A Disappointing Replacement for My Beloved Kooper
- What: Joovy Groove Ultralight Stroller
- When: Birth to 55 lbs
- Why not: Hard to steer with one hand
- Where: Amazon
I bought the Joovy Groove Ultralight umbrella stroller to replace my beloved Joovy Kooper umbrella stroller when I could finally not put off replacing it any longer. My significant other had allowed my first two kids to ride in the under seat storage basket, and one of the brake lines ripped when we forced it to fold. (It turns out, if your stroller isn’t folding nicely the way it normally does, you probably shouldn’t make it fold.) I gave up on it when I went to chase a toddler in the airport after parking the stroller and putting on the brakes, only to have the stroller start rolling away after the occupant pushed against some stationary seats with her feet.
I loved the Kooper so much, but it had been out of production even when I got my first one secondhand several years earlier. So I decided to try the Joovy Ultralight sight unseen, in hopes it would be an improved version of the Kooper.
I learned my lesson about buying strollers online without testing them first or even having seen them in person.
I do love that the Groove Ultralight weighs next to nothing. That makes it convenient for lifting in and out of the car or collapsing it on the jetway, especially if you have an infant or toddler in a carrier or in your arms (or both). I like that it automatically locks into the folded position, but that it also releases with one hand when needed. And the built-in carry strap, while not key for me, certainly didn’t hurt.
I also like the adjustable footrest. I used that feature much more than I anticipated. And the shade had everything I have come to expect from Joovy – super coverage and a peekaboo window that can be opened or closed. The shade locks in place when fully extended, and reaches all the way around the seat creating a nice cocoon when the seat reclines. The recline lays flat, and has endless angles for other positions. It also sports two mesh pockets on the inside of the seat, as well as a zippered pocket and a cup holder mesh pocket on the back of the shade. I can hang numerous bags off the handles without tipping it. And it worked with my ride-on board no problem.
So you’d think it would satisfy my checklist of stroller features.
But alas. It doesn’t steer very well at all with one hand, which means if I have my other hand on a suitcase or toddler or my phone or anywhere else, I basically have to stop moving. I can bend over awkwardly and lean on it with my elbow on one handle and my hand on the other, but I don’t recommend it.
We used it only in a pinch as a stroller for our second car. We have since removed it to make room for other things we use more often. I wish I had tried it out in a store first, and that I had waited for the New Groove model to see if that improved the handling issues, though waiting wasn’t really an option for us as we needed to replace the Kooper.
The New Groove Ultralight stands on its own in a folded position, which may matter to some people. The other addition that I can see is a bit of extra fabric stored under the footrest, which can be pulled up and hooked to create a bassinet effect, so you can use the stroller starting at birth. Using it sooner adds a definite plus, but I’m not sure how much of a difference the three months make. The New Groove supposedly has upgraded wheels, too, but I’m not buying it.