I am a big fan of pushchairs for all, and with some big brands now costing £1000's for the pushchair alone when I heard the amazing price of Baby Elegances Ego complete package I was stunned and couldn't wait to see ... will it live up to its billing and be fantastic value for money or will we see some compromises along the way?
Baby Elegance have long been established in Ireland as one of the leading producers of designer babywear and nursery ranges, supplying major department stores and smaller boutiques throughout the country for around 25 years. They produce several pushchairs, the Ego being the four wheel version of their ‘Beep' model.
The Baby Elegance Ego pushchair is, on paper at least, everything you could possibly want from a pushchair. It comes as a complete 3 in 1 travel system, with a spacious carrycot for your newborn, a rear or forward facing seat unit, and a car seat suitable for your little one up to 13kg. All of which comes in at a price of just £399 - representing exceptional value for money.
As befitting a pushchair fresh over from the Emerald Isle, I have had the Baby Elegance Ego to review in a lovely green colour with a silver satin chassis. It arrived in several parts which were all easy enough to click together (although the instructions were a little cryptic!), nevertheless - five minutes later it was up and ready for action! Read on as we take a closer look at some of the features of the Ego and find out whether it's more than just a ‘big head'!
What's in the box?
The RRP of the Baby Elegance Ego is £399
Available in three options:
One of the first things I notice about the Ego is the structure of the chassis. It has an unusual single ‘backbone' that the seat sits above, which splits into two at the front to accommodate the wheels, it looks funky and modern and has a lovely satin finish to it.
All four wheels are made from a lightweight plastic and I immediately get the feeling this is a ‘town' pushchair, not made for going over any lumps or bumps – and the lack of any kind of suspension confirmed this. The wheels are quick release and the front ones have a handy lever that enables you to lock them in a fixed position, the front swivel wheels are 16cm (6") in diameter and the back wheels are 23cm (9").
The brake has a wide pedal that can be depressed on either side easily, even barefoot and though simple in its design – gives a reassuring ‘clunk' as it locks into place. Although the frame feels a little flimsy I think the width of the chassis (60cm) means it would be pretty sturdy in everyday use and the flimsy feel is just a element of the pushchair being quite lightweight.
The handle height is adjustable to several increments between 100cm and 105cm. The handle bar itself is covered in foam, with a gap in the middle for the height extension button, where ‘Baby Elegance' is written neatly, giving, in my opinion – quite an expensive look to the pushchair.
The basket is a little pathetic though, given the nature of the chassis with its single spoke poking forwards, the basket is a tiny triangular shape that would perhaps just about accommodate a lunchbox (if it happened to be triangular in shape!).
You can immediately see how the various other parts of the package fit; on either side of the chassis is a clip that the car seat/carry cot/ seat unit will slot into and the two little red unit release buttons. Although there is limited suspension in the wheels, there is a bit of ‘give' within the chassis, which I think will contribute to a slightly comfier ride, although conversely this makes it much harder work to bump the pushchair up and down kerbs with a child on board (especially in parent facing mode) and gives a somewhat alarming wobble to the seat unit. On the flat, the pushchair rolls along very smoothly and is easy to steer one handed.
Now, often it has been said that folding or unfolding a pushchair requires a ‘knack' – which is often code for "it's practically impossible", and I'm going to be clear here - for the first half an hour I found it impossible to fold or even unfold the Ego. The instructions are fairly basic, but I'm not daft and usually I can get the hang of something fairly quickly, sadly not so much with the Ego.
To unfold it, you push a little button to disengage the auto-lock and lift the handle up (easy enough so far) but when the pushchair is almost completely up, you push down on a little footplate that is around knee height whilst giving the handle a firm upwards ‘yank' towards you, this ensures both sides are firmly locked into place (a little indicator will change from green to red to show you've locked it upright correctly). Be warned though – it is very easy to only lock one half of the mechanism, and just think you've got it completely up, I would prefer the final ‘click' into place to be a lot easier to achieve than it actually is.
Sadly, to fold the pushchair down you don't just reverse the process; it's a whole new kettle of fish. You must first release the safety lock by sliding back a trigger on the side of the chassis, and then somewhat bizarrely, lift and poke a little black knob through a hole (which they appear to suggest you do with your foot – although I struggled to lift my foot up whilst bending forwards to release the trigger on the handle – I think you would need to be a yoga master to achieve this) all before the chassis will begin to collapse. Once you've done it though the pushchair folds down very smoothly and I love the fact it has an auto-lock to keep it folded, another little extra that adds to the overall appeal. I think once you settle into a routine of how you want to fold it - i.e. which foot/hand goes where - you'll be fine, it's just not that obvious and feels like it would be a bit of a faff if you were messing about in the rain with a screaming toddler.
The Ego will fold with the seat in place – as long as it is in forward facing position, and because of the shape of the seat I found it didn't take up much extra room to fold it with the seat on. The folded dimensions are; length – 80cm, width – 60cm and depth – 54cm, it can be made flatter by removing the bumper bar.
The seat unit comes ready assembled and can sit on the pushchair facing either direction, forwards or backwards, which is really nice. The fabrics, although a little rough to the touch, feel hard wearing and would be easy to wipe clean. The pattern on the inside of the hood is another little extra that really sets the pushchair off. Further to this, the hood itself has reflective piping and a little viewing window.
Although the hood would provide some shade, I don't think it would keep the sun out of a smaller child's eyes, or protect them from a light shower. With this in mind I was keen to see the raincover as it would be called into play fairly often, sadly it's a bit of a let down – no access hole (essential in my mind for throwing a toy and/or snacks at a screaming child and allowing extra ventilation on a showery day!), it also has fiddly little Velcro straps to attach it to the frame which I feel would barely stand up to the tugs of a strong wind – let alone a child's kicking feet.
The Ego comes with a bumper bar with a removable cover, a 5 point safety harness and chest pads as standard. The crotch strap is nicely padded, although not adjustable either forwards/backwards or in length. The clip is the finger pincher type (so watch out!) and each side can be done separately allowing you to pin your child into the chair with your other hand, if required the over the shoulder straps can also be done separately – handy if you're in the middle of a toddler tantrum and you can't get them to put their arms through.
The back rest is nice and high, with plenty of headroom under the hood, although in comparison I find the leg rest a little short, and a larger child may find their knees up round their ears if they use the footrest. The seat dimensions are: backrest height – 53cm, front of seat width – 31cm, back of seat width – 28cm, seat depth front to back - 22cm, calf rest length – 16cm.
Isaac, our nearly willing volunteer demonstrates the size of the seat. He is 15 months old, 80cms tall and weighs 12kg (24lbs)
A ‘footcover' is included which goes over your child's lower half but unless your child has tiny feet it's quite tight and I think it would soon get kicked off. The seat has a three position recline which is handily achieved using a grab handle at the back of the seat unit, a lovely extra, although I found that, annoyingly, the hood slips back over this handle. The recline is of the tilt type where the whole position of the seat changes rather than just the back dropping down.
The calf rest is adjustable but as the seat does not lay completely flat the pushchair seat would not be suitable for a child from birth, this is fine though because the package includes a carrycot.
The carrycot is included in the package as standard and has some really handy features. The carrycot itself is very spacious with internal dimensions of length 76cm and a width of 32cm. The mattress is thick and soft and includes a padded ‘belly strap' that you can pop round the middle of your little one to give them a little extra security – would be very handy when on the bus or train to stop your little one rolling about.
Another nifty feature of the carrycot is that the upper half of the base can be raised from completely flat to two inclined positions – great if you have a baby with reflux or for letting an older baby keep an eye on you while you push them along. The apron is attached by means of finger snapping poppers – truly painful to snap on and nail breaking to unpop. The carrycot is not suitable for overnight sleeping with the standard mattress and you would need to buy one with greater airflow if you wanted to use this spacious carrycot as a moses basket.
The more I played with the Baby Elegance the more it grew on me. It looks modern and unusual, comes in limited, yet great colours, (including an ever popular black chassis option) plus the option of having it parent facing is a huge bonus.
The only things that I feel let it down are a couple of biggies - the quality of the components is a little low in places, for example the wheels feel flimsy and too lightweight, the fabric isn't always finished off that well and the attention to detail is a little poor. Functions that you will be using day-in/day-out are clunky and awkward, like the seat recline being covered by the hood or the fold involving many steps.
The Baby Elegance Ego is a whole lot of pushchair for your money and has many additional features that I would only really expect on a much more expensive model and as such I would say it represents excellent value for money if you are looking for a 3 in 1 travel system within this price range.
We give the Baby Elegance Ego
3.5 out 5 stars
Age: From birth
Open size: 105 x 60 x 80cms
Folded size: 32 x 60 x 80cms
Chassis weight: 7kg