Age suitability: 6 months until 15kg (approx. 3 years) – from birth with additional carrycot
Type of buggy: 4-wheeler pushchair
Travel system compatible: Yes
Cost: £519.99 – UPPAbaby Cruz pushchair, seat unit, sun canopy (UV50+ protection), raincover, shopping basket, insect net and carseat/carrycot adaptors
Lie-flat carrycot: Sold separately at an extra £229.95 for use from newborn
First impressions of the 2018 UPPABaby Cruz stroller
The name UPPAbaby comes from founders Bob and Lauren Monahan’s middle child’s word for wanting to be carried (“Uppa, uppa”), and is a popular buggy brand, particularly in the States. Sleek and chic, the US brand launched in 2007 with a mission, “To make high-quality baby products that fit the needs of your new life as a parent, while appealing to the sense of style you’ve always had.” Now with the Vista, Cruz and lightweight stroller Minu, UPPAbaby is a market leader for high-end baby buggies, alongside Bugaboo and Stokke – and is a hit with celebs such as Drew Barrymore, Mark Zuckerberg and Reese Witherspoon.
The brand is known and appreciated for its clever design features – such as pop-out sunshades, and great baskets – and its durability. With an RRP of £599 for the basic combination which doesn’t include a carrycot, the Cruz is firmly in the more costly bracket. That is somewhat more than the likes of the Cosatto Wow, (£624.95 including carrycot), or the Koochi Modhero (which includes a carseat and carrycot for its RRP of £589.95) cost. However, at the higher end of the market, it is in fact comparable to the BabyStyle Oyster 2 (£399) and Bugaboo Bee5 (£549).
How does the UPPAbaby Cruz differ from the UPPAbaby Vista?
The Cruz is the Vista’s smaller, sexier sibling. It has a slimmer, lighter frame, weighing 5lbs less than the Vista. But if you want your pushchair to grow with your family and you don’t like the idea of an UPPAbaby PiggyBack ride-along board, only the Vista converts to a double pushchair. And when it comes to newborns, if you’re opting for the Cruz, you’ll need to buy a carrycot separately, whereas the Vista comes with the lie-flat bassinet as part of the overall package.
How does it ride in the parks, over tree roots, up hills, how is the suspension?
I’ve been far too used to a buggy that balks at even the slightest bit of uneven ground. The Cruz tackles kerbs, grass, gravel, tree roots and rocky forestry paths like a beast. For me, this is the Land Rover of pushchairs. Sure, my 2-year-old’s head may bob up-and-down a bit on the roughest terrain, but overall it’s a smooth ride thanks to the four solid Polyurethane – a type of extremely strong plastic – wheels. And at last we can actually go places.
How does it work as a city buggy, on transport, in shops?
Not great as I often felt like I was getting in everyone’s way. It wasn’t as light as I expected, and found I had to be helped onto trains, helped up and down stairs and helped with shop doors.
I misjudged its width on our first few outings (apologies if I ran your feet over!). It won’t fit down particularly narrow shop aisles but will comfortably fit into most shops and restaurants.
It’s difficult to manoeuvre one-handed.
The biggest problem I found was with the front wheels. If I stopped with the front wheels turned to the left or right, I had to push it in the same direction to get it to move, otherwise it wouldn’t budge without considerable force applied with both hands, which wasn’t always possible.
This isn’t a problem that other parents appear to have experienced so perhaps it just takes a bit of practice to get used to it. (I certainly felt like a novice again – even though my little boy is 2.) However, the more I tested the buggy, I found it increasingly frustrating. it meant I regularly got stuck and had to back up to straighten the front wheels and then change direction, which was frustrating at times and potentially dangerous at others (for example, if we were about to cross a road).
On the big plus side, though, the gigantic shopping basket on the Cruz will enable you to shop ‘til you drop. And the height of the seat is perfect for a quick babyccino pit-stop. Maybe it just takes a bit more practice.
Does the UPPAbaby Cruz fold compactly?
Compact is not a word I’d use to describe the Cruz fold. Folded with the seat attached, this pushchair fills my Audi S3’s boot with very little room for anything else – with a length of 94cm and width of 56cm.
I’m lucky enough to be able to store the Cruz unfolded in my lounge. It stands proudly in the corner, stylish enough to fit in with my decor – although it has become the latest climbing toy for my toddler. If you’re short on space, the Cruz will stand when folded and could be placed in a cupboard or left in your car or porch. When folded without the seat and canopy attached, it’s just 33cm wide.
Is it suitable from birth?
Yes, if you purchase the Infant SnugSeat (RRP of £39.99) or the Carrycot (£259.99) separately. The toddler seat is only suitable from six months up, as it has quite a pronounced bucket shape and doesn’t lie flat.
At 24cm deep, 30cm wide and 58cm to the top of the canopy, the seat offers a lot of room for your child. My little man looked comfortable and there was even space to loose a no-spill sippy cup (as if!) down the side of the seat and a couple of rice cakes. The Cruz can be easily switched to be front or rear-facing, depending on your baby’s mood – and will house a toddler up to 15kg. And the canopy can extend by a further 5cm to grow with your child.
The height of the Cruz is a real plus for tired and weary backs. The Cruz stands at 1m, with the extendable handlebar reaching to a lengthy 109cm. That means barely any bending to strap your toddler in or take him out – and is ideal for taller parents, or pregnant mums.
Is the frame strong, durable?
Yes. The frame feels strong and sturdy, and the Cruz is designed to last. It comes with a two-year guarantee – and if you remember to register your buggy within three months of your purchase, you can extend the warranty by an additional year.
What do you think of the fold system?
The fold system is simple – and I’ve never been very good at folding buggies. Slap on the flip-flop friendly brake to stop the pushchair from rolling away and extend the handle bar to the highest position. Then pull on the two levers on either side of the buggy and slide up until the frame begins to fold in half. However – perhaps it’s because I’m five months pregnant or weak – but the Cruz always ends up collapsing on the floor when I fold it, because the weight pulls me down. But if you’re stronger or more masterful, you may be able to get your hands (because you definitely need two) in the right position to get it to stand.
Is it a one-hand fold?
Not at all. Of course us mums are strong. But I can’t imagine any are able to carry a child, a full-to-the-brim nappy bag, keys and fold a buggy weighing 9.8kg one-handed.
It’s billed as a one-step fold but that’s only true if the buggy is in the right position – forward-facing with the canopy pulled back.
First, you need to apply the brake
Extend the adjustable handlebar to the highest position
Pull the ‘triggers’ on each side of the frame
Pull the top of the buggy towards you
The pushchair folds in half.
For more a more compact fold, press the side buttons that control the angle of the footrest and press it down and away from you.
The frame automatically locks with a simple piece of plastic.
To unfold the buggy, you also need two hands – one two tilt it forward and the other to gently pull back on the plastic lock. Then, with one hand, you can rotate the frame in an upward motion to open the buggy.
It took almost no practice to make these operations smooth, making this an absolute joy to collapse and unfold.
The 100% real leather handle is a treat. And for the 2018 edition of the Cruz, it comes as standard. Like the bumper bar, the leather on the handle is REACH certified which means that harsh chemicals have been restricted, making it safe for your babe. The long-lasting and stylish handlebar is hand sewn and the perforated pattern provides good grip when pushing the buggy. In the rain, the handlebar feels comfortable to hold and there’s no danger of it slipping out of your hand. The telescoping handle bar is easily adjustable by pushing a button in the middle of the handle. However, when pushing one-handed it can be a little slow to respond and doesn’t feel as flexible as other pushchairs.
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
I’ve actually had fewer tantrums trying to get my two-year-old in and out of this buggy. He’s comfortable and loves to sit in the upright position, with a great view of the world from so high up. I wasn’t able to test how nap-suitable it would be, as my lad refuses to shut his eyes when out and about. But the recline has five positions and there is a leg rest that provides your little one with extra room to stretch their legs.
How is interacting with your little ones when in the buggy?
Fab. The high sitting position means you are closer to your child than with other buggies. However, sometimes I found it difficult to hear my son when out and about, because when in use the hood is so substantial and made of thick material. When in the world-facing position, the peep window with a magnetic closure makes it easy to check on your little one – without disturbing them.
What do you think of the hood? Can it be used as a sun protection?
The canopy is huge and a real win for the Cruz. It has a large SPF 50+ pop out sun shade that extends to the bumper bar and is made of a silky, wrinkle-free material. The hood feels durable and is silent when pulling it back and forth. It also slides up and down the frame to give extra height for those tall toddlers.
What are the basket and storage pockets like?
Another plus point for the Cruz is the gigantic basket. It’s the Mary Poppins carpet bag of buggy baskets and holds up to 11.3kg. I was able to store my fully-loaded rucksack, food shopping, football, snacks and water bottle, two coats and the rain cover – and there was still room for more, more, more. Three handy little storage pockets enable you to keep your essentials like nappies, wipes and your keys, wallet and mobile phone separate and easily accessible. A joyful moment for any mum. But be warned: with such a roomy basket, often the temptation is to overfill. And when it comes to pushing an already hefty buggy up a hill, it’s exhausting.
What do you think of the tyres?
The tyres feel durable and are made from solid polyurethane – a type of long-lasting plastic – instead of rubber. They are also puncture proof, so you won’t be left on the side of the road should you roll over a sharp nail.
Tell us about the brakes.
There’s no missing the brake. It’s bright red and located on the bar between the two back wheels – and it’s flip-flop friendly. Overall, it’s great, but sometimes it was a little bit sticky so that when I took it off, it wouldn’t automatically unlock the wheels. This meant I needed to flick the break back on and off, before being able to move away.
Does the UPPAbaby Cruz fit in the boot of your car?
It doesn’t take much to leave me feeling a bit puzzled. At first I thought there was no way the Cruz was going to fit in my Audi S3 boot. But then the aha moment came and I realised I could fold the leg rest to make it fit snugly. You can fold the buggy without the seat attached which brings the height from 35cm to 30cm. And you can take off the 21cm back wheels if you want to crunch the Cruz. But the idea of having to put it all back together on the roadside while dealing with an impatient toddler is the stuff of nightmares.
Without a carrycot, the Cruz is suitable from six months until around the age of three years old (it is tested up to 15kg).
What’s in the box?
A toddler seat and canopy
Frame and basket
Is it easy/hard to build the product?
Who needs instructions? My toddler had fitted a wheel before I had managed to get through the manual. The UPPAbaby Cruz is simple to put together and better still, it’s intuitive. Everything snaps together easily like a puzzle. You’ll be up and running after your little one (with a fully-functioning buggy) in five minutes.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
That it’s heavy and not as compact as other pushchairs on the market. Sometimes the size of the buggy left me feeling too daunted to go into cosy cafés or small independent shops. But if forest walks, playgrounds or leisurely strolls are your thing, the Cruz is king.
Who would the product be most useful for?
First-time mums with cars. Those parents who want to prepare for any eventuality, throwing everything into the enormous shopping basket that can hold over 11kg. Outdoorsy families who like hiking – but don’t want to carry their hefty toddler in a backpack. The durable (and puncture-proof) tyres and front wheel suspension give a pretty comfortable ride for your little one, whatever the terrain.
Is the product value for money?
For a buggy that can’t be used from birth, the Cruz comes with a hefty price tag. The UPPAbaby Cruz Gregory has an RRP of £599.99. It’s expensive – and I’m not sure if the sleek design, 100% leather bumper bar and sturdiness of the frame warrant the cost. But having said that, this is a buggy that can be passed down from brother to sister and the three-year warranty (if you remember to register the product) gives you great peace of mind.
Is there anything unique about this product?
I’ve never seen a buggy look so good. With real leather finishes on the handle and bumper bars, the Cruz is far too stylish for a toddler with filthy mitts and muddy boots. Plus the gigantic shopping basket is a big win for all mums and dads. The easy-access basket even has handy little pockets for wet wipes, nappies and snacks and anything else you want to get your hands on quickly.
Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras, which all add up or is everything included?
This stroller is designed for a child aged six-months up to 15kg. If you’re looking to purchase the perfect buggy for a newborn you’ll need to factor in the cost of an Infant SnugSneat which supports a baby’s neck and back in the toddler seat. Or fork out an extra £259.99 for the lie-flat carrycot (which I’ll be doing for baby Number 2 shortly!). You can also splash out for additional parent organisers, cup holders, snack trays, seat liners and footmuffs. These things are not essential, but you could end up spending quite a bit.
The Cruz is what I’d call a posh-chair. It’s strong, substantial and feels and looks beautifully made – which I believe justifies the cost. This isn’t a buggy you’d buy for the nursery run or if you’re looking to nip about the city quickly but it’s a long-lasting stroller you could use time and again. Both my mother and mother-in-law have already got their eyes on it because of the simplicity, seat height, huge UV sunshade and jaw-dropping size of the basket. But there are some downsides; one-handed steering isn’t always easy and I found it heavier than other, more compact pushchairs, and that slowed me down.
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