I recently contacted Maclaren via twitter to see if they were able to recommend a pushchair to replace my beautiful iCandy Cherry that The Boy is rapidly outgrowing. They suggested two, and that I pop to Mothercare to compare them and try them out. I did, and lo and behold, they sent me one out to review. I am incredibly grateful to them for this. My review shall be honest and thorough, but hopefully not boring!
Maclaren Techno XLR Stroller: in Coffee Brown and Soft Blue.
From the first moment that it's unpacked, it is obvious how much thought has been put into the ergonomics of this pushchair. With my last pushchair/pram combo, we spent an hour assembling everything. With this, you open the end of the box, pull it out and away you go. There is a comfortable and warm reversible seat-liner for use with foot-muff in Winter. It took me five minutes to undo the straps and attach it. [plus point for ease of assembly]
The Boy was champing at the bit to get at it. He liked it as much as I did. Straps were investigated straightaway and I was pleased with the results. He couldn't do them up. This is good because it means he can't undo them. The button on the five-point harness has to be pressed front and back to release the straps. [plus point for safety]
Test Drive 1
Weather: Dry, sunny but cold (2°c)
Without wishing to seem melodramatic, I was apprehensive. The current pushchair can be either forward or rear-facing, and I have The Boy facing me so we can talk. I don't know of any umbrella-folding pushchairs that are parent-facing; is it even possible? The clear plastic 'sunroof' in the hood does go a long way to assure parents that their child is happy. And actually he really liked not having to put up with me jabbering away at him, he was giving me a one-word running commentary on his surroundings: "tree, leaf, bird, Bobby (blackbird), gone, home, boy, boy, BOY! gone, home". You get the picture. [I'd prefer it facing me, but knowing that's not possible I'm more than placated with the 'sunroof']
We live in a predominantly Victorian town: tree-lined avenues, semi-detached houses with drives and proper 'paved' pavements. Pretty, but in reality a pain. The roots push the paving slabs up, and the pavements are full of rises and dips. There are dropped kerbs everywhere and those annoying gutter ridges down the pavements for surface water. The Maclaren copes well with all of these without getting stuck or having to manoeuvre it massively. Even the street that I normally do anything to avoid! [plus point for suspension]
The front wheels are lockable, I've yet to work out when that would be useful, but the steer-ability is brilliant. I have been known to have to excuse myself for crashing into items in the past with a "Oh sorry, I've not passed my test yet!" I'm normally very good at judging distance, but used to get caught out by the wheels on the iCandy; consequently some areas were a no-no. I used to have to open both doors at the entrance to the school where I work, and I once attempted the local corner shop, never again! The Techno fits through the doors with breathing space, and I managed to avoid playing dominoes with the bottles of cola in the shop! Excellent! [plus point for steer-ability]
I was able to put the few items (chocolate, shh!) that I bought into the handy pockets on the back. One of them is perfect for the rain-cover, the other (with a Velcro flap) is ideal to hold a purse, keys, phone, etc. The pockets are perfect for smaller purchases, especially as with our large (Boots/Pampers) change-bag in the shopping basket underneath, I couldn't fit them in as the front was a little difficult to access. I do walk up to the town centre frequently to do shopping, and I use the basket a lot, therefore for me it is an important feature. I wanted to buy a smaller change-bag anyway, which will free up more of the basket space. [plus point for the pockets]
Overall, I'm really impressed with the pushchair: it's smart, compact, warm, easy to use and the manoeuvrability is amazing. I felt incredibly comfortable pushing it (I think I was actually walking faster, maybe I'll burn up extra calories?) and the height of the handles was perfect. The Boy was extremely comfortable tucked up inside it; he was warm and enjoyed seeing all the sights.
Thanks so much Maclaren, from The Boy and Me.
I intend to do a further review of this fabulous pushchair in a fortnight or so, having tried different 'terrains' and weather types.
For more information on Maclaren, visit their Facebook page here.