Thule Chariot Cross review
In a nutshell
High quality multi-purpose pushchair for active families, that doubles as a bike trailer, and can be used for skiing and jogging too
What we tested
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Comfort for child
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Comfortable, flexi-use, versatile, high-performance, many years of usage.
- Parking brake sticks and is hard to reach, limited ventilation, additional accessories are quite pricey
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Key features of the Thule Chariot Cross:
- Age suitability: 6 months until 22kg (approx. 4/5 years)
- Type of buggy: All-terrain multifunctional stroller/trailer
- Weight: 12.8kg
- Fold: Two-handed fold
- Travel system compatible: No
- Total cost: £850
Thule was established in Sweden in 1942 and as a brand positions itself in the ‘active family and outdoor enthusiasts’ market.
In contrast to the Burley brand, which originated from a bicycle trailer then expanded to other transport gear, Thule has a ‘whatever your pursuit’ approach. This means that its products are designed with the purpose in mind, with intuitive, user-friendly details.
With a 22-month-old and two active collies, I cycle on average 150km a week between my commute to work, nursery pick-up and the occasional mountain biking outing.
As a lover of anything outdoorsy but with very little time to enjoy my pursuits, versatility and performance are my main criteria when choosing new gear.
When Thule presented the Chariot Cross as an all-round trailer, jogger and stroller offering active families comfort and flexibility, I thought it couldn’t possibly deliver on both in all sports but it does, and then some.
You can even use it for cross-country skiing, with the additional ski kit (£270).
You can buy the Thule Chariot Cross from Kiddicare, Amazon, and Direct4Baby.
Watch 5 things you need to know about the Thule Chariot Cross
How does the Thule Chariot Cross compare to a pushchair and can you use it as a stroller?
The Chariot Cross feels bulkier than other pushchairs, mostly due to the wheel size, but compared side by side to the compact UPPAbaby Cruz stroller, for example, there isn’t much difference.
The trailer fits all standard door openings (63.4cm door pass through) and packs down really flat (folded dimensions 85.5x62x37.5cm).
The handlebar design is pretty much identical to the Britax B-range pushchairs, providing a two-button folding operation and different handlebar height and accessories to grow with your family.
I recently acquired a Quinny Zapp with the view to quickly nip around the shops, but even in busy urban areas I would choose the Chariot over the Quinny.
It provides ample shopping storage and although the manufacturer advises not to load the handlebar, I found it could take a changing bag or my toddler’s balance bike without tipping over.
I sometimes revert back to a small stroller when I need to go on public transport as the Chariot is awkward to fit on a bus. Or better yet, I just take my bike instead!
How does the Chariot compare to similar bike trailers?
The Chariot presents a very high spec that is hard to beat. It has a slightly taller height limit (111cm) than the Adventurer AT5 (104cm), which is welcome to accommodate older children.
Both trailers are on par weight-wise, with the Burley Honey Bee being 2kg or so lighter than its aluminium and steel frame counterparts.
All models feature pneumatic tyres, bike-tow and a stroller-mode as standard. The major difference is in the price tag, with the Thule Chariot over £500 more expensive than the other two trailers.
However, the Chariot can be used from infancy with the infant sling (£77), which can be used from one month to around 10 months, and its performance and comfort as a stroller are exceptional, removing the need for a regular buggy.
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How easy is it to convert the Thule Chariot Cross from stroller to bike mode?
I went from a stroller to a bike-tow in under five minutes the first time I used it, it’s that easy. The same pretty much goes for the bike-tow to stroller mode.
Thule provides a simple visual assembly guide that I checked for safety, but it all made sense as the blue slots contrast with the trailer and pop out in red until correctly put into place.
The ball-type hitch can be a little tricky to manoeuvre in and out of the bracket, especially with an excited toddler trying to ‘help’. It is secured in place by a metal pin and although a fairly standard mount it fell out a couple of times. However, the ball hitch gives an impeccable cycling experience once in place.
Watch how to convert the Thule Chariot Cross from bike mode to stroller
How does the Thule Chariot Cross push and steer on different terrains?
The trailer is very easy to push, even with one hand, toddler in my arms across snowy grass. It is so smooth whether going over kerbs, gravel or cobbles.
Taking it up and down steps requires a little extra care as it is fairly heavy (12.8kg + toddler weight) but the sturdy handle gives you great grip.
The air-filled rubber tyres are also a great feature to provide added comfort and are just big enough to allow good traction when towing.
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How does it fold and will it fit in my boot?
The folding can be slightly tricky and not a one hand operation like some pushchairs, but it is intuitive and gets easier with practice.
When folded the trailer is very compact at 85.5cm x 62cm x 37.5cm. With the wheels removed it’s actually more compact than some other strollers.
It fitted with room to spare in a saloon, estate and MPV. I didn’t actually need to fold it for this last one, I just wheeled it on!
Watch how to fold the Thule Chariot Cross
What is the price and is it good value for money?
The Chariot is on the pricier side of the bike and multi-sport trailers available on the market. It starts at £850 for a single child trailer that comes with the bike-tow, stroller kit, rain cover and sun canopy.
You can upgrade to a jogger kit (£110), add a brake kit (£80), cover (£60), and for winter sports fans, a cross-country skiing kit (£270). So, all-in my perfect do-it-all commuter and fun machine would cost just over £1100.
It is a serious sum but the trailer can be used with babies from one-month-old (infant sling costs £77) all the way to around five years old (111cm maximum height).
This means the trailer would cost around £250 a year or 0.70p a day, which is a much more manageable budget for my family, and a great investment for any cycling and outdoor enthusiasts.
What’s in the box?
- 2 stroller wheels attachment
- Tow arm and ball hitch
- Rain cover
- Sun cover
- Safety flag
- User manual
Is it comfortable, safe and does your little one like it?
The trailer has been designed with comfort in mind with adjustable suspension, padded seat and straps in a five-point harness.
My toddler has happily jumped in ‘my riot’ as it is now called. My five-year-old niece also enjoyed the trailer. At 93cm, she felt comfortable in the cabin and had enough room for her legs.
The handle is accessible to little hands and the wheels makes it easy to push. The Chariot definitely also hit the fun factor in our house.
The trailer seat reclines up to about 20cm making it very comfortable for my toddler to nap when out and about. Coupled with adjustable suspension, Neve has enjoyed some peaceful outdoor naps no matter the terrain.
Tell us about the storage
Thule’s design really delivers on ample easily accessible storage. Not only can the stroller wheels and bike-tow attachment be stored on dedicated slots on the trailer, it can hold everything else too.
The cabin storage consists of two mesh pockets easily accessible for little hands so you can wedge a drink or snack on one side and a book on the other.
The back of the trailer has another mesh pocket that I mostly used to hold the sun shade and rain cover so I wouldn’t leave them behind. Putting items in this pocket will block the airflow so consider it carefully in hot conditions.
The main storage, and my favourite, is in the cargo space on the back of the trailer. It cleverly folds up and clicks onto the frame when you need extra leg room.
The downsides are that it’s fixed to the trailer, so you have to empty it every time, and it makes cleaning it more difficult.
The cargo space is topped off by an elastic water-resistant cover. I love the matching colour detail making the storage feel part of the trailer rather than a bulky add-on.
It has two internal pockets and a larger space that I tested to its fullest. I managed to stash a snack box, 1L water container, a bike lock, a toddler helmet with gloves and earmuffs, a book, nappies and wipes, spare trousers and thin fleece, a snow coat (size 2-3yrs), handful of dog treats and the cover still closed shut.
We were going for an all-day trek in early December hence the over-zealous packing but it gives you an idea of the capacity.
Always check the manufacturer’s guide on weight and load, which is provided in an easy pictogram format in the user manual.
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Tell us about the safety features
The trailer comes with two front built-in reflectors and back reflectors that are attached to the cargo space as standard. A safety flag is also included.
I fixed a back light onto the folded handle for extra visibility.
What is the difference between the Thule Chariot Cross and Thule Chariot Lite?
The Thule Chariot Lite is 11.7kg and weighs about one kilo less than the Thule Chariot Cross, which is 12.79kg, but the folded dimensions are the same.
The Thule Chariot Cross comes as a single or a double (14.5kg) though, so you can transport two little ones, whereas the Chariot Lite is single only.
At £850 (or £950 double) for the Thule Chariot Cross, it is more pricey than the Thule Chariot Lite, which is £590.
The handlebar and the folding motion can be a little tricky but the intuitive part assembly and on-board accessory storage are faultless.
The adjustable suspension, reclining seat and smoothness of the ride make you forget the stickiness of the brake.
The style and finish are the cherry on top and will complement any bikes. The price tag is on the high side but worth the money to use for years to come.
The Thule Chariot Cross does a great job at balancing its (many) advantages against its (very few) flaws and you cannot but be impressed with its high quality, versatility, performance and style.
My toddler loves the cosiness of the cabin and I love the fact that she’s comfortable and safe.
The Chariot is a great piece kit I would recommend to any active families.
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|Child age (approx)||6 months to 5 years|
|Child weight||Up to 22kg|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||H:89cm–112cm W:63.4cm L:121cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:37.5cm W:62cm L:85.5cm|
|Travel system compatible||No|
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing|
|Accessories included||Bike trailer kit; stroller kit; XL storage space; rain cover; sun cover; safety flag|