Spotlight Product Review: Valco Baby Matrix

Matrix_picDo you love the Valco Baby Tri Mode but just can’t pony up that much cash for it?  Good news!  The newest addition to the Valco Baby family is the Matrix which is a more budget friendly version of the Tri Mode.  Valco Baby has modified some of the features so that it can offer the Matrix at about $100 less than the Tri Mode.  Don’t worry though because you are still getting a fantastic, well-made Valco Baby stroller!

Like the other Valco Baby strollers, we love the fabulous, chic but sporty look of the Matrix. The Matrix sports a large, roomy seat that accommodates even our larger kids. With a weight capacity of 48 lbs, we found that even our 5 year old could jump in for a ride. The seat is 14 inches wide and has a 19 inch seat back and measures 23 inches from seat back to top of canopy.  Our older tester at 5 years old and 43 inches could comfortably sit in the seat without her head hitting the canopy. It has an adjustable, non-padded 5-point harness that has the same great Valco Baby buckle that is easy for mom to do but nearly impossible for kids! Our mischievous testers tried and tried but couldn’t figure out how to get the buckle undone so they had no choice but to stay in their seat.  Love that, Valco Baby!!

The seat sports a baby bumper bar but there is no parent or baby tray, as well as, no cup holders. There is a strap recline but since it is the easy “one touch” Valco recline, it is just as easy to do as our beloved bar recline.  You can recline the seat to any position with one hand including nearly flat for newborns.

In terms of storage, there is a large basket underneath the seat that will hold a large diaper bag or baby essentials. For additional storage, there is a large pocket on the back of the canopy for parent essentials such as a wallet, keys and/or cell phone. Three sides of this storage pocket zip off and can be rolled up to expose a mesh window that allows air to circulate through the stroller, keeping baby cool. We love this feature especially for the summer!

The canopy, complete with mesh peek-a-boo window, is sturdy and rounded to allow for more headroom but isn’t the biggest on the market.  We did find that our little baby legs would occasionally be exposed to the sun causing us to add a canopy extension. Valco does offer an optional zip in sunshade/insect net (it zips to the front of the canopy) that is great option as well.  We do want to note that the canopy has a loud clicking (ratcheting) sound when you adjust it.  The fact that it ratchets forward will keep it in place when it is a super windy day but just don’t adjust it while your little rider is sleeping!

The handle bar is adjustable up and down in 8 positions from 27-41” for taller and shorter parents, which is great. If we had to make one addition, it would be that the handle bar would telescope out as well to keep taller parents with a long stride farther from the frame to prevent extra tall parents from kicking the frame.

The 12” large air filled tires with rear wheel shock absorbers (or suspension) provide a really smooth ride for baby even on rough or rocky terrain. The front swivel wheel can be changed to three different positions: Full swivel (360 degrees) for turning in tight spaces, like stores and busy mall, fully fixed that locks the front wheel straight for light jogs and trails, and 45 degrees for long walks with minimal tight turns. The wheel position can be changed easily with a knob on the footplate.  It also has a one-touch wheel brake bar that is easy to apply and keeps the stroller locked in place.  This brake bar is one of the features that is cheaper on the Matrix than on the TriMode.

The large air-filled tires charge through all kinds of different terrain and give the Matrix great maneuverability. Grass, playground mulch, even snow – no problem! We found it can be used for trails, hiking, running, and just running our errands. While other companies are forgetting to include a tire pump with their all-terrain strollers, Valco Baby gladly includes one with the Matrix just in case the tires need a little extra air.  Thanks, Valco Baby!!

The Matrix basically folds in half into a compact fold, making transporting this stroller great regarding the size. There are a couple steps to folding the stroller but we found that they are easy and quick to do. There is a manual locking strap on the side to lock the stroller closed for transporting. Like always, we’d love an automatic lock but are appreciative at a lock at all. 

Weighing in at 23 lbs, we had no trouble lifting this stroller in and out of our trunks. The rear tires pop right off with a push of the button to make an even more compact package!  It by no means is the weight of an umbrella stroller, but we found it to be in the lower weight range for all-terrain, full-size strollers.  The stroller itself has a 48 lb capacity and a 90 lb capacity with the toddler seat attached.

A great feature of the Matrix (just like the TriMode) is that it works with the Valco Baby toddler seat.  The toddler seat attaches to the front of the stroller for an older child to hitch a ride turning it into a double in no time at all. We found this seat is great for closely spaced siblings when you would like to pass on the huge double stroller. The toddler seat attaches and detaches easily so that you can have the option of a double when you need it and a single when you don’t. Plus, since the seat goes on the front, the stroller stays only as wide as a single, allowing you to navigate through any doorways easily.

Now turning a single into a double stroller sounds great, right?  The Matrix takes it a step further and can be turned into a triple by adding the Valco Baby Hitch Hiker (riding board) for an older child to hop on for a ride.  Talk about growing with your children!!!

Like the idea of a pram?  There is also an optional bassinet that is available for the Matrix (same one as for the TriMode) and we think hands down it’s the nicest stroller bassinet on the market. If you are getting this stroller when you have a newborn, you must consider adding the bassinet. The inside of the bassinet is large and so soft that we wish our own beds were this nice. If we could crawl inside and take a nap, we would. Valco also offers a separate stand for the bassinet to be used at home.

If you don’t want to take it as far as removing the seat to make it a pram, consider the new Valco Baby Husssh Bassinet.  This innovative bassinet inserts directly into the stroller seat to turn the seat into a plush, luxury bassinet. 

Valco also offers optional car seat adapters to use the stroller as a travel system with Graco, Peg Perego, Britax and Maxi Cosi infant car seats. The car seat adapter does go into the same slot as the toddler seat would, so you cannot use the toddler seat and the car seat adapter at the same time.

Other optional accessories for the Matrix are: foot muff, universal cup holder, travel bag, diaper bag, canopy for toddler seat, car seat adapters, zip in sunshade/insect net, and snack tray.

This well designed stroller retails for $375 with the optional bassinet adding another $150. This stroller will definitely last you from birth through your stroller years. 

*Differences between Matrix and Tri Mode:  Tri Mode has a larger canopy, included rain cover, seat headhugger infant head rest, three additional colors, 2 side storage pockets on the basket, different tires, a different brake system, and a $100 higher price tag. 

To watch my full video review of the Valco Baby Matrix, click the video below:

matrix

SHOP Valco Baby Matrix

About Hollie Schultz

Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz is the proud mom of three adorable kids. This certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) Tech and baby gear expert is the host of the Baby Gizmo video reviews giving moms the inside look at baby products before they purchase them. Hollie is also the co-author of The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide. A former resident of Los Angeles, she and her family now live in Chicago. She loves the city but hates the cold!

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