Micralite Toro Review
The Micralite Toro is a pushchair that I have always secretly wanted to try. It seemed to offer a great combination of a lightweight chassis, with the comfort of a proper pushchair seat. The Micralite Toro did not disappoint! It was great!!
First Impressions and Styling:
There is no doubt that a Micralite looks different to a traditional pushchair. The Micralite Toro is slightly less head turning than the Super-lite Fastfold, but there is something about the Micralites that makes you look twice. I am the first to admit that I was a little afraid of using a Micralite; but I should not have been; because they are well thought out pushchairs, and are great to use.
We had been using the Micralite Super-lite Fastfold for the previous week, so we were familiar with the Micralite looks, fold and how a Micralite felt. The chassis are both very similar. The handlebars are the same; the wheels are the same; the general chassis shape, basket etc are similar. Essentially the main difference is that the Toro has a framed pushchair seat, whereas the Super-lite Fastfold has an attached mesh seat. The framed seat, does add to the weight of the Toro and makes it marginally slower to fold, but the Toro is still a lightweight, easy to fold pushchair, but the seat gives extra luxury, which I like particularly for a younger child.
Child Comfort, Seat Recline and Harness:
The Micralite Toro seat is large, roomy and comfortable. Our 25 month old (83.5cms tall) had loads of room in the seat. Even our tall (103cms) almost 4 year old, looked very comfortable sat in the Toro seat. She had plenty of head room. We could easily recline her, and she said she was comfortable. There is no board in the back of the seat, but it seemed to be supportive with plenty of padding. I loved that there was an adjustable leg rest, with lots of room for even a taller child to rest their feet. The footrest also moved away underneath the seat slightly which enabled our eldest to rest her feet on the lower footrest. The leg rest had good width for our son to do “frogs legs” when sleeping. (He had plenty of room length wise to have his legs straight if he has preferred!).
The Toro harness was easy to adjust and had some of the thickest harness shoulder pads we have seen! They were fantastic! The buckle was easy to do up and to undo. There are two harness height settings. Our only criticism is that the harness does not really go tight enough for our youngest – we do like harnesses to be snug. It wasn’t loose enough for us to feel the need to add an additional harness, but we do question how tight the harness would be for a younger child.
We loved the combination of the proper framed pushchair seat, on the lightweight Micralite chassis. The seat can only forward face but the peekaboo window gives a reasonably good view of the child.
We had fun and games with the recline settings! There are in theory 3 recline positions – upright, semi reclined and a horizontal recline. However, we accidentally discovered a fourth position and we apologised to Micralite for using this position in some of our photos. We discovered that it is possible to have the seat bolt upright because the front edge wedges behind the footrest. In theory this is the fold position, but we were so keen to get the Toro out and about that we didn’t read the instructions until after the main photos were taken *embarrassed*. But we did several outings with the seat in this position and at no point felt there was anything wrong!!
Hood and Bumper Bar:
The hood on the Toro is a great size and offered good shade during our outings. There is also a sun visor which is probably one of the best I have seen. It was a deep visor and it folded neatly away when not required. It also did not look daft like some sun visors do. It really did help keep the sun out of the eyes of my son, and the photos show for themselves what shade it did offer even in full summer sunshine.
There is a bumper bar on the Toro. It appears to be fixed, but it could be removed, although not quickly and easily. Aesthetically, I am not sure what the seat would look like with the bar removed. The bumper bar does not swing open, which meant that our eldest had to be lifted into the seat – although she did slide underneath to get out. The bumper bar lifts up to fold, and we did wonder if either child would play with this feature, but the bumper bar is stiff enough that neither child worked out that it moved!
The Best Buggy Focus Group all told me the Micralite basket was small but it is not! It holds a fair amount! The basket is divided up the middle by a strap, leaving two good sized triangular compartments – our cool bag and my reasonably sized handbag fitted into each of these compartments – with room at the rear for drinks, sun cream, sunhats, raincoats etc. The chassis is such that it is possible to wedge things in between the bars and for them not to fall out. We thought that the basket was a good size for an outing, although it would be harder to go grocery shopping and try and push bags underneath at the till.
The handlebar is one of the defining features of the Micralite pushchairs. The handlebar is like two horns which are held in place by two simple clips. Once undone the clips allow the handlebars to rotate up and down. The handlebar is foam covered, but it is not particularly dense, and on the Super-lite Fastfold, the foam was beginning to split. I was aware that by pushing one handed, I was putting a fair amount of pressure on one side of the handle and I would have been concerned at how well this would have survived across time. I did also find myself pushing the Toro right in the centre between the handlebars. It felt a little low holding it in this position, but it was comfy and easy to steer. Micralite do sell handlebar extenders for taller parents.
Wheels and Handling:
The Micralite Toro has two large 12″ air wheels at the rear, and two double swivel / lockable wheels at the front. The front wheels were surprisingly chunky and they handled the different terrains we encountered easily – whether grass, gravel, footpaths, or rough ground. At one point we had to go down some steps and the Toro was very easy to bump down them – the tall handle and compact length made the balance and weight feel fine. We had been concerned that due to the front of the Toro being wider than the rear, that I would end up driving into things, but I surprisingly did not. The Toro was fine turning in very tight spaces in shops.
The Micralite Toro was just as easy to push and manoeuvre as the Super-lite Fastfold. I could easily push and steer with one hand which was great because my eldest wanted to hold onto the Toro during our outings. I do not usually like her holding on because she pulls on the pushchair and adds “drag”, or she ends up in my way in front of the pushchair. But with the Toro she could hold on with no problems and we both had enough room and she didn’t pull on the handle at all!!
There is an all terrain kit (ATK) but it has been discontinued and is difficult to find. But it could be worth looking for one if you would like to try some serious off roading with the Toro!
I did wonder whether the Toro would be much bigger than the Super-lite Fastfold when folded. However the framed seat sits within the footprint of the Micralite chassis / large wheels. The Toro stands more upright when folded, whereas the Super-lite Fastfold leans slightly. Therefore in reality I do not think, having had the two pushchairs next to each other, that the folds are much different – it is certainly not enough to put me off having a Toro. The fold is still extremely compact, and neat and I do love how the chassis does freestand when folded.
To fold the Toro, first ensure the hood is pushed back. Then, white button at the rear, marked “press and lift” releases the first stage of the folding mechanism. Press the red button marked “press” at the same time as pulling the handles either side of the white button upwards. The sides start to fold in and the wheels when tuck in. Once the wheels have nested neatly, then the front of the seat at the bottom just needs a push until you hear an audible lock. This locks the chassis into place. It sounds fiddly but its very intuitive and can be done very quickly.
To unfold, the recline plungers (on either side of the rear stem) need pressing down towards the floor until the front wheels are out and locked. The seat unit ends up reclined flat which does feel a bit odd at first especially as you then use the same recline plungers to sit the seat upright! But this only takes seconds more.
Brake and Raincover:
The Toro brake is very simple – it is just a bar that is flicked up or down. Its best done with some good shoes on. It is easy to see, simply by looking down, if the brake is engaged or not.
We LOVE the Micralite raincovers which come in small pouches. We love even more how the Toro raincover neatly slips over the handlebars and sits neatly on top of the hood – no raincover filling up the basket here!!! Genius!
What did raise a lot of discussion amongst the Best Buggy Focus Group was the colour of the raincover!! The Toro raincover is luminous green!!! Although we did not need to use the raincover, the colour merited us getting it out to have a good look! Opinions were divided between it being too bright and conspicuous, and others liking the high visibility of the pushchair especially when wet. I think it looks rather funky!
Carrycot and Car Seat:
We realised as we were packing the Toro away, that there had been Maxi Cosi Car seat adaptors in the box which was a bit of a shame, as we would have tried them out. To use the Cabriofix or the Pebble car seats, or the carrycot, it is necessary to remove the seat fabric and hood thus exposing the seat frame which is used in a horizontal recline position. It looks like it would be easy for the first 6 months to switch between carrycot and car seat modes, and then add the seat fabric once a baby reaches 6 months old. Both the carrycot and car seat parent face.
We have loved using the Micralite Toro. The Toro seems to have a great combination of a lightweight chassis and neat fold along with a generous sized seat and carrycot / car seat options. Personally we would be happy having the Toro as our only pushchair – it is a pushchair that truly would suit any occasion whether something robust for mild off roading, or nippy for shopping with, or something lightweight and neat folding to take on holiday. We like that the Toro has a “proper” pushchair seat unit and I felt like my children were both very comfortable in the seat unit. The Micralite Toro has to feature highly on our list of favourite pushchairs.
Many Thanks to Micralite for all their help to enable us to do these reviews.
Other Micralite Toro Reviews: