Mountain Buggy Swift Combo Review
Pros: Cool bottle holder, nice maneuverability
Cons: Large fold, harder car seat attachment
Manufacturer: Mountain Buggy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
An innovative new father started Mountain Buggy in New Zealand in 1992 in response to a failed attempt to find a great off-road stroller for exploring the countryside. To solve his problem, he created the all-terrain platform Mountain Buggy still builds on today. The company has improved and changed the style over the years, making modifications for a variety of strolling options suitable for the outback and the city life from baby to toddlerhood.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Mountain Buggy isn't the easiest to use for attaching car seats.
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. The car seat clicks into the frame with some difficulty. The right side of the carrier latch doesn't want to latch without considerable pressure, and it is stiff to release. We did think it was installed correctly a few times only to find out it wasn't with a tug of the handle. However, once you install it successfully, it has a more secure feeling attachment than the Graco we tested.
The Graco SnugRide also requires removal of the seat and canopy, but the adapter needs no assembly and snaps in quickly. This one is easier to attach and release, making the Chicco seem even more difficult by comparison. The Graco 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 connected. However, given that the Chicco had some false installations, we'd probably go with the Graco to avoid any accidents related to an incorrectly attached seat.
Weight and Folded Size
The Buggy has an average weight and folded size. The Buggy is neither large nor small, but it does weigh more than we'd like in a category where weight and size are essential. The folded size of the Buggy is also disappointing at over 12,600 cubic inches.
The Buggy earned some favor for maneuverability.
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 ease. The swivel front wheel makes it useful for stores and errands, while the locked front wheel is better for rougher terrain and off-road trips. 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.
The pneumatic tires offer additional comfort over bumpy terrain, and we think the air filling increases ease of pushing and maneuverability. The wheels are a little on the small side, but they roll well, and their smaller diameter means less to get in the way in your trunk.
The handlebar is adjustable by rotating on a pivot point. This adjustment means taller people with longer strides are standing closer to the stroller, which can result in kicking the axle. We like the shape of the handle and the foam cover, but we worry the foam might tear because the stroller stands on the bar in self-stand mode.
Ease of Use
The Mountain Buggy isn't as easy to use as some of the competition. The Buggy should have earned more points than it did as a full-size stroller with several features, but the low score indicates the features didn't perform well.
Fold and Unfold
We found the folding process to be easy, and it only requires one hand. The fold has some bending and a twist of the wrist, but it auto-locks, self-stands, and has a carry strap. This product rolls when folded like luggage, so it isn't challenging to move. Unfolding is a little trickier and requires two hands and three steps that need practice.
The Buggy has an easy to use handbrake which is different than the majority of handbrakes we've seen; we like that it isn't stiff and offers color-coding to help sleep-deprived parents.
The storage bin is medium in size, but given its full back access, we were able to fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with some overhang. The opening in the back is bigger than the basket, making it the best access point, but you can use the sides. The bin is far under the handlebar so it may be hard to reach, but it is more accessible with the car seat attached thanks to its higher placement. The basket has an 11 lbs maximum allowable weight limit, and we think parents will be hard-pressed to pare down their diaper bags for weight more than size.
The "cup holder" on this product is a bottle holder for water bottles. It 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, but you won't be using it with the infant car seat attached.
Ease of Setup
The Buggy has a setup time of just under 7 minutes. 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 is a nicer quality. The aluminum frame looks sturdy and has a nice finish. It feels solid when you push the stroller, and there is little flex. The joints are well-constructed and join nicely without gaps or rough edges. The seat material is similar to a soft t-shirt, and while it looks a tad frumpy it does fit well, and we didn't see any loose threads or fraying edges. The basket is a heavy-duty fabric that looks durable and cleans up easily. The overall fit and finish are simple and understated, but pleasing to the eye and uncluttered.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team