Distinct from any other stroller, the Stokke Xplory has a high seat that keeps the baby up and away from the street, and its attendant dust and dirt, enabling better parent/child interaction. It can even be adjusted to use as a high chair. While parents say the Xplory offers "dreamlike" maneuverability on smooth surfaces, it draws criticism for a poor performance on mixed terrain, overall bulk, a lack of convenience features and an overly complex operation.
A 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 closer to eye level with parents. It is reported as very stable in spite of the higher tipping point. It has linked, one-touch rear brakes. The Xplory has a well-padded, adjustable five-point harness that reviewers say is secure and an infant insert for newborns. A bumper bar protects the child in case of tip-overs, and one reviewer on Amazon.com says it saved their baby's life when a grandparent lost control of the stroller on a hill and it flipped over.
Complex operation. It takes a total of nine steps to unfold the Stokke Xplory -- quite a lot in this era of one-step folds. And, while almost everything is adjustable, product testers say the stroller's mechanisms are not intuitive and it takes time to learn how to adjust the various features. It gets good reviews in general for maneuverability, and yet many parents say once the stroller leaves smooth surfaces the Xplory's rubber wheels and higher center of gravity make it bumpy and hard to steer on uneven terrain. The stroller can be put into two-wheel mode for greater stability on uneven terrain, an operation which also has a learning curve.
Most options come at a price. The basic, $1,100 Stokke Xplory package includes a frame, seat and storage bag. The seat will accommodate newborns -- even tiny preemies, thanks to the included infant insert -- to 45 pounds. Most reviewers say the seat is as comfortable for older toddlers as it is for even the tiniest infant thanks to the fully adjustable footrest and several recline positions. More seating/expansion options are available as extras, including a Carry Cot (Est. $225) and a Sibling Board (Est. $120) so older children can hitch a ride. It is compatible with several infant car seats with an adapter (Est. $80).
Fully adjustable seat is the big selling point. The reversible Stokke Xplory seat sits up higher than most stroller seats and is adjustable up and down. This allows a high degree of interaction when the baby is up higher, and it enables the parent to fit the seat to a table. The handlebar is fully adjustable for comfort for the tallest parent or a small sibling helper. There is an under-seat shopping tote that can be removed and used as a carryall. However, the stroller's bulk when folded and 23-pound weight make it impractical for public transportation, and your vehicle needs a good-sized trunk to haul it in.
1. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" is a popular and well-organized guide to baby-related products. Authors Denise and Alan Fields conduct hands-on testing as well as parent, manufacturer and retailer interviews. Their section on strollers is detailed and offers a wealth of useful information. The Stokke brand in general and the Xplory are discussed at length.
Review: Strollers, Denise and Alan Fields, 2013, 10th edition
The Stokke Xplory comes in 11th, out of 21 strollers tested, earning an overall score of 64 out of 100. Spurrier likes its innovative design, but notes that it's heavy and large when folded, and is very expensive.
Review: Stokke Xplory Review, Juliet Spurrier, MD, Nov. 27, 2013
The Stokke Xplory earns an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 in more than 60 reviews. Most are very pleased with the stroller, especially having their baby ride up high. However, several say you need a larger car to be able to fit it in when folded.
Review: Stokke Xplory Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2014
Mumsnet doesn't list the total number of reviews, but there are at least 60 here for the Stokke Xplory, with an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. It gets its best reviews for maneuverability and stability, and lower marks for its complex, bulky fold.
Review: Stokke Xplory, Contributors to Mumsnet.net, As of January 2014