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Silver Cross Pioneer Review by Best Buggy

The Silver Cross Pioneer looks identical at first glance to the Silver Cross Wayfarer, and indeed it is difficult to see why the Pioneer costs £100 more. It seems appropriate therefore that we start this review by doing a quick overview of the Wayfarer and the changes over the last year, before reviewing the Pioneer.

Silver Cross Wayfarer v’s the Pioneer

We reviewed the Silver Cross Wayfarer late in 2013. We really loved the quality and attention to detail on the Wayfarer. However, it was let down by the poor handling and hard suspension. The Pioneer was released, and the understanding was that most of the niggles with the Wayfarer had been resolved in this newer pushchair. However, at first glance the only visible differences are the chunky wheels and bigger basket, and indeed when we phoned Silver Cross up to ask them what the differences were, these were all they could tell us. However, having used both pushchairs, there is a VAST difference in handling, steering, suspension and manoeverability, thus there had to be more to the changes. It took an additional phone call to a local retailer to find out that there have been (as we expected) some changes to the chassis especially along the back axle, wheel housing, bearings and other components (although why Silver Cross couldn’t have just been honest with us on the phone, we don’t know!). The Wayfarer has 4 wheel independent suspension, as does the Pioneer. However, there is no comparison between the two pushchairs, thus we believe there have been changes to the suspension too. The retailer did say they have an old and new Wayfarer on display and there are definite differences to the handling of both, so they believe there have been rolling changes done to the Wayfarer to improve it. The Pioneer seat has an adjustable footrest and two height settings for the hood. More recently Silver Cross has given the Wayfarer, the same seat and carrycot as the Pioneer.

First Impressions

The Silver Cross Pioneer looks and feels like a good quality pushchair from the minute the box is opened. There are two boxes: the first contains the pushchair, carrycot, cupholder, Simplicity car seat adaptors and raincover. The fabrics are all black. The second smaller box holds the hood and the carrycot / pushchair apron to give a splash of one of eight colours. The Pioneer is beautifully presented – everything about it exudes quality, style and sophistication. The mirror chassis is elegant and there is a black chassis option with some colourways. The fabrics are strong and sturdy. The attention to detail on the zip pulls, hood, chassis and handlebar are all fantastic. The seat unit can be parent or forward facing. The carrycot and pushchair seat are completely separate components. The hood and apron transfers between the two parts, but it would be possible to buy two hood and apron packs for example if the chassis was being used alternately for a baby and toddler, and it is easy to update the look of your pushchair for a new baby or simply a change.

Child Comfort

The seat is smart with quality black fabric and good padding. There is lovely attention to detail in the stitching and details. The seat is suitable from 6 months of age and is a bucket seat. The seat is reversible and thus can forward or reverse face. The seat clicks beautifully into position on the chassis – so easily and neatly. It lifts off by using a lift up ‘wing’ on either side. The seat removal / fitting is one of the best we have seen on any pushchair.

The seat reclines easily and effortlessly using a lever on the rear of the seat. The seat slides easily through 3 recline positions from upright to lie flat. It has been no problem to push Master BB up from a reclined position to upright. He was very comfortable when reclined.

There is an adjustable calf rest on the Pioneer, which is a positive change from the Wayfarer that we saw last year. This means that the calf rest now moves well out of the way of Master BB’s legs, and allows him to now put his feet squarely onto the bigger rectangular footrest – he was unable to do this on the Wayfarer. When parent facing an older child can rest their feet on the back edge of the basket, whilst the calf rest will offer a younger child good leg support.

If you need a pushchair for a larger child, you will be pleased to hear that the Pioneer is safety certified up to a massive 25kgs!

Harness and Bumper Bar

The Silver Cross Pioneer has 3 harness height settings. It easy to adjust the straps from the rear when a change of shoulder height was required. The harness length is simple to adjust from the front. The shoulder straps simply slide into the waist straps which is a little annoying as they do slide off really easily. The fabric of the straps, scrunches up after a bit which makes it harder to slide them on. However one side of the harness can be inserted into the buckle at a time, which makes it easier to control a wriggly child and get the parts in position if they have slid off. There are no shoulder or crotch pads on the harness, but to be honest, we have not missed them. We have liked the wide crotch strap which held Master BB in tight, however, we do not like the loose waist straps. We have concern about how secure a young baby is.

There is a leatherette bumper bar included with the pushchair. This is stamped with the Silver Cross logo and is a lovely finishing touch to the whole pushchair. It gives it a luxury feel. The bumper bar swings away to allow the child in and out. There is an easy to find release button on either side, and the bumper bar drops back into place very easily. Lovely!

Hood and Apron

Silvercross supply the pushchair without a hood or apron, so this is an additional cost £100. I know this has caught a number of parents-to-be unaware and is an additional cost to budget for. For this you receive the framed hood and a footmuff which splits and forms the carrycot apron.  The footmuff / apron is really thick and good quality. It absolutely makes the pushchair feel luxurious. We love the stitching; the leatherette and metal loops (although not well placed for toys if that is what their intention is!) and the silver lining. The hood has a UPF 50+. There is no peekaboo window.

The rear of the hood has a small flap covering a hole. This flap can be hooked over the recline lever in seat mode, or now can be closed off when in carrycot mode (a good change from the previous Wayfarer colour pack which left a hole above the baby’s head!). There are also TWO hood settings which was superb for Master BB. He has acres of room above his head, even at his age (rising 5) 102cms tall, which combined with the huge 25kgs weight limit, makes the Pioneer a superb choice for a bigger child, or one who may need a pushchair longer than most. The only downsides to using the upper height setting were that the hood didn’t quite sit properly over the recline lever hole and consequently hung down behind the seat which looked messy (see photos); but the biggest issue was that the pushchair rested on the front hood rib when folded which rapidly led to the front of the hood becoming very scratched. This was a big disappointment on something which looks so beautiful. There is a small visor on the front of the hood, which is never in the child’s way and always looks smart. We didn’t find any of the problems pulling the hood as we did with the Wayfarer.

The apron can be used on the pushchair as a footmuff. We would advise using a blanket underneath to add warmth. However, the apron will keep the wind out in winter, and offer protection from the sun in spring. We love the magnets which hold the apron neatly in place over the bumper bar. Once again, we have to mention the zip pull which is a beautiful small detail but finishes the pushchair off perfectly as a luxury product.

Carrycot and Car Seat

The Silver Cross Pioneer carrycot is one of the best we have seen. The sides are thickly padded in a soft cream bamboo material. It is roomy for a baby and very comfortable. The carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping. The carrycot lifts on and off easily using the two side ‘wings’ and the handlebar to carry it.

The carrycot needs constructing from the frame of the pushchair seat. It arrives flat, and requires two bars pulling up from the base to form the shell. I had no problem doing these (unlike the Wayfarer). These also mean that the carrycot can be folded flat again for storage or travelling. The inner liner zipped in easily this time, and it took just a minute to add the carrycot hood (the same as the pushchair one) and to pop the apron on. The apron now simply slips on over the edge of the shell, and does not need to be zipped on (hurrah!) The magnets hold the apron in position over the bumper bar / carrying handle, which looks very neat, but we recommend moving the apron fabric before carrying the carrycot, to ensure a good grip on the handle. As mentioned the hood now has a flap to give a solid hood (no hole at the rear) which is a positive change.

We do not have a car seat here at BBHQ but the Silver Cross Simplicity car seat attaches to the chassis. There are also Maxi-Cosi adaptors to fit the Pebble or Cabriofix as a travel system.

Storage and Raincover

The Silver Cross Pioneer has one of the biggest, best and most accessible baskets of any pushchair. It is fantastic!!! So simple, and so perfectly formed. We believe that the basket is deeper than the Wayfarer one, and we could pack a huge quantity of luggage into the basket. Amazing! Access is a little restricted in carrycot mode, which our baby tester wasn’t happy about, however, most baskets are restricted in pram mode.

The Pioneer comes with a raincover which has its own storage pouch. Silver Cross include a cup holder for cold drinks in the box.

Handlebar, Suspension, Wheels, Handling and Brake

Unlike the Wayfarer review, this is where we keep singing the praises of the Silver Cross Pioneer. The handling, even with a heavy child on board has been superb. It has been very easy to push and steer, with good suspension. The rugged all terrain tyres mean that the Pioneer is better across a variety of more challenging surfaces than the Wayfarer. The front wheels are lockable or swivel. We enjoyed taking the Pioneer out across rough surfaces, grass or on smooth shopping malls. It has been an absolute joy and a pleasure to use.

The beautifully finished leatherette handlebar has the shiny metal section in the centre which is embossed with the Silver Cross logo. There are 4 handlebar positions which gives a good range. Simply press the button underneath the metal section of the handlebar, and it extends up and down.

The brake is a step on and step off one. To apply press the red button near the rear right hand wheel. To release stand on the tiny green button. This button could have been larger for bigger feet as it is tricky to locate quickly. However, it works fine once you find it!

Fold

The fold on the Pioneer is simple. Simply press in the black button on the top right hand side of the chassis to release the lock. Place one finger into each loop on the side supports and slide these upwards until the chassis bends at the ‘knees’ and folds down to the floor and autolocks. The seat can be left in situ when forward facing but needs removing or turning round if the pushchair has been used with a parent facing seat. The fold is on the long side, and it is a must to try the pushchair in your car boot before purchase. However bending the footrest, and removing the seat will achieve a neater fold. The chassis will freestand when folded with the hood on the maximum. As stated previously, be aware that the hood rim may get damaged. However, Silver Cross have thoughtfully put a rubber stopper on the handlebar to prevent the metal from becoming damaged. The Pioneer is easy to lift and carry.

Unfolding is simple. Simply undo the fold latch, pull the chassis upwards and flick open until the chassis clicks into the open position. The Pioneer is really simple and intuitive to use.

In Conclusion

The Silver Cross Pioneer is one of the very best pushchairs currently on the market. This pushchair is a fabulous all round, practical stroller with a huge seat, good leg length, huge basket, comfortable carrycot and is superb to push and manoeuvre. The handling is vastly superior to the Wayfarer that we reviewed last year.  The Pioneer is absolutely amazing to use. It handles beautifully. It steers brilliantly even one handed, and we have had no issues getting the Pioneer up and down kerbs, even with our heavy 4 and a half year old in the seat. We LOVE the level of luxury and attention to detail on the Pioneer, however at an affordable price – especially considering that the carrycot, pushchair, raincover, cupholder and car seat adaptors are all included in the main box. The huge basket is superb. Yes, there are a few minor niggles such as the harness and no peekaboo window, but these are tiny in the scheme of things. We love how even our tiny baby tester, as well as our 4 year old Master BB were very comfortable.
The Silver Cross Pioneer is absolutely one of the best pushchairs we have ever had here at BBHQ and we would highly recommend it. We have no hesitation in giving the Silver Cross Pioneer a Best Buggy 5 gold star rating.

 

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