Bugaboo Cameleon3 Combo Review
Pros: Easy Chicco seat attachment
Cons: Difficult to attach Peg Perego, heavy, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Bugaboo manufactures high-end strollers and luggage systems with a company-wide goal to "help you move freely." The Bugaboo company was started in 1994 and creates what they refer to as "game-changing" products that help people explore the world in "comfort and style."
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Cameleon can be easy or hard when it comes to car seat attachment depending on the kind of adapter.
The Cameleon is compatible with a few more seats than its little brother the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo. With the purchase of adapters you can use the Britax B-Safe 35, B-Safe, and B-Safe 35 Elite; the Chicco Keyfit 30 (adapters above left) and the Chicco Keyfit; the Cybex Aton 2 and the Aton Q; the Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico AP, Mico NXT, and the Maxi-Cosi Prezi; and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 (adapters above right). We tested this stroller with the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.
The Chicco adapter requires some assembly, and you'll need a Phillips head screwdriver to connect the four parts. The adapter is an easy to assemble metal loop that clicks into the side attachment points on the frame. You must remove the standard toddler seat and canopy before attaching the adapter. The carrier drops into the loop and connects on its own with little force. It doesn't get easier than this. The Cameleon's car seat attachment score is based solely on this car seat combination.
The adapter for the Peg does not require assembly and includes two individual connectors that attach to the side points where the toddler seat connects. Attaching the adapters is easy, but connecting the seat is another story. This combo might be the worst in the review, not just for the Cameleon. Attaching this car seat requires aligning both sides simultaneously and pressing down until they click. While it might sound easy, it often needed two people to accomplish in our testing. We had serious trouble getting both sides aligned and repeatedly failed to make the connections on both sides at the same time resulting in the carrier dropping through and failing to attach. This combination could easily result in new moms crying in frustration and giving up. If you have the misfortune of trying to use the Cameleon with the Peg Perego seat, we recommend practicing at home with no baby until you can make the connection every time.
If you already own the Cameleon, we recommend the Chicco Keyfit 30 adapter and car seat. Alternatively, you could try using other options with the loop style connection as opposed to the two side attachments.
Weight and Folded Size
The Cameleon is neither light nor small. The Cameleon weighs 17.6 lbs without the toddler seat and canopy and has a folded size of 10,226 cubic inches. While the weight is reasonable, it is the folded size that is harder to manage.
The Cameleon is better than average for maneuverability. The smaller footprint of this product makes it easier to move in tight spots, but it doesn't turn as well as some of the competition thanks to flexing in the frame and handlebar. This stroller is relatively easy to push on hard surfaces with two hands, and while one hand is possible, you probably won't do it. This stroller has two modes, one for off-road, which makes the pushing on rougher terrain easier, but neither mode is great, and we had some tipping problems in off-road mode, and both wheels got stuck in the grate.
The wheels are foam filled rubber. We like the performance of rubber and foam if you are worried about a flat tire, but if you aren't going off-road, it seems like overkill and pneumatic tires might be preferable. The back wheels are larger than the front, and the front wheels have adjustable shocks, while the rear wheels have none.
The adjustable handlebar is a little larger than the one on the Bee, but it doesn't feel that great because the tubing is too flat. To learn more details about pushing and turning this product, please read more in our review of the best full-size strollers.
Ease of Use
This stroller did not perform well in our tests for ease of use which is a bummer given the higher price tag.
Fold and Unfold
Folding the Cameleon requires two hands and is tough with five steps and bending to the ground with a busy fold that has a manual lock, and doesn't self-stand or offer a carry strap and you'll need to remove the car seat adapter before folding. The unfold is marginally easier, but still a pain and requires two hands and two steps. Once folded, you will be holding the frame, adapter, and the infant carrier (ugh!).
This stroller has a single action hand brake that is easy to use, but you need to use caution when releasing the brake, so it doesn't slap you in the back of the hand. The brake is stiffer than other hand brakes, but it is still pretty easy.
The medium-sized storage bin fit our medium diaper bag with access from all sides that is easier to use before you attach a car seat. The bin has a weight allowance of 8.8 lbs. The allowance is the limiting factor, so you may be unable to carry all of your supplies or run errands.
The canopy doesn't work with the car seat adapters, which means you will need to rely on the canopy that comes with the car seat as baby's protection from the elements.
Ease of Setup
The Cameleon is one of the harder products to assemble, taking just over 14 minutes to get ready to stroll. The documentation is poor with illustrations that are difficult to follow and no words to help explain them.
One would think a high priced product like the Cameleon would rank higher in the quality department. As it is, this Bugaboo is only slightly better than average.
The aluminum frame is more robust than the Bugaboo Bee3, and we like the way it looks. It feels sturdy, but some flex makes it harder to push. The frame design is simple and looks clean, with fewer plastic components. The heavier canvas fabric lays nicely on the frame, and it doesn't wrinkle or bunch. The storage basket material is heavier than the seat and canopy, and it has a plastic piece on the bottom.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team