Travelling with children can be a fractious event, so minimising the hassle factor is a must. Downsizing, and leaving your all-singing all-dancing 3-in-1 at home should be number one priority on your list but when you're considering a stroller, which one do you choose? We have the brand new UPPAbaby G-Luxe in the offices to see if it is worthy of your consideration...
On the whole, all strollers tend to function in a similar manner, to the point where you can pick up any brand and open or close it without the instructions. Their points of difference and their price is what will differentiate one from another. Your choice of which minor idiosyncrasies you prefer should be determined by where you live, how regularly and in what setting you are going to be using your stroller.
The UPPAbaby G-Luxe has a lot to live up to. It is the urban boot buggy compared to its more accomplished sibling the UPPAbaby Vista, who has scored highly in both our review and group test where it came out on top of the ‘Top End Pushchairs'.
What's in the box
The RRP of the UPPAbaby G-Luxe is £150
The UPPAbaby G-Luxe has two main points of difference that stand out; its weight and its ability to stand upright when folded. Neither of these properties is particularly amazing until you come to actually put the G-Luxe to use.
If you live in a town or city and get around by public transport, the G-Luxe could be your dream come true. Imagine getting on a bus with a small child, where you are often asked to fold your pushchair to reduce space. If you are pushing a heavy, cumbersome tank that takes an engineer to fold, which then consumes minimally less space than when it was erect, it is going to leave you exasperated and flustered. Then when you meet the eyes of your fellow passengers you have to practice your defensive stare to deflect their intolerance – all before you've even reached your destination. The G-Luxe could make you feel like you've just had a head and shoulder massage by comparison!
As a Mum of three I am all in favour of keeping life simple. Anything that greases the wheels of daily life can only serve to make me and my children more content. The UPPAbaby G-Luxe has some excellent features that allow it to fall into the ‘makes life easier' category.
Starting at the handles; the foam covered punch grip, non-adjustable handles are a good height that will accommodate both tall and short parents comfortably. The foam sheaths stand little chance of moving or slipping thanks to it being bookended by plastic stoppers. The bottom stoppers form the attachments for the shoulder strap which is a wide, comfortable, adjustable, T-shaped belt that hangs from the handles down to the rear axle.
Next stop is the folding mechanism. Before commencing it's best to apply the brake using the pedals located near the rear wheels, they are nearly flip-flop friendly but not quite.
The two latches below the handles can be released independently; the right having a safety catch which needs moving out of the way first. Then push the handles towards the front wheels where its locking bracket automatically clasps to keep the stroller shut. That's it! So just before you jump on that bus, with your child on your hip, you can fold the pushchair, sling it over your shoulder and board without any dramatics.
Once on board, you can stand your pushchair upright. Unlike other strollers where the wheels will allow them to slide when you attempt to prop them up vertically, the G-Luxe has a foot which extends in front of the wheels to give it a base to stand. Although this is a fantastic idea, it is still a little wobbly. It wouldn't take a great deal of turbulence to spill your stroller at your feet however it is better than nothing at all. On a steady surface the stand makes it easy to store in an under stairs cupboard, for example, or out of the way in a corner of the hall.
Arriving at your destination, unclip the closure bracket, push down on the pedal at the back which tensions the frame and you are ready to go! Even though it is a simple procedure you do really need two hands to perform it. You need to be able to pull the wheels towards you to release the bracket and then pull firmly on both handles as you step on the pedal .
The seat has a full length padded liner that can be removed for washing eliminating the need for you to bring sponge to pushchair. The seat can be extended horizontally by folding out the calf rest, so having the liner padded to the end of the chair means your sleeping toddler is in optimum comfort. The five point harness can be adjusted in three shoulder heights and has a padded cover to the buckle – nice touch.
Reclining is performed using a toggle on the cords at the back of the chair which works surprisingly well. To recline, pull the loop on the toggle and the seat goes from upright to 120 degrees or anywhere inbetween. Sitting upright again is not quite as easy to perform but involves pulling both cords horizontally apart until you can't pull any further, double difficult if the back of the chair is supporting your child's weight.
The canopy is not vast although has another point of difference that sets the G-Luxe apart from being just another stroller and it's a feature that we've seen before in big sister Vista. A flip-out UV sunshade doubles the size of the canopy but folds neatly away when it's not needed. It offers great protection at SPF 50+ and cocoons the cavity to allow a young child to sleep in peace and relative darkness.
Although there aren't any add-ons available for the G-Luxe nearly all the accessories you need are included. The basket beneath the seat is deep and practical but not very accessible when the seat is reclined. A cup holder is included in the package – very American, but I like it because it encourages you to look after yourself and stay hydrated while you are out and about, it doesn't have to be Starbucks!
Another must is a rain cover, especially in the UK!! The G-Luxe rain cover is easy to fit but fits a little too well. Velcro straps hold it to the frame with button attachments towards the front wheels, however it doesn't leave a lot of room for legs and will inevitably sit on top of the child's calves. When most children despise being trapped in PVC, it will be a catalyst for screaming if they find it's too tight. A large window in the front can be secured open using the Velcro tabs. Beneath the flap, the hole has a net layer to protect your child from uninvited insects, this is not removable so you have little access to your passenger.
There is no doubt that features in the UPPAbaby G-Luxe set it apart from the average stroller. Its ability to keep out of the way when it's not needed by standing upright is real bonus. The flip-out sun visor is a useful and elegant approach to shading your child without having to buy or carry around a third party shade. And the amazingly minimal weight is manageable for anyone tall, small, young or old.
The whole ethos behind this stroller is to get-up-and-go without being weighed down by the paraphernalia of life with kids, so accessories are kept to a minimum. This said, it could do with an optional footmuff given the ‘not always sunny' weather we have in the UK.
I had great hopes for the recline when I saw how well the back of the seat went down but was disappointed when I came to sit it back up, it's not difficult but a bit fiddly. Plus when reclined, access to the basket is impossible but only you would know if this was a necessity in your world.
We give the UPPA baby G-Luxe
3.5 out of 5 stars
Age: from 6 months
Open size: 107.5 x 51 x 81.5 cms
Folded size: 106 x 51 x 38 cms
Back height: 50cms