Babystyle IMP Review by Best Buggy
The Babystyle IMP is a smart looking pushchair with its brightly coloured fabrics and aluminum chassis. We love the incredibly neat fold, and especially the way the pushchair easily freestands. The single wheels promised agility and good manoeverability.
The Babystyle IMP was easy to lift out of the box, and to open up. The hood fitted on easily. The IMP was ready to head outside within minutes.
Child Comfort and Harness
The Babystyle IMP is suitable from birth to 15kgs. The IMP seat has four recline settings which are accessed via a lift up lever at the rear of the seat. The seat is very easy to recline, and the positions are decisive. The upright position is bolt upright, and the lie flat position is suitable for a newborn. The seat is lightly padded. There is a lift up calf rest which fits into place using two slide in locks.
The Babystyle IMP seat is wide and is a good height at 49cms tall. There is a board for back support up to 41.5cms, and then the top section is fabric to support the child’s head. Master BB has plenty of room height wise in the seat. He is 96cms tall which is exactly the height of an average 36 month old. Therefore he is at the upper end of the age range for typical buggy use.
The seat at 20cms deep, is on the shallow side, certainly for our older toddler. We found that putting the calf rest up gave Master BB the correct amount of support under his thighs to his knees, and thus he looked comfortable. The downside of doing this, was that he could not access the footrest. With the calf rest down, he could only get his heels onto the footrest. The footrest really needs to be a little further forwards to allow maximum foot support, however there probably is not room on the frame to accommodate this.
A younger baby or toddler would have their legs supported by the calf rest in the upright position. Master BB liked having his legs up at times too.
There are 3 harness height positions. Two holes are fairly close together high up for toddlers, and there is a low setting for a young baby. There are thick harness covers, and a crotch pad. The latter is important to us, because the harness used on the IMP is the same as we have seen on some other pushchairs. When the harness is pieced together, there are sharp corners at the back of the buckle, so having a good padded crotch pad is vital to prevent the harness digging into the child. However the crotch pad easily falls off. We have had to pick it up from the floor a good number of times. Given how important we feel the crotch pad is, we are going to attempt to sew this crotch pad onto our IMP. We don’t want to lose it. Ideally, we would prefer to have a different harness on the IMP.
The positive about the Babystyle IMP harness is that the shoulder straps and the waist straps are connected. Thus this harness is easy to do up. The shoulder straps can be unclipped for adding a footmuff.
Whilst on the subject of footmuffs, Babystyle have very thoughtfully added on two press studs to the rear of the seat, so that a Babystyle footmuff can be firmly attached, and thus will not slide down.
The fabrics feel good quality and durable. We like the addition of reflective strips in places such as along the basket, seat and hood. Good for dark nights!
Hood and Raincover
The hood on the Babystyle IMP is a generous size. The front section is secured firm to the second panel, using a lock on each side. This was strong enough to thwart all attempts by the determined Master BB to open or shut this section of the hood! There is also a hidden zip out panel at the rear for a full coverage hood. This gave sufficient cover for Master BB in a light rain shower, and also provided good shade in the sun. There is a large clear viewing panel in the hood so that you can keep an eye on the child.
The IMP comes with a flexible raincover which folds up into a small neat package when not required. This fits easily and well.
The Babystyle IMP has a mesh basket underneath the seat. We have found access difficult because the ‘X’ frame of the chassis obstructs the opening. It is possible to unhook the basket at the front, but this is quite fiddly, and we found is only worth doing if access is not constantly required to the items underneath. It was possible to wedge a bag on top of the ‘X’ frame, behind the seat, above the basket. My handbag sat here nicely. We were able to slide smaller things through the side of the basket – there is some give in the mesh which allows it to be pulled down. We did discover that the IMP is the best pushchair to carry rolls of wrapping paper in! They stood really neatly between the frame and made buying rolls of paper bliss! Although it is not recommended, we did manage to hang a fair amount from the handles without any effect to the handling, or the pushchair tipping with the child sat in.
There are two abutment points on either side of the handlebar. These will take a Babystyle IMP bottle holder or an Oyster changing bag. Very useful!
Wheels, Brake, Handlebars and Handling
The Babystyle IMP has got four 14.5cms small single wheels. This is unusual to find single wheels on a lightweight buggy, however it gives a great look to the IMP. I love the clean feel of having just a single wheel on each corner, instead of the usual chunky double wheels. The white and black three point wheel design is eye catching.
The handling of the IMP has been good on smooth surfaces – it has been very easy to push, steer and manoeuvre. I prefer to push a buggy one handed, and I have had no problem pushing the IMP with one hand. We have also tried the IMP with the new Dooky bar – which makes the IMP a one handed stroller, and that has worked brilliantly well.
The front wheels are lockable / swivel wheels, and thus can be locked when going across more challenging terrain. The front wheels remove for easy cleaning.
The two handlebars are slightly curved inwards to give a comfortable grip. The handlebars are foam covered which works well. However one of our grips has slid down a little (strangely not the hand I use to push with!). We are sure a bit of glue will fix this. The handlebars are a good height – we like taller handles and these are perfect for me (at 5ft 6ins) and for the taller Mr BB.
There is a linked footbrake which is operated by a small pedal beside the rear wheel on the right hand side. This works reasonably well, but Mr BB says he found times where he needed to rock the pushchair to engage the brake. He would have preferred the brake to be a little larger, and for a pedal to be on each side of the chassis.
Newborn Use / Travel System
The Babystyle IMP can be used from birth. The baby can be placed directly on the flat seat. However, the IMP will also be able to take a car seat. The Oyster car seat, in matching colours, will be able to be fitted from later in 2014. There will be a Maxi Cosi, B-Safe and Cybex infant carrier adaptor available from the end of July. These newborn options will make the IMP a sensible option from birth to three.
The Babystyle IMP has a telescopic fold. The fold looks similar to an umbrella fold once closed, however the pushchair chassis slides down together, instead of one half folding on top of the other. This gives a really neat tight fold, (thus no splaying when carrying), and the IMP will freestand really well once folded. Anyone who has ever done battle with an umbrella fold to get them to stand up or store sensibly, will appreciate having a freestanding stroller! This is definitely a great pushchair for anyone with floor space storage issues.
Locking the front wheels gives the neatest fold, however as our photos show, it is possible to leave the front wheels on swivel, and the IMP will still freestand.
The fold is quite long for a car boot at 103cms, so it is worth checking it will fit in your boot before buying.
To fold the IMP the hood has to be pushed fully back. On each side of the IMP is a round white button. These each need depressing to release the primary folding lock. They can be done one after another, or at the same time. They click into place once depressed. Finally, pull upwards on the handle located above the basket at the rear of the pushchair. The chassis then slides downwards into itself. It is possible to fold the IMP in an almost standing position, which is useful. Most buggies fold to the floor. There is an autolock but sometimes the IMP chassis needs a bit of a squeeze together to make this engage. It is not quite as quick as an umbrella fold, partly due to having to press in the two white buttons.
At just 7.1kgs the IMP is very light to lift and carry. Mr BB was really surprised how light it was.
Babystyle have thoughtfully added a carrying handle on the side of the IMP which makes it easy to carry the buggy. However, the IMP can also be pulled along behind you, which has been my preferred way to move the IMP when folded.
Opening the IMP is easy. Simply undo the fold lock and push down gently on the small footplate, situated between the two rear wheels. We sometimes pushed down on the fold handle with our hand until the chassis locked.
The Babystyle IMP is a smart looking, well finished pushchair with its eye catching wheels. We love the bright colours and the flat aluminum chassis. The seat is a good size although we would have liked a little more depth to it. We would also like to see the harness changed to one which is more comfortable for the child. The hood is fantastic for any season. The handling has been great, and we could push the IMP one handed. Best of all we love the fold. The Babystyle IMP takes up next to no room freestanding in the house, and slides easily into a few centimetres width in the car boot. We like that there are travel system options. The accessory mounting points for the changing bag, footmuff etc. are useful. We have enjoyed using the Babystyle IMP, and we think it is a good from birth to three, lightweight stroller. We have given the Babystyle IMP a Best Buggy 4 and a half gold stars rating.
With many thanks to Nick and Babystyle for helping us with this review.
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