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Recaro Citylife Review by Best Buggy

First Impressions

The Recaro Citylife is a smart, neat pushchair with small all terrain wheels. It is these wheels which really set the Citylife apart from its competitors because they offer a smooth, puncture free ride  The Citylife is suitable from 6 months old to a huge 17.5kg which give plenty of room for growth. There is a carrycot available for a newborn; and there is the option to add on an infant carrier to form a travel system.

Child Comfort, Harness and Bumper Bar

The Citylife is a forward facing pushchair with a padded seat and an extra thick padded head rest area. The seat is tall at 48cm high, and has a large upper weight limit of 17.5kg. This is a pushchair which should comfortably take a child from 6 months to 4 years old, and maybe even beyond, if necessary. Both our baby, and our bigger tester have been comfortable in the seat.
The seat fabrics feel like thick cotton and feel hard wearing. Although the fabrics are good, the Recaro name is synonymous with good quality and to be honest we expected them to feel more luxurious. The footrest has a large easy wipe clean area.

There is an adjustable 5 point harness, however there is only one fixed shoulder height setting, which is a huge flaw with the design of any modern pushchair because a 6 month old baby has a completely different shoulder height to a 3 year old. The shoulder harness and waist straps are adjustable, so we would recommend taking extra care to tighten the harness correctly at these points. The harness will split into 5 parts, however, this is not easy to do, which is great, as it won’t fall apart in your hands. The buckle is easy to do, can be undone with one firm push. Both sides go into the buckle independently, but get released at the same time. There are two thick shoulder pads with the Recaro name down each one.

The seat reclines using a toggle recline. This is accessed at the rear of the seat. There is a chunky plastic ‘box’ with a button on one side. The button needs pressing in to release the webbing, and then pull down to recline. Simply pull the two webbing straps apart to pull the seat up. This is simpler than most toggle reclines we have seen. The seat may still require a push up with a shoulder though. When the seat is reclined, the rear of the seat is open to the elements. There is a thin fabric cover which is held on by one small piece of velcro at the rear, or can be rolled up and held by a toggle fastening. We would have preferred to see something a little more robust covering the seat back, especially for winter or windy days, and given the poor harness adjustment.
There is an adjustable calf rest to support little legs. There are 5 leg positions. These are accessed by pressing in a button on each side of the footrest, and rotating the footrest up or down.

There is a removable bumper bar which is gate opening. There is an obvious button on each side to release. A gate opening bumper is very useful to let a toddler in and out of the seat. However, we have found it tricky to see the socket to slide the bumper bar back into at each side because the fitting is flat, and the elasticated sides obscure the view of where it fits. This should get easier with practice, and as the elastic stretches.

Hood, Raincover, and Storage

The Recaro Citylife has a large 3 fold hood with an additional flick out visor. The hood fabric has a UPF50+ rating. The rear fabric feels a little thin and floppy, however the solid front rim will keep the fabric taut. There is a peekaboo mesh window in the rear of the hood which is held in place by magnets. Great for silently peeking on your sleeping little one.

Recaro kindly include a raincover in the box. We like the easy zipped access to the child from the front. The raincover comes in a pouch of its own with a hanging strap, so that it can be hooked onto a rivet on the side of the pushchair. This leaves space in the huge basket for lots of ‘stuff’ We love the basket… is one of the largest we have seen on a pushchair of this size and is a big selling point. It can carry a large amount of goods, and there is plenty of clearance under the seat to be able to get a large changing bag easily into the basket. This is a great shopping pushchair! We like that the basket fabric can be removed and washed – useful if you have been trying out those off road wheels in the mud! The seat fabrics all come off for washing too. They simply unpop from the chassis.

Recaro include a fabric cupholder with their pushchair. This metal hook simply clips into a hole on either side of the handlebar. It is a handy extra accessory to have.

Handlebars, Handling, Wheels and Brake

The handlebar is foam covered. It is a little too squashy for our liking, but others may love this. Unfortunately our handlebar arrived with a nick in it, brand new from the box. We would be concerned because of this, at how easily the handlebar may damage across time.
The handlebar is adjustable. Press in the button on each side of the handlebar and it rotates unto 3 positions. It is a disappointment that it does not fold down to horizontal as this is usually a comfortable position. The squashy handlebar does make one handled pushing a little harder, but all round the Citylife is easy to push and manoeuvre.

The wheels are one of the highlights of this neat pushchair. There is a gap in the market for small pushchairs with more substantial wheels and decent suspension, which can cope with country walks or bumpy pavements, as well as being manoeuverable and responsive for life in the city. These foam filled tyres are puncture resistant. The front wheels can be locked or swivel. The wheels are quick release for a small fold although we recommend you locate the rear wheel release before trying to find it in public! (It is underneath the rear axle and the metal pin needs pulling down to release!).

The brake is located at the rear, right hand side of the pushchair. The brake pedal needs to be pushed right down vertically to engage, which is not the easiest position to get your foot into. To release, press on top of the brake pedal with your foot.

Carrycot and Travel System

The Recaro Citylife has an optional carrycot and can have a Recaro Privia or Young Profi Plus infant carrier added to form a travel system suitable from birth.
The carrycot requires adaptors to be fitted. These adaptors can also be used to fit a Maxi Cosi Pebble, Cybex Aton or Aton Q car seat.

In order to fit the carrycot, the seat fabric needs to be removed. This is simple to do by unpopping the fabric and undoing the velcro tabs. The footrest needs to be pushed down parallel to the chassis. It is a shame that this can not be removed and refitted once the pushchair seat is in use, as it does spoil the line of the chassis a little, especially because this can ride up when unfolding the pushchair. The carrycot adaptors need to be fitted on each side. This is simpler to do than fitting the bumper bar because there is no seat fabric obstructing the view!

The carrycot clicks easily onto the chassis. The carrycot itself is lined and comes with a thick mattress. There is an apron on the carrycot, however, we were not keen on the way the apron is held into place in a ‘sandwich’ of velcro so it takes a minute or so to do up properly – you can’t simply fling the apron on and go. The hood rim forms the carrying handle. This is adjusted using a button on either side of the carrycot. The hood rim has a foam handle in the centre. The downside of this is that the hood needs putting up each time the carrycot needs to be moved.  There carrycot is removed using a lever at the rear and grasping the handle on top with the other hand. We didn’t like the hole created at the base of the carrycot hood where the removal lever is, which would allow cold winds or rain through in winter.
There are feet on the carrycot to keep it clean on the floor.
The carrycot is a good size. Our baby tester was 7 months old and still had plenty of room in it. He slept comfortably.


The fold is easy! On the handlebar slide the grey slider button at the rear of the handlebar with your thumb; then squeeze in the larger button in front of it. This releases the fold, and the pushchair folds in half towards the floor. Pulling the handle in the centre of the seat which is labelled “Carry handle” will help with the fold. The pushchair autolocks fairly easily, but sometimes needs a squash together. If this is required, then be careful of the handlebar on the ground. The Citylife will freestand when folded if the handlebar is straight. This makes it simple to store, but again be careful with the handlebar – it does get dirty easily and may damage. The “carry handle” is how the stroller should be carried, and there is a warning label on the bumper bar to remind you not to use the bumper bar when folding or carrying. The carry handle is adequate, but not the most comfortable to hold.

Unfolding is just as simple: undo the fold lock, and simply pull the handle upwards until the stroller is stood on all 4 wheels, and the chassis has locked into the open position. We that we placed the Citylife down on the floor for our photoset, and the front of the chassis has scratched badly from just one placement on the floor. We have concerns how well the black chassis colour will withstand every day use.

The Citylife fold is neat, and the pushchair will fit into most car boots thanks to the compactness of the fold. As previously mentioned, the wheels can be popped off if necessary to make the fold even more compact.

In Conclusion

The Recaro Citylife is an easy pushchair to live with. It looks great and it pushes well. It is fairly light (10.2kg), easy to fold, has a huge basket and comfortable seat. We love the rugged off road wheels. However, the one height harness is not what we expect on a quality pushchair, because a child of any weight and size needs to be held securely. We would have liked to have seen some more luxurious fabrics, especially given this stroller bears the Recaro name. We also would have liked to have seen a more secure cover over the reclined rear of the seat. We were concerned at how easily both the handlebar and the chassis have been damaged even before we took the pushchair on its first outing.
It is a shame that the Citylife did not have a reversible seat because as a forward facing pushchair it is relatively expensive for what it is. However the Citylife is a very suitable travel system from birth to 17.5kg, and having a 4 wheel all terrain reversible seat pushchair would have been great in the market right now. 
We are awarding the Recaro Citylife a Best Buggy 4 gold star rating because this pushchair has all the elements to make a great pushchair, but it needs more refinement, and attention to detail, to make it perfect.

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