Saturday 15 June 2013

The Maxi Cosi Loola 2 Review

Maxi-Cosi are a brand that every parent and expectant parent knows about, they produce everything from car seats to complete travel systems to make life that little bit easier when you have little ones in tow. 

I have been sent the brand new and improved Maxi-Cosi Loola 2 to test out with Leo, and now after using it for the last couple of months I am happy to share my personal experiences with this stroller. We have certainly been putting it through it's paces and tried it in the town where we have hurdled curbs, and we have even gone to the park where we have tried our luck over the meadow. 

I will start this review off with what I was expecting from the Loola after reading all about the new specification online. I was expecting a light weight easy to use stroller with the capabilities to be used as a complete travel system. I knew that the Loola could be both parent facing and forward facing, a feature that I was really looking forward to trying out, to see just how convenient the switch around was. I knew from the images that it was very distinguished and I was pleased with the Black and Silver colour way.

I was actually lucky enough to have the Loola a week before it's actual release here in the United Kingdom. I took great joy in having a little nose around the Maxi-Cosi stand at the Birmingham Baby Show watching the official launch taking place, already knowing a great deal about the new Loola.

What's in the box?

The pushchair arrived complete within one box containing everything I needed to get started:

- The Pushchair Frame
- The Reversible Seat Unit
- Hood
- Bumper Bar
- Rain Cover
- Car Seat Adaptors 

Assembling the Loola

I found getting the Loola up and running really simple, which was lucky as I didn't think much to the instructions available in the box. The instructions are rather vague and just feature illustrations, I can't help feeling that they would benefit from explanations confirming what the images are showing. For me I need to be told exactly what I am doing and how I should be doing it, so images alone I don't find completely beneficial.

The frame comes ready to pop up straight away, the wheels are already locked into place so that eliminates one of the usual pushchair jobs! To put the pushchair up you have to push the 2 White clips closest to the handle bar up, kicking down on the tensing plate in the centre of the stroller. This will completely erect the Loola. 

With the frame now complete in front of you, you can now put the seat unit onto the frame. It can go on in either position, parent facing or forward facing and simply clicks into place. To take the seat unit back off and to turn it the other way you simply push in the white button either side of the seat unit and  lift it out when you feel it release. You can then put it into the other position by clicking it back in the other way around. 

To attach the hood you have to line up the zip on the hood with the runner on the frame and then do up the zip, this will keep the hood in place. It can be quite tricky to attach but once it is on you can breathe a sigh of relief...

The last part to get attached is the bumper bar which ever so simply clicks into place on either side of the stroller. Getting it on was easy but it was the taking it off again that completely threw me, the instructions were telling me there was a button to push in that would release it, but I located the big white ones on the side. The correct buttons are actually underneath the arm and release the bar instantly. You will know when you have found the right one.

First Impressions

I was very pleased with how the Loola looked and the ease of putting it together, but I was really surprised at how heavy it actually was. I wouldn't class the Loola as a lightweight stroller personally and I find it quite bulky. It actually weighs in at 12.9kg which is equivalent to just over 28lbs, and I can confirm that lifting that into the car can be quite tiring on little arms, even with the very handy carry handle.

The pushchair frame is really wide, and I actually sat there for a while just staring at it. It is a lot wider than any other stroller I have used and is equally as long. 

When the Loola is open it is 98cm high by 96cm in length and 58cm wide.

The Loola is really easy to put up and down which certainly makes life easier when you are in a rush, take the rain storm I found myself in for example! I absolutely love just how easy it is to change the seating position, I find this really important and have enjoyed taking walks with Leo facing me so we can have a proper chatter as we go. 

The seat unit is lovely and wide providing lots of room for a growing baby, and even has lots of space for my very big almost 2 year old. This pushchair could see him through until we no longer need a pushchair anymore (this thought actually makes me want to cry!)

Getting to know the Loola

The Loola handles really well in an urban environment, pushes really well and once the stroller is up and on the move you don't feel the weight anymore, well until you come to a curb. When handling a curb I find it too heavy with Leo's weight combined with the pushchairs weight in order to lift it enough to mount the curb. I have to put my foot on the back of the pushchair frame to get enough momentum to lift the stroller up the curb. Having said that I have found it incredibly easy to push one handed, which means I can go along munching my lunch or even drinking my drink while pushing Leo along with the other hand.

Now that really is parenting bliss!

I like how solid the Loola feels as safety is paramount to me, the entire pushchair feels completely sturdy and I enjoy pushing Leo around in it. I do feel that the Loola is more suitable for people who are out and about around the town rather than someone who is looking for a pushchair to take on walks accross the fields. I have tried the Loola in our local park and found that although it does go over the grass there are moments where the small wheels do struggle.

Leo looks incredibly comfortable in the seat and is happy to sit in either position, I do think the time has well and truly come for him to prefer facing away from me though. However it is really great to have the choice on which way he does face, and every once in a while I can persuade him to sit and have a chat with me about what we can see as we whiz around.

If Leo should fall asleep while we are out and about I can simply recline the seat fully so that he is lay down. I can even open up the hood so that it extends further by undoing the zip in the centre, it is a super hood that provides extra shelter from all of the amazing British weather conditions, even the sunshine when it decides to make an appearance. This does help Leo to sleep longer while in the stroller and keeps Mummy in the shops longer...

The Loola features one of my most favourite things on a pushchair. A really generous shopping basket! I have been able to fit all sorts in there and found that it is really easy to access. There is room to get into the basket from the back or on either side, which means it is easy to organise all of your shopping bags...allowing you to fit a few more in. The only part about the basket I am not 100% on is that the frame is exposed in the bottom, which divides your basket up somewhat, but this is not the end of the world and does not detract from the favorable space.

The brakes on this stroller are really easy to kick on and off, the red on the right hand side puts the brakes on and the white brake on the left takes them back off again. I love a pushchair that makes this task so easy as I have come across some in the past that are just incredibly stiff, meaning you have to get down and pull them back off with your hands. Not the case the with Maxi-Cosi Loola!

You will notice that this stroller has a unusual folding mechanism, in order to fold in one piece and as compactly as it does, the handle and the bumper bar need to fit in with the fold. Maxi-Cosi have achieved this by adding in a joint to both the handle and the bumper bar, which is absolutely fine but can be noticed in the handle when pulling the stroller towards you. The handle bends a little bit when pulling backwards but aside from this does not cause any issues or affect use in anyway.

The plastic handle bar can be adjusted into different positions depending upon how you feel comfortable using it, all you have to do is push in the White buttons by the handle bar and push up or down.

Overall...What do we think?

Overall I think this stroller is a good choice, at £300.00 and the capability to use the Loola as a complete travel system that will see your little one right up until a time that you no longer need a stroller, it is certainly money well spent. You can purchase a carry cot to go on the top so you get the full pram experience and you can even attach a Maxi-Cosi Car seat.

I do honestly think that the Loola is best suited to an urban environment rather than the open countryside, but it is perfect for nipping to park to feed the ducks.

I think that you will need a very big boot to fit the Loola in, and it does not not fit in the boot of my Peugeot 206. When I take the Loola out in the car I have to sit it on the back seat upright so that it fits in.

I will leave you with the video I have put together of the Loola...

And a few pro's and con's about this stroller. I hope that this honest first hand experience of the Loola 2 helps you in making the all important pushchair decision.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Maxi-Cosi Loola for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

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