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Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite ReviewPrice: $250.00 List | $148.50 at Amazon - 41% off
Pros: Easy to lift and carry, compact fold, easy to stow
Cons: Accepts one car seat, harder to maneuver, storage is hard to access
Bottom line: Limited functionality, but best sit and stand in the review
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite is an inline stroller with sit and stand capabilities and the addition of a rear seat with additional purchase. This sit and stand product is better than the majority of the strollers of this type thanks to a very light weight, small fold and easy to use features. While it wasn't the highest scoring option in the group, it is the highest scoring option for this kind of stroller, and it earned an honorable mention for parents who need a lightweight ride for two passengers of different ages. While the Caboose may not do everything, like accept two car seats, what it does provide it does well and for a budget-friendly price.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Double Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite is an inline double stroller with sit and stand capabilities. This stroller is lightweight, has a parent console, sliding bench seat for storage access, a reclining front seat, larger than average canopy for the stroller style, and a child's tray. This stroller can be used with an additional seat (for purchase), has double action brakes, and the front seat can recline in three positions.
This is a comparison chart of the overall scores for the double strollers tested in this review. The Joovy Caboose is shown below in blue.
The information below includes details on how this stroller compared to the competition during testing in each metric.
Ease of Use
The Joovy Caboose earned a 5 of 10 in the metric for ease of use. The high for the group is the UPPAbaby Vista Double with a score of 8.
Fold and Unfold
The Caboose brakes are single action brakes that are average for ease of setting and releasing compared to the competition. The single action brakes are preferred over the double thanks to the doubles extra step and potential for lacking complete brake setting.
The under seat storage on the Caboose is easier to access with the sliding bench seat than some of the other sit and stand varieties that have almost impossible to access storage. However, if you opt for the addition of the Caboose Rear seat, then the access is virtually nil. The maximum allowance of the basket is 5 lbs, and the smaller access opening means it is hard to fit a diaper bag inside. The bin itself is medium in size, and we couldn't fit any diaper bag inside. Parent will need to put supplies in the bin one at a time instead of in a bag.
The Caboose has a neoprene parent's console (above left) that wraps around the frame and has pockets for water bottles, phones, and smaller items. The pockets are easy to use and can carry about 5 pounds, making the total storage capacity of the stroller between 10-12 pounds. The console has two cup holders and a Velcro and zippered pouches to prevent smaller items from falling out while strolling. The holders worked well with our test baby bottle, water bottle and sippy cups. The flex and forgiveness of the fabric mean even odd shaped items can fit inside. The child's tray (above right) is also compatible with the test items, but the holders are shallow, and taller items could fall out.
The photos above show the canopy closed and fully open for the front seat.
The sunshades on the Caboose are the best of the bunch for the sit and stand style. The front canopy is fairly large and covers most of the baby's head and part of their body. The rear seat doesn't have a true canopy but instead has a piece of satin feeling fabric that stretches from the front seat and zips onto the frame, so baby is covered from front to back. This prevents any side coverage from the elements. The rear seat cover will not work with the older child using the rear platform to stand on. Neither cover has a peek-a-boo window or added ventilation, but neither covers enough of the baby for parents to miss it.
The Caboose has a 5-point harness for the front seat and a 43 point for the rear bench seat (standard on the Caboose). Both harnesses are easy to get on and take off but aren't as easy to adjust as others. The shoulder height adjustment has three options and is a rethread method for the front seat, while the rear seat doesn't offer shoulder straps at all. The crotch strap has only one position but is adjustable. The straps are also needed for connecting the car seat and this also not ideal as you cannot adjust the straps with the car seat in place. This means you will need to guess on the strap length and redo the whole install if it needs further adjustment.
The front seat reclines with one hand and has three positions. It is a little harder to use than it looks like it should be and it doesn't lay flat enough to really be cozy for napping. The rear seat does not recline at all, and you won't be able to recline the front seat if the rear bench seat has a child sitting in it.
Ease of Setup
The Caboose did not score well for ease of setup, with a setup time longer than 14 minutes. The documentation for setup is good, however, and we like the quick start guide that has nice illustrations. It isn't as clear as it could be, but it's really the number of things you need to put to together.
The Caboose is not a stand out in the maneuverability department with a 4 of 10 for the metric. This score ties with the similar Baby Trend Sit N' Stand. The high for the group is a 9 shared by the Thule Urban Glide 2, Thule Chariot Cross 2 and the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie.
None of the sit and stand models impressed in the maneuverability department and the Caboose is no exception. This stroller is narrower than much of the competition which made getting around in tight spaces easier, but the plastic wheels and dual front wheel design make pushing it more difficult than it needs to be. Some testers found themselves kicking the back of the stroller when pushing. It continued to struggle off road needing extra strength to go through grass and stopping dead on gravel and curbs. It is probably best to keep this option on hard and flat surfaces only.
Curbs are also a relative no go with the brakes dragging on the stairs when moving making it hard to move and the curb requires a foot on the rear axle for leverage. Neither are great options.
Weight and Folded Size
The Caboose is the lightest stroller in this review and is even lighter than some of the single products we've tested. This stroller has a weight of 23.4 pounds, with the next lightest stroller being closer to 28 pounds (the Britax B-Agile Double). The Caboose is also relatively small when folded with the third smallest cubic inches in the group at 11,634 cubic inches. The most compact fold is the Britax B-Agile Double which is 10,649 cubic inches. Being light and small gave the Caboose the high score of 9 of 10 for the weight and folded size metric. The heaviest stroller in the group is the Baby Trend Navigator with a weight at 39.7 pounds.
The Caboose only earned a 4 of 10 for quality, which is just 1 point above the low of 3 for the group. The high is a 9 earned by the Thule Urban Glide 2 and the Thule Chariot Cross 2.
While this product isn't a high disappointment in the quality department, it isn't that impressive either. For a Joovy product, it scored sort of low, but it did manage a higher score than the majority of similarly styled strollers. This stroller does offer a heavier canvas material that feels durable, but it isn't that nice to the touch. The hem stitching falls right on the edge of the seat behind the knee of some toddlers, and it could chafe over time. The material used along the edge also feels like it would snag easily. We did like the material used on the harness (very soft and supple), but the seat only has average padding for passenger comfort.
The frame of the stroller has a very umbrella style stroller feel to it and is very utilitarian in looks without any smooth and appealing lines. The overall fit and finish are on the dull side, and the components and plastic wheels have a cheap feel that impacts the complete product. The handlebar is not adjustable and sits at 41.8 inches from the ground. The handle is narrow and flat and doesn't feel that good in the hand and might cause fatigue if pushed for hours.
The stroller has front and rear shocks that are on the stiff side, and the front seat is fairly hard with minimal padding. The back seat is a hard bench with light padding and no seat back, so the comfort level for that passenger is even less than the front.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The Caboose can be used with one infant car seat and is compatible with some seats from the following brands: Baby Trend, Britax/BOB, Chicco, Cybex, Evenflo, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Peg Perego, Safety 1st, and UPPAbaby. We tested the Caboose with the Britax B-Safe 35, Chicco Keyfit 30, Cybex Aton 2, Evenflo Embrace, Graco Click Connect 35, Graco Click Connect 40, and the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30.
None of the adapters needed to be assembled, but the child's tray needs to be removed from the stroller to attach them. All of the infant seats are the strap-in connections, and they can be installed incorrectly if the straps are not properly secured. We worry some parents will forget the strap or choose not to use it making it a potential safety concern.
None of the seats were very easy to install or remove, but they were all very secure once attached. All of the seats scored the same in our tests, and we wouldn't really recommend one over the other.
The Caboose is not the best bet for twins given the disparity between seats and the lack of car seat attachment for two. While it is a nice option for parents who have an active older child and a younger one, it won't be a good choice for twins. This stroller accepts only one infant car seat making it impossible to use with two babies of the same age, and even if you purchase it for twins large enough to fit in the seats, they will likely disagree over who gets to stand or who gets to recline and nap.
The best application for the Caboose is for parents looking for a lightweight stroller for quick trips and travel. It is a nice option for families with an active older child who may like to stand and a younger one that still needs the comfort of a sitting seat that reclines. It certainly doesn't do all things well, and the lower performance scores indicate it can't compete with all the double strollers we looked at, but it still might have a place in the double stroller lineup and possible gear to have for parents of multiples. If your goal is a sit and stand style stroller, this really is the one to watch and buy.
The Caboose has a list price of $250 making it one of the more budget friendly priced options in the group. This sit and stand style stroller is the highest rank stroller of its type in this review making it a good value for parents that want a nice lightweight option for children of multiple ages.
The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite is a sit and stand style stroller that is lightweight, small when folded and narrow enough to fit almost anywhere. It offers larger than average canopies for this type of stroller and a sliding rear bench seat for better storage bin access. This stroller offers all around shocks, a parent console, front seat child's tray, and single action brakes. While this stroller scored lower than a lot of the competition and didn't win an award, for this reason, we did give it an honorable mention shout out as a good option for parents looking for a stroller of this style. Thanks to an easy to lift and carry weight and versatile seating arrangements this stroller stands out for being good at what it is and what it offers, even if it isn't the best option for everyone.
Other Versions and Accessories
Joovy makes a few different types of double strollers, and those we reviewed did fairly well in our tests and managed to be standouts in this group of products. The Joovy Scooter X2 won a Best Value award in our review offering a nice side-by-side ride for older children, and the Joovy Twin Roo+ earned an honorable mention for twins being able to accept two infant car seats of almost any brand.
Caboose Rear Seat that turns this sit and stand style stroller into a true two-seater. This accessory connects to the frame above the standing platform and allows for two little ones to ride sitting down and facing forward. The rear seat reclines, but has limited legroom and makes storage bin accessibility even worse. This makes the rear seat a pro with some definite cons. You can read more about the Caboose when used with the rear seat in our Double Umbrella Stroller Review.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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