Product Type: Maclaren prams, pushchairs and strollers
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My other buggy's a racing car!
Maclaren Quest Mod
Member Name: cmh4135
Maclaren Quest Mod
Advantages: Reliable, lightweight and very easy to push.
Maclaren is an established name when it comes to childrenís transport. Rather like ďhooverĒ, the trade name has almost become shorthand for lightweight umbrella fold pushchairs. When I found that the Maclaren Quest was part of the buggy test I was to take part in I was delighted. Maybe it was the fact that I had had a Maclaren as a child and recall pushing my sister (badly) in a Maclaren, but I had an almost romantic notion of how good it would be. Unlike more modern brands such as Mamas and Papas and the newly resurrected Silver Cross I didnít expect bells and whistles, just good old-fashioned reliability. I was not let down. This buggy looks and performs really well and lived up to all of the expectations I had.
The buggy is very lightweight and easy to push. Claims that the latest aircraft technology has been used in its design are easy to believe. It seems to be very stable and copes with city-life rather well going up and down kerbs and over rough pavements with ease. You can, just about get away with hanging shopping on the back but much more than one bag and it will tip. The basket under the buggy is small but, unlike some I tested, not inaccessible and so a couple of small bags will fit. If the seat is fully reclined then access to the basket is obstructed and if you have a wide changing bag then you probably wonít get it in the basket either. If you do have more shopping, or maybe another child to hold, this is an easy buggy to push with one hand, however and so itís not a huge problem. Maneuverability is the star turn of this buggy.
On rough ground the front wheels can be locked to aid stability. They are easy to lock and unlock without the need to get on your hands and knees and fiddle with levers.
I found the buggy easy to collapse with one hand and, although I needed two hands to put it up this too was an easy thing to do. The clips that hold the buggy together when folded work well and so putting the buggy in and out of a car is easy and can be done with the child in your other arm if necessary. The hood stays in place when the buggy is folded and there is a viewing window in the hood so that you can keep your eye on your little one. It's something that I wouldn't have really considered before testing the buggies but I found it really useful.
My son seemed to be comfortable in the seat and was certainly happy for a couple of hours round the shops. The harness was easy to adjust and sat well. Unlike some of the buggies the range of extension of the straps was very good so that both small babies and larger children are well catered for. The seat size seemed about right, not too small that you felt the child would soon outgrow it, but not too large that he lolled about. At 16 months my son can now just about reach the foot bar beneath the seat.
The seat reclines and was perfectly acceptable for a buggy. It can be accomplished with the child in situ although does require two hands. There is also a foot rest which can be pulled out or pushed in to allow the child to rest their legs. This was a bit fiddly at first but worked as well as a more traditional tilting foot rest. You could let a child go to sleep in this.
The brakes on this buggy operate by moving a lever to the side rather than the more common push up/down mechanisms that appear on many buggies. I found this a little odd to get used to but ultimately the brakes held well and I had more confidence in the fact that they were on than some other models.
I found the handle height was good and the handles were softly padded for comfort. The rain cover is also good with a good coverage and being easy to put on. Rather than straps with Velcro or fiddly poppers there are just reinforced round holes that pop over studs on the pram. It took me a minute or two to work out which way round the cover should go when I first tried it but, having worked it out itís easy. The cover is well ventilated and doesnít mist up which is a bonus.
The seat covers are removeable and washable (although I have not yet tried this) and the buggy comes in a number of colours and designs.
The buggy fits into the back of a Renault Clio with space to spare which, surprisingly, is unusual for an umbrella fold pushchair. One of the test panel took the test buggy to South Africa for three weeks and it survived the flights (4) and rougher terrain of the South African countryside. Itís light weight, compact size and reliability make it ideal for travel.
The buggy is suitable for use from 3 months (it doesnít recline to completely flat making it unsuitable for newborns) but Iíd say that youíd be better off waiting until the child is about 6 months before considering a stroller/lightweight unless you have no choice.
Iíd really recommend this buggy. Itís often available from internet retailers at more competitive prices than the high street offers although major retailers such as Mothercare are stockists so you can try before you buy.
My choice by far. I found it so good on the test that I went out and bought one and use it daily.
Summary: My choice for a lightweight buggy that's not too expensive but is reliable.