Zest is now suitable from birth - giving it a longer life span - and a little lighter meaning, you'll need a firmer hand when tackling kerbs
4.5 out of 5 rating
4.5 out of 5 rating
Comfort for child
5.0 out of 5 rating
4.5 out of 5 rating
4.5 out of 5 rating
Worth the money
4.5 out of 5 rating
Pros: Lightweight, compact, suitable from birth, large storage basket, built-in sun canopy, comfortable for parent and baby, shoulder strap for hands-free carrying
Cons: Hard to access basket when seat is fully reclined, does not accommodate parent-facing view.
In the world of pushchairs, names fall in and out of fashion, often driven by what the celebrities of the day are pushing about town.
Having been around since 1877, Silver Cross has proved to be a brand that has stood the test of time.
The Zest is the lightest stroller in the brand’s collection and described as “an ultra-light stroller” which “still packs a punch thanks to its solid, durable design”.
Compact enough to fit into small car boots and light enough to carry on public transport, the everyday stroller can be used from birth up to 25kg.
Weighing just 5.8kg, the Zest is the lightest strollers in the brand’s collection, yet it doesn’t feel as though it is going to blow away in a strong wind.
Does its weight hamper its durability?
No, it doesn’t. Silver Cross assure parents that the Zest’s frame is constructed from “a special grade of strong aluminum” that means it is “robust” and can still “pack a punch”.
I am no expert in the properties of different metals, though I can assure other parents that the Zest was sturdy enough for any terrain we threw at it.
We took it through the local botanical gardens across grass and cobbled streets and gave it quite a hammering on everyday journeys to the shops and into town, and at no point did it feel as though it was going to break, collapse, or blow away on the wind.
Our two and a half year old has a habit of climbing into buggies and strollers “all by myself”, which was never a problem with the Quinny Moodd, but saw him fall when he misjudged the Chicco London’s centre of gravity and ended up falling flat on his face, with gravel in his mouth (-his fault, I hasten to add, not Chicco’s-).
After gingerly shimmying into the Zest without falling out or tipping the stroller up, he assured me it was “safers house”, which I assume is toddler speak for ‘safe as houses’.
This is the updated Zest buggy, how different is it from the older version?
The new Zest is now suitable from birth, whereas the older version was only suitable from 3 months.
Silver Cross has managed to shave 700g off the previous version of the Zest, as well as giving it a style overhaul.
Available in four colours, each of which comes with a funky animal print on the inside, its design looks fresher and more contemporary than its predecessor.
The shopping basket appears larger and deeper, too.
What do you think of the fold system?
The Zest has a pretty standard umbrella fold, which is operated by lifting the rear locking catch with your shoe and pressing down the safety catch above the right hand wheel.
Once this has been done, a little push on the handles and pushchair will pretty much fold itself.
It is marketed as a one-handed fold system, and while this is possible with a bit of effort, I found it far easier to fold it by pushing on the handles with both hands.
When folded, it is easy to carry, with the handle that is attached to the rear of the buggy making transporting it around even easier.
Can it be stored easily?
Yes, it can. Once folded the stroller could be popped in the cupboard under the stairs. Even so, it was narrow enough to leave in the hallway and walk around it once it was erect.
How compact is the Silver Cross Zest?
I had no problems fitting it in our Nissan Qashqai, even when the boot was jam packed with shopping and other bags (we even managed to get it in with a week’s worth of camping equipment. That said, the boot of the Qashqai is very roomy.
The real test came with my dad’s Ford Fiesta, which has proved a bone of contention when trying to squeeze in our Quinny Moodd – an exercise that required us to take the Moodd apart and stack it on its side, leaving little room for anything else.
The Zest did fit in the relatively small boot of the Fiesta, though it did require some shifting around of other items in there so that the wheels and handles could be manoeuvred to fit the space.
I found it easier to put the stroller in first and then pack the bags around it, and once the Zest was in place there was a good amount of space left to fill with other items, but obviously some of these had to be removed if I wanted to take the stroller out again.
How does the Zest push?
The Zest was easy to manoeuvre. I found the swivel wheels were best for pushing it on everyday terrain, such as the shops and around the park.
The wheel lock was handy for when I had to push the Zest one-handed – something that has become increasingly common since I had two children, as I often need to have one hand free for grabbing a runaway toddler or holding an extra changing bag.
Switching from lock to swivel wheels is a doddle: there is a locking catch located on the top of each wheel, which can be lifted or released depending on which mode you prefer.
The lock wheels were better for tackling cobbled or uneven surfaces. The only time I had problems mounting a kerb was when I had a full shopping basket, which added weight to the stroller, and even then it wasn’t difficult.
The stroller felt sturdy without being heavy, and was light to push, no matter what terrain we tested it on.
I had always trumpeted the benefits of ‘proper’ tyres that are blown up, as I feel they show less wear and tear than plastic or foam wheels and make for a smoother ride. Then I fell victim to a string of punctures, and was unable to remove the ‘proper’ tyres on my Quinny, which prompted a trek around Hull trying to find a bicycle repair shop that would fix the problem.
After numerous punctures with my Quinny, the inner tube then began to pull itself inside the tyre, making pumping them up a nightmare and completely changing my perceptions on what type of wheels are best.
I also had a budget Hauck stroller that came with thin foam wheels, and these were worn down incredibly quickly. From what I can gather, the Zest appears to have wheels I would describe as rubberized foam (not a technical term but the best I can come up with).
I imagined these might wear down quite quickly, but after two weeks of very rigorous testing they showed little, if any, signs of wear and tear. I don’t know exactly how they will do after a year or two of hammering the pavements, but if the last month is anything to go by then they should last the recommended 3 years.
Is the Silver Cross Zest suitable from birth?
Manufacturers are waking up to the fact that many parents do not want to invest in a pram for a newborn, only to then have to fork out for another one when their child hits the 6 month milestone.
Even so, a lot of strollers on the market are only suitable from 6 months upwards, whereas others have a 15kg child limit. The Zest is suitable from birth right up to 25kg, which was a huge plus point for me.
It meant I could push my toddler to nursery while carrying my 10 week-old baby in a sling, then once I had dropped Eric off I could put Arthur in the stroller. This is something I have not been able to do with my Quinny Mood, nor could I do it with my £22 budget buy.
This did require the harness to be adjusted, which meant disconnecting the shoulder clips from the waist clips and feeding them back and forth through the backrest, all of which was simple in concept, if a little fiddly and time consuming
In essence, I think the Zest is designed more for adapting as your child grows than switching between toddler and baby mode every couple of hours, but that’s what I found it most useful for, and I would definitely recommend it for use from birth.
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
Both my newborn and my toddler were comfortable in the seat. I gave Eric the option of going to nursery in the Zest or reverting to his Chicco and he chose the Zest, though whether this was to do with the comfort factor or the bright, colourful seat is anybody’s guess.
Arthur is only 10 weeks old so could not tell me himself, but judging by his giggles and the fact he went to sleep in the Zest suggests he was very content.
It’s worth noting that the seat is world facing, so would not be suitable for those looking for a parent-facing stroller. But if you want a parent and world-facing stroller check out the Babystyle Oyster Switch, Babyzen Yoyo, Mee-Go Feather or Joie Mirus, to name a few.
The seat is wider than our other strollers, and wide enough for Eric to sit with his hands either side of him, rather than bunched up on his lap. This meant it also formed a roomy little bed for Arthur.
The Silver Cross Zest feels higher than our other pushchairs too, though our toddler is quite short so he did not feel the benefit as much as a taller child might. Both the seat and hood is constructed from polyester, which feels soft to the touch and wipes clean with ease.
The colour of the hood and the seat did not fade or show any signs of wear or tear during our two week ‘road’ test, and judging by the lack of complaints coming our sons, they found the seat comfortable.
Is the Silver Cross comfortable to push?
Yes, the soft grip handles were comfortable to hold and the foam did not cause my palms to go sticky – always a plus point on a hot day.
I am 5 feet 5 inches tall whereas my partner is closer to 6 feet tall, and the stroller was an ideal height for us both. Neither of us felt as though we were stooping or scrunching up to push it.
Tell us about the hood
We tested this stroller on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of 2016 so far, so the extendable hood, which doubles up as a sun canopy, proved to be a godsend.
Like many sleep deprived parents, I have in the past been caught out by sudden bursts of sunshine that have forced me to either dash for shade under the nearest tall building (and these are few and far between in East Yorkshire), or throw a cardigan or other random item over my buggy so that my child’s face is protected from the rays.
To help disorganised people such as myself, the Zest has a hood with 50+SPF that can be unzipped and extended, providing an effective barrier to the sun.
What is the basket like?
The basket is particularly generous – far bigger than the one on my Quinny Moodd and larger than the one on the Silver Cross Surf, both of which are far bulkier and heavier than the Zest.
The basket was deep as well as wide, which is important if you want a basket that doesn’t empty its contents every time you mount a kerb.
I managed to get a decent-sized shops’ worth of goods in there, and it could also accommodate a large changing bag plus a couple of rain jackets.
Is the Silver Cross Zest good value for money?
Some prams and buggies command a higher price tag because a particular brand is in fashion. Though Silver Cross is a desirable brand, I did not feel the Zest was cashing in the name alone.
Yes, you can pick up a stroller for less than the £130 RRP – we bought a supermarket own brand buggy for £22 to take with us to France, for example, whereas we picked up our Chicco London stroller in the sale for £60 – but the Zest did feel far sturdier than our £22 budget buy.
It also had a far larger shopping basket, a soft comfortable seat and came with other features that I felt made it good value for money.
Comparing it to others on the market, the Chicco Echo stroller is also suitable from birth, and has an RRP of £100, but at 7.6kg it weighs almost 2kg more than the Zest and the shopping basket isn’t as deep.
The mamas and papas Armadillo City pushchair has a one-handed fold action and is suitable from birth, but tips the scales at 7kg and will set you back £19 more than the Zest.
What’s in the box?
Is it easy to assemble the Silver Cross Zest out of the box?
Incredibly so! My Zest came with the wheels attached, despite the manual giving instructions on how to attach them.
All I needed to do was attach the hood to the chassis, which took less than a minute, even without the manual to refer to.
This was particularly fortuitous for us as the first time we used the Zest was on holiday, and we had packed the stroller without referring to the manual.
When we stopped at a roadside in North Yorkshire, the manual was underneath a mountain of camping equipment, but attaching the hood was thankfully self-explanatory.
I really enjoyed using the Zest, as did my partner and two children. Its large under-seat basket meant it could carry a generous amount of shopping, plus a bulky changing bag, which made it practical for trips to the shops and to playgroups.
The sun canopy was handy during the recent heatwave, and I liked the fact there was no need to buy any extras, such as a sun shade or a rain cover.
However the biggest bonus for me came from the fact it suited both my toddler and my newborn. This meant it was perfect for when I dropped my eldest son, Eric, off at nursery as I could take my newborn, Arthur, out of his sling and put him in the seat once Eric had been dropped off. It also removed the need to have two buggies blocking up our hallway.
The Silver Cross Zest would be perfect for parents who do a lot of travelling, whether by car or public transport, as it folds up quickly and can be easily carried or stored in a small car boot.