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Hands-on Gear Review
UPPAbaby Cruz ReviewPrice: $550.00 List | $549.99 at Amazon
Pros: Easy to use, lots of supplies fit in storage, quality materials
Cons: Harder to push with smaller wheels, lower safety score
Bottom line: Editors' Choice stroller we really enjoyed with lots of features that work well
The Cruz is an impressive stroller that stands out in the crowd. This stroller has a high for ease of use and is relatively light and small for what it has to offer. It has a sleek aluminum alloy frame that doesn't flex under pressure. The adjustable seat has a variety of possible positions and removes in a snap without a struggle for storage or adding a car seat. It features one of the only adjustable leg/foot rest in the group and has a maximum allowable storage capacity that is second only to the UPPAbaby Vista, its big brother. While we wish it were easier to push, we can forgive this small failing thanks to all it has to offer and we think it is a great choice for most families.
The UPPAbaby Cruz also performed well in our Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos review, earning an Editors' Choice award and proving it is a good option from infant to toddler with infant car seat combination potential.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Full-size Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
UPPAbaby is a family run American company with more than a decade of experience in the juvenile product industry. They draw inspiration from daily family life and strive to create products that are easy to use, safe, and fun. UPPAbaby's goal is to improve products without sacrificing convenience, usability, or style. UPPAbaby also offers an infant car seat, the award winning UPPAbaby Mesa, and several stroller options that include lightweight, full-size, double, and umbrella options.
This comparison chart shows each full-size stroller we tested and their overall scores. The UPPAbaby Cruz (in blue) came in 4th place and earned an Editors' Choice award.
The sections below detail how the Cruz performed during testing for each metric. Scores from our metric tests are combined to calculate overall scores with emphasis given to ease of use and maneuverability.
Ease of Use
The Cruz is so easy to use it earned the highest score in the metric with an 8 tying with its brother the UPPAbaby Vista.
Ease of use impacts your everyday experience including the amenities you use the most.
Fold and Unfold
The fold on the Cruz requires two hands and two steps to complete. It features an auto-lock and a self-stand, but no carry strap. We weren't big fans of the self-stand because it is a little temperamental, and you do need to bend all the way over to complete the fold, but the steps are few and the process is simple. Unfolding is a similar story, also requiring two hands and two steps, but we did find it a little easier than the fold.
The Cruz has single action brakes that are sandal foot friendly and easy to set and release. The brake is one giant red pedal in the center of the back side of the frame near the storage bin and is easy to access.
This stroller has one of the largest storage bins with one of the highest allowable weight capacities at 25 pounds. The bin is extra-large and easy access on all sides including the front (a rarity). We fit our extra large diaper bag inside with no problem, and it didn't matter what position the seat was in.
The Cruz's sunshade is impressive in size and quality with SPF +50 and kick-out sun visor for extra protection. It offers additional ventilation when fully open and it has a large peek-a-boo window made of mesh that is easy to see through.
The 5-point harness is easy peasy to put on, take off, and to adjust and change shoulder height and crotch strap positions. The adjustable crotch strap increases the chances that you can get a good fit. The two side straps pop as they click in the buckle, so you know they are in, and while the release button can be a little stiff, the parts come apart easily. It offers a non-rethread harness adjustment with a unique hook system that is easy to use once you know how.
The Cruz has an adjustable leg/foot rest, which is rare and only two other products we reviewed offered this. The pair is adjustable in several positions, and the footrest is wide but shallow. The footrest is made of plastic, and easy to clean.The seat back recline is another shining feature. It is easy to use with a push button operation that works with one hand.
The photos above show the Cruz with the seat back in the upright position and fully reclined.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Cruz works with the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat and uses the toddler seat attachment points on the stroller frame, so there are no adapters to misplace. The Mesa connects with a click in method and requires the toddler seat and canopy (they are connected) to be removed. It is easy to click in once you get both sides lined up properly, and feels stable. In our tests, we did not experience any false installations where we thought it was connected but wasn't. The frame weighs 14 pounds 14 ounces, making it on par with some of the stroller and car seat combos we reviewed, this potentially makes the Cruz the only stroller you need to buy. The UPPAbaby Mesa won a Top Pick award in our infant car seat review and would create a great travel system with the Cruz.
With the purchase of an adapter, the stroller is compatible with some Maxi-Cosi seats, Chicco options, the Nuna Pipa, and several Cybex options. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is an Editors' Choice winner in our infant car seat review, making it a nice budget-friendly option. However, after purchasing the adapter and the car seat, it comes closer to the price of the Mesa which fits on the frame without an adapter. For additional information on how the Cruz works with an infant car seat, please see our stroller and car seat combo review
Ease of Setup
The Cruz is the easiest in the group to set up. Its brother, the UPPAbaby Vista, is also easy and earned a 9. The Cruz takes about 4 and half minutes to assemble, and the included manual includes a simple, quick start guide with seven clear steps.
The Cruz struggled a bit with maneuverability compared to some of the competition. It is better than about half of the products, but not good enough to make it a top performer with a 6 of 10.
The BOB Revolution Flex, a jogging stroller, earned the top score with a 9.
For pushing and turning on pavement the Cruz requires two hands. It rolls smoothly, but the turns are a bit difficult. The handlebar adjustment is in the center of the handle, which makes it hard to use one handed. The stroller has a longer wheelbase that makes sharper turns more difficult, but it did move well over carpet and in general, was nicer than about half the competition.
For pushing and turning off pavement it manages fairly well with no trouble over grass and only the occasional hiccup over gravel. The front wheels tend to get hung up on irregular rocks and the front wheels can be locked to prevent swiveling if needed for pushing on rougher surfaces.
The Cruz doesn't have the typical suspension. The wheels are foam filled plastic made with what UPPAbaby calls AirGo that offer shock absorbing properties and lightweight foam filling that prevent them from becoming misshapen. It is hard to tell if these make for a more comfortable ride, but we feel the stroller is relatively comfortable with nice padding on the seat and no wobble or movement where the seat attaches to the frame.
The handlebar has a telescoping adjustment that prevents flex in the frame or handlebar. It has a nice range from 40.6 to 43.2 inches. The tubing is a nice size and shape and it is easy to grip. The bar is foam covered with the exception of the handle adjustment button that is hard plastic and the new updates include a leather wrapped handlebar that feels good in the hand.
Weight and Folded Size
For a stroller with so much to offer it is surprisingly light with a weight of 21.5 pounds.
The lightest strollers in the group are the Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini, both weighing 17.5 pounds. The folded size of the Cruz is also relatively impressive measuring at 22.2"W x 14.7"H x 36.5"L and 11,911 cubic inches.
We were impressed with the overall quality of the Cruz and it earned a 7 of 10 in this metric 1 point below the high score shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and the BOB Revolution Flex.
The fabric on the seat, basket, and canopy is a soft and tightly woven canvas that is nice to the touch and wipes clean relatively easily. The canvas reaches all the way down to the footrest that is made of smooth plastic.
The sides of the basket are made of a sturdy rubber coated mesh. The storage basket has a stiff piece of plastic on the bottom to help retain shape and prevent the bottom from dropping low when loaded. The peek-a-boo window is a very loosely woven mesh that didn't snag in our tests. The extendable sunshade is made out of new thicker reflective material that fits the seat nicely.
The welded aluminum frame has a nice tight finish that is simple in design. Everything lines up nicely and attaches well with no rattle. The overall fit and finish are very nice and the fabric wraps around the seat frame well with no bunches or wrinkles. The stitching is well done and we didn't see any doubled stitching or errors. The frame is sturdy and the materials appear durable. There is no flex to this frame or handlebar.
Many accessories are available for use with the Vista for an additional cost. Some of our favorites include:
UPPAbaby makes several strollers including the Cruz and Vista in this review.
Other UPPAbaby Strollers include:
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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