Casual Play Kudu 4 Review by Best Buggy
The Casual Play Kudu 4 is a very modern, smart looking pushchair with an extra thick padded liner. It promises affordable luxury on wheels, for a child to travel on board.
Our first impressions of the Casual Play Kudu 4 were excellent. The Kudu 4 is stylish and luxurious looking. We love the black finish on our Kudu 4. The chassis is simple, with a lovely curved shape at the rear leading down to the back axle. The pushchair feels sturdy and solid. The padding on the seat is thick and luxurious. The foam on the handlebar is dense and thick. The wheels are heavy and rubberised. The overall feel of the Kudu 4 is of an expensive, luxurious and robust pushchair. It only took a few minutes to open the chassis, and to pop the wheels and seat on.
Child Comfort and Harness
The seat of the Kudu 4 can be used from birth because it lies completely flat. The seat is reversible, thus the child can either face the parent, or forward face. Reversing the seat is done by squeezing up handles on each side of the seat, and pulling upwards. The seat drops simply back into position onto the empty sockets.
The seat has four seating positions in total from lie flat to fully upright in both directions. 4 seat positions are unusual to find on a framed seat pushchair. The extra seating position is really useful to have. The recline is accessed via a robust lever at the rear of the seat. There is also an adjustable calf and footrest to enable you to position your child’s legs at an angle to suit them.
There is no doubt that the occupant of the Kudu 4 will be seated comfortably. The seat pad is very thick and comfortable, with thick harness and crotch pads. The seat fabric is very firmly secured by a series of poppers and straps, which means that the padded liner doesn’t slide. We have not tried, but we feel confident that we could remove the liner for washing if necessary.
There are three harness height positions which cater well for small babies, but also larger toddlers up to 15kgs or up to 120cms tall. The wide, deep seat suits older toddlers – there is plenty of room for growth! Master BB (98cms tall) has plenty of space in the harness. We also like that the waist harness starts in the middle, and not at the sides to keep small babies securely fastened in. The harness was easy to release and tighten. It took a bit of a push of the clips through the back of the seat, to alter the harness height, but we managed it. The buckle is really easy to do up – one side at a time, however it does not take much pressure to undo. Be aware if you have a Houdini child!
Hood, Raincover, Bumper Bar and Basket
The Kudu 4 hood starts out with two fairly small panels. There is an extra panel hidden behind a zip which makes the hood into a standard sized hood. In some ways the zip is extraneous to requirements, as a good sized hood really needs to make use of all 3 panels. The hood simply pushes back, out of the child’s peripheral vision when not required.
There is also a flick out or down (because it can be stored inside, or on top of the hood) sun visor. The centre panel of the hood on each side, has a small mesh window for ventilation. At this point we applaud Casual Play, because we at Best Buggy HQ don’t like open mesh near a sleeping child’s head and face, however, Casual Play have thoughtfully put a thick fabric panels between the mesh and the child, so that a child can get the full hood protection in winter, and still have good ventilation, without the cold wind blowing directly straight over the child’s face, and out the other side. A small detail, but one that we appreciate. These fabric panels do look a little odd as ‘wings’ by the child’s shoulders when the hood is pushed back. However, they will give the child a padded place to rest their head if required.
Finally, there is a clear peekaboo window in the rear panel of the hood. This closes with Velcro. Silent magnets would have been a good finishing touch on this luxury feeling pushchair.
A bumper bar is included with the Kudu 4. This slots in one either side of the seat. The bumper bar is not hinged, and thus needs removing completely to get a child in or out, or the child needs lifting over, which is a little annoying. We ended up removing the bumper bar. The bumper bar can be folded forwards out of the way, or to fold. Removing the bumper bar when folding gives a more compact fold.
The basket is a good size but a curious shape. It reminds me of a lobster pot because it is fully enclosed apart from a semi circular shaped opening at the rear. The opening does make it harder to insert items than an open basket especially when the seat is parent facing. However, the basket is plenty big enough for me to put in my medium sized handbag. A typical sized changing bag would not fit in, but it would take two Pacapod changing pods nicely. We like that the basket is fully enclosed around the front and sides, and that the rear opening is quite high. Thus all the contents will be securely held. However, we would have preferred more open basket which we could access from the sides or front as well as the rear.
The Kudu 4 comes with a raincover which is useful to have.
Wheels, Brake, Handlebar and Handling
The wheels on the Kudu 4 are great. The tyres appear at first glance to be solid rubber. The front wheels are lockable / swivel wheels – so they can be highly manoeuvrable about town, or can be locked to head off over rough ground at the park. The rear wheels have an inner EVA foam which makes them hard wearing, and more suitable for heading off over rough ground. They mimic air tyres but without any fear of punctures. There is also independent suspension on the wheels. This makes the Kudu 4 smooth to push. However, the wheels are weighty, and this does impact on the push making it relatively heavy to steer for a pushchair of this size. Even with no child in, I find that it takes extra effort to steer the Kudu 4.
The handlebar is covered in dense foam and is lovely to hold. The handlebar does extend by squeezing in the button in the centre of the handlebar. However, the handlebar only extends by one position. This gives just 7 cms more height, which is not a large amount.
The wheels release very quickly and easily if required.
The brake is situated at the rear of the Kudu 4, next to the right hand wheel. There is a protruding red brake pedal which is clear to see. The brake needs to be stepped on to apply. The brake needs flicking up from underneath to disengage – this is quite difficult to do. The brakes have been decisive.
Fold / Unfold
The Casual Play Kudu 4 will fold with the seat left in situ, in either the forward or reverse facing position.
We found that we needed a little practice to fold the Kudu 4, even though we are very familiar with this type of fold (it is similar to that found on pushchairs by Babystyle and Mutsy).
With the seat forward facing, the seat needs folding in half, like a clam shell. Folding the bumper bar down, or removing it completely makes a flatter fold. On either side of the chassis are two sliders. Sliding the right hand slider up first, then releases the left hand slider. As this slides upward, the handlebar can be pushed over the top of the seat unit. The easiest way to complete the fold is to then reach down, and pull the bar underneath the seat towards you. This brings the front wheels towards the rear wheels to complete the fold. It is possible to lean the rear of the pushchair against your shins and allow the font wheels to fall backwards. However, I have found this hurts if you put your leg in the wrong place because of brake cable clips on the basket bar. We do not find this an easy fold.
We find folding the Kudu 4 when the seat is rearward facing, a little easier. The seat can be left open (not folded like above). The handlebar needs releasing using the sliders before being moved over the top of the seat. We then use the bumper bar to draw the seat towards you and the wheels tuck in. The advantage of this way of folding is that the pushchair ends up in an upright position, thus you do not need to pick it off a potentially dirty or muddy floor.
There is a rudimentary manual fold locking strap which is easy to hook on, but can be tricky to push off again to unfold. It is a pity that there is no autolock on this pushchair.
Unfolding the pushchair should be easier than folding! Simply undo the fold locking strap, lift the handlebar up and over the seat unit and flick the front wheels forwards with a slight push. When the seat is forward facing, it also needs opening up from the clam shell position. It can be easier to hold onto the bumper bar with one hand whilst moving the handlebar to get some stability. However, we have had times where the wheels have refused to separate, which then involves pulling them apart. A little frustrating!
The fold is quite neat. The seat will sit up higher when folded forward facing unless the bumper bar is removed. The rear facing fold is much longer, but flatter. The seat can always be removed before folding too. So the Kudu 4 should fit in a range of car boots.
The Kudu 4 is surprisingly light to lift and carry. At just 9.7kgs, the Kudu 4 is 1.3kgs lighter than the Babystyle Oyster, and yet has the advantage of the all terrain wheels.
Travel System and Carrycot
Car seat adaptors are included with the Kudu 4. These will take a Casual Play Sono or Baby 0+ car seat. There are car seat adaptors available to attach a Maxi Cosi Cabriofix or Pebble to the chassis. The advantage of the Casual Play Sono car seat is that it lies flat. Thus a newborn baby can be in the car seat for longer periods of time than a traditional 0+ infant carrier.
The Kudu 4 will also take a choice of a Casual Play Metropol, Newmoon or Tulip carrycot, which turns the Kudu 4 into a great looking pram for a newborn baby.
The Casual Play Kudu 4 has surprised us in many ways. This modern, trendy pushchair has a very solid feeling chassis with chunky rubber wheels. Amazingly, the Kudu 4 only weighs a relatively lightweight 9.7kgs.
The level of luxury surprised us. The liner is thick and very padded. The seat held Master BB comfortably. The hood is good quality fabric.
The basket is perfectly formed, however we think the Kudu 4 would benefit from having a larger, more open basket. We would have liked to have seen a greater handlebar extension, but any extension is better than none! The push of the Kudu 4 was beautifully smooth, although we found the steering to be heavy. We found the fold and unfold trickier than our experience of similar style pushchairs tells us it could be, and this was our main negative. An autolock would be a huge benefit.
Casual Play provide some amazing mix and match options with a choice of car seats and carrycots to fit onto the Kudu 4 chassis. However, the Kudu 4 is suitable from birth without the need for any additional expense. The Kudu 4 is a pushchair which will last from newborn to the end of your child’s pushchair using days.
We have awarded the Casual Play Kudu 4, a Best Buggy 4 Gold star rating.
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