Maclaren are renowned for making lightweight umbrella-fold strollers and for many years they dominated this sector! They have a number of umbrella fold buggies on the market and here we look at how the Quest measures up in the world of fold-and-go.
In 1965 Owen Maclaren invented the first umbrella fold buggy inspired by his Granddaughter. Weighing only 6lb it was made from aluminium. Maclaren became the first UK pushchair manufacturer to develop front swivel wheels and linked brakes. By the year 2000 Maclaren were exporting to more than 60 countries across the world. They now have three ‘from birth' buggies and three ‘toddler' buggies, the Quest Sport being one of the ‘toddler' varieties, to be used from 6 months onwards.
What's in the Box
The RRP of the Maclaren Quest Sport is £155
It comes in 5 colours:
So what are the differences between the Quest and the Quest Sport? Well, a couple of years ago there was the Quest Sport and the Quest Mod. The only difference between them was that the Mod had a ‘snazzier' seat while the Sport was simple 2 tone design.
Today the Mod is no longer, as Maclaren have brought out lots of fun seat liners, as well as fashion footmuffs etc to cater for parents that want to funk up their pushchair. The Quest Sport still exists however you will find the ‘Sport' part has been dropped from the name. The special editions, like the Cath Kidston and Denim buggies are all based on the Quest model.
Upon opening the box and removing the buggy I found the fold/unfold on the Maclaren Quest Sport is pretty similar to that of other umbrella folds and I coped admirably without looking at the instructions.
The foam ridged handles are a standard height and do not adjust but they seem perfect for someone vertically challenged like me! With a punch hold shape, they make it easy to deliver direct control to your front wheels.
The four wheels are small at 12.7cm (5in) wide but this is the case for most pushchairs you'll find in this category - a stroller's nature determines that everything needs to be as minimal as possible. You can lock each of the front, swivel wheels using the small pedal that is set in-between the wheel unit. I particularly like the reflective hubs and in conjunction with a reflective strip around the seat, it gives you peace of mind that you are going to be seen on the darker afternoons of winter.
The basket is a medium size, sits squarely below the seat and is constructed of net, which reduces its bulk but access is limited, especially when the seat is reclined. Also be sure to remove anything in the basket before you fold as it will be crushed or prohibit the folding process.
The fold is much the same as on other umbrella fold strollers, in fact, possibly easier. Before you start, it is recommended the seat is in the upright position with the hood pushed back. Slip your foot under the red plastic pedal in-between the rear wheels and lift up - this releases the horizontal tension in the frame. Then press down on the black pedal on the right-hand side and you can gently squeeze the handles together and drop them towards the front wheels. Please note, shoes are a must!! You can also use the shoulder strap to break the horizontal tension which makes the whole thing even easier!
The Quest is really light at only 5.5kgs without the hood, basket and rain cover – featherweight! It comes with a removable carry strap that spans the width of the handles from where it drops vertically to attach to the frame at your knees. It makes slinging the folded frame over your shoulder easy, allowing you to concentrate on helping your toddler onto the bus. It's also ideal as a stand-by pushchair for when your toddler is getting more confident, they may not make it all the way home so having a safety stroller to-hand can transport them while they snooze off the stress of learning to walk! With the carry handle on the side and the shoulder strap on the back, it would also perform well on holiday.
The seat fabric on this Quest is Black/Scarlet and I have to say, the scarlet is pretty striking. The fabric can be hand washed when detached from the chassis.
The seat is fairly well padded for a stroller and reclines in four positions but you might find that the recline takes a little getting used to if you haven't encountered this type of mechanism before.
Each side of the pushchair, near the basket is a black plastic bracket. Both brackets need to be adjusted in unison by lifting them up to choose an alternative recline position. It has to be said that there is not much of an angle difference between each and the final recline is far from flat. However, watch out for the 2012 model which will be able to fully recline and will include enclosed head and foot barriers making the Quest a truly ‘from birth' pushchair.
The seat has adjustable calf support, but whether you would actually use it is debatable. Through a couple of holes in the underneath of the seat fabric you have to feel your way to pull out two rods that extend to offer support to a toddlers legs. It's a bit of a faff to perform and only realistically extends the seat by 9cms.
The seat looks to be pretty deep and measures from 25-34 cm depending on whether you extend the calf support. The height of the seat back from the top of the hood to seat is 66 cm long.
The Quest has a 5 point safety harness that is well made and sturdy, with 2 height positions in the back of the seat to accommodate a growing child. By threading the end clip through its current hole, it can then be re-threaded to its alternative position.
The canopy has a huge clear plastic viewing window across the back and a poppered pocket for keys etc. Once opened the hood is kept tensioned with hinges which you simply push down to lock into position. As this is a forward facing stroller the large window is very handy, as it allows you to keep an eye on the goings-on in the seat.
The canopy also has small reflective panels on either side – another tick-in-the-box for visibility that keeps you safe and seen, in conjunction with the reflective wheel hubs and seat trim.
The raincover apron attaches to the front of the canopy by pressing the reinforced holes over nodes either side of the canopy. The same applies near the front wheels, where another couple of strengthened holes correspond with nodes on the frame. It is easy to attach and packs up quite small but wouldn't offer protection from anything much more than a shower.
All in all I found this to be a very well made umbrella fold buggy with some good safety features. On first inspection I didn't think much of it, just a normal pretty basic stroller but it has some of the features that Maclaren are known for and can be further enhanced with some of the accessories that are available although they come at a price. The colour is particularly vibrant and the reflective accents make it a good buggy to use in the dark. I must say my first impressions were somewhat wrong!
We give the Maclaren Quest Sport
3 out of 5 stars
Age: 3 months
Open size: 48 x 103 x 83cms
Folded size: 26 x 25 x 104cms