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Hands-on Gear Review
UPPAbaby Cruz Combo ReviewPrice: $550.00 List | $549.99 at Amazon
Pros: Lighter weight, easy to fold, easy to attach car seat, large storage
Cons: Little harder to push and turn, handle adjustment button prevents one hand steering
Bottom line: Quality full-size option with easy car seat attachment and storage good for errands
The UPPAbaby Cruz is a sleek, stylish stroller that is easy to use and works well with a few different infant car seats. Its general ease of car seat attachment and overall size and weight make it a great option for parents who want to combine a car seat with a stroller, and it makes it our favorite option to recommend for parents looking to create a travel system as it nicely combines with several award-winning car seats. The Cruz has one of the largest storage capacities in the group, an easy to adjust handlebar and a quick and easy fold. We liked the Cruz best when paired with the UPPAbaby Mesa infant seat. This product earned a 3rd place rank in this review.
The UPPAbaby Cruz also earned an Editors' Choice award in our Best Baby Strollers review.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Updated — September 2017
The Cruz has been altered for 2017 and the changes include a slightly smaller folded size, slightly higher weight, new textile options, and other minor alterations. The information in this gear review reflects these changes and is based on the newest version available.
The UPPAbaby company is an American, family run company with over a decade of combined experience in the juvenile industry. UPPAbaby draws inspiration from their family experiences to create products that are easier to use, safer, lighter and more fun. Their goal is to make improvements without sacrificing convenience, usability, or style. UPPAbaby offers an infant car seat, the UPPAbaby Mesa, and several different strollers including lightweight, single, and double options.
The following comparison chart includes the overall scores for the combinations we tested in this review. It is easy to see by the UPPAbay Cruz's (blue) rank why it won a coveted Editors' Choice award.
The sections below detail how the Cruz performed during testing compared to the competition. The individual metric scores were used to calculate the overall score with an emphasis on the ease of car seat attachment and weight and folded size.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Cruz earned an 8 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment, tying with the UPPAbaby Vista Combo. Only three combos offer easier car seat attachment including the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo, Bugaboo Cameleon 3, and the Doona with is an infant car seat with stroller capabilities.
The Cruz is compatible with the UPPAbaby Mesa; Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico NXT, Citi, Cabrio, and Cabrio Fix; the Nuna Pipa; Cybex Aton 2, Aton, and Aton Q; and the Chicco Keyfit 30 and Keyfit (not 30). We tested the Cruz with the Mesa and Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats (requires an adapter).
The Mesa is made to fit on the Cruz without adapters. The seat attaches to the side connection points the stroller uses for the toddler seat. You need to remove the toddler seat/canopy from the stroller to attach the car seat, and you need to line up both sides at the same time. The car seat clicks into place smoothly and installed correctly during testing. The connection doesn't feel particularly stable. We feel confident it isn't going to fall off, but it doesn't feel as secure as the UPPAbaby Vista and Mesa combination. The Cruz is one of the few strollers where the car seat installs facing either direction.
Using the Chicco Keyfit 30 requires an additional adapter (sold separately). The adapter clicks into place at the same attachment points and doesn't require assembly. The adapter increases the overall weight for the Cruz by almost 2 lbs.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 drops into the adapter loop and you only need a little pressure to make the connection. We did have some instances where we thought the seat was correctly installed only to tug on the handle and have the seat break free. Overall, it isn't a difficult installation, just one you need to double check. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is slightly harder to install and release than the Mesa, but after installation, they both feel equally secure.
Based on our testing, the UPPAbaby Mesa has a slight edge over the Chicco Keyfit 30 thanks to the lack of adapters, lower weight, easier release, and no installation mistakes. However, should you like the Keyfit 30, you won't be disappointed and as the attachment scores were very similar.
Weight and Folded Size
The Cruz earned a 7 of 10 for weight and folded size, tying with the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo. It is the lightest full-size stroller in this combo review at only 15.3 lbs without a seat. This is an increase of a full pound over the previous version of the Cruz. Only the dedicated frame strollers weigh less than the Cruz. The BOB Revolution Flex is the heaviest at 26.5 lbs.
The Cruz has a relatively small fold measuring at 7,860 cubic inches. This is smaller than the majority of full-size size strollers we tested except for the Britax B-Agile 3 (the most compact in the review). While all of the frame options are smaller when folded, if you want more features and higher performance, then the Cruz and B-Agile have a lot to offer in relatively small and light packages.
The Cruz earned a 5 of 10 for maneuverability. The high for the metric is 9 for the BOB Revolution Flex that has a locking swivel front wheel with adjustable tracking and pneumatic rubber tires that make pushing a breeze.
This product is not difficult to push or turn on flat hard surfaces, but it isn't as good as the top tier products. We had to use two hands to move it smoothly, and the turns were slightly harder than some of the competition.
With the handlebar adjustment in the middle of the handlebar, it is difficult to push one-handed. The longer wheelbase also made turns a little tricky, and we found you have to prep somewhat in advance to make tighter turns. It did manage carpet, grass, and gravel with only a few snags on rocks that led us astray. It isn't truly an off-road stroller, but you won't be struggling to negotiate through a play park either. You can find more details on how the Cruz moves with the toddler seat attached in our best full-size stroller review.
The adjustable handlebar uses the telescoping method of adjustment that places the pusher further from the rear axle, which prevents kicking of the rear axle. The handlebar is easy to adjust with a button push, but the button is ill placed in the middle of the bar. The size of the tubing and the foam or leather wrapped handle make it easy to grip and comfortable.
The wheels on the Cruz are foam filled rubber with UPPAbaby AirGo patent-pending technology. These wheels have the benefit of a rubber tire and can never go flat. The Cruz does not have traditional shocks or suspension, but UPPAbaby claims their AirGo wheels offer suspension as one part of the design.
Ease of Use
The Cruz earned a score of 6 of 10 for ease of use, and while that might not sound impressive, only one combination earned a higher score with a 7.
Ease of use tests the day to day functionality of a product and attempts to predict any frustration parents might find when using them.
Fold and Unfold
The Cruz is average for ease of folding requiring two hands (above left) and significant bending at the waist. It has two steps, automatically locks (above right), and self-stands once folded. There is no carry handle or strap on the Cruz, but it does roll when folded like luggage, so you only need to lift it when storing it or putting in a car. Unfolding the Cruz is easier, but you still need two hands.
This stroller has single action brakes that are easy to set and release, and sandal foot friendly. We like that the pedal is big and easy to reach, even with the seat fully reclined or with a carrier attached.
The Cruz has a large storage bin and one of the highest maximum allowable capacities 25 lbs. The average for the group is closer to 10 lbs. The larger allowance means you can fit baby's diaper bag and other items inside the bin. We fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with room to spare. The basket is accessible from all sides and easier for us before attaching the seat.
The Cruz has a nice large sunshade with ventilation and a peek-a-boo window. However, when used with an infant car seat you will not have access to the main canopy.
Ease of Setup
The Cruz is the easiest product in the group to set up. It took us under 5 minutes to get the Cruz out of the box and ready to stroll. The stroller comes with a quick start setup guide with 7 steps and nice pictures. We found the pieces and parts to be so minimal and the assembly so intuitive that we didn't need to use the manual for assembly.
The Cruz earned a 7 of 10 for quality. This score tied with three other products and is only 1 point lower than the high of 8.
The storage bin, seat and canopy are all made using a soft, tightly woven, thicker canvas that fits well on the frame and doesn't have any visible fasteners, loose threads, or bunched stitching. The sides of the basket have stiff rubber coated mesh and the bottom has a hard plastic piece that helps the bin retain its shape and offers support. The frame is aluminum, and it has a sleek appearance with few connection points and no visible rivets. The overall fit and finish are tight, and everything lines up with a smooth finish that is straightforward and sleek.
The Cruz does not offer much in the way of conveniences, so you may want to consider adding a few including:
win awards in the double stroller review and our full-size stroller review where it impressed with its versatility quality, maneuverability, and storage.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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