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Hands-on Gear Review

Baby Jogger City Mini Combo Review

Price:   $250.00 List | $259.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy fold, canopy works with some seats
Cons:  Two step attachment with straps, heavy, plastic wheels
Bottom line:  Not the best for car seat attachment thanks to two steps and straps
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Baby Jogger

The Skinny

The Baby Jogger City Mini scored well in our standard stroller review and is one we think is a good budget-friendly stroller, but we are not big fans of this product as a stroller car seat combination. Because this option requires the use of a secondary strap to secure the seat to the stroller frame, we feel it isn't the best choice. While the car seats feel connected, we worry that the extra step will go undone by parents who are in a hurry, forget, or feel the click connection works well alone. Forgetting the strap could lead to potential injury using the product in a way that is not how the manufacturer describes or recommends.
While not that impressive when used in conjunction with an infant car seat, the City Mini did win awards in our Best Full-size Strollers and Best Umbrella Strollers reviews.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

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

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 19, 2016

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The Baby Jogger City Mini is a lighter weight standard stroller with a three wheel design (not intended for jogging). It offers an easy one-handed fold that auto-locks. The City Mini comes with a large canopy, that doesn't work that well with most car seats because they sit too high on the stroller. The swivel front wheels can be locked and have suspension for easier riding over rough terrain. This stroller has optional car seat adapters for the following brands, Peg Perego, Graco, Cybex, Maxi-Cosi, and Britax (though models will vary). The seats we tested all clicked in place, but required the use of a restraint strap as an added measure of security, which hurt the City Mini in scoring and rank.

The Peg adapter has the car seat sitting fairly high on the City Mini stroller.
The Peg adapter has the car seat sitting fairly high on the City Mini stroller.

Performance Comparison


This chart provides a visual comparison of the overall scores for the stroller combinations we tested in this review. The City Mini is shown here in blue.


The information below includes details on how the City Mini performed during testing.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


The City Mini earned a 6 of 10 for ease of attaching a car seat. This might be one of the most versatile car seat stroller combinations in this review outside of the universal frame stroller, the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go Ex. This product works with almost every major brand name car seat on the market including the Britax/BOB, Chicco KeyFit, Cybex, Graco, Maxi Cosi, Nuna, Pipa, and Peg Perego. All of the seats require the purchase of an additional car seat adapter, and most need the canopy on the stroller removed. The main seat can stay connected to the frame, but it's a shame you can't use the canopy in conjunction with the car seat canopy to form a little bubble of weather and sun protection.

The City Mini adapters for the Cybex aren't as easy to use as the loop attachment for other seats  and the Cybex is the hardest to release in our tests.
The Peg Perego has one of the largest most substantial car seat adapters of those we tested for the City Mini.
 
The photos above show the City Mini with two possible car seat options. From left to right they are the Cybex Aton 2, and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.

The adapter for the Peg Perego seat on the City Mini is large  involved and gets in the way when the seat isn't attached.
The adapter for the Peg Perego seat on the City Mini is large, involved and gets in the way when the seat isn't attached.
The adapters we purchased worked with the Chicco Keyfit 30, Cybex Aton 2, Maxi Cosi Mico, and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. Both of the Peg and the Chicco adapters are the loop style of car seat connection, and they required assembly. Some of the testers felt the assembly was a pain, but given that you only need to do it once and there are no tools required, we think it is manageable for most parents. The others were all click in adapters that slide right into the connection points on either side of the toddler seat.

The car seat adapters on the City Mini attach via a male and female connection into the side attachment points on the frame.
The car seat adapters on the City Mini attach via a male and female connection into the side attachment points on the frame.
The photo above shows the installation of the loop car seat adapter.

The car seat adapters on the City Mini often utilize the same connection points as the car seat base. This is the underside of the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 connecting to a loop type adapter.
The City Mini car seat adapter for the Cybex has side attachment points and a metal bar across the bottom.
 
The photos above show some of the seat attachment points with their adapters. From left to right they are the Peg Perego and the Cybex Aton 2.

The Peg Perego car seat adapter on the City Mini adds size and weight to the stroller.
The Peg Perego car seat adapter on the City Mini adds size and weight to the stroller.
The seats were very similar in how easy they were to attach to their adapters with the Chicco being the easiest with a simple drop into the adapter loop and no additional pressure required to click it into place. You will need to buckle the side straps over the seat to ensure a full and safe connection. Buckling the straps isn't difficult, but again, we worry some parents will skip this part. The seats that connect using side adapters were more complicated because you have to line up both sides at the same time before pushing the seat down to connect. The most difficult to install during our testing was the Maxi Cosi, which we had trouble lining up correctly every time and often only one side would connect. On the bright side, however, we did not have any false installations where we thought it was secure and it wasn't. Alternatively, the Peg seat managed to feel installed and we heard the audible click, but we were able to pull it off the frame with a tug on the handle (more evidence that the security strap needs to be used at all times).

The Chicco car seat is released from the City Mini car seat adapters with the back of the seat release handle.
The Cybex Aton 2 car seat has a very awkward and somewhat difficult release mechanism that requires pressing down on the grey buttons on either side of the car seat while you pull up on the seat. Removing this seat from the City Mini is a balance between pressing down and lifting up at the same time.
 
Releasing each seat from the adapter is largely dependent on how it releases from the car seat base. Those with the release mechanism on the back of the carrier, like the Chicco (left), are the easiest to operate. Those under the handle pivot points, like that on the Cybex (right), are more difficult.

The City Mini car seat adapter for the Cybex has side attachment points and a metal bar across the bottom.
The City Mini car seat adapter for the Cybex has side attachment points and a metal bar across the bottom.
In short, the additional step of securing the straps and the removal of the canopy make this a stroller we don't think this is the best at being a car seat/stroller combination. This stroller earned a 5 of 10 for this metric, which is the second lowest in the group rivaled only by the BOB Revolution Flex Combo. The high score is a 10 earned by the Bugaboo Bee 3 Combo.

The Baby Jogger isn't as small as it seems like it should be when folded. The fold can be even more awkward with the adapters attached that make the package a little harder to manage or store.
The Baby Jogger isn't as small as it seems like it should be when folded. The fold can be even more awkward with the adapters attached that make the package a little harder to manage or store.

Weight and Folded Size


For a smaller stroller, the City Mini is surprisingly on the heavy side and oddly large when folded. This stroller is over 17 pounds without the canopy or car seat attachments. It is also the second-largest when folded at over 13,000 cubic inches, only the BOB Revolution rivals the City Mini in folded size. The dedicated frame strollers were the lightest in the group with the Baby Trend weighing 10.9 pounds and the Chicco Keyfit Caddy weighing around 11 pounds, making them the highest scoring products in this metric. The smallest folded option is the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo, which is only 6,414 cubic inches, while the lightest standard option is the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo at 14.3 pounds.

We feel one of the important features of a stroller that is used with an infant car seat is that it be relatively lightweight and easy to fold. Given that most parents will be using this with a newborn we think it is best that moms who've just gone through childbirth or a C-section be able to lift and move the stroller as needed; if it is too heavy then mom may be prohibited by doctor's orders from lifting it. The City Mini is below the average weight for the strollers in this group.

The folded City Mini with a Chicco adapter will get hung up on almost everything when trying to stuff it into a trunk.
The folded City Mini with a Chicco adapter will get hung up on almost everything when trying to stuff it into a trunk.

The Baby Jogger is a one hand fold, but you will need to unsnap the safety straps under the seat before you pull the handle on the seat bottom. It is one of the easier in the group to fold and it requires no learning curve to accomplish. This product does auto-lock and has a carry strap, but it doesn't self-stand. The B-Agile folds the same as the City Mini, but it doesn't have the two red safety straps on the bottom, which we prefer. It requires two hands to unfold and is two steps. We caution parents to be sure to attach the red safety straps to ensure the stroller is able to fold accidentally.
The pull handle on the City Mini is conveniently located on the seat.
The pull handle on the City Mini is conveniently located on the seat.

The City Mini scored slightly below average for commuting. It would have done better if it could self-stand, was lighter, smaller, or had a higher sitting seat for eating at cafes.

Maneuverability


The City Mini earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability, tying with the Doona, Bee and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo. The dedicated frame strollers suffered the most in this category thanks to their smaller plastic wheels that weren't really designed for smooth moves in tight places or over rough terrain. The BOB Revolution earned the high score in this metric with 9 thanks to its swivel front wheel and pneumatic rubber tires.

Pushing this stroller is relatively easy and can be accomplished with one hand most of the time. It is better on hard surfaces than rough ones, but overall it isn't too shabby and gets the job the done. The Mini fits easily through narrow doorways and managed stairs without being too bouncy or uncontrolled.

For more information and greater detail on the maneuverability of the City Mini please read our complete review of this product in our full-size stroller review.

The metal bar across the back of the Baby Jogger storage bin limits access for larger items.
The metal bar across the back of the Baby Jogger storage bin limits access for larger items.

Ease of Use


The City Mini earned a relatively low score for ease of use with a 4 in a metric where the high is a 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo LE Combo. The stroller struggle somewhat in a category with several strollers offering higher maximum volume weights for storage and canopies that can be used with a car seat.

The storage bin under the seat is large in size and is only accessible from the front and back, but given the smaller opening, we were only able to fit our medium sized diaper bag inside. Unlike some of the other frames that allow the car seat to sit so low the bin isn't as accessible, this one is about the same as it is without the car seat. However, because the toddler seat needs to be fully reclined to attach the seat, you might find yourself reaching far under to reach the bin. The solid metal frame bar across the back also makes it more difficult to get larger items in the bin. The bin has a maximum allowable weight of 10 pounds which is better than some, but certainly not as good as the UPPAbaby strollers with their 25 and 30 lb bins. The Mini also has slim pockets on the back of the toddler seat, but they too will be difficult to access with the seat fully reclined.

The City Mini canopy can be left on or taken off with most seats. It causes a little obstruction when attaching car seats  but the use of the canopy as a cover might make the hassle worth it.
Some of the car seat attach so high on their adapters  that the City Mini canopy doesn't really work that well or come together with the car seat canopy at all.
 
The photos above show the canopy on the City Mini in conjunction with the Cybex (left) and the Peg (right).

The brakes on the City Mini aren't as easy as the handbrake on the GT  but they are still fairly easy to operate.
The brakes on the City Mini aren't as easy as the handbrake on the GT, but they are still fairly easy to operate.

The brakes on this product are single action and work with a single pedal. The brakes are easy to set and sandal foot friendly. You can find out more about the canopy and convenience features on this stroller in our full-size stroller review. This includes more information on the seat, leg rest, harness comfort, and canopy. There isn't much to say about the canopy here because you are unlikely to be using the canopy with your car seat on this stroller. While a few of the car seat adapter models do not require the canopy to be removed, we didn't find that the canopy can really be used for protection over the carrier like it can on other car seats.

The Baby Jogger scored about average for quality and isn't as sleek for fit and finish as some of the competition.
The Baby Jogger scored about average for quality and isn't as sleek for fit and finish as some of the competition.

Quality


The Mini score about average for quality with a 6 of 10 in this metric where the high is an 8. The BOB Revolution and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo both came with high scores showing that rubber tires and all around shocks with adjustable handlebars can help improve quality scores.

The Mini has a nice sturdy frame. The fabric wraps around the frame well without bunching or pinching. The mesh on the sides of the storage bin is loose and snags fairly easily. The wheels are foam filled plastic and are on the smaller side but relatively wide. They are solidly attached and do not wobble when spun. It only has shocks on the front wheels as opposed to all four. Overall the fit and finish aren't bad, but it doesn't look as sleek as some of the competition.

The handlebar is not adjustable but seems to be at a pretty good height for most users. It is covered in a rubber material that has ridges to help make it more grip-able. The cover does seem more durable than the foam covered options and might uphold better for something that will be hitting the ground when you fold it.

The frame has a lifetime warranty and the component a one year.

Ease of Setup


The Mini is easy to setup and earned an 8 of 10 in this metric, tying with the Mountain Buggy Swift Combo. The high in this test is a 10 earned by the UPPAbaby Cruz. It took us about 6 minutes to put this stroller together from unboxing to ready to stroll. The manual is only about average, so it is good that much of the assembly is intuitive.

Best Applications


The Baby Jogger has an easy fold and is nice to maneuver. We liked it in our standard stroller review and think it is a nice budget friendly stroller many parents will like which is why we gave it a Best Value award for that review. However, when it comes to connecting a car seat we aren't really that impressed. While it will accept a car seat, including many of the popular brands and several of our infant car seat award winners, all of them require the use of additional straps to secure the seat to the frame. We aren't big fans of this type of connection, both because it is an additional step over simply clicking the seat onto the adapters and because we worry some parents won't do the extra step. Whether it is a forgetful moment or intentionally ignoring the step it seems like a potential safety concern and we prefer the strollers that do not require straps to avoid this potential altogether.

Value


There really is no doubt that the City Mini is a good value with a lower price than a majority of the standard strollers in this review. However, if your goal is to find a nice stroller strictly for car seat use, you might be better off with a dedicated frame stroller like the Chicco Keyfit Caddy that only costs $100. While this type of product will have a limited lifespan once your baby is no longer riding in an infant carrier, it is a budget-friendly way to get the job done while you continue to consider your standard stroller option or how you will use one. Alternatively, if you want to make a one and done purchase to use for the life of your strolling years, and budget and value is a concern, we think the Britax B-Agile is a good option for both standard stroller and for acceptation a car seat. It won a Best Value award in both categories and is cheaper than the Baby Jogger.

Conclusion


The Peg car seat adapter sticks out further than the other adapters we tested on the City Mini.
The Cybex car seat adapter on the City Mini has the smallest profile.
 
The photos above show the City Mini with 2 adapters attached, the Peg Perego (left) and the Cybex Aton 2 (right).

The City Mini is a nice little stroller that is easy to put together and maneuvers nicely. We liked this stroller in our full-size stroller review and think it brings a lot to the table for the price. However, it isn't our favorite for car seat attachment thanks to the need for safety straps as a secondary step for most of the car seat accessories. The car seats are fairly easy to attach and they feel secure once connected, but the added step leaves us concerned that it won't be consistently completed as the manufacturer outlines. While potentially not a deal breaker for everyone, it is for us and this hurt its overall score and left it with a fourth from the bottom rank for stroller car seat combinations.

Other Versions and Accessories


Baby Jogger makes several other strollers. We reviewed the Baby Jogger City Mini GT and Baby Jogger City Select in our Full-Size Stroller Review. Both performed rather well in that review and earned 4 out of 5 stars a piece.

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Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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