Not everyone can afford to spend $700 to $1,100 or more on a stroller -- and that doesn't include cup holders, by the way -- but if you can, these models are the ones that moms drool over when the sky's the limit.
Although it was close, the UppaBaby Vista (Est. $980) is our top pick for a reason: When we examined forum posts on parenting sites, as well as discussions on consumer review sites, we found many a parent who had bought a different high-end stroller only to return it and get the Vista instead.
At least one reviewer describes the UppaBaby Vista as a cross between an SUV and a sports car, but, like the best SUVs, it comes with all the luxury touches that make a ride more pleasant and comfortable. Tops among these are the reversible seats, which some parents consider a must-have when they're making out their pre-baby shopping list. It also has a fully adjustable handlebar and large, easy-to-access basket.
The Vista accommodates children from birth with either the included bassinet or in the seat with an optional SnugSeat (Est. $35) infant insert. Without the insert, children can use the seat from 3 months to 50 pounds. It's compatible with several car seats; adapters are included for the UppaBaby Mesa car seat, but they're an additional purchase for other car seats. A RumbleSeat (Est. $99) can be added to carry two toddlers or one infant and one toddler. A PiggyBack (Est. $90) can attach to the back of the stroller to allow an older child to stand -- even with the RumbleSeat attached -- making it a stroller that will carry three children. Reviewers say the wheels are so durable and the frame so sturdy, that it's still easy to push with the extra weight.
The UppaBaby Vista has great safety features, including a five-point, padded harness and swing-away bumper bar. The bassinet and seat attach securely to the stroller base with red/green indicators to assure a safe attachment. The bassinet and mattress are made from hypoallergenic and antimicrobial materials. It has one-touch, linked brakes, and the wheels can swivel or lock for extra stability.
The Vista gets some of its best reviews for its super-easy push and great maneuverability, and its easy-to-use, mostly one-handed features. The fold, however, is two handed, and it's a big, heavy stroller when it's folded. On the plus side, it locks and stands when folded and it folds in one piece, unlike most of the high-end strollers we found.
Which brings us to one reason the Bugaboo Cameleon3 (Est. $980) and Stokke Xplory (Est. $1,100) are runners up in this category. Both have a two-piece fold that can make it difficult to take on public transportation, or even to lift into a trunk. The fold on both are also multi-step, two-handed processes, so you need to be sure you have a safe place to park your baby while you tackle it.
Still, both strollers are luxurious, comfortable, fully adjustable and glide along with one-handed ease. They also can become two-wheeled strollers for more challenging terrain, so they can be pulled instead of pushed. This is a popular feature with beachgoers. As with the Vista, all other accessories are sold separately. Both strollers have a storage bag rather than a basket, and these get mixed reviews from parents for convenience. The Stokke features a unique, up-and-down adjustment that allows the child to sit up high for more parental interaction, or to be pulled up to a table.
Stokke has the advantage over the Bugaboo when it comes to versatility. The Xplory's seat accommodates newborns, even tiny newborns and preemies, thanks to the included infant insert. Newborns can only ride in the Cameleon3 with the included bassinet; the seat is not to be used until 6 months. However, many children tire of the confinement of a bassinet well before hitting the 6-month mark. The upper weight limit on the C3 is only 37.5 pounds; it's 45 on the Xplory. The Xplory also has a much larger canopy with a ventilated panel that can be used as a viewing window. The Cameleon3 has a fairly small canopy with no window.
The Vista is a big stroller and, like an SUV, you can't park it everywhere, but for durability, maneuverability, versatility and just plain comfort, it's the best choice in this category.