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Baby Jogger City GO Car Seat and City Premier Stroller Travel System Review

As a mom of five children ranging in age from infant to 11 years old, every now and then something happens to make me realize how much the world of baby products has changed since I first started shopping for my oldest daughter. Case in point: travel systems. Back in the day, it seemed like most moms chose an infant seat and coordinating stroller based largely on the cute pattern. Since I was determined to avoid the “cute pattern” trap, I did some research and ended up buying a car seat frame to cart around my infant car seat, with plans to buy a nicer stroller after the infant car seat was outgrown. The travel system concept, while good in theory, was sorely lacking in execution. Travel system strollers did not have much going for them, and conversely good strollers were not often compatible with infant car seats.

Fast-forward eleven years and the world of car seats, strollers, and yes, travel systems, has changed. The Baby Jogger City GO travel system, consisting of a City GO infant seat and a City Premier stroller, is a prime example of how the travel system concept has evolved in the past decade. Not only is there a lot to love about the travel system components separately, but I also really like how they work together.

Rear facing only car seat: Baby Jogger City GO

The City GO is essentially a rebranded Graco SnugRide 35LX Click Connect. While there are a few differences between the two seats, much of what is written here about the City GO car seat has been taken from Kecia’s review of the Graco SnugRide 35LX Click Connect. Thanks to Kecia for allowing me to appropriate her thorough review!

City GO specs and features
  • Rear-facing only: 4-35 lbs, 32” or less and top of child’s head at least 1” below top of seat
  • No-rethread harness (15 height positions; see photo below)
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam lines entire headrest and sides of shell (see photo below)
  • Adjustable base (6 positions)
  • Lock-off on base for installations using seat belt
  • Push-button LATCH connectors on base
  • Can be installed without base, with traditional or “taxi safe” (AKA “Euro-style”) belt path routing
  • FAA approved for use in an airplane
  • 7 year lifespan before expiration

View from below; note the many harness height settings

View from above with cover removed; note EPS foam on head rest and sides of the seat

View from the side with cover removed and head rest fully extended

The City GO currently comes in three (gray-themed) colors: Black/Gray, Steel Gray, and a darker Charcoal Gray. With a MSRP of $229.99-$249.99, the seat is widely available online, including at Amazon and Babies R Us, and in store at select Buy Buy Baby and specialty baby store locations.

  

Base compatibility

The City GO comes with one stay-in-car base. Additional bases are available for $89.99. Please note that, according to the Baby Jogger customer service representative I spoke with on the phone, the City GO is NOT compatible with any Graco SnugRide car seat bases.

Stroller compatibility

The City GO can be used with any current Baby Jogger stroller when using the appropriate adapters, as found on this chart. Baby Jogger does not permit the use of the City GO with non-Baby Jogger strollers.

City GO convenience features

In addition to the above, the City GO has many convenience features.

  • Easy to attach and remove carrier from base
  • Handle can be in any locked position while in the vehicle
  • Generous canopy with UV 50+ rating
  • Thick harness straps aren’t likely to twist
  • Machine-washable cover (machine was cold in delicate cycle and drip dry) that removes easily

Plastic tabs help to hold the cover on and facilitate easy removal for washing

City GO measurements
  • Lowest harness slot height with infant body support: 7”
  • Tallest harness height setting: 12”
  • Crotch strap/buckle positions: 4.5” and 6”
  • Internal shell height with headrest fully extended: 21”
  • Width of carrier at widest point: 18”
  • Width of base at recline foot: 8.25”
  • Width of base at widest point: 14”
  • Length of footprint on base: 18”
  • Weight of carrier: 10.2 pounds (with infant body support)
Fit-to-child comments

The low bottom harness height and inner crotch strap/buckle setting help the City GO fit the vast majority of newborns and even preemies very well.

The infant body support is required for babies who weigh less than 6 pounds and is optional for babies larger than 6 pounds but less than 12 pounds. When using the body support, you must use one of the lower two harness height positions.  The harness covers are optional and remove quickly and easily because they have Velcro on one side. Removing these covers might help if you are having trouble getting a good fit with a newborn or small infant. The fit on small babies can be improved, if necessary, by inserting a tightly rolled washcloth between the infant’s body and the crotch strap.

This baby, at one month old, 10.5 pounds, and 21.5 inches, fits perfectly

This baby is 21.5 inches long and has close to 4″ of car seat shell above her head

Installation comments

If you read and follow the instruction manual, the City GO is generally easy to install regardless of whether you are using the vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors or the seat belt. Be sure to use only one method of attachment. Do not install the base with both LATCH and the seat belt!

Finding the correct recline angle in your vehicle:

The base angle adjusts to 6 different positions. Use the knob on the front of the base to change positions. The base adjustment setting you need will depend on the slope of your vehicle seat cushion and the weight of your baby. For a newborn you want the most reclined position you can achieve while keeping the bubble on the angle indicator completely within the 4-20 pound range (indicated by a light blue line).  To do this, start with the recline foot on the base extended all the way and then back track (one notch at a time) until the bubble is completely within the light blue line. If the bubble extends past the light blue line despite the recline foot being all the way out, you may use a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle under the front end of the base to achieve the proper recline. Once your baby weighs at least 20 pounds, you may use a more upright position, as long as the bubble is completely within the dark blue line. Most older babies and toddlers prefer a more upright position.

Be sure to double-check the recline indicator when the child is in the carrier, as the additional weight of the child and carrier could potentially change the angle. When using the carrier without the base, the correct installation angle is indicated by a “level to ground” line on the side of the carrier.

Easy-to-use bubble-type recline indicator

Base installation using lower LATCH anchors:

The City GO has push-button LATCH anchor connectors. The LATCH connectors click into slots on the side of the base when not in use.

Push-button LATCH connectors conveniently click into slots on the base when not in use

To install the base using the LATCH connectors, first adjust the recline angle as described above. Connect the hooks to the lower anchors in your vehicles. Check that the LATCH strap isn’t twisted and pull on the loose end to tighten the strap. Test for tightness by grabbing the sides of the base where the LATCH strap is and push and pull the base from side to side and front to back. If the base moves less than 1”, it is tight enough. To loosen the LATCH strap, push in on the grey button on the LATCH buckle and pull. To remove the base from the vehicle, release the LATCH connectors by pushing in on the red buttons while pulling the connectors away from the lower anchors.

Close-up of LATCH connector clicked onto lower anchor in vehicle

Side view of base installed with lower anchors

Installing the City GO in the center seating position of your back seat using LATCH: use of lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position with non-standard spacing (more than 11” apart) is allowed only if your vehicle owner’s manual specifically allows it. If your vehicle manufacturer doesn’t allow a LATCH installation in the center seating position then install the base with the seat belt instead. Seat belt installations are just as safe and just as easy with this base.

Base installation using seat belt:

The City GO base can be installed quickly and easily with a seat belt thanks to the sturdy lock-off device. Use of the lock-off is required for a seat belt installation. See below for an installation video showing both the LATCH and seat belt installation for the base.

Installation without the base:

The City Go can be installed safely without the base, with the carrier secured directly to the vehicle with the seat belt. This is very handy if you’re traveling by taxi or airplane – no need to lug the base around with you! You’ll either need to know how to lock the vehicle seat belt or be comfortable using the locking clip that comes on the carrier, because there is no lock-off on the carrier itself. On an airplane it’s easy because you have a lap-only belt with a nice locking latchplate. All you do is thread the seat belt through the guides and pull it tight. Easy peasy! (The same goes for vehicles that have lap-only belts with locking latchplates.)

A taxi is a little more complicated because you will have a lap/shoulder seat belt that you will need to use to install the carrier. Baby Jogger has added a “taxi-safe belt path” (AKA “Euro-style” belt path routing) to the City GO to try to make this process easier. In the taxi-safe belt path, the lap portion of the seat belt goes through the guides on the carrier and the shoulder portion of the seat belt goes around the back of the carrier and slides into the shoulder belt guide, after which the seat belt is locked. In my vehicle, pictured below, the lap/shoulder belt has a switchable retractor which I use to lock the seat belt. Not all vehicle seat belts have switchable retractors but most do. Your vehicle manual should tell you how to lock your seat belts when using them to install car seats.

Baby Jogger also permits the City GO carrier to be installed with traditional routing of the seat belt (i.e. you can skip the “taxi-safe belt path” if you want). This might be a good choice for you if you are already comfortable with a traditional baseless installation or if your seat belt is not long enough to make use of the taxi safe belt path.

Side view of baseless installation with traditional belt path

Side view of baseless installation with “taxi-safe” belt path

Baseless installation of “taxi-safe” belt path

City GO advantages:
  • Fits a wide range of baby sizes
  • Extended usage thanks to a larger-than-average carrier combined with generous weight and height limits
  • Easy to install properly with base (seatbelt or LATCH installation)
  • Center LATCH installation with non-standard spacing allowed as long as vehicle manufacturer specifically allows
  • Base with lock-off for quick and easy seat belt installation
  • Premium push-button LATCH connectors on base for quick and easy LATCH installation
  • Easy to use correctly
  • No-rethread harness with 15 height positions
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam lines sides of shell and adjustable head support
  • Generous canopy with UV protection
  • Machine-washable cover that is easily removed
  • Quick and secure attachment to all Baby Jogger strollers (with adapters)
  • Taxi-safe belt path might make baseless installation easier
City GO disadvantages:

(in all fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific City GO issues)

  • Can take up a lot of real estate in the back seat
  • Carrier isn’t lightweight, but 10 pounds is reasonable for a large infant seat
  • Harness straps cannot be removed or replaced
  • A more upright installation angle is not permitted until a minimum weight of 20 pounds, which means that lightweight older babies might be frustrated with the angle
  • Harness can take a bit of muscle to pull tight due to the circuitous routing of the straps, which go behind the head support and then up through slots in the top of the seat shell
  • Made in China – but to be fair, so are most other infant car seats
  • Color choices range from lighter gray to medium gray to gray with black
The bottom line

The City GO’s many similarities to a proven favorite, the Graco SnugRide 35LX Click Connect, means that it is well on its way to being a favorite too. The popular Baby Jogger brand name, the premium LATCH connectors on the base, and the taxi-safe belt path on the carrier might tip the scales in the direction of the City GO for consumers deciding between the two seats.

Stroller: Baby Jogger City Premier

The City Premier comes in two colors: Indigo and Black/Teal.

 

City Premier specs & features
  • One-hand, two-step fold with auto lock for frame and separate seat lock
  • Stroller can be folded with seat facing either direction
  • Carry strap (for use when folded)
  • Seat can face either direction or be removed for use with pram attachment (sold separately) or rear facing only car seat (with adapters, sold separately)
  • Large storage basket
  • Multi-position seat with three recline options and one-hand adjustment
  • Foot rest has two length settings and four angle settings
  • For children at least 6 months old, maximum height 40” and maximum weight 50 pounds
  • Large UV 50+ canopy with windows with magnetic closures for parents to see child
  • Large wheels, with locking front swivel wheels for bumpy terrain
  • Telescoping handlebar with three height positions and one-hand adjustment
  • Brake on handlebar

My 43″, 5-year old daughter was very excited to try out the stroller. She is technically outside the 40″ maximum height limit, and you can see that the seat was designed for shorter children.

 City Premier measurements
  • Size when folded: 32.1” high by 25” wide by 13.6” deep
  • Size when assembled with handle in highest position: 44.3” front to back by 25” wide by 41.7” high
  • Weight: 28.5 pounds
  • Child seat dimensions: height of seat 22.2”, shoulder width 12”, seat to knee 9.1”, width at knee 11.6”
  • Harness heights approximately 11.5”, 13.5”, and 15.5”
  • Storage basket approximately 22” front to back and 16” wide, with stretchy sides and large access spaces on all sides, and 15 pound weight limit
  • Mesh pocket on back of seat measuring 11” by 11” with 2.2 pound weight limit
City Premier accessories

They City Premier is a newer Baby Jogger model and the number of available accessories has increased considerably over the past year! As of June 2017, the following accessories are available:

  • Deluxe Pram ($199.95-$209.95)
  • Car seat adapters for Baby Jogger City GO or rear facing only car seats from Britax/BOB, Chicco, Cybex, Graco Click Connect, Maxi Cosi, Nuna, and Peg Perego (prices range from $19.95 to $59.95)
  • Parent Console ($29.95)
  • Weather Shield ($39.95)
  • Belly Bar ($24.95)
  • Child Tray ($19.95)
  • Glider Board ($84.95)
  • Cooler Bag ($19.95)
  • Hand Muff ($39.95)
Use comments

The stroller comes in a box and assembly is required. The process is fairly quick and involves unfolding the stroller frame, attaching the wheels, unfolding the seat, attaching the canopy to the seat, and then attaching the seat to the frame. The instructions have a series of pictures first and then have words explaining the process. Using the words and pictures together makes the stroller assembly a straightforward task. A few more minutes to familiarize yourself with the various features (see video below to help with this), and you’re ready to go!

Pre-assembly City Premier stroller

I have had the opportunity to use the City Premier extensively while on a family vacation, and overall I like it a lot. Here I’ll list some specific likes and dislikes, but keep in mind that I’m just one person and your own experience with the stroller might be different than mine!

Likes: I would consider each of these “likes” to be pretty important, and major criteria when I am purchasing a stroller.

  1. Two words: storage basket. Not only quite large, but also with easy access from all sides, I put it to good use carrying a diaper bag, toddler’s backpack, the family’s raincoats, art projects, and on and on. For me personally, having a large storage basket is a very big deal (no pun intended!).
  2. Easy push. On even ground (such as a paved sidewalk or road), the stroller can easily be controlled with one hand. When pushing the stroller over grass or a gravel road, two hands were generally required to steer. While the ride was bumpy, it was not exceedingly so, and in fact my baby seemed to think it was perfect for lulling her to sleep during the brief, bumpy interludes.
  3. Easy two-step fold. Unlike most strollers I have used, the City Premier folds with the seat folded in on itself to keep it clean. I love this about it! After folding the seat in, the stroller frame folds by tugging on the carry strap. The frame then collapses and a lock automatically engages. There is a separate strap that can then be manually snapped to keep the folded seat in place.
  4. Large canopy. During midday hours when the sun is most intense, the canopy does a great job of shading most of the seat. The UV 50+ rating means that I could go out with my sunscreen-free baby during peak sun hours and not worry about her excessive exposure to UV rays. The two magnetic-close windows in the canopy allowed me to peek at her when necessary. A+ for the canopy!

Dislikes: In contrast to the “likes” above, none of these “dislikes” would be a major factor for me in a stroller purchase (with the possible exception of #6, no double option). However they could certainly tip the scales in favor of one stroller or another if the strollers were otherwise very similar.

  1. Stroller liner slides around. The teal liner (in the black/teal color choice) is not anchored into the stroller. While the harness straps go through holes in the liner to ensure that the liner doesn’t fall out, the harness routing does not prevent the liner from shifting several inches without much provocation. This is annoying at worst, and easily solved by removing the liner, but still I would like to see a couple of snaps to keep the liner in place.
  2. Location of brake. While Baby Jogger says having the brake on the handlebar is “flip flop friendly,” I found it to be less convenient than a traditional foot brake. If you are pushing the stroller with one hand (which I love, see above!) and holding onto your preschooler with the other hand, then you can’t set the brake without letting something go. I never wear flip flops and I often am wrangling a preschooler while pushing a stroller, so I would prefer a more traditional foot-operated brake.
  3. Difficulty of repositioning seat. While I like that the seat can be reversed, and I find it easy to remove the seat, I still fumble to get it clicked back in properly. I thought that once I had done it a few times I would get the hang of it, but the fact remains that I can’t easily see what I’m doing and I can’t easily feel where it needs to go, and so I usually have a couple of ineffective attempts before I get the seat clicked into place successfully. Even so, we’re talking about taking an extra minute or two to get the seat facing the direction I want, so it is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
  4. Doesn’t stand when folded. I love the easy fold, but this stroller is quite a bear to deal with when folded! It rests on its wheels, but the wheels cannot be locked and so if you set it down, it rolls around rather than standing up. This is not a big problem when loading a folded stroller into a trunk, but I found it annoying when I was trying to unfold the stroller and it wouldn’t stay still unless I laid it flat on the ground.
  5. No included accessories. This is the “dislike” that most affected my day-to-day use of the stroller: lack of any sort of parent tray. I really appreciate having somewhere to stash my sunglasses, phone, credit card, or whatever other small things that I want to have easily available. Spending an extra $29.95 (cost of the parent console) for this functionality is not my favorite thing. I actually ended up using the foot rest for these things since my baby’s legs are not long enough to use the foot rest for feet, but that won’t be an option forever!
  6. No double option. This stroller looks quite similar to our Britax B-Ready, and as such my three year old expected there to be a second seat for him. But no such luck! While there is a glider board accessory available, sometimes (often in my case) it is nice to have an actual seat where a second child can be strapped in. For caregivers who have no need for a double stroller, obviously this is not a problem for you, but it is definitely something to be aware of when purchasing a stroller. If you want a Baby Jogger stroller that can be used as a double, choose something else!
  7. Starting age of 6 months. Since the stroller seat does not recline to flat, Baby Jogger lists a minimum age of 6 months to use the included seat. Babies younger than 6 months can use the Pram attachment (sold separately) or their infant car seat (with adapters, sold separately). Despite this age restriction from Baby Jogger, I made the parental decision to use the stroller with my 3 month old baby since the seat reclined to an angle that was closer to flat than her car seat and the harness was able to be adjusted to fit her snugly. This should not be taken as an endorsement for using the stroller with babies outside the stated age range, and caregivers who do so assume all associated risks.
City Premier advantages
  • Easily maneuverable
  • Large storage basket with easy access
  • Easy fold mechanism with seat folding in on itself
  • Seat can be removed and faced in either direction or replaced with a pram or infant car seat
  • In general, controls (e.g. seat recline, footrest adjustments, handlebar extension) are intuitive and easy
  • Brake on handlebar can be an advantage for some users
  • Harness adjusts to fit small babies as well as larger preschoolers
 City Premier disadvantages
  • Minimum age of 6 months unless using pram or infant car seat
  • Cannot be used as a double stroller except with glider board
  • Brake on handlebar can be a disadvantage for some users
  • Parent console sold separately
The bottom line

The City Premier is a single stroller with a lot going for it. It is a good contender for those looking for a large single stroller with a good basket, large canopy, and easy push.

Travel System: Baby Jogger City GO infant seat and City Premier stroller

Finally we have gotten to the point of talking about how the City GO infant seat and City Premier stroller work together as a travel system! If you’ve read through the individual City GO and City Premier reviews above, you have likely figured out that I think that both the car seat and the stroller are good choices. It should come as no surprise, then, that I think this pairing makes a good travel system.

Use comments

The first thing to note is that in order to use any infant seat (including the City GO) with the City Premier stroller, you will need to purchase an appropriate set of car seat adapters. The adapters required to use the City GO are model #1967362 (MSRP $29.95). Note that the City Premier uses the same adapters as the City Select stroller, so if you happen to have a City Select stroller, you can use whatever adapters you already have. The adapters come in a small box and consist of two small pieces, which click into the spaces left when you remove the City Premier seat. The City GO car seat then clicks into the adapters and you’re all set! The adapters may be left on the stroller when folding, so once you have them on, you can essentially use the City Premier as you would use a stroller frame. There is a bit of a learning curve to snapping the car seat into the adapters, but it is easy to tell when you have it right, and fiddling around with the connection will take you a couple of minutes at most. Removing the car seat is easy and intuitive, using the same action as removing the car seat from the stay-in-car base. You will have to remove the adapters and replace the seat to use the City Premier as a regular stroller again.

When using the travel system, the large storage basket on the stroller is easily accessible. As mentioned above, there is no way to attach a second seat to the stroller and use it as a double stroller, but you could purchase a glider board for a preschooler’s use while using the travel system.

Travel system advantages

There is a lot to like about this travel system, most of which has already been covered in the above reviews of the City GO infant seat and City Premier stroller. Here are some advantages that are travel system-specific.

  • Easy to attach City GO to City Premier
  • Car seat adapters can be left attached to stroller when folding
  • Stroller basket is easily accessible when used with the City GO
Travel system disadvantages

As before, disadvantages to the City GO infant seat and City Premier stroller are given above, so here I’ll just mention some disadvantages to the travel system in particular.

  • Must purchase car seat adapters separately
  • Stroller seat needs to be removed to use the stroller as part of the travel system
The bottom line

Both the City GO infant car seat and the City Premier stroller are good choices individually, and so if you are in the market for a travel system and this one fits your budget, it is definitely worth a look!

 

Thank you to Baby Jogger for supplying the travel system review sample.  No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own.