* Prices may differ from that shown
==Graco Swift Fold Travel System==
As funds have been more than a little tight of late I did decided that instead of buying a pushchair and car seat I would borrow one from my friend as her little boy had not long grown out of the Silver Cross system they had bought. However she neglected to inform me actually how terrible the pushchair was and because I tend to do a lot of walking and transferring the pushchair to and from the car it was becoming a real problem and I went on a hunt to find a reasonably priced decent travel system and was lucky enough to come across this Graco Swift Fold Travel System.
==Price and Availability==
I first came across this Graco system in the Argos catalogue but it was in a leaf green unlike the black and grey version I have ended up with. The green type did catch my eye but Argos have it priced £210 and although it is pictured with the foot muff I don't think this comes as standard as the accessory pack is £39.99p which includes the muff and change bag and this isn't described in the Argos product description.
However after doing a search online I found that Toys R Us seemed to be selling the travel system at the cheapest price of £149.99p and this came with the accessory pack of muff and bag as well as free home delivery. I also went through a cash back site which offers a deal for this retailer and got £9 back through there too. All in all this makes it a total steal as far as travel systems go and I do believe I found the best possible price around.
==What You Get For Your Money==
The push chair part of this travel system is suitable from birth and up to approximately 3 years. It has a mid-sized frame which is strong and sturdy whilst being lightweight and compact, compared to most, when folded.
The car seat it comes with again is suitable from birth up to around 9 months or 13 kg. There is the option to purchase a base which this car seat fixes to which makes transferring it into and out of the car easier but this is not essential as this does come as an added cost.
A good aspect is that the rain cover that accompanies this car seat and buggy set does come as a standard with the purchase and not something that you would have to pay extra for. This rain cover is simple and easy to fit and will go over the car seat when in the buggy as well as the buggy without the seat in place.
==Look and Design==
It was the green "leaf" version that caught my eye in Argos but the black and grey version I now have is just as visually appealing especially when the foot muff is in situ as this has a rather funky design on the inside that is seen when the foot muff is folded over on its self. I was worried that the whole thing would take a long time to put together when it arrived in the large cardboard box however this was not the case and it was literally a case of putting on the break bar, wheelsand the hood of the pushchair and it was up and running in less that half an hour. The instruction booklet which comes with the system is rather large but this is because of all the different languages in it and really there is only a few pages in English to read and this is all clear and easy to follow with regard to the building of the pushchair and the fixing of the car seat into both the push chair and the car itself.
The push chair really has all that anyone would want from a product of this type and I was amazed to get such a good all round item at a price which I find exceptional. The infant car seat is a must for newborn babies and the fact that it fits securely into the pushchair is a godsend really as my little man doesn't need to be disturbed from his sleep when moving from car to pushchair. The car seat clips into the buggy with ease as the safety bar across the front of the pushchair has an area when a large clip on the car seat will secure it in place. There is an extra couple of security straps which fasten the sides of the car seat to the sides of the push chair by way of elastic strips with a plastic clip on the end. These make sure that the car seat won't go anywhere were the buggy to fall over but I must say it doesn't feel as secure in this position than the borrowed Silver Cross Buggy did although this is not to say that it is not a satisfactory fastening but perhaps not as fixed in as it could be.
The car seat is rather lightweight even with a 12 lb baby sitting in it and far easier to carry that the Silver Cross version I had been using. Not only is it easy to clip onto the pushchair but I find it easy to take back out as the elastic straps have to be unclipped and then a large pul handle on the back of the car seat needs to be unclipped to release it from the buggy. Simple.
The pushchair itself has a nice large hood which goes a long way to making the child in the buggy feel nicely housed in and protected from the elements. However there is also the easy to use clear rain cover which goes on and off easily with large poppers to fasten it around the legs of the buggy underneath the wheels. The only downside of the hood of the buggy is that there isn't a section that allows the pusher to look down into the seat should the hood be in the up position. This wasn't something that was on the silver Cross buggy either but I had it years ago on my buggy with my first child and I found this to be a handy to have peep hole.
The seat of the push chair does recline from 100 degrees to 150 degrees and this is done very simply by using a rope pull mechanism on the back of the seat to pull in, resulting in an upright position and then a plastic finger loop with which to pull out in order for the seat to be reclined. This is not the easiest of methods to get the ropes nice and tight and the seat in the up most position but it is not overly difficult either you do just have to pull rather hard on the ropes to get the chair upright. The fact that it reclines so fully means that it is suitable from birth for a child but I do think that my little man looks way to small to lay down in the seat and especially as there isn't a peep hole in the hood of the buggy I will keep him snuggled in the car seat until he is a little bigger and easily filling out the seat of the buggy.
The brakes on the pushchair are worked by pushing one of two tough plastic buttons by the back wheels which is easily done with your foot. It works by putting a spoke type of plastic ridge in the spokes of the wheels so the pushchair may have to be rolled slightly in order to get the break spoke inside the wheel spoke correctly. However once this is in place the break works very well but on a steep hill I can't say I would ever trust it 100% but this would be the case with any buggy system and any breaks.
There is a nice foamy grip on the handle bar of the push chair and this is raised up from the sides into the centre allowing comfort for different heights of people to push the buggy. It is warm to the touch and also soft and comfortable on the hands.
The large underneath storage basket is wonderful and can hold a lot of stuff even with the plastic rain cover being in there all the time. It is sloped towards the back making it very easy to access even when the seat of the buggy is in the lowest reclining position. The mesh sides hold in the shopping well but can also be pushed down in order to shove in the most shopping possible.
I have done a fair few miles with this buggy already and on a variety of different terrains too. I must say that I can't believe I struggled on with the use of my friends old Silver Cross buggy which I found heavy and cumbersome to push and even worse to put up and put down to get it in and out of the car boot. This buggy has been a joy from day one.
Putting the buggy down is really very simple (as its name would suggest). It is simply a case of pushing in a large grey button at the side and then finding a red pull handle found in the seat area of the pushchair under a flap and pulling this up. The buggy will fold neatly down on itself and go nice and flat and tightly together. It slips in the boot of the car with real ease whilst still giving me plenty of room to put a weeks worth of shopping in there too! Not only is it a totoal dream to get down but getting it up is just as simple as the handle inside the seat just needs a tug and then the handle bar pulling up and it all clips back together. This can both be done with one hand very easily and without bother.
The wheels on the buggy have either the option for them to be static or on the swivel (how I like to have them). This, as with most products if this type, can be done by lifting or pushing down a large button at the front wheels although this can often be knocked down into the static wheel position and make the steering more difficult if one is wheel is set to a different mode than the other but again this is easily rectified and not any different than if you have another buggy.
The wheels and the buggy have done well along with bumpy pavements close to where I live and even managed a full 9 mile stomp the other day without any problems at all. The wheels seem robust and the suspension on the buggy is not too bad either (although the little man was bumped around on the gravelly area we walked through for a while but again this is nothing you wouldn't expect from any other buggy).
The main aspect I find so wonderful with this travel system is that fact that it is so light weight and easy to manoeuvre around. I was able to push the buggy comfortably and without any problems with one hand whilst easing an apple with the other hand. The handle bar makes it soft to grip and the swivel wheels make the buggy seem as though it is literally gliding around the place and I couldn't be happier with the overall handling of the product.
I really couldn't rate this travel system highly enough and as it is a relatively new product on the market did feel as though I was taking a little risk with buying it as I couldn't find any real peoples opinions on it. However for the price I paid for the quality and quantity of what I got I am over the moon. This system is worth a lot more in my opinion and I don't think I would be unhappy had I bought it from the more expensive retailers such as Argos.
The foot muff is an essential extra in my mind and although I got this free I would say it is needed to give the look of the push chair that little bit of extra wow and of course giving the child more comfort and snugness. The change bag although handy is not that funky and I have purchased my own bag which has a little more style than this one.
The handling of the pushchair from my side of this is really fantastic and it was easily better than the Silver Cross even though it was far cheaper. The cosiness side of things is really a matter from my little boy but I must say he looks far more snug in this than the Silver Cross buggy too. The three point harness on the car seat and the five point harness push chair are both easy to use whilst at the same time being very secure and safe. The car seat has the extra padding and security of side impact protection which again gives this product a higher score from me than others on the market.
There really is nothing I can pick at majorly with this product yet there are so many plus points. I can find a couple of little niggles such as the fixing of the car seat into the push chair which I think could feel a little more tight although it is more than adequate as it stands and the pull string mechanism of the reclining seat which is not the best but again nothing terrible.
I think for this reason I am more than happy to award this travel system from Graco a top 5 out of 5 stars and a very high recommendation. I think the buggy is still on offer in Toy R Us so I would recommend snapping it up with the free delivery and accessory pack while you can.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
Many thanks for taking the time to read.