Quick Summary: The Babyjogger City Mini is a hugely popular pushchair and the focus of its popularity lies in the fold; it's compact, ingenious and uncomplicated. These features simplify getting around with your child whilst keeping them comfortable and safe.
- Fantastic fold
- Great quality
- Compact and tidy
Whats not so good?
- Velcro on canopy
- Strap recline
- Static handlebar
Three wheelers are not for everyone and for those with 3 wheel aversion, Babyjogger have opened the doors to their City Mini by releasing a four wheeled model.
The Babyjogger City Mini is a hugely popular pushchair and the focus of its popularity lies in the fold; it's compact, ingenious and uncomplicated. These features simplify getting around with your child whilst keeping them comfortable and safe.
Babyjogger pioneered this elementary fold which has since been replicated by competitors such as in the B-AGILE from Britax. This in no way detracts from its genius, after all imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Apart from being attractive and sturdy, the Babyjogger City Mini 4 wheel is clever, obviously designed by someone with a little sympathy towards the end users. It is straightforward, so straightforward in fact that inscribed on the handle that activates the fold are the words... ‘Pull to fold'. It doesn't get a lot more elementary than that!
The full folding process starts with the two straps on the rear of the frame, around knee height that are held in place by press-studs; undo these and you are free to lift the pull-to-fold-handle in the crease of the seat.
The frame then folds in two, compacting to a petite size that can stand vertically. To reduce it's width further, all the wheels can be removed making it narrow enough to slide behind the front seat of the smallest car.
Unfortunately, the City Mini 4 wheel doesn't have an automatic closure lock. It does have a manual lock involving a latch over a rivet on one side of the frame, but it's so short that you've got to be reasonably determined to make it close. To this end I doubt many parents will bother with it. With the same everyday apathy, I am sure that after time, most parents will not secure the straps that provide the required second stage of the fold, not because they are blaze about safety but because they are probably busy parents and find the one-step fold more convenient. Interestingly enough, in the USA there is no legal requirement to have two stages to the fold, so the Babyjogger City Mini is sold all over the States with just the one, simple, handle fold.
The fabric that makes up the seat of the City Mini is a beautiful quality, high lustre nylon. Our sample colour is the Crimson/Black and it is gorgeous looking.
The five point harness can be easily adjusted by simply hooking the harness onto loops on the back panel at the required level. There are five heights to choose from allowing plenty of room for growth.
The seat is built to accommodate any size of child, from petite to stocky. With a width of 30cms and a back height of 50cm the City mini is going to have enough room to see your child through to the time that they no longer need a pushchair.
The canopy is incredibly large, so large it needs two peephole windows to give you a panoramic view of your passenger. Both have Velcro closures, whereas magnetic closures would have been more in-keeping with the finish on the rest of the pushchair.
One of the 2011 improvements to the City Mini products is the rigid back to the seat. The original was prone to allowing your child to slump – no longer. The back can be forced to sit more upright using the thick Velcro straps that attach each side, to the shafts of the handle. Conversely, the seat can be effortlessly reclined; squeeze the central toggle and run it down the straps to the required position. The good thing about this solution is that the number of angles of recline are infinite. The flip side of a strap recline comes when you are positioning the seat upright again, it's not impossible but with a passenger on board, it can be more complicated than it needs to be.
When fully reclined, the seat back lays nearly flat at 150 degrees. A mesh panel encloses the head of the bed allowing a flow of ventilation on hotter days. This can be sealed using the weather cover that is rolled up under the back of the hood. With such an enormous canopy and deep, enclosed recline, it makes an excellently safe/dark cavity for your child to feel completely cosy.
On the rear of the seat is a mesh net for all the bits and bobs you need close at hand. The basket under the seat is not huge, but adequate.
The brake is centrally located on the back axle and provides a confident stop to the pushchair and requires minimal effort to release it.
As the name suggests, the City Mini 4 wheel has four 20cm wheels with lightweight EVA foam tyres. All the wheels have accessible, easy-to-operate release buttons, downsizing your fold size in a jiffy. The front can be locked off to make it easier to cover rough ground or left to swivel 180 degrees for nippy manoeuvrability.
Sadly the raincover does not match the quality of the rest of the product. It is ill fitting and looks cheap compared to the high quality level of finish on every other element.
Near the break point of the frame, two grey buttons eject plastic blanking lugs which are used to mask the holes that mount all the other accessories such as the car seat adaptors, belly bar or toddler tray etc.
Altogether, this is a fabulously good quality pushchair that has been meticulously finished from the rubber grip on the handle to the stitching on the canopy, it has all been executed with care and attention to the design.
The fold is pure genius and greases the wheels of your already busy and over complicated life. It's as close to picking up the pushchair and throwing it in your boot whole as you are going to achieve.
I am surprised that some elements aren't more refined such as the Velcro closing windows on the canopy and the strap recline. A height adjustable handlebar would also edge the City Mini 4 wheel towards perfection. However, none of these niggles should be deal breakers, the City Mini is already a very popular pushchair and addition of the fourth wheel will only serve to make it more widely appealing.