Joie Litetrax Review by Best Buggy
The Joie Litetrax is a really fabulous little pushchair! We test pushchairs every day, and the Litetrax stands out as one of the most useful pushchairs we have used. Best of all, the Joie Litetrax is superb value for money.
The Joie Litetrax is a smart looking pushchair. It is well presented, with a large hood, good leg room, a tall handle, huge accessible basket, and is simple to fold. The Litetrax feels light to lift and carry, so we were surprised to find that it weighs over 9kgs. We were delighted to see accessories included in the box – the raincover, bumper bar and footmuff / liner. The Litetrax made a very favourable first impression.
The seat size on the Litetrax is excellent. Master BB is now 96cms tall, and he fits perfectly in the seat. There is good depth to the seat; plenty of room under the hood; and good leg room onto the footrest. He looks very comfortable.
The Joie Litetrax has a lie flat seat, thus is suitable from birth. The seat reclines using a strap recline which is accessed by pressing a button on the rear of the seat. This is very easy to do and the seat lowers down to any angle between upright and lie flat. It does require two hands and an elbow, to pull a child up from being reclined.
For a baby or younger child, there is a lift up calf rest, which gives a long lie flat area for sleeping with supported legs. The calf rest locks into position easily. The top of the seat has a sewn in fabric piece which will give protection for a child when laid down – we like how enclosed the seat feels for a sleeping child. We tucked this fabric piece behind the seat for Master BB.
The rear of the seat has a fabric flap covering it. This is attached at the top and then can be fixed securely at the bottom using velcro tabs. The flap has a very handy zipped mesh pocket on the rear of the seat which is great for dropping keys, phone or a camera into. The velcro tabs can be placed to get good access to this pocket when the seat is upright, or the tabs can be moved to a lower setting when the seat is reclined, so that the pocket hangs down behind the seat. It is worth bearing in mind that if the tabs have been in the ‘seat upright’ position, the flattest recline will be achieved by undoing the tabs before lowering the seat.
The seat is nicely padded and is comfortable for a child. We like the soft webbing harness straps which are comfy against a child’s skin. There is plenty of length on the harness, and it has been easy to adjust and alter the shoulder height. However we are less keen on the 5 point breakaway harness and huge harness pads. The pads look massive even on Master BB, so we suspect they would overwhelm a newborn.
2014 has seen a trend towards 5 point breakaway harnesses. Harnesses with 5 points can be fiddly, thus they encourage parents to only use 3 points instead of the full 5 points, leaving their little one not as safely secured as they could be. Doing a 3 point (5 point) harness up is hard enough, but having to chase 5 points under and around a wriggly child can be a nightmare!
The Joie harness is a bit fiddly because the top shoulder pieces have very small ends, which are difficult for bigger fingers. Mr BB struggled to work out which way up to fit the pieces (it is not obvious), and he also kept on then losing the end underneath the harness pads. Once you suss the harness out it is ok, and secures well. There is a button release on the front of the harness which is easy for an adult to undo, but our children can’t undo it.
We will confess to falling out with the harness pads many times. They kept falling off, mainly when the Litetrax was folded. In the end we removed them.
Bumper Bar, Footmuff / Liner, Raincover, Hood, & Travel System
The Joie Litetrax comes with a bumper bar, footmuff / liner and a raincover!
The bumper bar slides on and off down by pushing it on at each side of the pushchair seat. It is plastic without any padding, and is useful to hang toys off. The bar has been secure enough to lift and carry the pushchair with.
The Joie Litetrax can become a travel system with the addition of a Joie Gemm 0+ car seat (and we also believe that a Juva 0+ car seat also fits), and some car seat adaptors.
The footmuff is well padded. We believe that it would be showerproof. The front section of the footmuff can be velcroed down if required. The rear section of the footmuff unzips to become a useful detachable liner. This adds another layer of comfort for a child, and also protects the seat during use. We used the liner on some of our outings to protect the seat, as the seat fabric does not remove for washing (it will wipe clean though). We loved how Joie have thought about the small details, and have added a velcro tab to the top of the liner to hold it firmly in position on the seat unit.
The hood on the Joie Litetrax is HUGE! There are two folds to the hood. The front fold has a visor added to it which finishes the hood off well and keeps the sun out of a child’s eyes. There is also a zip out mesh section to the hood. This extends the hood by another panel. Mesh panels are always good for ventilation or to be able to keep an eye on a child. However, an extra solid panel would be more useful in British winters, or to provide more shade, or darkness for a sleeping child. There is also a peekaboo window with mesh underneath, for quick checks, although the velcro spots on the cover are not the quietest way to peek!
We did have two issues with the hood. First of all, one of the photos above, shows how Master BB could push the hood up the rods of the hood frame easily. Secondly, the hood pings off fairly easily. This was more of an issue when the pushchair was folded. We needed to fix the hood before each use – sometimes just one side, but also sometimes both sides had pinged off.
The basket is large. Access is slightly restricted as the object has to bypass the base of the seat unit, however, my large handbag drops straight in, and there is plenty of room for more items. The basket poppers onto the frame.
A raincover is usefully included in the box. However there is a plastic rib in it which doesn’t make folding it neatly easy. We did manage to fold it into a small saddle bag, but we had to be careful not to snap the rib.
Wheels, Brake, Handlebar & Handling
The Joie Litetrax has three plastic wheels – two large rear wheels, and one smaller double lockable swivel front wheel. The wheels are functional but basic. However there is all round suspension, and the Litetrax is good to push and easy to manoeuvre.
The Litetrax has a single foot pedal beside the right hand wheel. This was easy to apply and also to remove.
The Litetrax has got a fixed high handle. It is perfect for me at 5ft 6ins. The foam handle covering is just right i.e. it is not too soft or hard.
We LOVE the Joie Litetrax fold. Hidden underneath a flap on the centre of the seat unit, is a strap. Simply pull this strap, and the Litetrax folds in half at just the right speed, and then easily and instantly, autolocks. We like that the fold strap is covered from inquisitive little fingers.
We have had a collection of pushchairs with similar folding mechanisms over the years, but the Litetrax fold is the smoothest, quickest and easiest. Best of all the Litetrax freestands when folded! Fab!
The unfold the Litetrax, simply undo the storage lock, and flick the pushchair open. It is possible with practice to do this one handed. So the combination of a one handed fold, and a one handed unfold, could make the Litetrax a useful buggy for anyone using public transport.
Once folded the Litetrax is very compact and flat. It will easily slide into a gap to store, or it will slide on top of a car boot full of luggage. It is possible to pop the wheels off to make the package even neater.
For us here at Best Buggy HQ, the Joie Litetrax has the right combination of everything you need to make a good everyday pushchair from birth to 15kgs. It looks great, it is good to push and steer one handed. It feels stable and sturdy. There is plenty of storage. The fold is swift and the Litetrax is easy to unfold. The Litetrax is great value for money, and the inclusion of the bumper bar, raincover and footmuff / liner all make this a superb package. The travel system option, gives the Litetrax an extra dimension for a new baby. We have found ourselves reaching for the Joie Litetrax for a number of day trips recently – this may seem like a casual statement – but any pushchair that we choose to take out all day, fully loaded for an outing – is a great sign that the Joie Litetrax is capable, and enjoyable to use, pushchair. Although the Joie Litetrax is not perfect, we feel that the minor niggles are far outweighed by the many positives. Therefore we have given the fabulous Joie Litetrax, a Best Buggy 5 star rating.
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