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Hands-on Gear Review

UPPAbaby Cruz Combo Review


Stroller and Car Seat Combo

The Editors' Choice winner  the UPPAbaby Cruz  which excelled in other metrics  only finished middle of the pack in maneuverability due to smaller wheels than many competing products. While it works great on smooth surfaces  it is challenged by bumpy terrain.
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $500 List | $409.99 from Amazon - 18% Off
Pros:  Light, easy to fold, easy to attach car seat
Cons:  Maneuverability, handle adjustment button
Bottom line:  Attractive, works well, and is easy to use with a car seat
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   UPPAbaby

The Skinny

The UPPAbaby Cruz is a sleek stylish stroller that is easy to use and works well with a few different infant car seats. It has one of the largest storage capacities in the group with a maximum allowable weight of 25 pounds, and it has a very comfortable and easy to adjust handlebar. The Cruz is the lightest standard stroller in our review at 14.3 pounds, and this could be a big deal to new moms who are limited in how much they are able to lift after childbirth. We liked the Cruz best when paired with the UPPAbaby Mesa infant seat. This product earned a 3rd place rank in this review.

The UPPAbaby Cruz also earned an Editors' Choice award in our Best Baby Strollers review.

RELATED: Our complete review of stroller and car seat combos

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
BabyGearLab Review Team


Last Updated:
Sunday
June 19, 2016
The UPPAbaby Cruz has an aluminum frame, rubber tires, a large capacity storage bin, and large canopy, that is rated SPF 50+. This stroller works with a variety of different brand car seats as well as its own UPPAbaby Mesa. The Cruz offers a telescoping adjustable handlebar, easy fold, lighter weight, and a fairly compact fold considering what it offers. This product has one of the heaviest weight capacities for the storage bin and the toddler seat and canopy are nice quality and look good on the frame.

Performance Comparison


The Mesa carrier sits a little lower in the stroller frame than the Chicco did  and it looks like a part of the stroller as opposed to an after thought like many of the other combinations.
The Mesa carrier sits a little lower in the stroller frame than the Chicco did, and it looks like a part of the stroller as opposed to an after thought like many of the other combinations.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


The Cruz earned an 8 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment and tied with its big brother the UPPAbaby Vista Combo. This is a relatively high score with only 3 other products in the group offering easier attachment possibilities, including the top scoring Bugaboo Bee3 Combo and Bugaboo Cameleon 3 with perfect 10s. The low for the group is the BOB Revolution Flex Combo with a score of 1 and a 2 step installation process that includes restraint straps.

The Cruz is compatible with the UPPAbaby Mesa; Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico NXT, Citi, Cabrio, and Cabrio Fix; the Nuna Pipa; Cybex Aton 2, Aton, and Aton Q; and the Chicco Keyfit 30 and Keyfit (not 30). We tested the Cruz with the Mesa and Keyfit 30 car seats.

The Mesa car seat uses the side connection points on the frame and the seat slides on fairly easily.
The Mesa car seat uses the side connection points on the frame and the seat slides on fairly easily.
The button on the Mesa handle releases the car seat from the stroller frame. It is one of the best in the group with good placement and design that make it easy to use.
The button on the Mesa handle releases the car seat from the stroller frame. It is one of the best in the group with good placement and design that make it easy to use.
The Mesa is made to fit on the Cruz and the other UPPAbaby product we reviewed the UPPAbaby Vista. This car seat connects to the same side connection points the stroller uses for the toddler seat connection and it slides onto the points with relative ease. You will need to remove the toddler seat/canopy combination from the stroller to attach the car seat, and while you will need to line up both sides at the same time to attach, it isn't as difficult as the Bugaboo Cameleon and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 infant car seat that had some testers crying and deciding not to bother at all. The car seat clicks into place and we didn't have any instance of thinking it was installed when it wasn't. Releasing the Mesa is the easiest one in the group with a button on the handle where you want to squeeze and lift intuitively. The downside to this combination as it doesn't feel that stable once installed, and while we feel confident it isn't going to spontaneously fall off, it also feels somewhat precarious on its perch. This is one of the few strollers in the group that allows the car seat to be installed facing either direction.

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.
The Chicco car seat adapter is a metal loop that connects to the Cruz using the same side attachment points as the toddler seat. It can be released and removed using the grey button.
The Chicco car seat adapter is a metal loop that connects to the Cruz using the same side attachment points as the toddler seat. It can be released and removed using the grey button.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 requires the use of an adapter. The adapters click into place on the same attachment points used by the stroller standard seat, but it doesn't require assembly and it clicks in place easily. This adapter does cause an increase in weight for the Cruz from 14.3 pounds to 16 pounds 7 ounces. This car seat drops into the loop adapter fairly easily and with nothing in the way to prevent connection, you only need a little pressure to make the carrier adapter connection. We did have some instances of thinking the seat was correctly installed only to discover the full connection wasn't made when we tugged the handle, but overall it isn't a difficult installation, just one you need to double check. The Chicco is slightly harder to install and release than the Mesa, and it feels about the same for security of the seat once its installed.

The Keyfit sits inside a metal loop and attaches in a similar fashion to how it does the car seat base.
The Keyfit sits inside a metal loop and attaches in a similar fashion to how it does the car seat base.
Given the data we collected during testing and the general feel of testers, the Mesa has a slight edge over the Chicco for combination with the Cruz stroller. Thanks to the lack of adapters and the lower weight, combined with the easier release and no installation mistakes, the Mesa proves to be the better choice in our opinion. Should you like the Keyfit30 however, or already own it, you won't be disappointed by the combination and it won't merit the need to purchase the Mesa as their attachment scores weren't different enough to bother.

Weight and Folded Size


The Cruz self-stands  auto=locks  and rolls when folded like rolling luggage. It is the lightest standard option in the review.
The Cruz self-stands, auto=locks, and rolls when folded like rolling luggage. It is the lightest standard option in the review.
The Cruz really has an edge over the competition when it comes to overall weight for car seat connection weighing only 14.3 pounds. It is the lightest standard stroller in this review. Only the dedicated frame strollers weigh less than the Cruz with weights in the 10-11 pound range. The BOB Revolution is the heaviest at 26.5 pounds. The Cruz earned a 7 of 10 for the entire metric, tying with the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo and the Bugaboo Bee for weight and folded size. The high score is 9 shared by the frame products and the low is 3 for the hefty and large Revolution.

The Cruz has a relatively small fold measuring at about 8,000 cubic inches. This is smaller than the majority of standard size strollers in the group with the exception of the Britax (the smallest in the review) and the BOB Motion Combo (a small but heavy product). While all of the frame options are smaller when folded, if you want more features and higher performance it is difficult to choose a frame option based on size and weight alone while the Cruz and B-Agile have so much to offer in smaller and lighter packages.

The Cruz is only about average for ease of folding compared to some stiff competition that practically fold themselves. It requires 2 hands and significant bending at the waist, but it only has 2 steps and it automatically locks and self-stands once folded. The down side is there is no great place to hold onto to carry the Cruz, but it does roll when folded like rolling luggage so realistically you only have to lift it when storing it or putting in a car. You probably don't want to carry it for any long distance given the lack of good holding spot, but with any luck you won't have to. It would be nice if this option had a carry strap given how light it is. Unfolding the Cruz is easier than folding, but you will still need two hands and full bending at the waist to manage it. It might take a little practice to get the flow of this product, but once you get a few attempts under your belt it gets easier.

The Cruz earned a 7 for commuting, tying with the Britax and the Mountain Buggy Swift Combo. This is better than the majority of the competition with only 4 options scoring higher. Thanks to its smaller size and weight it is easier to transport and get into and out of a trunk space. The narrow width helps it maneuver and manage tight spots and crowded streets, while the high seat keeps baby above the table line in most cafes. It does conform to the 2x4 rule on some public transportation, but if you do need to fold it for some reason it can self-stand so you won't need to hold it. In addition, the large storage bin has space and the weight capacity for shopping bags and other treasures you may find while running errands.

Maneuverability


Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.
Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.
The Cruz earned a 5 of 10 for maneuverability, its worst score in any metric. This score ties with the Chicco Liteway Plus Combo and is only better than 4 other options we tested. The high for the metric is 9 for the Revolution that has a locking swivel front wheel with adjustable tracking and pneumatic rubber tires that make pushing a breeze. The low score for the group is 3 for the Chicco Bravo LE Combo, an option that proved hard to push and turn no matter what the terrain.

The Cruz has swivel front wheels that can be locked if desired.
The Cruz has swivel front wheels that can be locked if desired.
This product is not difficult to push or turn on pavement, but it isn't as good as the top tier products. We had to use 2 hands to push it smoothly, and the turns were still a little more difficult than some of the competition. Given that the handlebar adjustment button is in the middle of the handlebar, it ruled out the one hand push, which is a shame because we suspect given its lighter weight and rubber tires that it would otherwise be easy to push with one hand. Unfortunately, the longer wheelbase made turns a little trickier and we found you have to prep somewhat in advance to get the wheels to turn in time to make tighter turns. It did negotiate carpet, grass and gravel fairly well with only a few snags on rocks that led us astray. It isn't truly an off-road stroller, but you aren't going to be struggling in a play park with it either.

Stairs and curbs aren't too bad with this model, though the handlebar is easier to manage if you slid it in before you head off or up onto the curbs. You can find more details on how the Cruz moves with the toddler seat attached in our best stroller review on the Cruz if you still have questions or concerns.

Safety


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 earned a 6 of 10 for safety, tying with 6 other products. The low of 5 belongs to the Chicco Liteway Plus, while the high of 8 is shared by the **Bugaboo Cameleon* and the Britax B-Agile.

This stroller has single action brakes that are easy to set and release, and sandal foot friendly. We like that the pedal is big and easy to reach, even with the seat fully reclined or with a carrier attached. It has 0.5 inches of play in the brakes when set, and only average sliding resistance when parked on an incline. This means it will move a little when you park it, but not enough to cause concern for you or baby.

This product does not come standard with a cup holder or parent console where cups can be stored. This means there is no inherent cup holder safety concern. If the addition of a cup holder is made by purchasing the accessory from UPPAbaby, we recommend parent use caution to avoid items falling from the holder while strolling. We also advise never placing hot liquids anywhere in or around a stroller to avoid injury should the items fall or spill onto baby. Having your morning coffee fix is not worth the risk to baby.

You can learn more about harness and seat safety considerations in the standard stroller write up of the Cruz. Given that these features are not use when combined with a car seat, we did not choose to cover them here.

The side tip angle of the Cruz with the car seat carrier attached is 18.8 degrees. This is better than the angle with the toddler seat attached and is one of only a few that can claim this according to our tests. The weight required on the handlebar before the stroller topples backwards is 27.5 pounds, which is below the average of 29 pounds for the group and half of the high weight of 56+ pounds required to tip the B-Agile. The low weight for the group is about 18 pounds for a couple of products. You really shouldn't place any weight on the handlebar for safety sake and given that the storage basket has a limit of 25 pound and is quite large you really shouldn't need to either.

Ease of Use


The UPPAbaby Cruz has an easy to access storage bin with a 25 pound weight capacity  the second largest in the review.
The UPPAbaby Cruz has an easy to access storage bin with a 25 pound weight capacity, the second largest in the review.
The Cruz earned a score of 6 of 10 for ease of use, and while that might not sound impressive only the Chicco Bravo earned a higher score in this group with a 7. The score of 6 ties with 3 other products we tested and the low is a 3 shared by the Chicco Liteway Plus and the Graco SnugRider Elite.

The Cruz has a very large storage bin under the seat with only the UPPAbaby Vista offering a larger one. It also has one of the highest maximum allowable weight at 25 pounds, with the Vista being 30. The average for the group is less than half this being closer to 10 pounds. This means you will be able to fit baby's diaper bag and other items inside the bin with relative ease. We fit our extra-large diaper bag inside and had room to spare. The bin is accessible from all sides, which is also rare and can come in handy depending on what baby needs and which end of baby needs it. Putting the giant diaper bag in was easier for us before attaching the seat, but if you use a smaller bag it shouldn't be a problem even with the seat attached.

The Cruz has a nice large sunshade with ventilation and a peek-a-boo window. Unfortunately though, you won't be using it with the car seat attached and you'll be relying solely on the carrier canopy to protect baby from the elements.



The Cruz does not offer any other storage options or conveniences for parents beyond the under seat bin. It does have an adjustable footrest and recline feature for the passenger, but neither of those will be available when combining this stroller with a car seat. For more information on these features we suggest you take a look at the Cruz review in our best stroller review.

Quality


There is plenty of space between the carrier and Cruz storage bin for easy access from all sides.
There is plenty of space between the carrier and Cruz storage bin for easy access from all sides.
Like most UPPAbaby products we have tested, the Cruz performed fairly well in our tests for quality, earning a 7 of 10 for the metric. This ties with 3 other products and is only 1 point lower than the high of 8 for the group. The high score is shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and the BOB Revolution. The low for the group is a 3 earned by the Chicco Keyfit Caddy, which has a lot of plastic components and materials that weren't on par with the competition.

The storage bin, seat and canopy are all made using a soft, tightly woven canvas material that fits well on the frame and doesn't have any visible fasteners, loose threads, or bunched stitching. The sides of the basket have stiff rubber coated mesh that didn't snag or pull in our tests, and the bottom has a hard plastic piece that helps the bin retain its shape and offers support that prevents items from dragging on the ground. The frame is made of aluminum and it has a sleek appearance with few connection points and no visible rivets. The overall fit and finish is tight and everything lines up well with a smooth finish that is both simple and sleek in its design.

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 adjustable handlebar uses the telescoping method of adjustment we prefer because the higher the bar the further it places the pusher, which helps to avoid kicking the rear axle while stroller. The height range is 40.2 to 43.2 inches from the ground to the bar. Making it a good option for taller users, but maybe not short enough to be comfortable for shorter parents. The handlebar is easy to adjust with a push of a button, but the button is ill placed in the middle of the bar and prevents one handed pushing. The size of the tubing and foam covering make the handle easy to grip and comfortable in the hand.

The wheels on the Cruz are foam filled rubber with AirGo patent-pending technology developed by UPPAbaby. These wheels have the benefit of a rubber tire that helps improve the performance, ride comfort, and maneuverability, as well as being more durable than plastic. But, these have the benefit of being foam filled so they can never go flat or leave you stranded on the stroll with a flat tire and too many things too carry. The Cruz does not have traditional shocks or suspension, but they do claim their AirGo wheels offer suspension as one of the features of the design.

Ease of Setup


The UPPAbaby Cruz's toddler seat can be removed  making it as light as a frame stroller at about 14 pounds when used with an infant seat  yet easily converts to a full-size stroller when your baby is older.
The UPPAbaby Cruz's toddler seat can be removed, making it as light as a frame stroller at about 14 pounds when used with an infant seat, yet easily converts to a full-size stroller when your baby is older.
The Cruz is the easiest product in the group to setup. It took us under 5 minutes to get the Cruz out of the box and ready to stroll. The stroller comes with a quick start setup guide that has only 7 steps, and it has nice pictures to guide you. However, we found the pieces and parts to be so minimal and the assembly so intuitive that we didn't need to use the manual to put it together. We think most parents will find it this easy as well.

Best Applications


Parents who love the UPPAbaby Brand or are simply looking for a quality stroller for a reasonable price will be drawn to the Cruz. This stroller performed well in our tests here where it tied for 3rd place and had a nice ease of car seat attachment score. It also scored well in our standard size stroller review and it earned Editors' Choice awards in both. We think the Cruz is a stand out product that does most things well, so unless you want to jog with the stroller or take long walks off road, the Cruz is a good option for most applications.

Value


The Cruz has a list price of $500 and UPPAbaby product rarely if ever sell for prices below the manufacturer list price. This is cheaper than the Vista, and several other options in this review, but still more than the majority of products we looked at, including the highly regarded Jogging stroller, the BOB Revolution Flex. All that being said we think the Cruz is a great value for what it has to offer and how well it is made. This stroller is designed with parents and baby in mind and offers a lot of what parents really need as opposed to features parents think they need, but aren't done well enough for parents to actually use (like most parent consoles with shallow unusable cup holders or pockets that won't fit a smartphone). We think the Cruz is a durable, stylish stroller that parents will love for a price that seems like it should be higher. If the list price is simply not doable no matter what kind of product you are getting or how well it is made, the **Britax B-Agile scored just below the Cruz overall and it has a list price of only $250, making it a nice option for families on a budget.

Conclusion


The Cruz performed well in our tests for quality with a higher than average score for the metric.
The Cruz performed well in our tests for quality with a higher than average score for the metric.
It would seem that UPPAbaby is a rising star in the baby gear field and with good reason. This stroller, like much of their line, is a nice quality option that has sleek styling and high performing features that are done well and perform as they should. We like the car seat attachment on the Cruz, and the lighter weight and smaller size it offers for new mothers that might be limited in what they are allowed to lift. The giant storage bin with the 25 pound maximum weight allowance is out of this world with what it can hold, and the adjustable handlebar is easy to use and good for parents of varying height. The ability to use this stroller from birth up to 50 pounds means you'll get your money's worth, even if the price seems a little high to some, we think it is worth it in the end for what you get and how long you get to use it. In short, there isn't much not to love with this stroller and we think parents and babies will feel the same way we do.

Other Versions and Accessories


UPPAbaby also makes the UPPAbaby Vista Combo, and the lightweight options the UPPAbaby G-Luxe and the UPPAbaby G-Lite. All of the strollers scored well in their respective classes and we think parents will be able to find a stroller option to suit their needs in the UPPAbaby lineup. Unfortunately, most of the strollers come with few additions for parents, as does the Cruz, so you might want to consider adding an UPPAbaby Cup Holder or the UPPAbaby Parent Organizer for more storage options or a place to keep your convenience items like your phone, wallet, and keys for quick and easy access.
BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: June 19, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

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