Mamas & Papas Armadillo City Review by Best Buggy
The Mamas & Papas Armadillo City is the little sibling of the Mamas & Papas Armadillo. If you are interested in what the size difference is between the two, then we have done a quick side by side comparison of the two Armadillo’s side by side here.
A pushchair always ‘wows’ us when it arrives in a small box. The box which the Armadillo City arrived in, was very small!
Out of the box came a tiny, narrow, neat pushchair, some wheels and the brakes. The first job was to build the pushchair. Thankfully this was not difficult (adding the brake and wheels), and the instructions were helpful.
We have marvelled how small and narrow the Armadillo City is. The Armadillo City is ALL about the size, neatness, compact fold etc. This is why you buy an Armadillo City rather than an Armadillo! We do not want to hear grumbles about the seat size, or the hood height, on the Armadillo City when there is a larger option available to choose!!
However if you NEED or want a smaller folding or narrow pushchair, into which your child will actually fit perfectly and comfortably in the seat; then the Armadillo City is more than ample for a typical child from birth to three.
Child Comfort and Harness
The Armadillo City has an unusual seat – it has a very solid base to it, which has been deeply padded. Thus it is supportive and comfortable. The seat fabric is beautifully soft – lovely against baby skin – and is also very well padded. The seat height is good at 52cms tall – which is surprisingly is approx 2cms taller than the Armadillo seat. However the hood sits a little lower which we think makes the seat look smaller than it actually is. Master BB is just 2cms shorter in this photo of the Armadillo compared to the photos above where is he 98cms tall. There is a big difference in head room, but Master BB is at the top of the age range for the use of the Armadillo City, and he fits fine, thus most typical 3 year olds will fit perfectly. One indicator that Master BB is very comfortable in the seat, is that in many of these photos, he has his legs crossed. It is always a good sign! Even as I write this piece, despite there being another two pushchairs in my office, Master BB has clambered into the Armadillo City and is sat in it playing with a toy! That HAS to be a sign that he likes it! The footrest is small but perfectly formed – there is enough width and depth for little feet. The footrest is made from wipe clean material. Master BB has plenty of leg length from the knee to the footrest. All round the seat is well proportioned.
The Armadillo City is suitable from birth because the seat lies flat. Unlike the bigger Armadillo, there is no lift up calf rest. This may be a consideration when choosing between the two pushchairs.
The seat reclines via a toggle system. However, the toggle is linked to a lever which allows the seat to recline into any position. A smart touch! The seat needs to be pulled back upright using the two straps at the rear of the seat. The ends are covered in rubber and I like how the two ends can be clipped together to make them look neat. It does take a bit of pulling to get the seat upright again, but it is not a problem.
The harness has been easy to use. It has been easy to adjust both the height of the harness, and also the length of it. What we particularly liked is that the harness clicks into storage recesses at the rear of the pushchair. However the harness does not just need to click into the recess which the harness protrudes from, but it can be clicked into the recess above or below. This gives extra adjustability. The baby is 7 months old, and we really needed to readjust his harness to be smaller. However it was only after we had taken the photos that we realised that we could have used the recess spaces to pull it tighter.
The buckle is the same as the other new Mamas & Papas pushchairs. Thankfully our buckle has maintained three parts when we have been using it. We had issues with the first Armadillo which we tried because all five parts of the harness kept pinging open. We aren’t keen on the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ buckle. Once you have passed that logic test, we think that the buckle is really a bit too big and chunky to manoeuvre into the socket – it could do with being half the size. Having it so large makes it awkward to use, and you have to tilt all of it it towards the child’s tummy to get it into the socket and then press it in REALLY hard! On the positive side, the harness feels secure – you have confidence it in. The buckle is hard to open.
Hood, Raincover and Basket
As stated, the hood sits lower on the Armadillo City than on the Armadillo. However, there is no requirement really for the hood to be very tall, as long as the child fits underneath. The hood is a good size with two panels. There is no sun visor on the front of the Armadillo City hood but there is a useful peekaboo window and a toy loop. The fabric is thick – UPF 50+ and we suspect is water resistant. A raincover is included with the pushchair.
We love the way that Mamas and Papas have added a coloured hood, but then have followed through their choice of colour by colour coding other parts of the pushchair. The chassis above the rear wheel, and the rear and underside of the black seat are colour coded. The black harness is edged with colour and the crotch pad is also colour coded. There are no harness pads.
The basket is perfectly formed! It is a good size with high elasticated sides through which even my medium sized handbag would fit.
Wheels, Brake, Handlebar and Handling
The Armadillo City stroller is called “City” for a reason. This neat, narrow pushchair is perfect for zipping about town with. Thus it has small wheels. The wheels are rubberized which gives a lovely smooth push. We had no problem steering the Armadillo City one handed. The push is a little on the heavy side – we have pushchairs here at BBHQ which are bigger but lighter to push. However, this should not put anyone off, because if we hadn’t been trying other pushchairs, we would have used the Armadillo quite happily not knowing any difference! It is still relatively easy to push.
The front wheels are also lockable, swivel wheels, which could be useful when at the park. There is all round suspension.
The handlebar has the fold button and mechanism in the centre. Either side is dense foam which is comfortable to hold. The handlebar is a fixed height but it is just the perfect height for me at 5ft 6ins. It certainly is not a low handlebar, but Little Miss BB was having no problem whizzing the Armadillo City around the Direct2Mum shop’s test track.
There is a tether strap hanging off the handlebar which is useful for extra reassurance especially in hilly places.
There is a rear footbrake by the right hand back wheel. This clicks nicely on and off decisively.
Fold / Unfold
The fold is similar to the Graco pushchair folds. Simply slide the button (matching yellow on our pushchair) on the handlebar to the right, and then unusually you rotate the ‘barrel’ of the handlebar downwards (rather than forwards) whilst at the same time pushing the handlebar over the front of the Armadillo City and down to the floor. The top half of the pushchair is now folded. It takes a quick pull on the handlebar behind the seat to make the wheels slide together. It is bliss to have a pushchair which does not need to drop to the floor to fold. There is an autolock which we engage by squeezing the chassis together, whilst the pushchair is leaning against our legs. The folded pushchair can then be easily carried using the carry handle.
Unfolding can be a little more tricky. Simply undo the fold lock. Then the wheels should slide forwards into an open position, as you pull the handle upwards. The chassis clicks into an open position. If you are unlucky, the wheels may catch, leaving you with the wheels locked and the top half open. The wheels just need straightening out to fix it.
The Armadillo City will freestand once folded which is very neat. There are ‘stoppers’ on the handlebar, and also underneath the chassis to prevent damage – a small detail which shows thought.
Whilst the fold and unfold is very fast – Mamas and Papas state in their catalogue that it takes just 3 seconds to fold – we would like to refute their claim that the fold is “….twice as fast as any other lightweight stroller out there.” We absolutely know that there are lightweight stroller pushchairs which are just as quick to fold, (Most umbrella fold pushchairs, the Graco Evo Mini, the Babyzen YoYo, the Recaro Easylife, are just as fast to start the list off). Other pushchairs such as the Joie Litetrax and probably the Britax B-Agile are certainly much faster than the Armadillo City to fold.
We love the Mamas & Papas Armadillo City. First of all we love the styling – the Armadillo City is eye catching, stylish and smart. The narrowness and overall neatness is refreshing to find. It has been lovely to use and nip about town with. We love the fabrics, the rubberised wheels, the large hood, fold and more. The designers have put a lot of thought into this pushchair and the Armadillo City is really excellent. A calf rest would have been useful for babies, but if this is important, then there is the choice of the bigger Armadillo. For a small, neat city pushchair, we have no hesitation in giving the Mamas & Papas Armadillo City, a Best Buggy 5 gold star award.
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