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Hands-on Gear Review

UPPAbaby Cruz Review

The UPPAbaby Cruz
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $500.00 List | $499.99 at 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 19 strollers in this competition. This stroller has a high for ease of use and is relatively light and small for what it has to offer. It has a sleek aluminum alloy frame that 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/foot rest in the group and has a maximum allowable storage capacity that is second only to one other product in this review. While we wish it were easier to push, we can forgive this small failing 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 combination potential.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Full-size Strollers of 2017

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Score Product Price Our Take
73
$450
Editors' Choice Award
Great moving jogger with all-terrain capability that works well as a full-size stroller
72
$860
Top Pick Award
Top Pick for versatility and urban living with room to grow
70
$500
Editors' Choice Award
Editors' Choice stroller we really enjoyed with lots of features that work well
69
$360
Tight turning, easy mover with a disappointing tipping hazard
66
$450
Easy to push, does well in tight spaces, but lacks some functionality
66
$270
Best Value Award
An above average option with a budget friendly price
65
$260
Best Value Award
An easy to push and turn option that has a good price for its performance and what it offers
64
$719
Not many features for the price, but good for urban use and infant car seats
63
$500
Not the best Baby Jogger we've tested with pushing limitations
60
$350
Average stroller with few conveniences and lower quality
59
$150
Easy to maneuver, budget friendly option that has limited functionality
58
$180
Hard to use stroller that has poor maneuverability
58
$1,149
Poor overall performance despite quality materials and a nice look
57
$250
Nice features, but they aren't good enough to make up for being hard to maneuver
54
$600
Nice materials, but we struggled to use most of the features
53
$600
Nice looking, but struggled in our tests for performance
50
$600
Disappointing performance considering the higher list price
46
$600
Average stroller with no standout features or impressive performance
40
$850
Futuristic design doesn't help poor maneuverability and storage

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

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

Last Updated:
Thursday
January 28, 2016

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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 has an aluminum alloy frame and AirGo patent-pending wheels that never go flat with foam filling. This stroller's toddler seat can be used forward and backwards, completely upright, fully reclined and is operated with one hand. It has a pull out extendable sunshade that is height adjustable and SPF 50+. It has a large basket with a 25 pound weight capacity and features a telescoping adjustable handlebar, a one piece foam molded bumper bar and included bug and rain shield. This stroller can be folded with or without the seat attached 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


This comparison chart shows the overall scores for each stroller we tested in this review. It is easy to see why the UPPAbaby Cruz (shown in blue) earned an award given its impressive rank and high ease of use score.


The sections below provide the details from our testing process for each metric. The information includes how the Cruz performed compared to the competition. Ease of use and maneuverability were given more weight in our calculation of the overall scores.

The UPPAbaby Cruz has the highest score in the group for ease of use.
The UPPAbaby Cruz has the highest score in the group for ease of use.

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.


Ease of use encompasses your everyday experience when using a stroller, including the amenities you use the most.

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.

Storage
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.

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.

Sunshade
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.

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.

Convenience
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 upside is the storage basket is so large you should be able to store most things inside it with ease. The Cruz also comes with a bumper bar, and a rain/bug shield.

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 has an adjustable leg/foot rest, which is rare in this group with only 2 products offering this feature. The pair is adjustable together in many positions and the footrest is wide, if a bit shallow. The footrest 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.

Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.
Maneuverability is not the best metric for the Cruz.

Maneuverability


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.

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.

The Cruz scored above average in our tests for quality.
The Cruz scored above average in our tests for quality.

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 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 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 sides of the basket are made of a sturdy rubber coated mesh. The storage basket has a stiff piece of plastic on 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 tight finish that is simple in 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 3 points below the top score of 8 won by the Baby Jogger City Select.


Brakes
The Cruz has single action brakes that are sandal foot friendly and easy to set and release.
The large ridged brake pedal on the Cruz is easy to use.
The large ridged brake pedal on the Cruz is easy to use.

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.

The harness on the Cruz is easy to use and adjust.
The harness on the Cruz is easy to use and adjust.

Harness
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.

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.

Weight and Folded Size


For a stroller with so much to offer it is surprisingly light with a weight of 21.6 pounds.


The lightest strollers in the group are the Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini, both weighing 17.5 pounds. The folded size of the Cruz is also relatively impressive measuring at 22"W x 14.9"H x 36.5"L and 11,965 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 two hands and two 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 steps are few and the process is simple. Unfolding is a similar story, also requiring two hands and two steps, but we did find it a little easier than the fold.

Ease of Setup



The Cruz is the easiest to set up in the group with a score of 10 of 10. Its brother, the UPPAbaby Vista, is also easy and came close to tying the Cruz with a 9. 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.

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 UPPAbaby Cruz and it feels stable once installed. This combination could be ideal for parents looking for a travel system or who need a car seat that can be installed easily without the base.
 

Car Seat Compatibility


The Cruz is similar in its car seat compatibility to the UPPAbaby 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, the stroller can also be compatiable with some Maxi-Cosi seats, the Nuna Pipa, and several Cybex options. 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. 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.

The Cruz is a great stroller that makes babies and parents happy.
The Cruz is a great stroller that makes babies and parents happy.

Conclusion


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.

Accessories


Many accessories are available for use with the Vista for an additional cost. Some of our favorites include:
  • UPPAbaby Parent Organizer — This handy organizer accessory gives parents a place to store items close at hand. With cup holders and and storage it offers what is otherwise missing for convenience on the Cruz.
The Mesa uses the so-called "American belt path" method over the lower portion of the carrier. This is super easy to do and helped it earn a Top Pick award in our review.
  • UPPAbaby Infant Snug Seat
    UPPAbaby Infant SnugSeat — The SnugSeat offers extra support for infant's neck and back that can be used until baby is 21 pounds. This Snugseat is made with reversible plush material on one side and moisture wicking material on the other that allows for versatility depending on the weather.
  • UPPAbaby Snack Tray — Remov
    UPPAbaby Snack Tray
    able and dishwasher-safe, this UPPAbaby accessory Snack Tray comes complete with a shallow dish for snacks and a cup holder. This accessory attaches in the same location as the bump bar, so you will need to remove the bar to use the tray.

Other Versions


UPPAbaby makes several strollers including the Cruz and Vista in this review, and the UPPAbaby G-Luxe and UPPAbaby G-Lite in our umbrella stroller review.

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Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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BabyGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent 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)
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