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Hands-on Gear Review

UPPAbaby Cruz Review


Full-size Stroller

The UPPAbaby Cruz
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $500 List | $499.99 from Amazon
Pros:  Easy to use, lots of supplies fit in storage, quality materials
Cons:  Harder to push with smaller wheels, lower safety score
Bottom line:  Editors' Choice stroller we really enjoyed with lots of features that work well
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   UPPAbaby

The Skinny

The Cruz is an impressive stroller that stands out in the crowd of 21 strollers in this competition. It has a nice aluminum alloy frame that is sleek and doesn't flex under pressure. The adjustable seat has a variety of possible positions and removes in a snap without a struggle. It features one of the only adjustable leg/footrest in the group, and has a maximum allowable storage capacity that is second only to one other product in this review. We had trouble finding anything we didn't love about this product, and while we wish it had been a little lighter, or perhaps easier to push, we can forgive it these small failings thanks to all it has to offer.
The UPPAbaby Cruz also performed well in our Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos review, earning an Editors' Choice award and proving it is a good option from infant to toddler with infant car seat attachment potential.

RELATED: Our complete review of full-size strollers

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief, BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
January 28, 2016
The seat on the Cruz is reversible and can face parents for bonding time or the world for mental stimulation.
The seat on the Cruz is reversible and can face parents for bonding time or the world for mental stimulation.

The UPPAbaby Cruz is a compact stroller with an aluminum alloy frame that fits through tight doorways, narrow aisles, and crowded sidewalks. It sports AirGo patent-pending wheels that offer shock absorbing performance that never go flat with a lightweight foam filling. This stroller works for newborns with the Snugseat or bassinet accessory, and toddlers. The toddler seat can be used forward and backwards, completely upright, fully reclined and is operated with 1 hand. This stroller has a pull out extendable sunshade that is height adjustable and SPF 50+. It has an extra-large easy access basket with a 25 pound weight capacity. It features a telescoping adjustable handlebar, a one piece foam molded bumper bar, and an included bug and rain shield. This stroller can be folded with or without the seat attached, using only one hand, and it self-stands. The Cruz can be paired with the Mesa Infant car seat without adapters, and is compatible with select Chicco and Maxi-Cosi car seats with additional adapters sold separately.



Performance Comparison



Ease of Use


The Cruz has the highest score in the group for ease of use.
The Cruz has the highest score in the group for ease of use.
The Cruz is so easy to use it scored the high score in the group tying with its brother the UPPAbaby Vista with an 8. The low is a 3 shared by the Quinny Buzz Xtra and 4moms Origami.

Storage
The Cruz has a very large storage bin with a maximum weight allowance of 20 pounds.
The Cruz has a very large storage bin with a maximum weight allowance of 20 pounds.
The Vista has a larger basket (left)  but the Cruz (right) is easier to use because it doesn't have a cross bar in the way of access.
The Vista has a larger basket (left), but the Cruz (right) is easier to use because it doesn't have a cross bar in the way of access.
This stroller has one of the largest storage bins in the group with one of the highest allowable weight capacities at 25 pounds. It is extra large compared to the competition and has easy access on all sides including the front. We were able to fit our extra large diaper bag inside with no problem, and it doesn't matter what position you have the seat, all configurations are equally easy for utilizing the basket.

Sunshade
The toddler seat sunshades on both the UPPAbaby Vista (left) and Cruz (right) are identical with pop-out silver visors for extra shade and magnetic peek-a-boo windows.
The toddler seat sunshades on both the UPPAbaby Vista (left) and Cruz (right) are identical with pop-out silver visors for extra shade and magnetic peek-a-boo windows.
The Cruz's sunshade is equally impressive, it is one of the largest and nicest in the group with an SPF of +50 and a kick out sun visor for extra protection. It does offer additional ventilation when fully open and it has a large peek-a-boo window made of mesh that is easy to see through.

Convenience
The recline for the Cruz is operated by pushing a button on the back of the seat.
The recline for the Cruz is operated by pushing a button on the back of the seat.
The Cruz does not offer any kind of parent or child's tray for added convenience, which we feel is somewhat of an oversight, but it can be purchased after the fact if it is a must have. The up side is the storage basket is so large you should be able to store most things inside it with ease.

The bumper bar on the Cruz looks nicer than most of the bars on other brands.
The bumper bar on the Cruz looks nicer than most of the bars on other brands.
The Cruz offers an adjustable leg rest/footrest, which is rare in this group with only 2 products offering this feature. The pair is adjustable together in many positions and the foot rest is wide, if a bit shallow. The foot rest is made of plastic so it is easy to clean.

The seat back recline is another shining feature of the Cruz. It is one of the easiest to use in the review, with a push button operation that can be used with one hand to raise and lower. This is a big step up over the two strap design that comes together in a plastic pull and requires two hands to move up seen on the majority of the competition we looked at. It has a recline range of 62.2 to 27.8 degrees.

 
The photos above show the Cruz with the seat back in the upright position and fully reclined.

The Cruz comes with a bumper bar, and a rain/bug shield.

Maneuverability


Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.
Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.
The Cruz struggled a bit with maneuverability compared to some of the competition. It is better than about half of the products, but not good enough to make it into the top performer category. It earned a 6 of 10, which is average for this review. The BOB Revolution Flex earned the top score with a 9 and the 4moms earned a 2.

The Cruz has swivel front wheels that can be locked if desired.
The Cruz has swivel front wheels that can be locked if desired.
For pushing and turning on the pavement the Cruz requires two hands. It rolls smoothly, but the turns are a bit difficult. The handlebar adjustment is in the center of the handle, which makes it hard to use one handed. The stroller has a longer wheelbase that makes sharper turns more difficult, but it did move well over carpet however, and in general was nicer than about half the competition.

For pushing and turning off pavement it also manages fairly well with no trouble over grass and only the occasional hiccup over gravel. The front wheels tend to get hung up on irregular rocks, but moving on stairs is untroubling. The stroller has all wheel shocks and the front wheels can be locked to prevent swivelling if need be for pushing on rougher surfaces.

Quality


The Cruz scored above average in our tests for quality.
The Cruz scored above average in our tests for quality.
We have always been impressed with the overall quality of UPPAbaby products and the Cruz is no exception. This product earned a 7 of 10 in this metric 1 point below the high score of 8 shared by its big brother UPPAbaby Vista and the BOB Revolution Flex. The low for quality is a 4 that 3 of the products tied for, including the Baby Trend Expedition, Graco Aire 3, and 4moms.

The peek-a-boo window on the Cruz is large and the mesh is easy to see through.
The peek-a-boo window on the Cruz is large and the mesh is easy to see through.
The fabric on the seat, basket, and canopy is a soft and tightly woven canvas that is nice to the touch and wipes clean relatively easily. The canvas reaches all the way down to the footrest that is made of smooth plastic. The sides of the basket are made of a sturdy rubber coated mesh. The storage basket has a stiff piece of plastic in the bottom to help retain shape and prevent the bottom from dropping low when loaded. The peek-a-boo window is a very loosely woven mesh that didn't snag in our tests. The extendable sunshade is made out of thin, shiny, and semi-reflective material that sits nicely on the canopy frame.

The welded aluminum frame has a nice finish that is tight and simple in its design. Everything lines up nicely and attaches well with no rattle. The overall fit and finish is very nice and the fabric wraps around the seat frame well with no bunches or wrinkles. The stitching is well done and we didn't see any doubled stitching or mistakes. The frame is sturdy and the materials appear durable. There is no flex to this frame or handlebar.

We prefer the larger back wheels of the Vista as compared to the smaller ones found on the Cruz.
We prefer the larger back wheels of the Vista as compared to the smaller ones found on the Cruz.
The wheels are foam filled plastic made with what UPPAbaby calls AirGo that offer shock absorbing properties and lightweight foam filling that prevent them from becoming misshapen.

Adjusting the handlebar on the Cruz is easy with a button on the back side of the center of the bar.
Adjusting the handlebar on the Cruz is easy with a button on the back side of the center of the bar.
The handlebar is adjustable in a telescoping manner unlike much of the competition that rotates from a pivot point. The telescoping prevents flex in the frame or handlebar, and helps the stroller reduce its length if necessary. It has a nice range from 40.6 to 43.2 inches. We weren't the biggest fans of the location of the adjustment button in the middle of the bar because it makes it difficult to maneuver the stroller with one hand. The tubing is a nice size and shape and it is easy to grip. The bar is foam covered with the exception of the handle adjustment button that is hard plastic.

The Cruz does not have the typical suspension seen on most of the products, but the manufacturer does claim shock absorbing properties in their patent pending AirGo wheels. It is hard to tell if these make for a more comfortable ride or if they are just marketing hype, but we feel the stroller is relatively comfortable with nice padding on the seat and no wobble or movement where the seat attaches to the frame.

Safety


This product earned a below average score for safety with a 5 of 10. This is a tie with the Orbit Baby O2 and 3 points below the top score of 8 won by the Baby Jogger City Select. The lowest product is the Baby Jogger City Mini GT with a 4, and the tendency to tip over backward when the seatback is reclined and the child inches far enough up the back. This tipping tendency hurt its safety score and could lead to potential head injuries for baby.

Brakes
The large ridged brake pedal on the Cruz is easy to use.
The large ridged brake pedal on the Cruz is easy to use.

The Cruz has single action brakes that are sandal foot friendly and easy to set and release. They have an average sliding resistance when set, and limited play in the brakes of 0.5 inches, which we consider to be good. The brake is one giant red pedal in the center of the back side of the frame near the storage bin.

Cup Holders
There are no cupholders on the Cruz. This means there is no cup holder safety risk. The concern is for cup holders that are located high and behind baby's head. In our tests some holders were not capable of holding all bottles and cups, and sometimes the contents of the holders fell out and onto our test baby. So if you opt for the parent accessory tray (sold separately) this will be a moderate concern. If you purchase the single cup holder instead, it is less of a concern as the holder attaches to the side of the frame, away from baby's head.

Harness
The harness on the Cruz is easy to use and adjust.
The harness on the Cruz is easy to use and adjust.
The 5 point harness on this stroller is easy peasy no matter what you hope to do with it. It is easy to put on and take off, as well as easy to adjust and change shoulder height and crotch strap positions. The adjustable crotch strap increase the chances that you can get a good fit. The two side straps pop as they click in the buckle so you know they are in, and while the release button can be a little stiff the parts come apart easily after it is pushed. It offers a non-rethread harness adjustment with a unique hook system that is easy to use once you know how.

Tipping
The seat on the Cruz is reversible and it has different back tipping weight depending on how the seat is arranged.
The seat on the Cruz is reversible and it has different back tipping weight depending on how the seat is arranged.
This is one testing area the Cruz didn't impress in. While any stroller can tip and precautions should be taken to avoid such a thing, this one did tip to the side at a shallower angle than most of the competition and it fell backward with less weight on the handlebar than other strollers. This hurt its safety score and overall score. It fell sideways at an angle of 17 degrees which is significantly off from the maximum of 25.7 degrees for the Bumbleride Indie 4. The Vista fell backwards with only 20 pounds on the bar. This is almost twice as much as the 11 pounds required for the Orbit Baby O2, but not close enough to the high of 36.9 of the Chicco Bravo LE.

Weight and Folded Size


The Cruz weighs less than the average stroller in this group and is one of the lighter options with such high scores.
The Cruz weighs less than the average stroller in this group and is one of the lighter options with such high scores.
For a stroller with so much to offer it is surprisingly light with a weight of 21.6 pounds it is less than the average of 24.7 pounds, and much lighter than the hefty Orbit that weighs 37.2 pounds. The lightest strollers in the group are the Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini Single, both weighing 17.5 pounds.

The folded size of the Cruz is also relatively impressive given what this seat has to offer. It measures at 22"W x 14.9"H x 36.5"L and 11,965 cubic inches. This is still significantly larger than the smallest stroller the BOB Motion, which is only 5,817 cubic inches, but far smaller than the giant 19,514 cubic inches.

Folding the Cruz begins with sliding the two locks on each side of the frame up to release the frame.
Folding the Cruz begins with sliding the two locks on each side of the frame up to release the frame.
The fold on the Cruz requires 2 hands and 2 steps to complete. It features an auto-lock and a self-stand, but no carry strap. We weren't big fans of the self-stand because it is a little temperamental, and you do need to bend all the way over to complete the fold, but
The locking feature on the Cruz happens automatically.
The locking feature on the Cruz happens automatically.
the steps are few and the process is simple. Unfolding is a similar story, also requiring 2 hands and 2 steps, but we did find it a little easier than the fold.

The Cruz is actually a nice commuter ride, earning a higher than average score in our tests. The Cruz isn't the best at sitting in cafes; with a longer than average footprint it can get in the way of other customers and be difficult to pull up to a table. However, the taller seat bottom means that baby is less likely to be stuck under a table should you need to push the stroller in, and the adjustable handlebar can help make the stroller smaller if needed. It does conform to the 2x4 rule on some public transportation, and if you need to fold it, it is easier than most and can self-stand.

Finally, loading it into a car trunk is not as easy as some of the others. It isn't a heavy stroller, but it is kind of large and smaller trunks will be a struggle. It is easier to fit with the seat off, and it might be better for transporting it this way and not too more of a hassle. You probably don't want to take the seat off for the bus, but in your car it might be a good idea.

Ease of Setup


The Cruz (left) and the Vista (right) are similar in their assembly.
The Cruz (left) and the Vista (right) are similar in their assembly.
The Cruz is the easiest to set up in the group with a score of 10 of 10. Its brother, the Vista, is also easy and came close to tying the Cruz with a 9. The low for the group is the Bugaboo Bee3 with a 2.

The Cruz took about 4 and half minutes to put together and the included manual is very good. It offers a simple quick start guide with 7 clear steps. But, this product is so simple and easy you might be able to put it together without even cracking the book.



Car Seat Compatibility


The Cruz is a little to heavy to be considered as a good stand in for a frame stroller  but it does have a removable toddler seat that allows for infant car seat attachment.
The UPPAbaby Mesa is easy to attach to the Cruz and it feels stable once installed.
 
The Cruz is similar in its car seat compatibility to the Vista; it works with the UPPAbaby Mesa and uses the toddler seat attachment points on the stroller frame. The Mesa connects with a click in method and requires the toddler seat and canopy (they are connected) to be removed. The canopy on the car seat will be the only canopy for this stroller. It is easy to click in once you get both sides lined up properly, and feels fairly stable. In our tests, we did not experience any false installations where we thought it was connected but wasn't really seated properly. The frame alone weighs 14 pounds 14 ounces, making it on par with some of the stroller and car seat combos we reviewed, this potentially makes the Cruz the only stroller you need to buy. The Mesa won a Top Pick award in our infant car seat review and would make a great addition to this stroller to create a travel system.

The car seat frame adapter for the Cruz is very easy to use. The car seat clicks in easily into the metal frame  which replaces the normal Cruz seat.
The car seat frame adapter for the Cruz is very easy to use. The car seat clicks in easily into the metal frame, which replaces the normal Cruz seat.
With the purchase of an adapter (1 of 2 potential options), the stroller can also be compatiable with the Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico AP, Mico NXT, Citi, Cabrio, CabrioFix, Nuna Pipa, Cybex Aton, Aton 2, and Aton Q. It is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH the Maxi-Cosi Prezi. The second adapter is for Chicco Keyfit and Keyfit 30 models. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is an Editors' Choice winner in our infant car seat review, making it a nice budget friendly option for parents. However, after purchasing the adapter and the car seat, it comes closer to the price of the Mesa which fits on the frame without an adapter.

The Cruz offers a few different car seat adapters  we tested the frame for the Chicco Keyfit 30.
The Cruz offers a few different car seat adapters, we tested the frame for the Chicco Keyfit 30.
All of the seat adapters click onto the stroller frame and all of the infant seats attach to the adapters with a click. We prefer the click in method of attachment because we feel it is faster, more secure, and possible more foolproof since it is easier and often has less play once attached. We tested the Chicco Keyfit 30 adapter with the Cruz. Together the stroller and adapter weighs 16 pounds 7 ounces. The car seat is easy to attach, but does require some extra pressure when you push it on the connectors. On a few occasions during testing we experienced thinking the seat was on correctly, only to discover it wasn't fully seated. Parents should double check and take their time when attaching the seat. Because of the added weight, the need for additional adapter installation, and the fact that the Mesa earned more points in our infant car seat review, we prefered the Mesa with this stroller instead of the Chicco.

Best Applications


Finding the best application for this product isn't hard to do. Whether you like it because it matches your UPPAbaby infant car seat, the UPPAbaby Mesa, or it provides ample storage space and max weight for doing a little shopping this stroller has something for everyone. The Cruz is a great all around stroller that works well as a primary stroller from newborn thru toddlerhood.

Value


The list price of this stroller is $500, and while many strollers in this review have lower list prices, very few offer what the Cruz brings to the table. This stroller is such a pleasure to use it was almost immediately a tester favorite. Whether it is the oversized storage and canopy, or the versatility of the seating options and the quick fold, this stroller has it all and does it with an attention to detail and quality not found in every product. We think most parents will agree that the Cruz is indeed a good value offering more than enough to justify the price.

Conclusion


The Cruz is a great stroller that makes babies and parents happy.
The Cruz is a great stroller that makes babies and parents happy.
We gave the UPPAbaby Cruz an Editors' Choice award for earning the second highest score in the group and impressing all testers with its simple design, and high performance. This stroller is a pleasure to use and the storage bin is large enough to meet almost any need you would have strolling out your door and running errands. The extendable canopy is large enough for even the sunniest day and the included weather shield will help you meet any kind of weather with ease. The Cruz is a quality stroller with a thoughtful design that is sturdy and feels like it will stand the test of time. While it isn't the best option for off road fun, we think it is a great stroller most parents will love.

Other Versions and Accessories


UPPAbaby makes several strollers and in general all of the UPPAbaby strollers we have reviewed have really impressed us. From the Cruz and Vista in this review, to the UPPAbaby G-Luxe and UPPAbaby G-Lite in our umbrella stroller review, they have all scored well and/or won awards. The only product by this company that we have not reviewed is the UPPAbaby G-Link, their double lightweight stroller. If it is anything like the rest of the lineup, we feel confident it is likely to impress as well.

Some accessories that can be purchased for use with the Cruz are: Bassinet Stand, Bassinet, Bassinet Mattress Cover, Infant Snug Seat, Maxi-Cosi Infant Car Seat Adaptor, Chicco Infant Car Seat Adaptor, Piggyback, Snack Tray, Cup Holder, Travel Bag, Seat Liner, Hamper Insert For Bassinet Stand, Parent Organizer, Ganoosh Footmuff, Cozy Ganoosh Footmuff, Toddler Seat Rain Shield, Bassinet Rain Shield, BabyGanoosh Footmuff, and Stroller Blankie.

Video


Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: January 28, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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Helpful Buying Tips
The BOB Motion is a nice budget friendly stroller.
 How to Choose the Best Stroller

by Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Staff

Unbiased.