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Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Review

Review Overview

Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Review
Expert Reviewer
216 Reviews
Reviewed On: 26 Jun 2013
Sophie Bell
Expert Reviewer
Sophie's Verdict:

It's taken some time, but we have finally got our hands on the latest Bugaboo Cameleon to road test.

Review Summary

Summary

Pushchairs are funny things, like cars or shoes, you get attached to a certain brand for various reasons. I can see why a mum would have a Bugaboo and nothing else.

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£ 99 . 99
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What’s good
  • Great quality
  • Easy to use
  • Style
  • Resale value
What’s not so good
  • Brake a bit stiff

Review Content

Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Review
Introduction

We all know that the Bugaboo Cameleon is one of the most popular pushchairs with a long list of celebrity converts. Well it on its 3rd generation now, Bugaboo preferring to continually improve rather than completely re-model. We get to know the 3rd generation more thoroughly in our Bugaboo Cameleon review.

Base colours : Black, Dark Brown, Sand, Dark Grey

Tailored fabric colours: Orange, Off-White, Sand, Red, Pink, Royal Blue, Black, Petrol Blue

Chassis

The Cameleon seems to have been around for years and the chassis still remains the same familiar design. This is no bad thing. For one, it remains very recognisable with its central pivot hub something that ensures you are in no doubt it is a Bugaboo.

The chassis is slim, light and finished to a quality level that will make some pushchair manufacturers blush. I love the slim minimal look of the aluminium parts, the whole thing just looks right.

Starting at the top, the handle height is adjustable moving from 100cm up to 111cm at its highest setting. To adjust the handle height, flip open the off-white catches on either side of the handle bar and adjust the handle to the preferred height. There are 7 different points where the handle ‘clicks' into a location. Snap the catching shut to lock the handle in place.

The handle itself has a couple of little party tricks. Say you have the seat facing you and you enter a restaurant, push in the two little grey buttons on the inside of the handle and lift the handle up and over the seat. Hey presto, you can now push your little one up to the table without taking them out and swapping the seat round! If you are on the beach or in the woods, the handle can also be flipped and the pushchair converted into two wheel mode and pulled behind you – brilliant!

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_Chassis

The wheels on the Cameleon 3 are 6 inches at the front and 12 inches at the rear. Only the fronts feature suspension which is adjustable. The front wheels can be locked, but not in the traditional way. Moving the wheel locks up stops the wheels doing a full 360 degree spin, but they can still rotate 180 degrees - 90 degrees either side of the straight ahead. It's a new take on front wheel locking, but means you don't have the lift and turn associated with other systems. The rear tyres are now foam filled and thus have slightly less suspension than before. They don't have any actual physical sprung suspension. Simplicity rules once more with a 5 spoke wheel design, it certainly will be easy to keep clean!

The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 brake is mounted up on the handle. If I am honest it's flawed. Putting it on is simple, just lift up the brake handle until it latched and the brakes are on. To release the brakes, you must squeeze a button on the right of the lever mechanism. Sounds easy... It's not. The button is very hard to squeeze and when you do release the brake (when you are behind the handle), the brake lever flies down and whacks your hand. It's a two handed job if you want to avoid any pain! The brakes are very effective though, but I think Bugaboo could make the brake on/off lighter to use.

The Cameleon 3 basket is more of a semi-circular canvas bag with rigid base that is slung below the centre of the chassis. It's 45cm long, by 33cm wide and 23cm deep at its deepest point. The basket is a pretty handy size, but not among the biggest in volume due to its shape. There is a drawstring and canvas arrangement that can be used to create a cover hiding your things from view, or keeping them in the basket when you are folding the pushchair. You should be able to squeeze in a bag of shopping and a bit more at a push. 

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_2_wheels
Seat

The Cameleon 3 Seat is nice and large being 47cm tall and 32cm wide. Once more it's a simple no frills design with everything you need there but nothing more.

The seat frame (also used to frame the carrycot) ‘cradles' the seat fabric creating the seat itself. The cradle design creates a deep pocket (28cm) for the seat and footrest. Bugaboo have used different wipe clean material for the footrest making it easier to keep your pride and joy tip-top.

The seat has 3 recline positions: totally horizontal, semi upright and upright. To recline the seat, push the round off-white buttons on either side in and tilt the seat to the desired angle. It's not one handed, but it is simple and it works!

The 5 point harness has a fab shoulder strap adjustment. No fiddly holes and slots. Just slide the shoulder harnesses up and down to adjust. The rest of the harness is fully adjustable. Lastly the buckle is nicely designed and can be clipped in one side at a time. Perfect for restraining the toddler that is refusing to hit the streets!!

The hood is simple with no peep holes, or flip out mesh visors, it's quiet to move and gives good coverage. The hood is bought with the carrycot top in the tailored fabric, so this is where your personalisation begins.

Bugaboo have re-designed their bumper bar over the Cameleon's time with us and the latest version is excellent. Fully gate opening, the bumper bar is opened by pressing another off white button (there is a theme here!) and pulling it open. It swings completely out of the way when you want to seat your little one.

Lastly, seat removal could not be easier. Push the off white blocks (yes more off-white) that sit at the bottom of the seat posts inwards and the seat pops up in its mounting. It can now be lifted off. Drop it onto the posts and give it a push to re-seat it. Simple, effective, zero hassle.

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_Seat
Fold

To fold the Cameleon 3, you must first remove the seat.

Once removed, to fold the frame, push in the little off white buttons on the inside of the handle and lower the handle to the ground. Grab the centre of the chassis and lift, the frame will fold. Done. It takes a little practice to get right, but once you have it figured out, it's easy.

To unfold, hold the foam handle and fling the chassis open!

The fold is simple, you have to remove the seat, but that's no issue. My only niggle is that if you don't stop it from doing so, the foam portion of the handle can touch the ground when you are folding it.

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_Fold
Carrycot

The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 uses the seat frame as part of the chassis. Unless you purchase a complete second seat, you will find continually switching between both impractical. That said, it's unlikely that you will be doing this.

To remove the seat and fit the carrycot, undo the 2 velcro straps at the footrest end, a clip and 2 buttons midway up the seat and then slide the seat fabric from the frame. It's really easy!

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_Carrycot2

The carrycot is held in place on the seat frame with Velcro straps. That may sound a bit ‘low rent', but it's not, it really works and it's fairly quick to do. When complete, the carrycot demonstrates Bugaboos style and quality with a distinct prowess.

Inside the Carrycot you get a nice thick aerated mattress and at each end there are supports that help the carrycot stay up. The carrycot is not rigid as such, but it stays firm when placed on the floor due to the central seat stay and spars at the end. Underneath there are feet to stop the fabrics touching the ground. It also folds down to surprisingly small size.

Lastly the colour pack contains the carrycot top which helps coordination as the hood (used for the main seat as well) matches it.

Bugaboo_Cameleon_3_Carrycot_Fold
Conclusion

Pushchairs are funny things, like cars or shoes, you get attached to a certain brand for various reasons. I can see why a mum would have a Bugaboo and nothing else.

The functionality may not be the final word in latest technology, I mean you have to press two buttons to recline the seat! However, what Bugaboo do best is make a simply amazing quality product that feels totally bullet proof and is user friendly to boot. Add to this timeless design, the celebrity connection and it's  hard to see why you would not choose one.

The brake lever needs looking at. Releasing it is difficult and can be a little painful. But I do suspect that over time this will cure itself as the cable is stretched.

I love the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, I love what they have done with the marketing, the way the product looks and the quality. Most of all I like the value for money. It's expensive I hear you say, but not if you take into account the Bugaboo Cameleon's resale value. I know if I buy a new one, in 2 years I can almost certainly get over 50% of the cost back when I sell it. There are only a handful of pushchairs you can say that about. That, and the design and build mark the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 out as one of my favourites.

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