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Hands-on Gear Review
Bugaboo Cameleon3 Combo Review
Price: $1,149.00 List | $1,029.05 at Amazon - 10% off
Pros: Easy Chicco seat attachment
Cons: Difficult to attach Peg Perego, heavy, expensive
Bottom line: High price for a heavy, harder to push stroller but the Chicco Keyfit 30 is easy to attach
The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 earned 68 points out of 100 in our review for stroller car seat combinations. The score gave it a sixth place rank tying with the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo. The Cameleon is a high-end stroller that works well with at least the Chicco car seat adapter but disappointed us with the Peg Perego adapters. While it isn't the heaviest or the largest product in the bunch, we just weren't that impressed with its performance or features to offer it an award or a real nod of approval.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Bugaboo Cameleon is the larger Bugaboo product in this review. It has an aluminum alloy frame with two wheel adjustable shocks and single action brakes. The car seat adapter is easy to click-in, and some infant car seat carriers click in place smoothly and with little effort compared to the competition. It offers rubber tires, above average quality, and an easy to fold frame. This stroller is compatible with several popular car seats with the purchase of additional adapters.
The following chart is a comparison of the overall scores for each combination we tested for this review. The Cameleon bar is blue
The information provided below offers details on how the Cameleon compared to the competition during testing.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Cameleon tied with the Bee for ease of car seat attachment with 9 of 10 scores. The Doona earned a perfect 10 because the car seat is always attached to the stroller portion of the product with no attachment necessary.
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 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. We tested this stroller with the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Peg Perego.
If you already own the Cameleon, we recommend the Chicco Keyfit 30 adapter and car seat. Alternatively, you could try using any other option where the adapter is a loop style connection as opposed to the two side attachments. We suggest avoiding the Peg Perego seat and any other with the side connection at all costs.
Weight and Folded Size
The Cameleon is neither light nor small. For weight and folded size, this product earned a 5 of 10 in our tests. This score is average for the group and certainly nothing to write home about. The high for the metric is 9, a score shared by all the dedicated frame strollers that are designed to be lightweight, small in size, and easy to fold and carry.
Folding the Cameleon requires two hands and is tough compared to the competition. It takes five steps and bending to the ground to fold this stroller. This stroller has a busy folding method that requires manual locking, doesn't self-stand, or offer a carry strap. You will also need to remove the car seat adapter before folding as well. The unfold is marginally easier, but still a pain according to testers. It requires two hands and has two steps. You will once again need to bend to the ground to lift the handle to unfold it. After you complete the fold, you will be holding the frame, adapter, and the infant carrier.
The Cameleon earned a 6 of 10 for maneuverability. The Cameleon score is average with the BOB Revolution earning the high of 9 and the Chicco Bravo LE Combo the low score of 3. The Revolution had the edge on the group thanks to its jogging stroller design and features.
The smaller footprint of this product makes it easier in tight spots, but it doesn't turn as well as some of the others with more flex in the frame and handlebar than some of the other options. This one is still relatively easy to push on hard surfaces with two hands. One hand is possible, but it isn't easy, and you aren't likely to 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 when we tried pushing it over.
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
Much like its little brother the Bugaboo Bee3 this stroller did not perform well in our tests for ease of use with a 4 of 10 in the metric. The average for the group is 5, and the high is 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo LE Combo.
The storage bin on the Cameleon is medium in size, and it fit our medium diaper bag. The bin has average access from the front, sides, and back with a maximum allowable weight of 8.8 pounds. The limiting factor to this bin is the weight limit, that doesn't come close to the UPPAbaby products that are 25 and 30 pounds each. This means you will be limited in what kind of supplies you can carry with you. For some, it will mean your diaper bag alone, but most will be unable to run errands or buy a few grocery supplies without having to carry them by hand to transport.
This stroller has single action brakes that are easy to set and release. It is a handbrake model, and you need to make sure you are cautious when releasing the brake, so it doesn't slap you in the back of the hand. The brake is stiffer than other hand brakes we've seen in other products, but it is still pretty easy.
The canopy on this stroller is large with no additional ventilation or peek-a-boo window. However, the canopy doesn't work with the car seat adapters, so it won't be a problem until later. Because some products allow the use of the native canopy which increases baby's protection from the elements, it is a shame when it doesn't work. The lack of stroller shade means you will need to rely on the canopy that comes with the car seat as baby's only source of protection from the sun and other elements.
There is no other storage or items of convenience for parents or baby to stow items. It does have a padded leg rest that is not adjustable and various recline positions on the standard toddler seat, but the recline adjustment isn't easy and not applicable to the frame when used with a car seat. The stroller does come standard with a rain cover and bassinet, though it does not appear that you can use the rain cover with a car seat.
One would think a high priced product like the Cameleon would rank higher in the quality department. As it is this Bugaboo earned a 7 of 10, which isn't bad mind you, but not the best in the group. The high for the group is 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and the BOB Revolution.
The aluminum finish frame is more robust than the one on the Bee, and we like the way it looks. It feels sturdy, but there is some flex that makes it harder to push. The frame design is simpler and looks cleaner than the Bee with fewer plastic components. The heavier canvas fabric lays nicely on the frame, and it doesn't wrinkle or bunch. The storage basket is a heavier material than the seat and canopy and has a plastic piece in the bottom to help it retain shape.
The wheels are foam filled rubber and are larger and more functional than those on the Bee. We like the performance of rubber and think foam is nice if you are worried about a flat tire, but if you aren't going to be off-roading, it seems like overkill and the extra performance of pneumatic tires might be preferred. However, the wheels spin nicely and have little resistance. The back wheels are larger than the front, but both roll equally smooth. The front wheels have adjustable shocks, and the rear wheels have none.
The fabric on this stroller is machine washable. The frame has a 2-year warranty, and the components have a one year.
Ease of Setup
The Cameleon is one of the harder products to assemble and earned a 4 of 10 for this metric; this is a tie with the Peg Perego Booklet Combo. The worst is the Cameleon's little brother the Bugaboo Bee with a score of 3. The easiest stroller to assemble is the UPPAbaby Cruz with a perfect score of 10 and a stroller that comes almost entirely assembled.
The Cameleon took just over 14 minutes to assemble from unpacking the box to ready to stroll. The documentation that comes with it is poor and made up of illustrations that are difficult to follow and no words to help explain them. It isn't the worst thing to put together, but we are grateful it is a project that only needs to happen once.
Some parents who are curious about the Bugaboo name or implied quality and status might be interested in this stroller. However, while it might be easy to attach a seat to, it is also the most expensive stroller in the group, and it doesn't have some of the features we think parents would want from a standard size stroller. So while we can forgive a cheap frame stroller for having limited performance or convenience features, it is hard to forgive the same from a stroller of this price. The Cameleon has limited storage, no canopy with car seats, disappointing size and weight, and shocks on only two wheels.
The Cameleon has the highest list price in the group of close to $1200. For this price, we would expect it to come with more features or better performance than the majority of options in the group. However, the UPPAbaby Cruz scored the same overall and had a significantly larger storage bin with a 25 lb maximum allowable weight. With a list price closer to $500 and an Editors' Choice award in 2 categories we think it is a better value than the Cameleon. If a Bugaboo is your brand of choice, the Bee scored higher and cost less than the Cameleon, and all you seem to sacrifice is about 4 pounds of storage and adjustable shocks with an off-road mode. The Bee earned a Top Pick for Urban use in this review.
The Cameleon is an interesting high priced stroller that looks good and earned a sixth place rank in this review tying with the UPPAbaby Cruz. It has one of the easiest car seat attachment adapters in the review (for the Chicco). On the downside, however, this stroller has only one storage location with a weight capacity of only 8 lbs, plus it is heavier and larger than the comparable UPPAbaby Cruz. This product did not score well in our standard stroller review and despite the easy to use Chicco adapter it isn't enough to make this product a standout in our mind or worth the larger price tag.
Bugaboo also makes the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo that we reviewed here and in our full-size stroller review. The Bee earned the highest overall score in this review and had the easiest car seat attachment when coupled with the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat. While the Bee still has a higher price tag than much of the competition, it is lower than the Cameleon and better option in our opinion for parents who are interested in the Bugaboo brand or who want the easiest option for car seat attachment.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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