At The Ivy with Silver Cross – new 2013 Wayfarer and Simplicity car seat review

My mum and I were having a bit of an argument debate the other day about pushchairs.silvercross2 

She insists that the Silver Cross pram she and my Dad pushed my sister and I around in back in the early 80’s was great because it had ‘fantastic suspension’ and ‘they don’t make those new-fangled contraptions you get these days’ with nearly as much of a smooth ride for little ones (and other similar mutterings like ‘hideous’ and ‘modern monstrosities’ were also liberally sprinkled throughout the conversation).

Happily, having been invited to the Ivy today to have a look at Silver Cross’s new Wayfarer and Simplicity car seat, I got the chance to put her views to the test…
…and I’m sorry Mum, but they’ve proved you wrong!
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The 2013 Wayfarer has managed to retain all the great features of the original 80’s model (large shopping basket, signature rectangular shaped chassis, secondary footrest and ease of use as a travel system) whilst also including lots of brilliant little features that really make it a great option as a pushchair for 21st century life.

It may not have the giant sprung wheels of the traditional Silver Cross prams, but the solid EVA in-line wheels still manage to have some pretty impressive heavy duty suspension which looks like it can deal with a bumpy kerb or two easily.

wayfarerThe large, colourful, showerproof hood can be adjusted smoothly and silently to give really good coverage from the elements – a big bonus if like me you always manage to forget your raincover when nipping out to the shops (you do get a raincover included with the Wayfarer, in any case). As part of one of the seven choices of colour pack which also includes a matching apron, both hood and apron are easily clipped on and off the pushchair – no fiddly zips to contend with, a feature that I really like. This means that interchanging colour packs is quick and easy, should you decide you’d like more than one look for the pushchair. I really like the fact that the apron has magnets which hold the top part down over the gate fold bumper bar too – flappy footmuff tops are a big pet peeve of mine, as well as being very annoying for Bubby D as well! And for the summer, when aprons are a no-go, there are reversible neoprene seat liners available to give your little one a comfortable (and seat-stain-saving) ride.

Compared to the sturdy metal pushchairs of the 80’s, the 2013 Wayfarer has managed to pack in lots of extra features without lots of extra weight. The chassis is only 6.5kg (9kg with seat unit attached) – I found it no problem to lift and can imagine it would be very easy to get in and out of the car. It also folds down reasonably small, in terms of length and depth – and I was reliably assured that it could fit in a Toyota Yaris (oh, I miss my Yaris sometimes…even if it did have a very small boot) with no difficulty at all.pushing wayfarer

It’s got an extending comfortable leatherette handle which means the Other Half at 6’5’’ should have no problems pushing it (and I reckon the Wee Man, at just over 3’ could also probably have a good go at pushing it, which he most likely would want to!), and the memory buttons on the seat unit, carrycot and Simplicity Car Seat mean that it is easy to switch pushchair mode from rear to forward facing, or attach the carrycot or car seat to the chassis. The brake is located on the right hand side (I do prefer a brake system which can be accessed either side if I’m honest – makes life a lot easier on public transport) but it is great in the respect that to release the brake you also press down rather than having to use upward pressure, something I can imagine would come in really handy in the sandal wearing summer days – assuming we get any… : looks hopeful :

The seat unit has a three position one-handed recline that’s very easy and smooth to operate. The swivel wheels are lockable, using a foot controlled button. The hood and apron even have little metal loops that toys can be attached to – simple little extras that from my experience I imagine really make a difference for real life use.

The carrycot has a breathable mattress and a bamboo fibre outer which retains heat in winter and stays cool in summer – and the carrycot uses the same hood and apron as the seat unit, meaning you don’t have to splash out on additional bits that ramp up the cost.

silver cross ceoAnd of course, I can’t forget the Simplicity Car Seat, which is available in four different colours and can be used with or without an isofix base. We’ve tried a couple of different from birth car seats with the Wee Man and Bubby D, and they’ve all had their issues. One was tricky to get the seatbelt around and only lasted six months before it was outgrown, and another had a three point harness which I’m not too keen on as it’s quite easy for a determined wriggler to get their arms out of it. But I have to say I am very 2013-03-19 09.27.01impressed with the Simplicity seat – it’s incredibly roomy, something that was demonstrated by my friend Rocknrollerbaby’s little boy Jimmy, who at 10 months still looked very comfortable. It’s also got a five point harness – and the harness and headrest are both easily adjusted even whilst the baby is in the seat using a panel accessed from the back. I had a go at installing it using the seatbelt and using the isofix base, and both (as demonstrated by Silver Cross CEO Nick Paxton) were very, very simple to do. Hence the name! I was a bit concerned that the roominess of the seat might mean that it’s harder to get a seatbelt round, but it turns out that the seat is constructed from a special shock absorbent material called EPP which is much more efficient than the usual polystyrene. That means you need less of it, so the outer shell has stayed the same dimensions and actually uses less seat belt length than the leading competitor, whilst still having the much larger internal seat size. And the cover, hood and apron are all easily removable, washable, and reattachable – which, if you have a banana smearing baby like Bubby D is a very definite requirement!

The car seat clips to the chassis with the included adaptors, and Silver Cross are also releasing adaptors for Britax and Maxi-Cosi seats, making it a much more versatile travel system should you happen to own a car seat already.

At £495 in total for the base unit of chassis, carrycot and seat unit (£395) and the hood and apron pack (£100) it’s by no means the cheapest pushchair on the market. But of course, in terms of versatile, well designed, comfortable and modern travel systems it’s extremely reasonably priced. The car seat is an extra £130, a raincover for the car seat is £15, and the reversible seat liner is £25.

wayfarer extrasIn terms of added extras, there is a great changing bag available in black or black and red (£40), which is manly enough that the Other Half would use it, and also un-changingbag-ey enough that you could use it for years after the pushchair had had its use without anyone realising it was once full of nappies and wipes. It has two little straps that can be used to clip it to the handle, along with a nice comfortable shoulder strap too. Additionally, there is a cup holder which clips easily on to the frame – it sits on the outside so I’d be wary of using it in busy urban areas as it’d probably be easily knocked, but had I had such a thing for things like Buggy Fit, where there are less people pushing past I can imagine it would really have come in handy. And although I didn’t see it, I’m told you can get a parasol too. A comprehensive pushchair package that covers all the bases.

Can you tell I think it’s really a very nice pushchair?

So, sorry mum, not only does it have great suspension (I’ll let you have ‘new fangled’, although really that’s a good thing!) but it really does prove that not all modern contraptions are ‘hideous’ or ‘a monstrosity’ at all…

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