Mamas & Papas Armadillo Review by Best Buggy
This will be a very quick review of the Mamas & Papas Armadillo, quite simply because it was a frustrating pushchair, and we have no desire to review it fully!
We had planned to buy a Mamas & Papas Armadillo to review. However we popped into a retailer to do some other research and decided to have a closer inspection.
These photos were taken in order as they happened.
First of all our 5 year old decided to jump in whilst I was sorting the little one out. She is tall – at least 112cms. She was only playing, but we have left the photo in because she is actually just under the rim of the hood, she is sat quite nicely and her feet are just on the front edge of the footrest….although in an ideal world the calf rest needs to move back another cm or two to allow an older child to properly rest their feet on the footrest.
Then we put her brother in. He is 3 and a half but small – just 93cms which is the size of a typical 2 and a half year old.
We quickly realised that the harness was a nightmare.
As we undid the buckle – very hard to press – the harness pinged apart into 5 pieces. This happens with some pushchairs. However, trying to do up the jigsaw puzzle which is the new Mamas & Papas buckle was a NIGHTMARE! There is no logical way up for it to go. The top pieces don’t slide onto the side pieces like you expect and they are an odd shape to fit into a tight hole. Believe me, we have years of experience of doing buckles up, but this one took us long enough for the retailer to take a detailed order from a customer, for them to pay, and leave the shop in!!! She couldn’t believe it when she came back and we still hadn’t managed to do it up. The last stage involves putting the WHOLE of the upper part of the buckle into the socket – not just the middle pins like most pushchairs. Well, trying to manoeuvre a big chunk of plastic into a tight socket, with a wriggling child in the way was hard. I managed to hold the parts together whilst I loosened off the straps a long way to get the angle right to insert the whole chunk into the socket without jabbing my son in the tummy. I got it into the socket, but as I did so, the whole thing pinged out again, back into 5 parts and we had to start all over again!!! By this stage, we were NOT impressed. Anyway we managed to do it up – it takes a BIG push at the end to get all the parts to click into place. We tightened the harness up securely. I then challenged the retailer to have a go! She was surprised how tricky it was too. We agreed that whilst it was a challenge to do up in the shop, that there was no way either of us would want to be stood in the rain with an icy wind, and a wriggling toddler with a thick winter coat on, trying to do the buckle up!!
With our youngest in the seat, we initially thought he fitted the seat well. However it is clear from the sideways photos that all was not well – he simply was not comfy. He was moving his legs around to find where to put them. He couldn’t work out where was comfy. His back is not upright ad in some photos he is literally hanging by the harness.
We reclined him. Considering he looks like he had a lot of head room when the seat was upright, when he was reclined, his head was touching the fabric at the rear of the seat.
The hood forms a sort of cavern ie it doesn’t go flush with the seat when it is reclined which would be annoying when trying to lift a sleeping child in, or out of the seat. The Stokke Scoot which we reviewed is similar. The hood itself is generous with a flick out visor at the front. There is also a lift up calf rest which should give a comfy lie flat bed for a younger child.
However when we pulled our son up from the recline, we struggled to get him upright. I got him as far as my hands could pull him in the 4th and 5th photos from the end. It took two of us to pull the seat back upright again, even with our son leaning forwards to help. Even so we did not manage to achieve it properly. It would have taken removing him, and starting again to get the seat a little more upright, although as we saw at the start, it still was not great. Look how our son strains to pull himself upright, and in the end gives up and literally ‘hangs’ by the harness semi reclined in the seat. I must confess, everyone we had spoken to who had tried the Armadillo, had told us that the seat was too reclined for their child. These photos should help to illustrate how bad it is.
This was as far as our review went. With a child so desperately uncomfortable and a harness which was probably the worst buckle we have ever done up, we had no desire to try the Armadillo out further.
The only thing we will say in the Armadillo’s defence is that the buckle on the Mamas & Papas Sola City, which we tried next looked the same, but the 5 parts of the buckle held together and clicked into 3 pieces instead of 5. The Armadillo buckle we had definitely did not click together. We have heard of an Armadillo buckle which did click together, but equally we have heard of a Sola City where the harness fell into 5 parts like ours. So if you are buying a new Mamas & Papas pushchair this year, DO check your buckle before buying, and if you get a really really annoying 5 piece one like ours, return it and find one which clicks together!!
Our advice though is do not buy!! Go and look at a Baby Jogger City Mini, Britax B-Agile or a Graco Evo Mini instead!
Best Buggy Update:
Since we wrote this review, we have visited the Mamaz and Papas factory, where we spoke to the designers of the Armadillo. They told us that the Armadillo has had an update to the design since the one we looked at. First of all the shoulder and waist straps of the harness now should click together to form 2 pieces which fit into the buckle instead of 5 individual straps. These conjoined pieces will still will break with force, but they no longer simply fall apart like the harness we experienced above. The 5 point breaking harnesses are apparently a new safety requirement in Australia, which is why we are seeing more of them here in the UK.
We also were told that the seat is now more upright which should make a big difference. We have not had opportunity to have another look at the Armadillo. However we do have an Armadillo City here on review, and both of these issues have been resolved on the Armadillo City.
Other Mamas & Papas Armadillo Reviews: