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Hands-on Gear Review
UPPAbaby Cruz Review
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
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
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
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.
Ease of Use
UPPAbaby Vista with an 8. The low is a 3 shared by the Quinny Buzz Xtra and 4moms Origami.
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 Cruz comes with a bumper bar, and a rain/bug shield.
BOB Revolution Flex earned the top score with a 9 and the 4moms earned a 2.
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.
Baby Trend Expedition, Graco Aire 3, and 4moms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: January 28, 2016
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