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Hands-on Gear Review

UPPAbaby Cruz Combo Review

The Cruz works with the UPPAbaby Mesa without adapters. The install is easy and requires little pressure to complete.
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $550.00 List | $549.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Lighter weight, easy to fold, easy to attach car seat, large storage
Cons:  Little harder to push and turn, handle adjustment button prevents one hand steering
Bottom line:  Quality full-size option with easy car seat attachment and storage good for errands
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   UPPAbaby

The Skinny

The UPPAbaby Cruz is a sleek, stylish stroller that is easy to use and works well with a few different infant car seats. Its general ease of car seat attachment and overall size and weight make it a great option for parents who want to combine a car seat with a stroller, and it makes it our favorite option to recommend for parents looking to create a travel system as it nicely combines with several award-winning car seats. The Cruz has one of the largest storage capacities in the group, an easy to adjust handlebar and a quick and easy fold. We liked the Cruz best when paired with the UPPAbaby Mesa infant seat. This product earned a 3rd place rank in this review.

The UPPAbaby Cruz also earned an Editors' Choice award in our Best Baby Strollers review.


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


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Friday
September 15, 2017

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Updated — September 2017
The Cruz has been altered for 2017 and the changes include a slightly smaller folded size, slightly higher weight, new textile options, and other minor alterations. The information in this gear review reflects these changes and is based on the newest version available.

The UPPAbaby Cruz is a great full-size stroller that works well as a combination with an infant car seat. Shown here with the UPPAbaby Mesa which attaches to the frame without an adapter.
The UPPAbaby Cruz is a great full-size stroller that works well as a combination with an infant car seat. Shown here with the UPPAbaby Mesa which attaches to the frame without an adapter.

The UPPAbaby company is an American, family run company with over a decade of combined experience in the juvenile industry. UPPAbaby draws inspiration from their family experiences to create products that are easier to use, safer, lighter and more fun. Their goal is to make improvements without sacrificing convenience, usability, or style. UPPAbaby offers an infant car seat, the UPPAbaby Mesa, and several different strollers including lightweight, single, and double options.



Performance Comparison


The following comparison chart includes the overall scores for the combinations we tested in this review. It is easy to see by the UPPAbay Cruz's (blue) rank why it won a coveted Editors' Choice award.


The sections below detail how the Cruz performed during testing compared to the competition. The individual metric scores were used to calculate the overall score with an emphasis on the ease of car seat attachment and weight and folded size.

If you choose the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat  it attaches to the Cruz at the same connection points as the toddler seat and doesn't require an adapter.
If you choose the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat, it attaches to the Cruz at the same connection points as the toddler seat and doesn't require an adapter.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


The Cruz earned an 8 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment, tying with the UPPAbaby Vista Combo. Only three combos offer easier car seat attachment including the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo, Bugaboo Cameleon 3, and the Doona with is an infant car seat with stroller capabilities.


The Cruz is compatible with the UPPAbaby Mesa; Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico NXT, Citi, Cabrio, and Cabrio Fix; the Nuna Pipa; Cybex Aton 2, Aton, and Aton Q; and the Chicco Keyfit 30 and Keyfit (not 30). We tested the Cruz with the Mesa and Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats (requires an adapter).

The Mesa car seat can be detached from the Cruz by pressing the button on the handle and lifting the carrier straight up off the frame.
The Mesa car seat can be detached from the Cruz by pressing the button on the handle and lifting the carrier straight up off the frame.

The Mesa is made to fit on the Cruz without adapters. The seat attaches to the side connection points the stroller uses for the toddler seat. You need to remove the toddler seat/canopy from the stroller to attach the car seat, and you need to line up both sides at the same time. The car seat clicks into place smoothly and installed correctly during testing. The connection doesn't feel particularly stable. We feel confident it isn't going to fall off, but it doesn't feel as secure as the UPPAbaby Vista and Mesa combination. The Cruz is one of the few strollers where the car seat installs facing either direction.

The Chicco loop adapter for the Cruz attaches where the toddler seat attaches and are easy to remove with the press of two buttons simultaneously.
The Chicco loop adapter for the Cruz attaches where the toddler seat attaches and are easy to remove with the press of two buttons simultaneously.

Using the Chicco Keyfit 30 requires an additional adapter (sold separately). The adapter clicks into place at the same attachment points and doesn't require assembly. The adapter increases the overall weight for the Cruz by almost 2 lbs.

With the adapter for the Chicco attached to the Cruz  it creates an open loop that the carrier portion of the car seat nestles into and clicks onto.
With the adapter for the Chicco attached to the Cruz, it creates an open loop that the carrier portion of the car seat nestles into and clicks onto.

The Chicco Keyfit 30 drops into the adapter loop and you only need a little pressure to make the connection. We did have some instances where we thought the seat was correctly installed only to tug on the handle and have the seat break free. Overall, it isn't a difficult installation, just one you need to double check. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is slightly harder to install and release than the Mesa, but after installation, they both feel equally secure.

With the purchase of additional adapters  the Cruz can work with a few other infant car seat types  including the Chicco Keyfit 30 seen here.
With the purchase of additional adapters, the Cruz can work with a few other infant car seat types, including the Chicco Keyfit 30 seen here.

Based on our testing, the UPPAbaby Mesa has a slight edge over the Chicco Keyfit 30 thanks to the lack of adapters, lower weight, easier release, and no installation mistakes. However, should you like the Keyfit 30, you won't be disappointed and as the attachment scores were very similar.

The new version of the Cruz is about 1 lb heavier but almost 1000 cubic inches smaller when folded. The trade-off means it may fit in where the older version could not.
The new version of the Cruz is about 1 lb heavier but almost 1000 cubic inches smaller when folded. The trade-off means it may fit in where the older version could not.

Weight and Folded Size


The Cruz earned a 7 of 10 for weight and folded size, tying with the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo. It is the lightest full-size stroller in this combo review at only 15.3 lbs without a seat. This is an increase of a full pound over the previous version of the Cruz. Only the dedicated frame strollers weigh less than the Cruz. The BOB Revolution Flex is the heaviest at 26.5 lbs.


The Cruz has a relatively small fold measuring at 7,860 cubic inches. This is smaller than the majority of full-size size strollers we tested except for the Britax B-Agile 3 (the most compact in the review). While all of the frame options are smaller when folded, if you want more features and higher performance, then the Cruz and B-Agile have a lot to offer in relatively small and light packages.

The Cruz has foam filled rubber tires that UPPAbaby claims provide properties similar to traditional suspension methods.
The Cruz has foam filled rubber tires that UPPAbaby claims provide properties similar to traditional suspension methods.

Maneuverability


The Cruz earned a 5 of 10 for maneuverability. The high for the metric is 9 for the BOB Revolution Flex that has a locking swivel front wheel with adjustable tracking and pneumatic rubber tires that make pushing a breeze.


This product is not difficult to push or turn on flat hard surfaces, but it isn't as good as the top tier products. We had to use two hands to move it smoothly, and the turns were slightly harder than some of the competition.

Locking the front wheels on the Cruz can help keep it pushing straight when moving over uneven terrain.
Locking the front wheels on the Cruz can help keep it pushing straight when moving over uneven terrain.

With the handlebar adjustment in the middle of the handlebar, it is difficult to push one-handed. The longer wheelbase also made turns a little tricky, and we found you have to prep somewhat in advance to make tighter turns. It did manage carpet, grass, and gravel with only a few snags on rocks that led us astray. It isn't truly an off-road stroller, but you won't be struggling to negotiate through a play park either. You can find more details on how the Cruz moves with the toddler seat attached in our best full-size stroller review.

The new Cruz handlebar has a leather cover  but it still has the center adjustment button that makes one-handed pushing a challenge.
The new Cruz handlebar has a leather cover, but it still has the center adjustment button that makes one-handed pushing a challenge.

The adjustable handlebar uses the telescoping method of adjustment that places the pusher further from the rear axle, which prevents kicking of the rear axle. The handlebar is easy to adjust with a button push, but the button is ill placed in the middle of the bar. The size of the tubing and the foam or leather wrapped handle make it easy to grip and comfortable.

The wheels on the Cruz are foam filled rubber with UPPAbaby AirGo patent-pending technology. These wheels have the benefit of a rubber tire and can never go flat. The Cruz does not have traditional shocks or suspension, but UPPAbaby claims their AirGo wheels offer suspension as one part of the design.

The Cruz storage bin holds up to 25 lbs and we fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with no problem.
The Cruz storage bin holds up to 25 lbs and we fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with no problem.

Ease of Use


The Cruz earned a score of 6 of 10 for ease of use, and while that might not sound impressive, only one combination earned a higher score with a 7.


Ease of use tests the day to day functionality of a product and attempts to predict any frustration parents might find when using them.

The Cruz fold is initiated by pulling up on the frame locks located on both sides of stroller the to release the frame for folding.
The Cruz auto-locks to keep the stroller closed and easier to manage.
 

Fold and Unfold


The Cruz is average for ease of folding requiring two hands (above left) and significant bending at the waist. It has two steps, automatically locks (above right), and self-stands once folded. There is no carry handle or strap on the Cruz, but it does roll when folded like luggage, so you only need to lift it when storing it or putting in a car. Unfolding the Cruz is easier, but you still need two hands.

The Cruz's brake pedal is centrally located and easy to set and release with a sandal foot friendly design.
The Cruz's brake pedal is centrally located and easy to set and release with a sandal foot friendly design.

Brakes


This stroller has single action brakes that are easy to set and release, and sandal foot friendly. We like that the pedal is big and easy to reach, even with the seat fully reclined or with a carrier attached.

While the Cruz storage bin is accessible from most sides and works well with the seat in place  it is easier to fit larger items inside before you place the infant carrier on top.
While the Cruz storage bin is accessible from most sides and works well with the seat in place, it is easier to fit larger items inside before you place the infant carrier on top.

Storage


The Cruz has a large storage bin and one of the highest maximum allowable capacities 25 lbs. The average for the group is closer to 10 lbs. The larger allowance means you can fit baby's diaper bag and other items inside the bin. We fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with room to spare. The basket is accessible from all sides and easier for us before attaching the seat.

Sunshade


The Cruz has a nice large sunshade with ventilation and a peek-a-boo window. However, when used with an infant car seat you will not have access to the main canopy.

The Cruz is super easy to setup and the Chicco adapter did not require any assembly before use.
The Cruz is super easy to setup and the Chicco adapter did not require any assembly before use.

Ease of Setup


The Cruz is the easiest product in the group to set up. It took us under 5 minutes to get the Cruz out of the box and ready to stroll. The stroller comes with a quick start setup guide with 7 steps and nice pictures. We found the pieces and parts to be so minimal and the assembly so intuitive that we didn't need to use the manual for assembly.

Only one option earned a higher score for quality than the Cruz.
Only one option earned a higher score for quality than the Cruz.

Quality


The Cruz earned a 7 of 10 for quality. This score tied with three other products and is only 1 point lower than the high of 8.


The storage bin, seat and canopy are all made using a soft, tightly woven, thicker canvas that fits well on the frame and doesn't have any visible fasteners, loose threads, or bunched stitching. The sides of the basket have stiff rubber coated mesh and the bottom has a hard plastic piece that helps the bin retain its shape and offers support. The frame is aluminum, and it has a sleek appearance with few connection points and no visible rivets. The overall fit and finish are tight, and everything lines up with a smooth finish that is straightforward and sleek.

Manufacturer Video




Accessories


The Cruz does not offer much in the way of conveniences, so you may want to consider adding a few including:
  • The UPPAbaby Cup Holder — Some parents feel a cup holder is an absolute must and while we think you can get by without it, the addition of a cup holder may be just what the doctor ordered to hold your water bottle on a hot day to stay hydrated.
  • The UPPAbaby Parent Organizer — Want to keep your wallet and mobile phone nearby? The parent organizer is a good addition that will allow you to keep those quick access items close at hand so you can answer calls, retrieve your keys, or pay for lunch at a food truck with ease.
  • The UPPAbaby Vista/Cruz Infant Car Seat Adapter for Graco — This adapter works with several of the Graco infant car seat options. However, it does not work with all Graco options so be sure to double check your model against the UPPAbaby website for compatibility.

Other Versions


The Vista works well with up to two infant car seat carriers while maintaining easy access to the storage bin.
UPPAbaby also makes the UPPAbaby Vista Combo that works with two infant car seats and is a good choice for growing families or those with twins. The Vista did not win an award in the Combo review because of its larger size and heavier weight, but it did win awards in the double stroller review and our full-size stroller review where it impressed with its versatility quality, maneuverability, and storage.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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BabyGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 15, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
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