Having sold the pushchair we’d bought when L was born, we had a decision to make when it came to getting a new set of wheels for ‘Beetle’. I’d done a bit of research into travel systems and one that jumped out at me was the new (well, 2017 new) Maxi-Cosi Nova – mainly because it had some kind of awesome self-fold mechanism.
With the thought deeply ingrained in my mind that I’d have my very own Transformer, I was chuffed when the good folks over at Maxi-Cosi agreed to provide us with a Maxi-Cosi Nova pushchair and Oria carrycot in exchange for a review.
Since then, we’ve used the Nova for around five months. This has mainly been with the Oria carrycot, but we’ve also attached our Maxi-Cosi Pebble car seat too. We haven’t yet got to the stage of using the pushchair seat with the Nova as our son isn’t yet six months old, but we did try it out with our 3.5 year old daughter to get a feel for what it’d be like in pushchair mode. As such, this review touches on the Nova in both pram and pushchair modes.
Below you’ll find my review of the Maxi-Cosi Nova Pushchair (4 wheel version) and the Oria Carrycot:
The products are described as:
Enjoy the great outdoors with your baby and turn every future step into an adventure with the Maxi-Cosi Nova pushchair. Press Nova’s pedal with your foot and watch it fold automatically in seconds. In just 2 clicks, add a Maxi-Cosi carrycot and baby car seat to transform the new Nova into a 3-in-1 full mobility solution, suitable from birth to 3.5 years. The new 3-in-1 Nova pushchair is perfect for you if:
- You’re looking for the smartest, most comfortable all-terrain 4-wheel pushchair.
- You live in the suburbs, the mountains or the countryside and you want to use a pushchair on all surfaces.
- You love the feeling of moving smoothly, safely and in style in any environment.
- With the new Nova, you’ll enjoy the most intuitive all-terrain pushchair with best-in-class comfort for baby.
- Baby will discover the wonder of the outdoors with the Nova, thanks to its smart, hands-free folding, ergonomic protective inlay, all-terrain shock absorbing wheels and puncture-proof tyres.
Your baby’s sleep is precious, so give them the comfort they need when you travel with the Maxi-Cosi Oria carrycot. Wide and spacious with an ergonomic mattress, this comfortable carrycot is perfect for peaceful naps. No need to wake your baby when you’re out and about as the 2-click system allows you to attach this light carrycot to the pushchair frame smoothly and easily. Whatever the weather, baby will be protected from the elements by the boot cover and extendable canopy.
The Maxi-Cosi Nova arrived in a large box, with the Oria carrycot in another as these are purchased separately. Once I’d got all of the bits out, it was clear that some assembly needed to take place. In total, it took around 15 minute to get the Nova setup, much of which was trying to take off the protective wrapping!
The Nova box consisted of the stroller frame, seat unit with cover, canopy, shopping basket, set of front and rear wheels, parasol clip, rain cover and car seat adaptors…
…whilst the Oria included the carrycot, ergonomic mattress, boot cover, sun shade, rain cover and mosquito net.
Once everything was nicely laid out, I could get the Maxi-Cosi Nova pushchair frame ready. This involved clicking in the two front wheels which are attached to each other, pushing on the two back wheels and attaching the basket. I also set up the pushchair seat, namely fitting the comfy padded inlay and safety bar. The Maxi-Cosi Oria carrycot was next and simply involved pushing down and connecting a couple of metal bars to give the carrycot shape and strength, putting in the mattress the correct way and zipping on the boot cover.
This was my first proper view of the assembled pushchair – it looked fantastic. It was very chunky, luxurious, well made and I really liked the stylish ‘Nomad’ design – light grey with even lighter flecks, with a touch of brown detailing. Something else I noticed was that the carrycot mattress and pushchair inlay were so soft and padded – I was a little jealous that our little lad would get to lie in them and not me!
The carrycot is for newborns up to six months old, at which point you can switch to pushchair mode by swapping the carrycot for the pushchair seat. You can also use a compatible car seat too, which makes this a useful and flexible travel system as you have a number of different options depending on your preference. We’ve tried it with all three options.
Fitting either of these three is simply a matter of having the pushchair frame open, lining up the slots on the frame with the inserts on the seat / carrycot / car seat, then pushing into place with an audible click. To remove, you press the button on either side of the frame, then lift off the seat / carrycot. This whole process takes very little effort or brute force.
Whether it’s with the pushchair seat, carrycot or car seat, the actual frame functions in exactly the same way. You have the luxurious feeling leather handlebars, which can be moved into three different positions using two buttons on either side. There’s also a shopping basket underneath where you can store things, although to be honest, it’s not particularly that big and is more of a shelf.
There’s also the huge wheels – two large to the back and two smaller on the front. The front two can be locked in place so that the pushchair goes straight, or alternatively unlocked which allows them to manoeuvre in a full circle. Finally, there’s the break – you press the red pedal on the right hand side with your foot to put the breaks on, then press the white pedal on the left hand side to release the break.
This brings me to the Maxi-Cosi Nova’s very cool USP – the hands-free, self-folding mechanism. This allows you to collapse the pushchair frame without using any hands – although you do need a foot. Located between the two rear wheels, you lift up the black safety catch with the top of your foot, then press down on the grey lever with the same foot to initiate the fold. Like some kind of robot ballerina, you then watch in wonder as the chassis gracefully lowers to the floor and the handlebars fold down on their own from their upright position. This takes a few seconds.
You can then go one step further by tucking the rear wheels in manually – this is achieved by holding the grey button (above where your foot was) with your hand, then physically pushing the wheels forward and in with your other hand. This reduces the width of the pushchair by a couple of inches and makes it that bit more compact. However, it still has a large footprint even like this.
Although this self-fold is undoubtedly cool, there are a few things to note. The Nova will only fold either (a) with the pushchair seat attached, fully upright and facing forwards, or (b) when nothing is attached to the chassis. If the pushchair is reclined, the pushchair is facing backwards or if the Oria carrycot is attached, then it doesn’t recline properly. Practically, this creates a bit of faff, e.g. having to remove the carrycot or turn the pushchair seat the right way around.
In addition, even when folded and the wheels are tucked in, the Maxi-Cosi Nova is large. It’s definitely the biggest pushchair we’ve tried, which does mean it has limitations. For example, a larger footprint means it takes up more space when not being used – something to consider if your pushchair is kept in the house. Similarly, due to its size, it can make transporting it in the car a bit of a challenge.
To give an idea of size, this is the fully-folded Maxi-Cosi Nova frame and Oria carrycot in a VW Passat Estate (first photo) and VW Golf (second photo). There’s no getting around it – it’s a pretty big bit of kit which takes up most of the boot space. The Passat’s boot – which is very large – can handle both components of the pram and leaves a bit of space for other things, whereas in the Golf, only the chassis fits. This means that you’d have to either take off the parcel shelf and stack the carrycot on top, or put the carrycot onto the rear seats.
We’ve been using the Maxi-Cosi Nova – with Oria carrycot – for the last five-ish months with our little lad. Before he was born, we also gave it a quick whirl as a pushchair with our then nearly 3.5 year old daughter so that we could say that we’d tried it. In both modes, the Nova has been an absolute pleasure to use. It’s easy to manoeuvre, comfortable to push and tackles any terrain with ease.
This is likely to be down to the wheels and suspension. The tyres are huge, filled with foam so that they won’t puncture, are made from a high-quality foam rubber and are shock absorbent. Coupled with the sporty suspension, it feels like you’re talking more about a car than a pushchair! Either way, this means that the ride is smooth whether you’re on concrete, gravel, grass or bumpy surfaces like in our local woods.
Carrycot (Birth To 6 Months)
The Oria Carrycot is designed for your newborn up to the point that they can hold their head up – roughly six months old. This is where the majority of our experience with the Maxi-Cosi Nova lies as we’ve used this with our son since he was born. As mentioned earlier, fitting the Oria to the Nova is just a matter of lining the frame slots with the carrycot inserts, then putting the Oria down onto the frame.
As a carrycot, we’ve had no issues with the Oria and have been impressed with just how comfortable it is. We’ve found the inside of the Oria to be wide and spacious, plus have been hugely impressed with the ergonomic mattress – it’s so comfortable to touch that it’s no wonder our son has enjoyed sleeping in it!
Once your baby is inside, you’re able to ensure that they’re protected from the elements. This includes the hood which lifts above the baby to form a canopy, as well as the zippable boot cover which can also attach to the hood. This provides great protection from the wind and sun, with the separate raincover doing a good job if it’s spitting. There’s also a zip around the back of the hood which can be opened for ventilation or to check on your little one.
Pushchair (6 Months+)
Prior to our baby being born, we decided to try out the pushchair with our nearly 3.5 year old daughter. She was definitely on the upper limit, but at least it meant we were able to give it a coupe of outings as a pushchair as we knew that most of our experience would be as a pram.
The pushchair seat can either be forward-facing or rear-facing – it just depends which way you want to clip it onto the pushchair. Again, you simply align the slots on the frame with the inserts of the seat and click in either side. To remove the seat, press the two buttons either side and lift out.
The pushchair seat features multi-position recline, meaning that it can go from upright to an almost flat position by pulling a grey tab on the back of the seat. It’s also possible to move the bottom of the seat independently so that it’s either in a horizontal or vertical position – this is achieved by pressing in the buttons on either side part way up the seat.
There’s also a large hood which can be pulled over your child – impressively, you can undo a zip on top of the hood which actually makes the hood even larger to protect from the sun and provide shade. Something else I also liked was the safety bar – on previous pushchairs, we’ve had to remove this when putting the child in and out, however with this, you only need to take out one side as the bar rotates.
The pushchair features a five-point harness, meaning that your little one is secured around the shoulders and waist. You pop their arms through the straps, then bring the two buckle ends together prior to clicking into the buckle between the legs. To release, simply press the button on the buckle.
The Maxi-Cosi Nova can also grow with your child – there are three different settings which you can select when it comes to shoulder straps. This is simply a matter of choosing the right press studs for your kid and then connecting them.
The pushchair states that it can be used up to 3.5 years old – I’m not sure I’d agree with this. Our daughter has always been on the small side, but seemed huge in this – for instance. her head was touching the top of the hood. In addition, I was a little worried that the handlebars were going to bend and break when I exerted pressure down in order to lift the front wheels up when tackling curbs. I’d therefore say 3.5 years old is generous as the upper limit.
The Maxi-Cosi Nova 4-wheel pushchair costs around £475 (although I’ve seen it available for as low as £400) whilst the Maxi-Cosi Oria carrycot comes in around £165. If you wanted both, it might be best to go down the bundle route which I’ve seen a few places offer – for around £550, you’d get both of these along with a Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix car seat.
Although this is a reasonable chunk of money, I actually don’t think it’s too bad. Considering that a travel system can set you back anywhere between £200 – £1,100+, this fits nicely somewhere in the middle of that range.
The Maxi-Cosi Nova and Oria carrycot have definitely impressed me during the last five or so months of use. It is a very nice pushchair to be in charge of – it’s easy to use, a dream to manoeuvre and push, plus it handles different terrains expertly. It’s also sturdy, well built, stylish, comfortable for baby and definitely looks the part – particularly with the grey and brown in the ‘Nomad’ print. The same goes for the Oria carrycot – it works with the Nova perfectly and provides a very comfy and protected place for your little one.
The self-fold on the Maxi-Cosi Nova is also a very cool party trick. Being able to fold the pushchair with just your foot is undoubtedly unique, although this is definitely a nice to have rather than a necessity in my view. You’ll also discover that this isn’t a small pushchair. Even when folded and with the wheels pushed in, it has a large footprint that probably means it is not a viable option for families with limited space or those with small / medium cars.
Ultimately, pushchairs are quite a subjective thing and everyone has different opinions based on their needs. I think this is a fantastic product and I’m happy to sing its praises, however, for us, it’s probably a bit too bulky and all-terrain for our needs. That’s not to say though that this wouldn’t be a great option for you if you were looking for that type of thing.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4 out of 5 stars
Disclosure: The Nova pushchair and Oria carrycot was sent to me by Maxi-Cosi with the purpose of writing an honest review in exchange for the products.
Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link(s).