I was very chuffed when I was asked to continue on as Britax Mumbassador at the start of the year, and even more excited when we were asked to review the new pushchair from Britax: the SMILE. I’d read a little about the pushchair previously, and couldn’t wait to put it to the test – especially the shopping basket, which I’d read was huge.
So what did we think?
Age group: From 6 months (without carrycot) until 17kg (approx 3 years). From newborn with carrycot.
Facing: Parent and front facing.
Harness: Five-point safety harness with padded straps
Dimensions (when erect)
Dimensions (when folded)
The SMILE only took 30 minutes to put together, with Toddler interruptions (she wanted to “help”). My first thought, once assembled, was how big the pushchair looked! The seat had plenty of space for Busby, who wanted to wheeled around the downstairs of my in-laws house in her new steed.
The Basket. The basket on the Britax SMILE is HUGE! We took the SMILE away with us for a few nights recently, and I travelled on the train with Busby. We could fit our Winter coats (it’s cold up North), an overnight bag, a changing bag plus snacks etc underneath and there was still room!!! It’s so impressive, and perfect if you don’t have a car and enjoy a spot of shopping.
The Brake. I love a visual indicator on a pushchair to let me know whether the brake is on or not, and the SMILE has a simple (but very effective) green/red system to let you know. It’s also a very good brake – as with the Britax Affinity, you have to roll the pram back slightly to take it off the brake once you’ve pushed it back to green, which is very useful if your Toddler decides that she wants to push it into the road, as it won’t move.
A smooth ride. I really enjoy pushing the Britax SMILE. It has excellent suspension and the air-filled back wheels make it a lovely, smooth ride for Busby; she always seems happy and comfortable whenever we’re out and about in it.
The Handlebar. Nick and I both have a (different) preferred height for our pushchair handlebar, so I was happy to see that the SMILE handlebar is height-adjustable. It’s very easy to adjust too by just pushing the button in the centre. Unfortunately, the handlebar is made from foam, which I dislike as a material because it becomes very saturated when wet. A leatherette would have been a better fabric, and would have been more in keeping with the look of the pushchair.
Big, bucket seat. As I said above, the seat is huge, with ample room for Busby to enjoy and snooze in.
Extending canopy. The canopy is fantastic; it just keeps on going! Absolutely perfect for summer snoozing. I love the mesh spy-hole at the back too – it’s really useful for checking up on Busby when she’s requested the canopy down… a quiet Toddler is a suspicious one!
Front and parent facing. As always, this is a great feature in a pushchair. It’s easy to switch between the two by just unclipping the seat and turning it in the desired direction. I’m looking forward to using this function more once Peppercorn has entered the world.
Changing position. Changing the position from sitting to reclining is really easy in the SMILE; it’s not noisy or awkward.
ScotchLite reflective safety strips. These are a great feature for evening walks, or darker days. I found them very useful before the clocks changed, if we were walking back from somewhere at dusk.
Carrycot. I love that the SMILE comes, as standard, with a carrycot! It has a beautiful mattress inside and looks super cosy… in fact, Busby really wanted to have a go! We’ll be using this lots when Peppercorn arrives.
Zip Pocket. Just a small feature, but a very handy one – the SMILE comes with a zip pocket on the back of the chassis, which is the perfect size for a mobile phone and small purse. Ideal if you’re just nipping out to the shops quickly and don’t need to take everything with you.
Folding down is a bit of a faff. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the Britax SMILE can be a bit awkward to fold down – especially if you’re under pressure to do it quickly. It takes a learned knack, and I have found myself getting more than a little annoyed with this. It can, however, be folded with the raincover in the basket (this is something I get asked a lot).
Raincover. I’m pleased to say that the raincover has improved considerably from the Britax Affinity raincover, but I’m still convinced it could be better. I like that it hooks underneath the base of the seat with an elasticated hood, but this does mean that the height of the child inside the pushchair is restricted, and can be kicked off if child is an average-sized Toddler. I like that it covers the back of the pushchair too – meaning that your belongings in the zip pocket are safe.
Aesthetics. With a name like “SMILE” I was hoping for a pushchair that would make me do that when I looked at it, and I feel a bit harsh calling the Britax SMILE aesthetically ugly… I wouldn’t go that far… It’s a smart, reliable pushchair, but looks-wise, it’s not a pushchair to brag to your Mama friends about, or that has strangers stopping you on the street asking what make it is. I think the other colour options might be more attractive, such as the navy and silver, but I do wish Britax could have introduced a few more colour options as they did with the Affinity.
Overall, the Britax SMILE is a very safe, reliable pushchair that is ideal if you’re looking for a buggy that grows with your child from newborn to Toddler/Pre-school age. You can also buy the compatible Group 0+ carseat, which fits onto the chassis, converting the whole SMILE into a travel system.
As you have read above, there are lots of aspects of the pushchair that I thought were fantastic (such as the amazing basket space!) but it failed aesthetically to get my heart-racing. It’s a smooth push, but it is a little on the bulky side, and it’s not ideal for small boots. However, it is perfect if, like me, you don’t drive, and do a lot of walking and need an ample basket for
food baby clothes shopping. It’s a practical pushchair, and with Britax you always know that your child’s safety is of paramount importance.
The Britax SMILE costs £589, which includes raincover and carrycot. Matching cosytoes, changing bag and compatible carseats can be purchased separately. Discover Britax SMILE stockists on the Britax website.