We put Mamas & Papas newest set of wheels, the Armadillo to test.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo is, according to the press release a ‘Big Little Stroller'. Well on first, out of the box impressions, it certainly looks good, but will it live up to expectations? We find out and tell you what you need to know in our Mamas & Papas Armadillo Review.
What's in the Box.
• Mamas and Papas Armadillo Pushchair
The RRP of the Mamas and Papas Armadillo is £199 (£229 for the Special Edition Stripe colourway with liner).
Mamas & Papas Armadillo Accessories
• Aton Car Seat - £145.00
• Maxi-Cosi Pebble Car Seat - £165
• All Season Footmuff (Stripe or Black) - £39.95
• Reversible Liner (Stripe) - £19.95
• Messenger Changing Bag - £39.00
• Maxi-Cosi Car Seat Adaptors - £29.95
• Aton Carseat Adaptors - £29.95
• Luxury Changing Bag - £79.00
• Messenger Changing Bag - £39.00
• Cupholder and toddler handle - £20.00
• Luxury Parasol - £34.95
• Universal Sunshield - £39.00
• Pippop Knitted blanket £36.50
Blue Fizz, Black Liquorice, Lemon Drop, Coral Pink, Stripe.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Chassis.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo chassis tubes come resplendent in black. It's a sensible choice as it sits really well with current trends but also works really well combined with the black plastics.
When you receive your Armadillo, you only have to pop the wheels on once you have extracted it from the box to get going. Everything is in place, the seat, the hood, everything.
The thing that will grab your attention first is how sturdy the Armadillo feels once it is opened. There is no shake or wobble, it just feels solid and well made – like it will last forever. The Armadillo weighs in at 8kg rising to 8.9kg when the hood and basket are taken into account which is pretty good for a stroller of this type, not best in class, but easily manageable all the same.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo has 4 wheels with EVA tyres. Fronts are 15cm and rears are 19.5cm in diameter. Pushing down on the chassis demonstrates the excellent all-round independent suspension. It will certainly give a smooth ride. In addition, the fronts are lockable and come off with a simple press of a button (as do the rears) – great for giving them a thorough clean! I should also say I really like the 3 spoke wheel design.
The brake is operated by a pedal on the right hand side. Its light to press and even lighter to release with a toe lift. The brake application and removal will cause you no pain even in flip-flops.
It initially looks like a bit of a challenge to get your stuff in and out of the Armadillos basket, however the basket sides are elasticated making this actually quite easy. It's a great idea. Basket size is a considerable 40cm x 50cm x 15cm at its widest point and holds 22 litres. The access will be a little frustrating as you cannot just plonk in a bag of shopping, but don't let this put you off, the space makes up for it.
The Handle on the chassis is non adjustable and sits 90cm from the floor. In the centre is the mechanism that operates the one handed fold. M&P have added some plastic bumps to this to stop the handle foam touching the floor when the product is folded and free standing. That's a nice touch!
I think it is also worth mentioning that it is possible to fit an Mamas & Papas Aton or Maxi-Cosi car seat on the Armadillo using optional adaptors making it a truly from birth solution if required.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Seat.
The first thing you will notice about the seat on the Mamas & Papas Armadillo is the size, it is visibly big. The seat area has a usable width of 31cm. The back height measures 50cm, providing plenty of space for all but the tallest children. It's a great design, but is however only forward facing.
The recline is operated by squeezing a button on the back of the seat which releases the grip on the recline straps, the weight of your child will then recline the seat. We are not fans of recline straps, but the Armadillo system works really well. Once the backrest is reclined, the seat has a lay-flat space measuring a huge 92cm! To put the backrest back up, hold the straps with one hand, squeeze the clamp and push the seat back up with the other. It's not a single handed effort, but it works really well.
The foot rest is easily adjusted between its two positions (horizontal and angled down) by pulling a lever underneath it.
The Armadillo was named after its hood and we can see why. It's nice and big virtually encapsulating the pushchair. It comes with the currently ‘on trend' flip out front section further increasing the hoods reach. With the seat reclined and the hood fully out, there is excellent coverage.
Mamas & Papas have given the Armadillo a 5 point harness which comes complete with chest and crotch pads. It's easily adjusted and has 3 different shoulder height positions. I really like the big Mamas & Papas branded button in the middle of the strap release. Its rubberised as well, so feels great when you push it to let your little one out.
Lastly to the Armadillo's raincover. Again, there is nothing complicated or flash, it just press studs in place where the hood meets and rotates on the chassis. Using the hood for support, it covers the frontal open space leaving the pushchair fabrics to do their job and protect from the rain. The beauty of this design is that the raincover ends up very small when folded due to the minimal use of material.
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Fold.
The fold is one of the Armadillos strong points and one Mamas & Papas is keen to pitch against competition from the Britax B-Agile 4 and Baby Jogger City Mini 4. According to M&P, the Armadillo folds smaller than both these models.
Folding the Armadillo is a one handed affair. With the seat up and the footrest in its down position, grasp the fold actuator in the centre of the handle. Slide the safety catch to the left and rotate the actuator down. This unlocks the frame and allows you to rotate the handle forward towards the front wheels. You will then be presented with a handle. Here is a tip, just before grabbing the handle and lifting, make sure you have pulled the pushchair backwards enough to rotate the front wheels forward. Now, pick up the pushchair with the handle, it will fold together and you will be instantly be able to freestand it! It also autolocks in place.
To unfold, undo the autolock. Open the Armadillo out with the handle. Done!
Folding the Armadillo is simple, one handed and no fuss – you won't end up standing in the rain wishing for your pushchair to magically jump into the car folded!
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo Conclusion.
It's clear Mamas & Papas see the Baby Jogger City Mini and Britax B-Agile as competition for the Armadillo and have obviously looked carefully at these products when designing it.
If you look at the Armadillo in isolation as we have, Mamas & Papas have successfully produced an excellent 2D fold pushchair that would suit anyone. It's very well made with a high quality feel. Everything on the pushchair works without fuss and has the feel of lasting forever.
We don't have many niggles, the basket is a little hard to access and of course we are not fans of the strap recline. You could even argue it's a little heavier than its competition, but you know what, that does not really matter.
The Armadillo is an excellent product. It looks great, it's got a huge seat and it folds really small and we really like the way the seat is protected when the product is folded. If you are fed up with your massive travel system but are not ready or don't like strollers/buggies, try the Armadillo, you won't be disappointed.
We give the Mamas & Papas Armadillo 4.5 out of 5 stars.
• Folded Size: 72cm x 55cm x30cm
• Folded Cube Size: 0.1188m cubed
• Weight: 9kg (8kg)