Mutsy Nio stroller review: a great push not only for the urban jungle
An elegant and functional stroller that practically pushes itself. The Nio is a hybrid of the Evo, the i2 (IGo), and the Nexo, yet unique as it is. Although this stroller will better suit shorter parents, the handlebar can be adjusted for taller persons. The multifunctional Nio will be appreciated predominantly in the city.
Mutsy Nio in short:
+ unbelievably pleasant and simple maneuvering and manipulation
+ excellent suspension for this type of a stroller
+ stylish design, colors, and materials
+ deep and accessible shopping basket
+ large viewing and ventilation window with a practical locking system
+ harness padding is nicely secured in place
+ comfortable carrycot
+ seat unit with a click on/off system and memory buttons, which doesn't need to be reversed (compared to the previous Mutsy models)
+ stroller seat/carrycot are placed quite low (although, that is an advantage for smaller parents)
+ quite a lot of plastic parts, which can be squeaky if not lubricated properly
+ numerous velcros
+ seat unit's hood is rather short in laying position, and a carrycot hood would be appreciated as well
+ short leg rest
+ wheels need to be removed for a compact-enough fold
+ puzzle system seat belts' buckle
Mutsy Nio "in long": 😊
I have to admit, I have never been a Mutsy fan.
Although I have been aware of the popular Dutch brand Mutsy - mostly in a positive way, I have always found something to hold me back. Their strollers were too small and/or too low (close to the ground), or the canopy felt too short, and the prams and pushchairs just didn't have the necessary edge for me, compared to the other brands that usually ended up winning in my eyes. You probably have been there yourself, not being able to pick a stroller (or any other baby gear product) with a certain, final feeling.
Now, pushing the Nio, I have finally realized why so many moms choose this brand.
The new Mutsy Nio is similar to the Mutsy Evo, even more to the Mutsy i2 (IGo), but has plenty of original features of its own too. The Nio is modern, practical, easy to manipulate, and finally (!), it comes with a relatively decent hood too.
The Mutsy Nio was released in 2018 and has caught the attention of those parents who couldn't decide between the Evo or the IGo, not being 100 % satisfied with any of them. Inspired by the popularity of the more compact, non-reversible Nexo, the Nio comes with an elevated shopping basket, slightly angulated shapes, a soft suspension system, and excellent maneuverability. Thanks to the new details added in 2019, as well as practical, elaborate functionality, the stroller is extremely comfortable and suitable for everyday use from newborn, as well as for a child outgrowing the carrycot, ready to move to the seat unit.
We have tested the Nio in the Explore Amazon Green Standard colorway, combined with the Red Grip color of the handlebar and the bumper bar (the Red Grip version is out from 2019). It is a beautiful yet neutral combination, suitable for a little boy and a girl too. The 'jungle' green shade is quite dark, and the intensity of the color depends on the light - it can seem to be in the range from green to grey/black on the pictures 😊 The contrasting brown-red leatherette of the handlebar and the bumper bar is a very stylish, striking accent. Even in other colors that, combined with a refreshing detail of the leatherette, make the Nio stroller look far from boring while keeping elegant neutrality.
At the moment of testing the travel system, four color collections were available - the Adventure, the North, the Inspire, and the Explore. The colors of each of them are coordinated with the theme they are representing.
You can get the Nio just as a stroller with no other accessories. Then there is the 2in1 stroller or the 3in1 stroller system with a car seat. The chassis is also available separately so that you can purchase only the frame and add other parts depending on what you need.
An important note for the Nio is that although you can create a combination of the chassis and the carrycot only, the shopping basket is not included with the frame alone. Because of the basket being matched to the seat unit, it comes with it.
So - if you don't buy the stroller option and rather go for the pram or the travel system option instead, you will be left with two choices: no shopping basket or having to purchase it separately. On the other hand, this allows you to get a shopping basket of any color available, thus creating a unique combination.
As expected, there is a wide range of original accessories available. Unfortunately, they don't come included with the stroller - you have to buy them separately. Apart from the rain cover (which we don't really use, to be honest - so maybe you don't either), I would recommend getting the mesh sun cover - which is an excellent substitution for a mosquito net. Thanks to the UV properties, this visor complements and extends the hood that is still on the smaller side, especially when the seat is in the laying position. A footmuff, an apron, a parasol, and a changing bag in matching colors are available as well.
The carrycot was a part of our package, and we gave it a go even though not having a baby small enough. My youngest child, Ferdinand (almost 2 years old), insisted on testing the carrycot straightaway 😁
Laying there with his legs bent, his bottom in the air, but with a happy expression on his face, he only said: 'Mine.'
Despite the internal dimensions of the bassinet = mattress length being 72x30 cm, the carrycot didn't seem small to me.
I thought of it being an average size and suitable for every average-sized baby. You can definitely use it for up six months (probably five months with a footmuff if your baby reaches this age in winter).
The mattress is rather thick, breathable, anti-allergic, looks extremely comfortable, and is made to prevent excessive sweating of the baby. The covers can be fully washed, which is pretty much a standard these days. The carrycot inside layer is secured by velcro.
To be honest, a conventional zip would wow me a bit more - the velcro feels too simple an option - and like it could get damaged by machine washing.
Melinda, mom of 4-months-old Bianka, thought, however, that the carrycot looks too small. It may be because she was used to a much more robust Anex Sport pram from her stroller system, and that one has a significantly larger carrycot. So before choosing the right stroller for you, it is always better to consider your expectations and what type of stroller you want or are used to.
If there is any other disadvantage to the carrycot, I would mention the length of the hood. Melinda also pointed out that without the apron (leg cover), Bianka was quite exposed to direct sunlight. You may need some extra sun shade, especially in summer.
The apron is attached to the carrycot using velcro and two poppers only, which to me, is another disadvantage. I would like to see more poppers or more velcro added - not just on the side, but mainly on the bottom part of the carrycot apron. The reason being that the child will not be able to kick the apron off if it's secured better.
The ventilation of the hood combined with the mesh viewing window (identical to the one of the seat unit) is, on the other hand, very well thought.
I do appreciate the easy and flat fold of the carrycot, though - it makes the transport and the storage much easier and more effective.
Another bonus is the carrycot's small side pockets as well as a large pocket integrated into its apron. Thumbs up for all of these unimportant little details that are, in fact, quite important and very useful.
The Car Seat
Using adapters, the Nio is compatible with the Group 0+ car seat of their own brand, called Safe2go, and also with any other well-known car seat brands with Maxi-Cosi type of attachments. Apart from the Pebble Plus, Pebble, Cabriofix, and City, the manufacturer recommends the Kiddy Evolution Pro, Evolution Pro 2, Evo–luna i-size; then the Cybex Aton, Aton 4, Aton 5, Aton Q, Aton Q i-size or the Besafe iZi Go (X1) / iZi Go Modular.
The 3in1 stroller system comes with adapters included - otherwise, you have to purchase the adaptor set separately.
Because the Mutsy Safe2go car seat is not very common and widespread everywhere, you can often find the Nio pre-made travel system paired with the comfortable and safe Maxi-Cosi car seats. Alternatively, you can choose your own favorite car seat. Unfortunately, the results of the ADAC testing for the Safe2go are not available yet.
To know more about the importance of choosing the right car seat, consult this article as well.
Mutsy Nio Pushchair Mode Features and Specs
Let's continue with the pushchair mode, as it features most of the functions and is expected to be used longer than any of the other of the Mutsy Nio stroller configurations.
The look of the stroller is typical for the Mutsy brand - the style&soul of the brand are apparent literally on every part - and that is good. It means they do what they can do best. The Nio looks luxurious, yet functional, "feet" to the ground.
That is actually quite literal, Nio being a rather low stroller. For parents taller than 190 cm, I would recommend testing the stroller before purchase. For me personally (176 cm), it was ok though - I wasn't kicking the stroller when walking.
Turning away from its height, I would like to highlight the FANTASTIC agility and maneuverability. On any surface, in any position and direction of the seat, any handlebar position, and no matter the weight of the child, that is. Pushing this stroller is a pleasure because you don't even know about anything wrong with it. That is rather liberating. It is simply great to have a stroller you don't even notice you have to push. The Nio goes almost by itself; it really doesn't need a lot of effort on your part.
Despite the fact that the pram looks and feels lightweight, the Mutsy Nio's weight is 12,4 kg. Only when getting it into the boot of the car you start to feel the real weight of the Nio. I wouldn't recommend this stroller for very frequent journeys and loading in and out of the car. Mostly because, even when folded, the Nio is quite chunky with the wheels on and takes up a considerable portion of the boot of your vehicle.
Once folded, the Nio also features a 'trolley mode' - you can pull the stroller behind you like a piece of luggage. It moves on its rear wheels, which should make the journey, for example, from the car to the house, more comfortable. However, it is questionable how often you will actually use this function.
I didn't, not even once.
The handlebar comes covered in stylish eco-leather, and its height can be adjusted telescopically. Its four possible height positions ranging from 96 to 105 cm (my own measurement), I feel the height range is absolutely acceptable for most parents. Since I am on the taller side, the highest position of the handlebar naturally suited me the best.
You do need to use both hands when adjusting the handlebar, but it is not difficult. After pushing the side buttons inside, pull or push the handlebar.
Despite the handlebar being telescopically adjustable, it doesn't rattle or shake too much, even though it has some give.
I must say I am quite fond of the Nio handle - it felt comfy in my hands.
The Achilles heel of Mutsy strollers is usually the hood - particularly, its length. Compared to the other Mutsy models, the Nio sports an advantage - it features a more robust canopy with an extendable panel at the back and an adequately-sized sun visor, too.
With the seat in an upright position and the leg rest lifted, the hood will cover the child almost completely. The hood offers much less coverage when the seat is reclined, though; there is simply much more open space because it moves down with the backrest.
Personally, I would appreciate either a double extension of the hood, a considerably longer sun visor, or an additional internal, permanent UV sunshade similar to those found in the Nuna or the Uppababy models. It would be a simple and effective solution, and hopefully, it won't take Mutsy too long to improve on this (however, they didn't improve the Mutsy hoods even on the previous models - I guess their focus is not the coverage area).
If your child takes regular naps in the stroller in the summer, you should surely have the UV net, the Mutsy sun parasol, or any other universal shade ready. During hot summers, I have used additional shades with almost every stroller anyway, so this is not a significant disadvantage for me. It is always better to be aware and ready ;-).
The fantastic viewing window and sturdier, stylish materials with UV protection are other positive aspects of the hood that just can't be overlooked. The viewing window is large, mesh for letting the air flow through, and even features a leather strap to secure it in opened position if needed. It looks great! We were using this function a lot when we tested the Nio in the spring.
The frame around the viewing window is made of a bit noisy velcro, but it didn't matter too much - we had the viewing window open most of the time :-).
The Seat Unit
The seat unit surprised me with a rather long (51cm) backrest. I have expected a smaller seat usable (at the most) of up to 2 years, but I have to say, the Nio can be comfortably used to 2.5-3 years (and possibly even longer, depends on how you feel about its not-so-long leg rest).
The backrest is softly padded, with a harness offering a possibility to adjust the safety belts into three different heights. I also appreciated two possible positions of the crotch strap.
We have started using the Nio with the strap in the lower position, but my little one always managed to slide a bit too low. It just didn't look right for him to sit like that.
It is quite possible that it was so because of him being used to a bucket-type seat unit of our stroller... and maybe partly also due to the fact that the seat unit of the Nio is not completely upright. I had the impression that the seat unit is slightly angled, but not as much as, for example, the Britax B-Agile or the Britax B-Motion that are (in)famous for the quite angled seating position. It needed a bit of adjustment of the crotch strap to make my little Dino look better seated.
The leg rest is a slight disappointment. Compared to the backrest, it is really short. Great for small children, but the legs of the older children will protrude and stick out. To rest their feet, the bigger kids will then be using the front footrest, located in the lower part. If I could, I would change the leg rest either by adding an extendable system that one needs to pull out (something similar to the Joolz strollers). I was hoping that something like that can be done as the leg rest - it looks robust enough :-) - but no.
Just for illustration, we have put my middle son, 4-years-old Felix, into the Nio. Of course, he is not using a stroller anymore.
Anyway, a picture of a child weighing 15kg and averaging 102 cm in the seat unit will help you get a better idea about the stroller's proportions and accommodation capabilities. The hood was already touching his head, but the manipulation with the stroller was still easy. Therefore, I would say that even in such a case, the Nio will do for occasional use.
The shoulder part of the 5-points harness is excellently padded. Thanks to the velcro and a popper, the padding holds firmly in place. No more slipping or being pulled down by a child while getting off the stroller.
The padding of the crotch belt is also adequate. Sometimes, when it slipped up, and I had to pull it down again before securing the seat belt, I wished for a popper here too. Even so, the padding didn't come loose.
I have a small reservation to the puzzle system of securing the seat belts, where you have to connect the top straps with the lower ones before clicking them into the buckle. They go apart every time the child leaves the seat unit, so when putting him or her back, you have to connect them all over again. It is not complicated by itself, but for sure can be challenging, especially in situations when the child doesn't want to stay still.
The advantage of such a safety belt is, however, the effortless installment of a seat liner or a footmuff and the possibility of using the harness in the 3-points version when the child is older (or when the top belts become unnecessary for some reason).
The bumper bar is, in my and my testers' opinion, at the right height. It is bent, which makes its shape not only nice-looking but also functional and easy to use.
We have experienced just one small issue: I didn't realize, once opened, that the bumper bar has to be secured in the right position by a little push to stay open. I was saying to myself angrily - who makes a fold-away bumper bar that is not holding in place after opening?! :-D Felix sorted this problem out when, without any help, he opened the bumper bar and pushed it a bit. After that, it just stayed so. I was speechless, the opened bumper bar is holding in place after all, and it was just me who couldn't figure it out ;-).
After this, our overall rating of the bumper bar went to 100%. I wouldn't change a thing about it. Even the system of securing it into a place using flat bars (instead of the usual, thinner pegs) is straightforward, making fitting it back into holes oh-so-easy. The large-ish side buttons for loosening it out are plain (in a good way) - and completely functional.
Despite its good width and the fact that the stroller is not very robust, its chassis is a sturdy-enough. It will get along with almost everything you throw at it :-)! We have tackled not only usual, everyday sidewalks but also off-road, gravel, shopping malls… I have to say - thanks to maneuverability and well-thought dimensions, the Nio pushchair coped pretty much everywhere. I have even managed to push the stroller one-handedly over demanding terrain. Going shopping, I only needed to use "one finger" - the perfect center of gravity, right proportions of the stroller and the wheels, together with the well-designed suspension system worked wonders in the quality of push area.
In the beginning, the plastic material of the chassis squeaked slightly - mainly in the right central part. I am glad to report that the plastic joints only needed a good squirt of silicone oil.
The folding system of the Mutsy Nio stroller consists of a few steps, but overall, it is quite intuitive and over in seconds. It only took two or three practice runs to start me thinking - why other (even better, or all) strollers don't come with the same (or at least a similar) system? After tilting the seat forward, you need to lower the handlebar, and by using side buttons (push upwards), flip the handlebar forward. Finally, by pushing the central handles on sides, the rear part of the chassis will "fall down", finishing the process.
Because of the larger wheels, however, the Nio is quite bulky even when folded. It fitted well into the boot of our sedan, but to fit a small car trunk, you will need to take the wheels off - which means an extra step. If the boot of your car is truly tiny, I would suggest looking for a more compact stroller, to be honest.
The unfolding is done in reverse, but first, you have to release the automatic safety locking latch located on the right side of the handlebar before doing it. As the locking mechanism is on the inside part of the bar, it is quite well hidden. In the first days of our testing, it took me some time to find it. Therefore, I would recommend having a good look and once you find it, memorize the location :-D
Although you can fold the stroller with the seat in the parent-facing configuration, the fold is not as tidy as when it is looking forward. The folded, rearward-facing stroller is also a bit less compact.
The wheels of the Nio are made of light, no-maintenance EVA foam. The foam found on the Nio is high-quality - you don't have to worry about stuck pieces of stones and gravel. This is my idea of well-made foam wheels! With the Mutsy Nio wheel measurements of 23 cm in the front and 29 cm in the back, the wheels are slightly larger than average - similar in diameter to the size of air-filled wheels.
Compared to other solid wheels, these won't have problems going through uneven terrain or grass. We have managed even an off-road, and I didn't run out of steam.
Despite the urban design, the Nio can, therefore, handle an occasional all-terrain you will undoubtedly come across - even in a town or a city. There is also an option to lock the front wheels, but I didn't use it much (I never do, truth to be told).
The shock-absorbing suspension is individual for each wheel. I found it adequate for the size and type - even a bit above average. While the Nio is not at all designed to be a rocking stroller, it will still allow you to rock your baby slightly if needed. Thanks to the suspension of the wheels and the natural suspension of the L-shaped chassis, the stroller can negotiate unevennesses quite smoothly, without much rattling or shaking the little one inside the pram or the pushchair seat.
The frame is rather quiet, too (except the initial squeaking that disappeared after spraying the joints with silicone oil). I could hear my steps more often than the actual stroller.
The Mutsy Nio features a simple, cradle-style foot brake (activates and deactivates by stepping it from the top). The central brake pedal is located next to the right wheel. The brake is functional and flip-flop friendly - it won't damage your shoes. Even my oldest Florian (5 years old) mastered the technique of activating and deactivating the brake without any instructions from my part.
A few times, I didn't push the brake with enough strength, which made it return to the non-braked position - it takes time to get used to any stroller and the way it works.
The Storage Basket
At first glance, the Mutsy Nio storage basket doesn't look massive. One closer look, and you will see that is it's actually very deep, compared to the norm of stroller baskets. The depth of the stroller contributes to its higher volume (and, therefore, capacity). I have managed to easily load it with some shopping, drinks for kids and me, jackets and vests… After that, it is safe to say that the basket is large and spacious. The access is easier when the seat unit is in forward-facing mode.
In the parent-facing configuration, you may struggle a little, getting in and out anything apart from small items.
The dimensions of the Nio shopping basket are 36 x 32 x 20 cm (length x width x height).
And there is another extra advantage! I managed to fold the stroller when it was loaded. I can't remember the last time I was able to do such a thing!
So if you need a stroller for occasional shopping and you always have plenty of things or a pushbike to carry, I would certainly recommend the Nio.
MUTSY NIO SUMMARY
I rate the Nio as a well-made model, meeting most of the criteria we expect from a full-sized stroller. Small details and practical functions will make your day-to-day life much more comfortable. Many features are so intuitive that you don't need to learn them or get used to them. For me, the strongest points of this elegant stroller are the simple maneuverability and easy manipulation - the characteristics I am interested in first when choosing a stroller.
If I had to use numbers to rate the Nio, I would give it 80%. Although I really can't underline the importance of the great maneuverability enough, I think the hoods of the carrycot and the seat unit still need improving - and so does the leg rest. I would also like to see a bit more compact fold.
I want to emphasize that this stroller is fabulously pleasant to use and, therefore, suitable for parents looking for a comfortable everyday companion.
If the Nio is just not for you, and if you need some inspiration or more options, here are some strollers from the similar category to look up: the Oyster 3 from Babystyle, the Britax Smile 3, the Nuna Mixx Next, the Easywalker Rudey, or the more affordable ABC Design Salsa 4.
MUTSY NIO SUMMARY IN NUMBERS:
Dimensions - unfolded: 109 x 57 x 84 cm
Dimensions - folded: 76 x 57 x 41 cm
Handlebar height: 96-105 cm
Seat unit measurements: 51 cm (backrest), 30.5 x 26 cm (sitting surface)
Front wheel diameter: 23 cm ~ 9 inch
Rear wheel diameter: 29 cm ~ 11.4 inch
Shopping basket dimensions: 36 x 32 x 20 cm
Seat unit weight capacity: 15 kg
Basket weight capacity: 3 kg
This is an unpaid review describing the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the Mutsy Nio stroller system, and it is based solely on our own experience. The aim was to provide honest information for moms thinking to purchase this - or any other - stroller.