It doesn't take more than a few outings with a new stroller for moms to feel a tinge of buyers' remorse – it's one thing to look at all the options in advance of your little one's arrival and think that they're all generally the same, but as soon as you're wheeling a baby around, you quickly discover the subtle nuances that make one practical than another. And you find yourself telling anyone who'll listen, "This stroller would be so much better if . . ."
I certainly had my share of regrets about my initial stroller purchase – it did the job, but I wondered how certain frustrations managed to make their way onto the assembly line. So after hearing the buzz about Cybex's new luxury travel system, which debuted this Summer, I expected nothing short of the Rolls Royce of strollers. Based on the price alone, I had high expectations for the Priam stroller ($1,200), and after testing it out for several weeks straight, this is what I learned.
Who is this product designed for? It's a luxury stroller, so it's definitely for those who want top-of-the-line features, custom finishes, and a sophisticated look. In fact, the makers of the Priam were inspired by designer George Eames' iconic mid-century chairs – particularly, the famous plastic lounge chair that was striking in its simplicity but functional with its countless configurations – when conceptualizing the stroller's trademark frame.
Is it practical? Yes! The Priam moves flawlessly. With my last stroller, I'd grown used to veering around potholes and nervously bracing for impact on uneven sidewalks, often having to use all my force to push down on the handlebar or awkwardly using one foot to kick up the front wheels to maneuver over an especially large bump. I was completely surprised at how this stroller handled all types of terrain without a single snag – often with me pushing one-handed. Because the Priam rolls on four ball-bearing tires (more on those later), it maneuvered in a way I'd never experienced with any other stroller.
For the steep price, you can rest assured that this will serve as the only stroller you'll ever need to own. The Priam – sold in two parts with the frame costing $900 and the "lux seat" costing $300 – can safely hold your baby from infancy through toddlerhood, up to nearly 40 pounds. What's more, for those traditional parents who prefer using a lay-down pram in those early months, the Priam's seat fully reclines. (The brand offers a separate $300 Carry Cot, but this stroller setup renders it obsolete.)
Plus, the Priam comes standard with many of the advancements missing from so many standard-issue strollers. It has an adjustable, extra-tall handle – with an easy-to-clean faux leather finish – so my husband can push it without hunching over. The seat can be removed and repositioned with the push of a button to be rear-facing or forward-facing. The canopy has an extender to provide complete, almost blackout-level shade coverage. I can go on, but there are a few wow-worthy features worth breaking out in more detail, so scroll through the images after the review for more on those.
What could be better? Although every Priam stroller comes with car seat adaptors, don't get your hopes up if you are wanting to attach an off-brand seat. At this point, the Cybex Priam works as a travel system only with Cybex car seats (though Maxi-Cosi adapters – which work with a selection of other brands – do fit as well). Though if you're shelling out four figures on a stroller, you're likely sparing no expense on the car seat, either, so perhaps the Cybex Aton Q infant car seat's $350 price tag isn't much of a splurge at all.
Speaking of car seats, don't you like how the five-point harness comes with that singular tail at the bottom of the seat that, with one tug, tightens both shoulders evenly in one fast, fluid motion? It's something we often lament not having on our strollers, and in a perfect world, the Priam would offer a similar solution. Well, it does. Sort of. It's negated the need for rethreading the shoulder straps as your baby grows, which is music to many moms' ears who often stress about dismantling their gear and getting the adjustments just right. With the Priam, you never have to upend the stroller – all of that growth-related tweaking can be done directly on the harness itself. But the time it's saving you every few months, it makes up for in day-to-day usage. I find myself spending more time strapping in my wriggly nine-month-old baby with this stroller than others on the market. After a few attempts, I've figured out how to do it faster, but it's not especially intuitive and, for young babies, leaves excess strap that you have to wrap up into the shoulder cushions every time.
Did it make baby happy? Aside from the sometimes drawn-out process of securing her, she loves the stroller. When she's overstimulated from looking at the world around her, I just swap the seat's direction, and she can focus just on me. This past weekend, I was able to be out and about all day because – thanks to the seat's varying levels of recline – she was able to get in a solid hour-long nap, whereas with our traditional stroller she'd never get such a lengthy snooze while sitting upright.
And although baby is top priority, this stroller is sure to make parents blissfully happy as well. I get compliments every time I take it for a spin, and it's clear why: the metal frame and luxurious fabric – available in seven different three-tone color styles – help it stand out from the sea of plastic black strollers. And it bears repeating that the maneuverability of the Priam is unparalleled.
Would I buy it? If I could do it all over again, I would. After having seen this one in action, it's painfully hard to go back to my baseline stroller. The sticker shock is intense, but if you're shopping for your first one and plan on having multiple kids, it might be an investment worth considering, especially if, like me, you're a city dweller and plan to use it daily.
Sure, a $300 complete travel system is enticing for its affordability, but if you end up hating it a few months in because the wheels constantly stick or because it never fits on narrow sidewalks, you'll be out several hundred more dollars replacing it. Spending $1,200 on a stroller is extreme, no question, but if you operate on the philosophy that it's worth paying a premium for quality (and if you never want to utter the phrase, "This stroller would be so much better if . . ." again), this is a good deal.