The UPPAbaby Cruz also earned an Editors' Choice award in our Best Baby Strollers
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's gear lineup includes an infant car seat and several strollers.
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.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Cruz earned an 8 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment, tying with the UPPAbaby Vista Combo.
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.
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 (requires an adapter) car seats.
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 fits on the Cruz without adapters. The seat attaches to the side connection points for the toddler seat once you remove the toddler seat/canopy and you need to line up both sides simultaneously. The carrier clicked into place smoothly and installed correctly during testing. The connection doesn't feel as secure as the UPPAbaby Vista and Mesa combination, but it is one of the few strollers where the car seat can install 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.
Using the Chicco Keyfit 30 requires an adapter (sold separately). The adapter attaches at the same points, doesn't require assembly, and increases the overall weight 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.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 drops into the adapter loop and you only need a little pressure to make the connection. We had some instances when we thought the seat was installed only to tug on the handle and have the seat break free. Overall, it isn't a complicated installation, but one you need to double-check. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is slightly harder to install 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.
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, if you like the Keyfit 30, you won't be disappointed.
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
For a full-size stroller, the Cruz is small and relatively compact when folded. It is the lightest full-size stroller in this review at only 15.3 lbs without a seat. Only the dedicated frame strollers weigh less.
The Cruz has a small fold measuring at 7,860 cubic inches, which makes it smaller than the majority of full-size strollers we tested. All of the frame options are smaller, but if you want better features and performance, then the Cruz offers more in a relatively small and light package.
The Cruz has foam filled rubber tires that UPPAbaby claims provide properties similar to traditional suspension methods.
The Cruz is not challenging to push or turn on flat hard surfaces, but it isn't as good as the joggers.
We had to use two hands to move it smoothly, and the turns were slightly harder than some of the competition. With the handlebar adjustment in the middle of the handlebar making it challenging to push one-handed.
Locking the front wheels on the Cruz can help keep it pushing straight when moving over uneven terrain.
The longer wheelbase makes turns a little tricky, and we find you have to prep in advance for tighter turns. It did manage carpet, grass, and gravel with only a few snags on rocks. It isn't 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 adjustable handlebar uses the telescoping method that places the pusher further from the rear axle, which prevents kicking of the stroller. The handlebar is an easy push-button adjust, but the button is in a bad location in the middle of the bar. The size of the tubing and the foam or leather-wrapped handle makes it easy to grip and comfortable. The wheels on the Cruz are foam-filled rubber with UPPAbaby AirGo technology. The Cruz does not have traditional shocks or suspension, but UPPAbaby claims their AirGo wheels offer suspension in the design.
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 is one of the easier options to use in a metric where none of the options really shined.
Ease of use tests the day to day functionality of a product and attempts to predict any frustration parents might find.
Fold and Unfold
The Cruz is average for ease of folding requiring two hands (above left) and significant bending. It has two steps, auto-locks (above right), and self-stands. There is no carry handle, but it rolls when folded. 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 has straightforward, single action brakes with a pedal that is big and easy to reach, even with the seat fully reclined or with a carrier attached. The underside of the pedal is friendly to sandaled feet.
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.
The Cruz has a large storage bin and one of the highest maximum allowable capacities at 25 lbs. The larger allowance means you can carry the baby's diaper bag and other items. The basket is accessible from all sides and easier before attaching the seat.
The Cruz has a nice large sunshade with ventilation and a peek-a-boo window. However, when used with an infant car seat, the canopy won't be there.
The Cruz is super easy to setup and the Chicco adapter did not require any assembly before use.
Ease of Setup
The Cruz is one of the easiest in the group to set up taking under 5 minutes. The stroller comes with a quick start guide with seven steps and useful 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.
Only one option earned a higher score for quality than the Cruz.
The Cruz has nice quality materials and construction with attention to detail.
The storage bin, seat, and canopy are soft, tightly woven, thick 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 is hard plastic. The frame is aluminum and 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 simple.
The Cruz does not offer much in the way of conveniences, so you may want to consider adding a few below:
- 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 quick access items close at hand so you can answer calls, retrieve your keys, or pay for lunch at a food truck with ease.