When Maclaren asked ParentDish to review their latest buggy, I was expecting something tiny, lightweight and highly portable to arrive.
Instead, a giant box turned up at my door, containing the Grand Tour LX, Maclaren's latest three-in-one travel system, which couldn't be further away from the usual Maclaren strollers.
With a carry cot, reversable push chair, and an optional car seat converter, the Grand Tour LX has more in common with the Bugaboo Chameleon and iCandy travel systems.
Oh, apart from the remote controlled safety lights, pedometer, temperature gauge and built-in clock, that is! (More of that later)
There's no question that this is an extremely luxurious buggy. Everything about the Grand Tour LX screams quality. It's beautifully made, with plenty of thoughtful touches including storage pockets for both a rain cover and a mosquito net.
And when you get something that feels so artfully put together, the overall impression you get is of comfort and luxury - both for you and baby.
The carrycot is soft and cosy, sliding into push chair and providing a very useful baby carrier and portable crib for the early months. Meanwhile, the pushchair can be turned to face either way and can be reclined to almost totally flat.
There really isn't much that Maclaren has left off this buggy. Not only does it come with all the little extras that you usually have to buy separately, such as a change bag, cup holder, foot muff and rain cover, it also includes some whizzy gadgets.
I'm not entirely sure why you need remote controlled safety lights, but they do look very impressive. Meanwhile, the "dashboard console" includes a handy storage space for you mobile phone (clearly shaped for iPhone-esque handsets) as well as the aforementioned clock and temperature gauge.
The strollometer is a great idea. Since my main form of exercise since having my daughter has been striding around parks and wandering to friends' houses, being able to track my speed and distance has been great for keeping me focused on burning off some baby weight.
It's clear that a huge amount of thought and effort has gone into making this buggy. I loved so many of the features and little extra flourishes that go towards making this an extremely desirable travel system.
The one thing that there's no getting around is the sheer bulk of this buggy. It weighs 17.2kg and it's 65cm wide. After months spent using my Micralite Toro (read Gia's glowing ParentDish review of the Micralite Toro), I felt like I was pushing round an oil tanker.
Possibly, if I'd started out using this buggy, I wouldn't have noticed the additional heft of getting this Maclaren on the move, but by the end of my journey my arms were tired from pushing it along uneven pavements and I was timid of entering shops for fear of becoming trapped in doorways.
For new mothers - especially those who've just experienced a marathon labour - this buggy might be too much of an additional burden.
I loved so many of the features on this travel system. The quality is impeccable and it feels nice to be supporting a UK company. With so many extras included as standard, the price tag is actually pretty reasonable. The only drawback is the weight of the system, which may start grinding you down as your baby starts getting older.
If you can't resist the glamour of the gadgets, however, this is the buggy for you!
More:Baby & Toddler Buys
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