Graco Evo Mini Review
We and our testers love the Graco Evo. It marked a change in Graco's thinking and product design strategy. Will their new steed, the Graco Evo Mini come out on top in our Graco Evo Mini Review?
Graco take a lot of stick for the products they have produced in the past, but they had a target market and target retailer and this largely dictated what they designed and produced. That was then and the Graco Evo range is now!
- One handed fold
- Basket size
- Strap recline
- Tricky brake
The Graco Evo Mini represents a departure from the traditional stroller style buggies for Graco. At first it looks like a simple 2D fold stroller, but the Mini is much more than that. It has some really special features that make it stand out. Our Graco Evo Mini Review will help you understand the elements you cannot see at first glance.
The first thing you need to know about the Evo Mini is that it feels light for its size. I mean very light. It only weights in at 6.2 kilos. The chassis is made from tubular aluminium giving it great strength, while at the same time keeping the weight down.
This reduction in weight has several effects. The manoeuvrability feels amazing, with one hand you will be able to whiz the pushchair around negotiating the narrowest shop aisles. Folding and picking up the Evo Mini is easy and popping up kerbs is a cinch.
The Mini chassis has a dark grey ‘crackle’ finish to the frame itself which looks great against the turquoise seat and hood.
The wheels are 7 inches in diameter and have plastic hubs with solid EVA (rubber) tyres. It's nice to see a larger wheel on a lightweight stroller. It’s something that you don’t think about until you hit a cobbled street and find small wheels struggling. You should have no problems with the Evo Mini.
The Mini’s brake is operated by a lever on either side, just to the inside of the rear wheel. Down for on and up with your toe (not hugely flip flop friendly) for off. It works really well when applied, its just you need to line up the slot on the wheel hub that the break bar fits into carefully when you apply them.
The Evo Mini has front and rear suspension which when combined with the 7 inch wheels is sure to provide a smooth ride.
The biggest advantage the Graco Evo Mini has over many of its competitors is its huge basket! It measures 46cm long x 34 cm wide x 22 cm deep. It really dominates the bottom of the pushchair and will comfortably swallow a bag of shopping and a changing bag full of stuff. Access is from the rear and excellent with the seat upright, however it is slightly restricted with the seat in its lay flat position.
Lastly, the Evo Mini has a great hood. It has 3 positions and when fully extended sits at 90 degrees to the chassis giving plenty of coverage. The back of the hood is gathered up and held in place on the back of the seat with press studs so that it can drop down when the seat is reclined giving further protection from the weather. Hood extension is quiet and feels ‘positive’.
The Mini has a hammock style seat. The back height measures 40cm and the seat is 30cms at its widest point. The seat itself is nicely padded in good wear resistant fabrics.
The Evo Mini can be used from birth and therefore has a lie flat seat. For tiny babies, I would suggest the use of a good swaddle and covers as they may feel a little exposed, but it’s great to see Graco continuing the trend of stroller that you can use from the beginning. After all not everyone can afford or has the space for a full size pushchair.
The seat has a strap recline and as our regular readers know, we are not this features biggest fans. Still with a hammock style seat you cannot easily avoid using this method. Lowering the Evo Mini seat is a nice one handed movement. Pull on the D-ring on the strap recline and the seat glides back all the way to the lie flat position. When you want to put the seat up, put on the brake, pull the two cords towards you while holding the strap recline buckle and pushing the seat up. It’s not perfect, but it works and feels relatively comfortable to use.
The 5 point harness is fully adjustable (even the crotch strap can be adjusted) and there are 3 positions for the shoulder straps. The straps can be done up one side at a time and are really easy to clip together. Lastly there are shoulder pads in a seat and hood matching colour.
The Evo Mini comes with a raincover included. It’s simple to fit and covers all fabrics. Better still its got great visibility.
I love the fold on the Evo Mini, it's so simple, but there is a little technique that will help you: Make sure you have the brake on!
The Evo Mini folds one handed. Before folding however, make sure that the front wheel is away from you in the position it would be in if you were pulling the pushchair backwards. This will ensure a full autolock fold. Next, slide a little lever that is underneath the centre of the handle and then pull in the grey button. The pushchair ‘breaks’ in the centre and the fold begins. I really have not found an ideal solution to the next bit of the fold, but there are two options.
1. Bring the handle down as low as possible while keeping the pushchair in an upright position and then push it together to engage the auto lock.
2. Lean the pushchair forward and rest the frame on the ground pushing the handle down to engage the auto lock.
They both work, but method 1 feels a little awkward but always successful and using method two will scratch your frame.
Ideally I would like to see some protection on the parts of the frame that contact the ground when using method 2 and continue to fold the Mini this way.
Unfolding the Mini is a delight. Unlatch the auto-lock and lift it up with the handle. The pushchair pops open into the locked position. This is made really easy by the low weight of the pushchair.
Graco take a lot of stick for the products they have produced in the past, but they had a target market and target retailer and this largely dictated what they designed and produced. That was then and the Graco Evo range is now! The Evo Mini is another example of Graco moving away from their traditional roots and producing a different type of product.
The weight is its most striking feature and no photo can do that justice. Couple that with a great big basket, great handling and a simple one handed fold and you have a superb urban pushchair.
I think Graco need to look at protecting the frame from scratching at the front during folding, and as some know that seat recline method is not something we are great fans of. Oh and the brake can be a little frustrating at times.
However, none of these points should stop you from looking at the Evo Mini. If you live in town or are looking for a lightweight stroller, the Evo mini should be high on your list. It’s excellent!