Distinct from any other stroller, the Stokke Xplory has a high seat that keeps the baby up and away from the street for easier parent/child interaction on the move. While parents say the Xplory offers "dreamlike" maneuverability on smooth surfaces, it draws criticism for poor performance on mixed terrain, overall bulk, a lack of convenience features and an overly complex operation.
A mostly stable ride up and away from traffic. The Stokke Xplory's adjustable seat height positions the baby higher than just about any stroller available, keeping the child up away from traffic and closer to eye level with parents. While most parents love this feature, there is some feedback that higher seat placement can lead to less stability, particularly when negotiating stairs or high curbs. For greater stability on uneven terrain, the stroller can be put into two-wheel mode, enabling parents to pull rather than push the stroller. While one trusted product tester says this feature works well, for the majority of parents it does not appear to solve the issue.
The Xplory features linked one-touch rear brakes that most parents say are easy to use. But there are reports that the brakes can lock accidentally when moving the stroller up stairs. The Xplory has a well-padded, adjustable five-point harness that reviewers say is secure and an infant insert for newborn head protection. There is also a bumper bar to protect the child in case of tip-overs.
An ergonomic handle adds comfort. Parents of all sizes can push the Stokke Xplory comfortably and maneuver it easily with one hand on smooth surfaces, thanks to its ergonomically shaped height- and depth-adjustable handlebar. There is no bar between the stroller's rear wheels, which means that long strides won't kick the back of the stroller. Once the stroller leaves smooth surfaces, however, feedback on maneuverability is mixed. Many users say the Xplory's rubber wheels and higher center of gravity make it bumpy and hard to steer on uneven terrain.
With lots of adjustability -- footrest, seat height and position, recline, handlebars, etc. -- come lots of mechanisms that may take some time to learn, since product testers say that the stroller's mechanisms are not intuitive. For every parent who says that folding the stroller is simple, there is another who describes it as a challenging, multi-step process. At 23 pounds, the Xplory isn't super-heavy. It's not considered lightweight either, but the fold is bulky, with one expert reviewer saying it barely folds at all and is "massive" when folded. Parent reviewers agree, saying it's hard to fit in the trunk of a car. Its size may also make it difficult to take on trains and buses. Since it's aimed at the urban parent, this may pose a problem when using public transport.
Reversible seat allows you to interact with your baby. Built to accommodate newborns to toddlers up to 45 pounds, the Stokke Xplory seat can face forward or backward, which parents like for keeping child-parent eye contact. In the rear-facing position the seat reclines fully for newborns. The stroller accepts a newborn carry cot made by Stokke (*Est. $225) and can be used with an infant car seat with an adapter (*Est. $80). The Stokke Xplory seat is described as well padded and highly adjustable, but when forward facing only has two positions and won't recline deeply for sleeping.
Instead of a basket, the Xplory comes with an under-seat shopping tote that can be removed and used as a carryall. While some parents like this functionality, others say they miss having the larger storage capacity of a basket. The stroller also lacks a child tray for snacks. The Xplory has a large water-repellent canopy that includes a pop-out sun visor and a mesh window for air circulation and visibility. The stroller comes with a mosquito net, rain cover and infant insert. Stokke accessories include a travel bag, sun parasol, cupholder and various protective covers. Parents say the accessories are pricey.
Better-than-average warranty coverage. The Stokke Xplory has a three-year warranty that will see most parents through the heaviest years of use -- at least for one child. Stokke gets good reviews for customer service.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent The 2011 edition of "Baby Bargains," written by consumer advocates Denise and Alan Fields, covers a variety of stroller manufacturers. The authors provide ratings for overall brands and ratings and rankings for individual models, using testing, manufacturer specs and feedback. In the latest edition they discuss the Xplory, Stokke's only stroller, in detail.
Review: Chapter 9: Strollers, Diaper Bags, Carriers and Other To Go Gear, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition, 2011
2. Which? magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Which? magazine is the U.K. equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, but with much more detailed reviews and critiques of products, using both expert and parent reviewers. The Stokke Xplory is thoroughly reviewed for safety, ease of use and convenience.
Review: Stokke Xplory Review, Editors of Which?, May 4, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org is known for its rigorous, unbiased testing methods. Editors of ConsumerReports.org test and rate 16 single combo strollers for ease of use, safety, maneuverability and folded size. The Stokke Xplory is included in this roundup. The report also includes an overview of how the testing was performed and specs for each stroller. User reviews are available, but do not factor into the rankings.
Review: Traditional Stroller Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Excellent The Stokke Xplory makes Kate Bayless's list of the 20 best strollers of 2012. She describes the Xplory as the "Escalade of strollers" due to its price, but says she loves the high seat and notes that the seat can face out or toward the parent. She says the stroller has a super-smooth ride and is very adjustable, but wishes it had a better, more compact fold and better storage. Overall, Bayless and the parent tester give the Xplory 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Stokke Xplory, Kate Bayless, Sept. 17, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Farhad Manjoo compares the high-end Orbit Baby G2, Stokke Xplory, phil&teds Verve, Bugaboo Donkey and UppaBaby Vista in six categories: ride, flexibility, storage, amenities, lifespan and style. The Xplory ends up at the bottom of the list because of its poor storage options and lack of an expansion seat. He notes that it is a great-looking stroller, but that it needs more convenience features to be practical for long-term use.
Review: Which Bank-Breaking Stroller Is Best?, Farhad Manjoo, June 17, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good BabyGizmo.com founder Hollie Schultz says she wanted to "push through the hype" on this luxury stroller, but ultimately admits that she thinks the Stokke Xplory is fantastic. She especially loves the high seat height option, enabling parents to maintain eye contact with their baby. Schultz details all of the stroller's features, with thorough explanations of how the various functions operate and descriptions to rival most product manuals. She notes that the Xplory is best for urban settings, where its maneuverability is "a dream."
Review: Spotlight Product Review: Stokke Xplory 2011, Hollie Schultz, July 19, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good The Stokke Xplory stroller earns an average rating of 4.4 stars (out of a possible 5) in more than 32 user reviews posted on Amazon.com. Parents say that the Xplory is exceptionally easy to maneuver and push, and they love the high seat that enables parents to interact with their baby more. Some owners say the stroller is on the bulky side, difficult to fold and that it doesn't fold compactly.
Review: Stokke Xplory Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Most feedback on British consumer site MumsNet.com is positive, with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars from over 70 posts. Most parents agree that the stroller is very easy to steer and fold. They love that the baby sits up high. They say that accessories are expensive, but the included features are good. Multiple parents find that the Xplory is bumpy when terrain is less smooth, and that it is difficult to fit the stroller into a car.
Review: Stokke Xplory, Contributors to MumsNet.com, As of January 2013