Quinny Zapp Xtra sparkles
Way back when we were first getting started with Magic Beans, Quinny was this European enigma. Their strollers weren’t available in the USA, so we could only ogle the pictures we saw from overseas and wonder if they were as good as they looked. They eventually crossed the pond, and Quinny has been steadily tweaking their designs to appeal to the American consumer.
(This is something many European manufacturers really struggle with when they’re trying to enter the US market. Parents here have different priorities when it comes to strollers — we like our big storage baskets, our cupholders, our big sun canopies and plenty of room for our kids to spread out. In Europe, the cars don’t even have cupholders, much less the strollers. It’s fascinating, but another blog post altogether.)
The Quinny Zapp Xtra is, in my opinion, the best Quinny stroller they’ve released to date, and I’m very excited about it. Like the original Zapp, the Zapp Xtra is very compact, and it’s still a great value. But they’ve made some dramatic changes to the design.
The original Zapp was a very light, 13 lb stroller that folded down into a teeny tiny footprint. The seat didn’t recline at all, and the stroller was really just a more interesting alternative to an umbrella stroller along the lines of a Maclaren Volo.
The Zapp Xtra definitely bears a strong resemblance to the original model, but it has a reversible seat with multiple recline positions. In the forward-facing mode, the seat has three recline positions ranging from upright to fully reclined. In the parent-facing mode, it has two positions, semi-reclined and fully reclined. The improved functionality of the seat, however, makes it impossible to fold the stroller with the seat on, and so the Zapp Xtra offers a modular fold (this is a nice way to say you need to take the seat off before you can fold it). The new seat also adds a considerable amount of weight. The frame itself is still about 13 lbs, but with the seat the stroller weighs in at around 19 lbs.
The frame still folds down very nicely, and stacked on top of the seat, it won’t take up much space in your trunk or closet. The fold mechanism requires a few steps, but none are arduous. The seat can be removed with one hand once you get the hang of the mechanism, and then there are two buttons to collapse the frame. A little pressure from one foot will finish the job, and the folded frame is almost smaller than a breadbox.
The sun canopy is also much improved, with very full coverage and an extension that can tuck neatly away on shadier days. The basket is still on the small side, but when the seat is reversed, the access is not too bad from the front of the stroller. In the forward-facing position, the basket is best accessed from the sides.
The stroller has no defined footrest or foot well, which leaves little legs dangling a bit in the more upright positions, and the handlebars are not adjustable, but those are probably the only downsides apart from the two-piece fold. The weight capacity is 50 lbs and the seat back is tall enough to comfortably hold a preschooler. The steering and handling are good enough for sidewalks and shopping malls, but this stroller is not built for off-roading.
At $299.99, the Zapp Xtra is easily the most affordable option for parents looking for something compact with a reversible seat, never mind that it’s also a really sharp-looking stroller. There’s an optional travel bag available, and while the Dutch Quinny designers gave in and made a cup holder for us coffee-obsessed Americans, they couldn’t resist one last poke in the ribs — they shaped it like a tulip.