Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single Review by Best Buggy
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT (BJCMGT) is the Baby Jogger City Mini crossed with the Baby Jogger City Elite hybrid which I have longed for, and I wasn’t disappointed!!
The Baby Jogger City Mini is recommended on many forums as being one of the best (if not the best) lightweight urban stroller to take your child from birth to three. Meanwhile the City Elite with its large chunky ‘forever air’ wheels is well known for being fabulous off road. But the Elite was heavy, and the City Mini was best kept on pavements. So the Baby Jogger City Mini GT seems to bridge the gap between the two and offer a lighter, highly manoeuvrable urban pushchair, with smaller ‘forever air’ tyres which gives the capability to cope with a visit to the park, a walk through the woods, or down a rough track. Plus, the features which I really loved on the Elite, were also put onto the City Mini GT ie. the adjustable handlebar and the handbrake. All round it seemed to be a great combination. So was it really?
First Impressions and styling:
First impressions of the Baby Jogger City Mini GT were good. The City Mini GT will be instantly familiar to anyone who has had one of the similar Baby Joggers as the overall style and feel is very similar. There’s the regular Baby Jogger features of the large seat, huge hood with peekaboo windows, rubber grip handle, easy one handed fold and more. But what makes this City Mini into the GT are the cute little 8.5 inch ‘forever air’ tyres. The next thing we noticed was the extra padded seat which has padding right to the edges, unlike the City Mini which has padding just down the centre. Its noticeable that the seat is deeper, the footrest is longer and the seat back is higher than the City Mini. The seat back extends right underneath the hood. An obvious first impression is that the hood looks low. But at first we were not sure how perceptional this was, but we will come back to this later on. The City Mini GT didn’t feel too heavy to carry – in fact this is the first time I have thought about whether it felt heavy which means I didn’t really notice (you notice that you are carrying the Elite!). All round the Baby Jogger City Mini GT is a smart, tidy, neat looking pushchair.
Child Comfort, Seat Recline and Harness:
The level of child comfort on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT is good. As mentioned there is a good level of padding on the seat unit. The seat depth is large. For an older child there is plenty of room for long legs, and a deeper footrest allows bigger feet to rest comfortably. I have to say that I thought my eldest sat comfortably in the City Mini, but she has much more room in the BJCMGT, and this is noticeable if you look at the photos of her in our comparison of the City Mini, Elite and City Mini GT in the Side by Side Comparison section on Best Buggy. What amazes me though is that the City Mini GT also accommodates a young baby well. I have seen photos this week of two young babies sat upright with their feet resting comfortably on the seat pad because there is enough room for them to do that! There’s no sign at all of the babies (or my youngest) slouching, which if often an issue if you find a seat thats a good size for an older toddler. So the City Mini GT is a pushchair that will take your baby comfortably from lying flat on the seat, or in a carrycot or car seat, through to sitting upright and up to pre-school. I know this may seem an obvious statement but it is hard to find one pushchair that truly suits all ages.
There is a PE board not just in the rear of the City Mini GT seat, but also in the base of the seat (this is unique to the GT). This makes the seat extra supportive.
The seat can be reclined using a toggle recline. The advantage of a toggle recline is that you can stop the seat at any point to suit your child. The disadvantage is that it requires two hands and a shoulder or elbow nudge to pull the child upright again. For me though the ease of the recline outweighs the pulling upright again. The recline is a gradual one which is great for not waking a child up who has already fallen asleep. The recline will take a child from upright to completely laid flat. Thus the Baby Jogger City Mini GT is suitable for a child from birth without the need for a carrycot or car seat.
The rear of the seat is covered with mesh which allows you to see your child, and allows ventilation. This is useful in summer when the huge hood can offer shade but the child can be kept cool underneath. In winter there is a weather cover which can be unrolled and then hooked under the seat and velcroed into place thus making the seat snug, warmer and dry. On the City Mini GT this cover is actually attached to the pushchair seat, rather than to the hood like the City Mini and Elite. This gives a slightly neater look to the cover.
The harness is a good quality one with an amazing 5 harness height settings which easily clip on and off. The harness straps are huge, but I have to say I never find Baby Jogger harnesses terribly easy to adjust. This is partly due to the way they double back on themselves (which leads some parents to think the harnesses are short). This doesn’t make the City Mini GT harness easy to adjust for different aged children. Its rare we do not adjust pushchair harnesses for our photos on Best Buggy, but it was just too hard work to keep doing it on the City Mini GT (its the same on the other Baby Joggers too). The buckle is easy to do up and is non pinch which is great. However its fairly easy to undo – I know toddlers can undo it – plus the buckle is fairly low down on the an older toddlers crotch which then makes it relatively easy for them to take their arms out of the shoulder straps. Its never been an issue for us with our two children, but is worth mentioning if you have a Houdini! It is a bit of a shame that the BJCMGT doesn’t have the chunky buckle of the City Elite.
The Baby Jogger pushchairs are well known for their huge hoods. I have had Baby Joggers now for several years and haven’t as yet used a raincover or sun cover because with a cosy toes or blanket on the pushchair, the hood protects the rest. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT is no exception. In some of our photos it was raining lightly, and although the raincover was underneath the pushchair, my son was dry enough under the hood and under his blanket.
There is lots of headroom underneath even for a taller child. The hoods have three large panels and come right down at the front over the child. There are 2 peekaboo windows which are well placed on 2 panels of the hood – so that even if the hood is only partially open, it is possible to look clearly down on the child. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT hood is lined in the main colour.
There are two negatives to the hood. First of all the peekaboo windows on the BJCMGT are held down by velcro – we had hoped for the lovely magnetic catches of the Elite windows. Secondly – and to be honest this is a big issue for us and probably the major let down of the Baby Jogger City Mini GT – and that is that the front of the hood is really low. We have had all the hoods off and measured them. From the base of the hood to the centre of the front rim is half a centimetre lower than the regular City Mini! But yet the City Mini GT seat extends quite some way higher up the frame than the City Mini, so therefore really needs to be higher. Given the BJCMGT hood is set a fair height above the seat unit, my eldest looks fairly uncomfortable laid on the rim of the hood, although she did not complain. In some ways, this will not be an issue for most children. Our eldest is 3.7 years old and tall for her age (102cms), and is almost out of pushchairs. BUT we saw a paediatrician last week who was intrigued by the GT as she thought it would be great for children with special needs because of the large seat unit – and it would be. So why make a taller seat unit, but give such a low front rim to the hood? We even tried swapping the hoods around, but the City Mini, nor Elite hoods would not fit onto the City Mini GT. The hood could always be removed for an older child, but thats not ideal really. I am not the only one to have noticed this, and its been a topic of debate lately. We really hope that Baby Jogger can address this somehow.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT has the new 2012 lowered bar at the rear of the pushchair. This combined with a new deeper and elasticated basket makes it much better than any of the previous baskets. As the photos will show I could easily push my large handbag through both the rear and the sides of the BJCMGT basket. The elasticated sides are fabulous! Given the basket also hangs lower, it gives even more space to put items in, and the high sides and enclosed front means that nothing falls out. I love elasticated sides because its so easy to keep pushing things into every nook and cranny even when the basket seems full!
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT handlebar is rubber covered with a grip pattern on it. I find the Baby Jogger handlebars comfortable to hold, and I never need worry about damaging foam when storing. The City Mini GT handlebar is adjustable via a pivot system – this for me is one of the most exciting things about the GT. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT has 11 handlebar settings!!! That is a HUGE choice of settings from very low, to very high. There is a setting to suit everyone. Even my toddler was happy pushing the BJCMGT around outside and into places. She loved it. The City Mini GT felt stable enough to let her do so as well – even on the gravel.
However the adjustable handle will be most appreciated on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double because I know even though I push a single pushchair generally with one hand, I push with two hands on a double, and I know that affects my posture. I need a double pushchair to have the correct handle height. I was forced to sell my BJCM double because of the fixed handlebar and I found the Elite double much better although heavier to lift. The BJCMGT would have been much better for me, as a good mix of the two pushchairs, but importantly with the adjustable handlebar.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT handles superbly. It is really no trouble to push in, out and around obstacles. Its easy and manoeuverable. The small ‘forever air’ tyres evens out bumps and lumps in the ground so that the child (and you) get a smooth ride. I think this was one of the most noticeable things for us using the GT on regular routes. The tyres being just 8.5″ don’t suffer from ‘sticking’ which happens when you stop a 3 wheel pushchair with bigger tyres off centre (they need wiggling back to straight to get started again). No matter what we did, or where we went, the City Mini GT moved off again perfectly from standing. The BJCMGT is great across rough ground or cobbles and grass. It did struggle with very long grass though, but for the typical family the BJCMGT should cope with a walk in the woods or trips to the park, along country tracks etc. Plus there is no worry about getting punctures with the ‘forever air’ tyres – a huge plus point for us because punctures are annoying!! For a serious off road, I would be choosing the City Elite.
Both Mr BB and I commented on how grounded the BJCMGT felt. I think given the pushchair is lower to the ground than the Elite but has chunkier wheels than the City Mini means that it feels quite stable on the flat. As with most 3 wheelers, caution is needed when dropping off kerbs or steps, and also when in carrycot or car seat mode. One of our team has had issues with the BJCMGT feeling tippy on a steep camber where she doesn’t with other 3 wheeler pushchairs.
Carrycot and Car Seats:
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT has a choice of an amazing 3 carrycots! There is a hard bodied Bassinet Carrycot, a Compact Carrycot, and a Compact Plus Carrycot (a little wider than the Compact Carrycot). All can be used with the fabric on the chassis, or with the fabric removed from the chassis. The latter makes a really neat looking pram with the easy one handed fold and the basket being retained. The Bassinet Carrycot sits higher on the chassis than the other two carrycots and requires a different adaptor. This adaptor can also take the car seat with no need for additional adaptors. However in practice, the smaller plug in car seat adaptors are easier to handle, fit and store. The plug in car seat adaptors fit into the ‘Accessory Mounting Bracket’ which are the holes underneath the hood socket where various accessories can be fixed.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT can take a Maxi Cosi Pebble or Cabriofix car seat.
The Baby Joggers are famous for their one handed easy peasy fold. The City Mini GT is no exception. Simply grasp the handle in the centre of the seat and the pushchair folds instantly. It makes it really easy to scoop your child out of the seat and even as you are walking away you can be folding the pushchair! The City Mini GT has the 2012 addition of the autolock. I have to say that I must have opened and closed the City Mini GT numerous times and only twice did the autolock ever catch on. The hood fabric obstructed the locking mechanism. If this is a feature which is important, then it may well need a little tweaking to get the lock to click each time. But to be honest, I prefer the GT without the autolock because its then simple to flick the pushchair open: when lifting out of the car, the GT is open and on its wheels by the time it hits the floor without having to look for the lock. It is also possible to unscrew the autolock to permanently remove it. There are two red safety straps which should be put on (poppers) before placing a child in the seat unit, and these will need undoing before folding.
Once folded, and especially with the wheels off, the Baby Jogger City Mini GT makes a nice neat squareish package which is easy to store or slide into a gap. The Baby Joggers are great pushchairs for holidays because the car can be packed up and the pushchair then slides simply on top, with the wheels in gaps, making it easy to get out if you need to stop en route. It takes literally seconds to pop the wheels on or off and I do this regularly with Baby Joggers simply because its so easy to do, and the chassis is easy to handle whilst you pop the wheels back on again.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT has a handbrake which is brilliant! It is so easy to flick on and off. I like the decisiveness of knowing it is on or off too – there is no in between. I wasn’t sure about the way the brake has been angled inwards but it doesn’t seem to make the handbrake any harder to use than say on the Elite or City Select. I am guessing it has been done like this to save adding any width to the overall pushchair - which would be important especially with the twin City Mini GT.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT does not come with a raincover – although as I have said – we have had a raincover for each of our Baby Joggers but I don’t believe we have used any of them! The huge hood combined with a good footmuff would keep a child dry for a short outing or in a sudden shower. But for say a school run, then a raincover would be an essential. Other accessories include a belly bar, child snack tray, parent and child consoles, car seat adaptors and a cup holder.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT is the much loved City Mini but better! Nothing is taken away from the City Mini, but instead the City Mini GT has been pimped up with the small ‘forever air’ tyres, handbrake, larger seat, longer footrest, more padding and adjustable handlebar. Anyone who loves the City Mini will love the GT version too. As a City Elite owner, I have to say I would certainly consider downsizing to the City GT to get the advantages of the handbrake, adjustable handlebar and large seat without the extra weight and bulk of the Elite footrest. Unless you are purely urban based, (in which case the City Mini will serve you well), then if you can afford the GT version over the basic City Mini, then I would say it is worth the extra money. The one disappointment for us has been the low hood. We really hope that Baby Jogger address this. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT is excellent.
Other Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single Reviews: