Quick Summary: The Mima Xari is probably the most contemporary pushchair on the market today. The use of cutting edge materials and its egg shaped seat make it very out of the ordinary.
- Really contemporary
- Tidy fold
- Great materials
- Smooth ride
Whats not so good?
- Carrycot enclosed adds weight
- Small basket
- Wobbly canopy
Regardless of whether you are a ‘lover of contemporary design' or a ‘Silver Cross Balmoral stalwart' you won't be able to stop yourself marvelling at the new Mima Xari. It has elements of some of the best pushchairs on the market and then breaks the mould with its unique pod-like, seat unit.
For a pushchair that we thought would never see the shores of the UK, due to our strict testing laws, we are delighted that it has finally landed and is filtering through to the shop floor.
The Xari is available in dark grey or silver (cosmo), with starter packs available in black/dark grey, black/silver (cosmo) and sangria red/dark grey.
I am beginning to think that Holland is the birthplace of great pushchairs, or at least the designers of great pushchairs, with names such as Quinny, Joolz, Mutsy and now Mima emanating from the Netherlands, it's hard to overlook this evolving trend.
The designer responsible for the slick good looks of the Mima Xari is Davy Kho, a Dutchman now based in Valencia, Spain. With an illustrious history as a product designer, he can also count the Bloom highchair as one of his exalted creations. He has now moved on to apply his canny talent to pushchairs resulting in the Innovation Award winning Mima Xari and Kobi.
Before you get over excited about the revolutionary seat unit, the frame's ability to carry it around must be inspected.
You immediately notice the polished alloys on the frame but not on the wheels, the reinforced, 90 degree hinge at the point of the fold draws your eye in the same way attractive alloys add that ‘something extra' on a car.
Naked, without the seat unit in place, it looks like a grasshopper or a praying mantis and ironically, apart from some cosmetic differences, it is very like the Joolz Day frame with the extended front axle that swings underneath the back when folded.
In fact, folding the Xari is very similar operation to the Day. Instead of pushing the height adjustable handle into the frame to break at the hinge, the Xari has two sliders along the handle, one with a safety button on the top. Pressing the safety and squeezing both sliders towards you drops the foam covered, multi-angle handle at your feet. You then simply grab the very obvious carry handle in the centre of the frame and the front wheels take care of themselves, flopping down underneath the back axle.
The front axle extends like a nose to support the front wheels. Good use has been made of the space by incorporating a pocket with a magnetic shut lid - it's not huge but large enough to fit a nappy and some wipes.
To add to your storage capacity, a further basket has been added into the arch of the back axle. Like the Joolz, it has a hatch/door but with a flappy elasticated closure, however it is only big enough to take a loaf of bread and perhaps a few bits and bobs like keys or a mobile.
At the foot of the basket is the one-touch, toggle brake which you could apply in bare feet – it takes no effort and leaves all your skin intact. The 25cm back wheels look pneumatic but are actually foam filled, which although practical, adds to the overall weight of the pushchair.
Can't forget the chair brackets on the arms of the pushchair, their party trick is that they are adjustable, allowing your child to travel high or dine low depending upon what you are upto. This talent becomes more practically obvious in the Xari's big brother, the Kobi, as it allows the top child to be place higher on the frame making room for the second below.
The seat on the Mima Xari is where it's all going on – innovation lives here. It looks like half an egg with a moulded seat inside. It is beautifully smooth, formed in a wipe clean EVA foam material providing an ergonomically supportive seat. The starter pack that comes with the Xari contains all the elements to soften the edges; the seat liner, mattress and apron.
The seat liner comes in Black/Dark Grey, Sangria red/Dark grey and Black /Silver (Cosmo). The harness plugs through the liner and into foam shell in two possible positions. It is secured on the inside by slide on fixings – a great improvement on the hours of re-threading you have to do on some pushchairs. Even the harness buckle is rounded and finished in a way that only a person with an eye for aesthetics would appreciate.
The foam covered bumper bar is hinged and gate-opening, giving you easy access to your passenger.
Now, the canopy is where the audience will be divided. Looks-wise, you immediately think – Armadillo! It has three panels that slide out over each other when extended or sit on top of one another when folded away. It's not easy to perform and the dimple in the first panel is there to indicate where to get hold of it to pull it open. Having played with it, it's more robust than you first think, the trick is to be firm, it seems to work better than if you're precious around it.
I don't like the design of the canopy in practical terms but it is an integral element of the iconic shape of the seat unit. It's the combination of the material used and the shape of the seat plus the unique canopy that make the Xari a never-seen-before jaw dropper. All this before I've even mentioned it's ‘pièce de rèsitance'!
Here is the pushchair party trick to end all party tricks.
If you remove the Xari seat unit from the frame you can then unleash it's split personality. Unzipping the waterproof zip that runs around the entire perimeter of the seat will allow it to open like a clam to reveal the flattened, peanut shaped, carrycot. Discard the shell and then erect the carrycot by sliding the rigid plastic supports into place. Insert your mattress and voila – carrycot! The canopy and the bumper bar can then be attached to complete the ensemble.
On the frame, the carrycot doesn't diminish the Xari's good looks but it doesn't feel superbly rigid; there's a see-saw movement that would only be overcome by a second fixing point – ruining the aesthetics, a necessary trade-off in the name of style.
I'm not a fan of parasols, which only seem to have a practical use in hotter climates than our own. Like umbrellas, any more than a slight breeze renders them more of a hindrance than a help. However, for those that disagree, I have to say the Mima parasol is beautifully made. Complimenting the fabrics in the starter kit on the outside, they are lined with a reflective silver fabric on the inside but at £49.99 you would be within your rights to expect it to be real silver!
On the other hand, the footmuff is absolutely gorgeous. The outside is a more malleable version of the seat material and the inside is exquisitely fluffy. The underneath of the footmuff has a step in it to fit the moulded seat and inside the fluffy lining is replaced by a wipeable fabric near the feet. The whole thing is zipped down the centre by a waterproof zip, with the option to leave it open slightly at the top by pinning the flaps back with invisible magnets. I defy you not to want to climb in yourself!
The Mima Xari is probably the most contemporary pushchair on the market today. The use of cutting edge materials and its egg shaped seat make it very out of the ordinary.
Pushchair-a-holics everywhere are going to be salivating at the thought of something new to aspire to. Fashionistas will see the Xari as the perfect accessory and creatives will appreciate the sheer elegance of the design.
If you fall in-between these genres, you might be able to stop yourself being bedazzled long enough to see beneath the suave symmetry to glimpse it's imperfections.
The clever concealment of the carrycot within the seat is only clever to a point. For starters, you will still have to store your chair shell elsewhere while the carrycot is in use. Then, when you are finished with the carrycot you have to carry it around for the duration. within the seat unit, only adding to the weight.
In my opinion the carrycot should be a separate item, after all it's not as though you need a carrycot to hand, just in case! If the units were separate, the shape of the seat could be exploited for further innovation, such as an integrated rain cover or mosquito net.
The canopy is integral to the look but needs some development. Given the winds and the climate in the UK, it's not ideal. The seat is on the small side for a child over 2 years old.
The Mima Xari is ground breaking in it's use of material but the size of the seat and the concealed carrycot, however unique, could do with some evolution to perfect.