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Hands-on Gear Review
Mountain Buggy Swift Combo ReviewPrice: $450.00 List | $449.99 at Amazon
Pros: Cool bottle holder, nice maneuverability
Cons: Large fold, harder car seat attachment
Bottom line: Easy to push and turn stylish choice but attaching car seats is not ideal
The Mountain Buggy Swift had respectable scores in every metric but the one that really counted for a car seat stroller combination review. This product took a hit in overall rank because it just doesn't work that well with car seats. Mountain Buggy earned one of the lower scores in this metric because the car seat required excessive pressure to connect and sometimes we thought it was attached when it wasn't. Unfortunately for the Buggy, which performed well in most other metrics, the car seat attachment metric made up a significant percentage of the final score. So despite the Buggy offering good maneuverability, a great bottle holder, and nicer quality, it wasn't enough to overcome the car seat attachment challenges.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Mountain Buggy Swift is a smaller off-road stroller with 10-inch rubber air filled tires, adjustable handlebar, aluminum frame, locking swivel front wheel, and super cool bottle holder. This stroller boasts a shorter footprint, curb popping capabilities, and good maneuverability. It offers a decent storage bin, but only a small canopy and no parent console. It is an interesting stroller option that didn't do that well for car seat attachment despite offering car seat adapters for several brands of infant car seats.
This chart provides a quick comparison of the overall scores for each product we tested in this review including the Mountain Buggy Swift (blue).
The performance of the Swift compared to the competition is detailed in the sections below.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Mountain Buggy earned a 5 of 10 for ease of attaching car seats where the average is a 6. The high for the metric is a perfect 10 for the Doona Combo that is both a car seat and a stroller so no attachment is necessary.
The Mountain Buggy is compatible with the Mountain Buggy Protect, Chicco Keyfit and Keyfit 30, Cybex Aton, and Graco Snugride Classic Connect 22, 32, 35, Click Connect 32, and 35, Maxi-Cosi Mico, Maxi-Cosi Pebble, Maxi-Cosi Cabrio Fix, Peg Perego Viaggio 30/30, and Phil & Teds Alpha. We purchased adapters for and tested the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35.
The Chicco adapter doesn't require any assembly and snaps into place on the Buggy frame easily. You will need to remove the toddler seat and canopy from the Buggy frame before installing the seat, but the process mostly hook and loop closures. The car seat clicks into the frame with some difficulty. The right side of the car seat latch doesn't want to latch without considerable pressure, and it is stiff to release. We did think it was properly installed a few times only to find out it wasn't with a tug of the handle. However, once it is installed correctly, it has a more secure feeling attachment than the Graco option we tested.
The Graco SnugRide also requires removal of the seat and canopy, but the adapter needs no assembly and snaps in easily. This one is easier to attach and release making the Chicco seem even more difficult by comparison than we first thought. The Graco just drops right in without much effort, and we didn't have any false installations where we thought it was in and it wasn't really. It doesn't feel as stable as the Chicco though.
Which seat is better with the Mountain Buggy is almost a toss-up. The Graco SnugRide is considerably easier to install, but the Chicco feels more secure once you get it connected. However, given that the Chicco had some false installations and the Graco did not we'd probably go with the Graco to avoid any accidents related to an incorrectly attached seat.
Weight and Folded Size
The Buggy earned a 6 of 10 for weight and folded size which is average for the group. The Buggy is neither large nor small, but it does weigh more than we'd like in a category where weight and size are important for new mothers that might be limited in how much they are allowed to carry after childbirth. The Buggy weighs over 18 lbs while the frame strollers are closer to 11. Given that the UPPAbaby Cruz Comco weighs just over 15 lbs, 18 seems somewhat high.
The folded size of the Buggy is also disappointing at over 12,600 cubic inches. The smallest folded package is the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo at 6,658 cubic inches. This is almost half the size of the Buggy, putting its larger size in perspective. Even the full-size, lighter UPPAbaby Cruz Combo is only 7,860 cubic inches.
The Buggy earned some favor and gained a little ground in the competition with a second place score of 8 of 10 for maneuverability. The jogging stroller BOB Revolution Flex Combo and the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Combo both earned higher scores with 9s.
The Buggy is easy to push and turn on the pavement and flat surfaces. It rolls well, and its smaller size helps in negotiate tight spaces with relative ease. The swivel front wheel makes it good for stores and errands, while the locked front wheel is better for rougher terrain and off-road trips, something the Buggy is designed to do. This product is easy to push and turn with one hand, and it rolled over carpet transitions and cords without a hiccup. The Buggy continued to impress off-road being one of the easiest in the group to push and turn on grass and gravel. We feel it lives up to the hype for off-road maneuverability as well as easy curb transitions and stair work.
In short, there isn't anything negative to say about the buggy's ability to do what every good stroller should do, push, roll, and turn with ease.
The tires are air filled rubber, our favorite kind. The pneumatic tires offer additional comfort over bumpy terrain, and while you will need to watch what you roll over to avoid a flat, we think the air filling as opposed to foam increases ease of pushing and maneuverability. The wheels are a little on the small size for wheels of this type, but they roll well, and their smaller diameter means less to get in the way when tucking it in your trunk.
The handlebar on this product is adjustable by rotating on a pivot point. This style of an adjustment means taller people with longer strides are actually standing closer to the stroller which can result in kicking the stroller while strolling. The height is adjustable from 27.6-38.2 inches from the ground, which gives the Buggy the lowest handlebar height in the group. We did like the shape of the handle and the foam covering it, but we worry the foam might tear easily, especially when folded because the stroller stands on the handlebar in the self-stand mode.
Ease of Use
The Mountain Buggy earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use. The Buggy should have been able to earn more points here than it did as a full-size stroller with several features, but the low score indicates the features didn't do well when compared to the rest of the group.
Fold and Unfold
Folding the Buggy is very easy. This process is accomplished with one hand and two steps. The fold does require some bending and a twist of the wrist, but it auto-locks, self-stands and has a carry strap for easier transport. This product also rolls when folded like rolling luggage, so if you don't need to lift it up and into a car, it isn't too bad to move from place to place. Unfolding is a little trickier and requires two hands and takes three steps. You will need some practice to get good at it.
This stroller has single action brakes that are very easy to set and release. The Buggy has a handbrake that is different than the majority of handbrakes we've seen, and we liked that it wasn't stiff to use and offered color coding to help sleep deprived parents check brake position with a glance.
The storage bin on the Buggy is medium in size, but given its wide back access, we were able to fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with some overhang out the back. The opening in the back is large, bigger than the basket, making it the best access point, though you can use the sides. The bin is pretty far under the low handlebar so it may be hard to reach, but it is more accessible with the car seat attached thanks to its higher placement than the toddler seat that comes with the stroller located very close to the bin. The basket has an 11 lbs maximum allowable weight limit, and we think parents will be harder pressed to pare down their diaper bags for weight more than size.
The "cup holder" on this product is more of a bottle holder for water bottles. The holder is a neoprene sleeve that hangs off the side of the frame and measures over 8 inches long. The sleeve is removable for washing and has an outer mesh pocket that might hold car keys or something of similar size.
The canopy on the buggy is smaller than any of the others that offer one. It has a vinyl peek-a-boo window, but you won't be using it until your baby no longer needs an infant car seat.
Ease of Setup
The Buggy earned a setup score of 7 with a setup time of just under 7 minutes. The high for the metric is 10 for the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo that has a quick start guide with 7 steps, the low is 2 for the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo. The Buggy has a good manual with illustrations that are clear, simple, and have color coding to tell you when to start or finish an action.
The Mountain Buggy earned a 7 of 10 for quality, tying with four other strollers and coming in 1 point below the high of 8 shared by the BOB Revolution Flex Combo and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo.
The aluminum frame on the Buggy looks sturdy and has a nice finish. It feels very solid when you push the stroller with weight in it, and there is very little flex. The joints seem well put together and join nicely without gaps or rough edges. The seat material is similar to soft t-shirt material, and while it looks a tad frumpy on the frame it does fit the frame well, and we didn't see any loose threads or fraying edges. The basket is made of a heavy duty fabric that looks like it will wear well over time and be easy to clean. The overall fit and finish of this product are simple and understated, but pleasing to the eye and uncluttered.
The Swift has a variety of infant car seat adapters and the two we tested are:
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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