November 1, 2004

Graco Quattro Tour: Looks Good At Any Price (But It's Only $100)

graco_quattro_tour.jpgIn 2002, industrial designer Andrew Serbinski was asked by Graco to create a stroller with a new, upscale visual identity. Serbinski took his design cues from the racing bikes and motorcycles his firm Machine Art is known for, and the result is the Graco Quattro Tour.

Trading straight tubular steel construction for graceful arcs and angles, the Quattro is one of the best-looking mid-priced strollers on the market. It almost always catches my eye when I see one on the street, even if it's buried under a mountain of gear, bags, and add-on accessories.

What's wrong with the Quattro is what's wrong with most strollers in the US: they're overloaded nurseries on wheels. If someone has the guts and the discipline to strip all the unnecessary doo-dads from a Quattro, the elegant lines of its structure would stand up just fine against a Bugaboo or any other high-end "designed" stroller.

From the reviews on Amazon, the Quattro's not as light or maneuverable as the Metro Lite, but it's also 100x better-looking, too. The Quattro makes the Metro Lite feel old-fashioned, the kind of stroller Graco wanted to shift its image away from.

Best of all, they're only $99-129, and only $199 with the complete travel system. For a full-sized stroller, that's a lot of design bang for the buck.

Color choices are tough at BabiesRUs; the cleanest is probably the Heat Wave, only $99. The travel system in gray plaid Kenbrook? It's probably not the best color out there. But hey, if you like it, buy it at BabiesRUS.com for $199.
BuyBuyBaby has it in Navy Diamond for $99. And if they gave me $12 a pop for saying so, I might say that's the best-looking option out there.

[5/05 update: Wal-Mart.com has it in Casimir, a black/white check, for $119.

Machine Art, Quattro designer Andrew Serbinski's firm
The Art of Making Things That Look Good and Work [NYT Review of a Pratt design exhibit which included the Quattro.]

12 Comments

We bought one of these for our little girl a couple of months ago. It's a great stroller, but it's enormous. If you love SUV's, this is the one for you. You'll need an SUV to take it anywhere though.

On the up-side, it looks like the basket is big enough to hold a Quinny ZAP, or does that defeat the purpose?

On another note, I was wondering why dads that have decided on a stroller and bought one, then continue to look for the latest and coolest designs... How does that tie in to the whole car design obsession? Is it the wheels? It makes me wonder if it would be a viable business model to lease strollers. That way "cool" parents could trade in their stroller for the latest celebrity endorsed model.

I have the Kenbrook plaid -- I actually really like it. To each his/her own, I guess. I just do NOT like navy, especially for little girls. Anyway, this thing drives as well as it looks -- I can steer it with one hand. I'm glad my old stroller was banged up enough for me to justify getting a new one! It has a huge basket. The manual is about 300 pages though, and putting it together meant actually reading the damn thing. But it seems to be worth it.

I got the grey plaid as well. My thinking was that it would work for either sex. Also, I am so bored with navy strollers. I swear 90% of all the strollers in america are navy. *snooze*

Ok - I know you are not there yet, but is there a decent looking double stroller? Talk about a monster. We got the Sit-N-Stand from Swan because the two-year-old old like the "jump seat" configuration, but the thing is gimongous and isn't much to look at. (The have it at babycenter.com if you wanna take a look.)

Yow. Haven't really started looking at any double strollers yet.

But the idea that you choose a stroller color based on the child's gender is a new one for me. I mean, by that criteria, every second minivan in the country would be purple.

Taken with the "*snooze*" comment, I wonder if women look at strollers from a much stronger 'fashion' perspective than men do. Which is fine, just make sure it matches the dad's outfit, too.

R.E. stroller leasing - I think that two better options would be donating the "old" stroller to an appropriate organization (such as www.babybuggy.org) or selling it on Ebay and donating the money (even a used Bugaboo would fetch enough to outfit several deserving newborns with safe strollers.

As to infant gender role imprinting as it applies to baby gear color selection - this is the same mindset that results in the hair bow/head band "head-binding" phenomena so common in this country (how can any blood reach the brains of those poor kids?!?); if you think that your 8 month old needs to be demonstrating primary or secondary sexual characteristics you are doing WAY more damage to the kid than any stranger will do by confusing their gender. (You know it wasnít too long ago that boys were christened in gowns ñ those men seemed to escape confused gender roles and they were forced to wear dresses, in public, at a very formative age.)

head-binding. heh.

Hm, if they didn't offer them in more than one color, I wouldn't think about color -- I don't freak out if someone thinks she's a boy. :) I just figure I'm the one looking at it and using it, and I might as well like the way it looks and works. And not necessarily in that order of priority.

Too bad it doesn't fold up smaller. As it is, it takes up most of the back of my car.

What's weird is that I saw the picture of this stroller on your site and said, "hmmm... that's not a bad looking stroller." Then I realized I own and use that stroller daily but with mine all loaded down with car seat, diaper bags, and such I didn't even recognize it. It is a pretty good looking stroller if you strip it down, that's just the first time I'd seen it naked.

We have the Quattro Tour as well and love it though it's seriously bulky. We had our eye on the Quattro for quite some time but just couldn't come to grips with the various fabric patterns. When the Metropolitan model finally came out we snapped it up right away. It's plain black and silver and no checkers or tartan design which work with our urban sensibilities :)

I was searching to find the name of our travel system's pattern and I'm almost positive it's Kenbrook (gray with slight purple plaid). And I'm with another poster....it was extremely popular when it first came out and we had to travel 90 miles to another store just to get it. I can't believe it didn't go over well. I'm not into overly girly things and at the time, didn't like pink (it's grown on me over the last 4 years out of necessity) and I did NOT want navy. This was perfect...something ok for a girl but something my husband and I both wouldn't mind carrying or pushing around.

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