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Nancy Wasserstein
Contributing Writer

UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller Review

Debating between the Cruz and the Vista? See how this mom's decision turned out.

Pros
• Compact size with high-end features
• Converts easily to a travel system with infant carrier or bassinet
• Safe and smooth ride for baby
• Fun color options
• Very roomy storage basket

Cons
• Over time, stroller wheels become less smooth

Bottom Line
The UPPAbaby Cruz is a great all-purpose stroller that can be used from baby’s first day home through the toddler years.

Rating: 4.5

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Features

When it came time to research strollers, we focused on size and safety. After going back and forth between the UPPAbaby Cruz and the UPPAbaby Vista, we settled on the more compact Cruz, and it has not disappointed us. At 22.25 inches wide, the sleek-looking Cruz is small enough to easily navigate crowded city sidewalks and narrow grocery store aisles, and we can even leave it unfolded in our New York City apartment hallway without it getting in the way.

The Cruz arrived in a large box (with the stroller frame, wheels, toddler seat, rain and bug shields, and bumper bar) and took less than five minutes to assemble, without any special tools. Although the stroller folds and unfolds within seconds as promised by unhooking a side latch, it definitely helps to have a second free hand to hold it steady while you’re unhooking. And you’ll definitely need both hands to close it, as it requires pushing on either side of the stroller bar at the same time.

Although we chose the Cruz mainly for its compactness and ease of storage (it can stand upright on its own when folded), it has proved amazingly user friendly. We especially love how easily the bassinet and car seat attach to the base. We bought the UPPAbaby Bassinet ($190–$200) and the Mesa car seat ($300) separately to create a travel system. But there are also car seat adapters available if you prefer to use a different car seat. Both the bassinet and the car seat snap right into the Cruz with one hand, simply by pressing a button on top of the handle. The bassinet attachment is very useful because it allows us to go out for the day or visit friends and relatives while still making sure our baby gets to nap. It has an aerated mattress with a water-repellent inner liner to help keep baby dry, and the bassinet meets ASTM standards (the American Society for Testing and Materials is a globally recognized, nonprofit that develops strict safety standards used for consumer goods made around the world) to even be used as an overnight sleeping solution. We also appreciate that the car seat, toddler seat and stroller base can be converted to inward or outward facing. When we were stroller shopping we didn’t realize how important this was, but now we can’t imagine not having this option. It’s become one of our favorite features because it makes it super easy to change baby's direction when we’re out for a walk and she wants to look out at her surroundings but then finds the sun or wind is in her face and needs to be turned back. But if you don’t feel like switching back and forth, the canopy has an extendable SPF 50+ drop-down sunshade to keep baby content and comfortable.

The stroller has a one-step back foot brake that flips and locks easily, and a gigantic storage basket below the seat that holds up to 25 pounds and is roomy enough for my diaper bag along with purchases from a day of errands. There’s a telescoping handle that you can adjust up or down to accommodate whoever is pushing the stroller, and the seat reclines in five different positions: completely upright, fully reclined and three options in between.

Performance

Since our baby is just 4 months old, we’ve mainly stuck to using the bassinet and car seat on the stroller base and haven’t yet had many opportunities to use the standard stroller seat that comes with the Cruz, though we look forward to using it for a long time once our daughter becomes a toddler.

If you don’t want to buy the bassinet or car seat, a more affordable way to make the Cruz work from birth to 3 months is by using the SnugSeat insert ($40), which is compatible with the toddler seat. It gives baby extra support around the head and neck and is reversible—plush on one side and moisture-wicking on the other. When using the SnugSeat you’ll have to keep the toddler seat in full-recline position.

With the bassinet, we’ve found that the Cruz maneuvers seamlessly on city sidewalks, handling every curb, pothole and swerve with ease. The base is lightweight (15 pounds alone, 21.5 pounds with the seat) enough to carry up and down flights of stairs and escalators. And the one-step fold makes getting around town with an infant a breeze, as it’s quick and easy to toss the stroller in the trunk of a car or taxi. Despite its compact size and light weight, the base is solid and sturdy, so we always feel like baby is safe.

The only less than positive aspect is a recent issue we’ve noticed with the tires. Following a tough winter in which the Cruz spent many days trekking through snow, ice and salt, the wheels seem to have slowed down. We’ve hosed them down more than once to dislodge any debris, but they’re definitely not riding as smoothly. Still, this has been a minor concern and wouldn’t prevent us from buying the Cruz if we were to do it all over again.

Design

The Cruz comes in eight colors (red, marine blue, black, wheat, marigold, gray, amethyst and indigo). Although we were initially attracted to the lavender (now discontinued), we ultimately chose black because it seemed more practical, given the inevitable city dirt and grime. Despite months of use and going up against Mother Nature last winter, the stroller still looks new (it helps that both the stroller and basket easily wipe clean with a wet cloth).

Summary

Out of all the purchases we’ve made as first-time parents, the Cruz is hands-down one of our favorites. It’s proven to be everything we were looking for in a stroller—easy-to-operate, practical and attractive.