4.5 out of 5 stars
For the past couple of months i have been road testing a Britax Affinity Pushchair as part of my role as a Britax Mumbassador. Britax are renowned around the world for their safety and, some would say, conservative design but the Affinity is a super stylish luxury travel system packed full of features.
From its 5 point safety harness and anti-theft system to its clean lines and beautiful, chic design, the Britax Affinity is a prime example of where safety meets style.
In its standard form, the Affinity costs £360 and comes with a choice of 3 chassis colours – black, white or silver. Also included with the chassis is a grey seat unit, a padded newborn insert with wedged bottom and a raincover. There are a fantastic range of colour packs available (Black Thunder, Chilli Pepper, Blue Sky, Cool Berry, Cactus Green and Fossil Brown) so you can customise the pushchair to your own personal. These retail for £48 which i think is amazing value for money as the packs include a hood, seat liner, apron, basket liner, shoulder pads and a buckle pad. The fabrics used are of an excellent quality and feel really luxurious.
It took no more than 15 minutes to assemble and all the parts just click in to place with no tools necessary. The instructions given in the manual are clear and concise although there are also demonstration videos available online should any help be required.
Chassis, Handle Bar & Basket
The design team behind the Britax Affinity have broken the mould of black chunky styling and in it’s place is a sleek stylish design and beautiful seamless curves. It has a lightweight aluminium chassis which makes it extremely easy to carry and detachable CLICK & GO adaptors make it easy to convert the Affinity to a travel system. There are no unsightly joints, screws or welds – the Affinity really does look fabulous.
We opted for a chassis in black which was complimented nicely by the leather covered handle bar. I loved the detailing of the handle joints at either side – the silver metal with the black centre really stands out as a feature on the black frame. The handle bar can be easily adjusted by rotating and locking it in to 1 of 7 different height positions making it very versatile and useable by everyone. It also features two rubber ‘bumpers’ in the centre to prevent any damage to the leather handle bar when folding.
The Affinity’s basket is of a reasonable size and although capable of holding numerous shopping bags, it does need packing correctly as the rear access to the basket is quite shallow and items were able to fall out easily. I would prefer a higher back or an enclosed basket with zipped fastening to feel more confident that items wouldn’t be misplaced or lost when the pushchair is in use. That aside, a nice added touch is the basket liner provided in the colour pack which is held securely in place by poppers and adds a subtle splash of colour.
Seat Unit & Bumper Bar
The Affinity has a fully reversible seat unit with multi-position recline and is a great size, with a width of approximately 33cms and a back height of approximately 50cms. The seat unit features an excellent fully adjustable 5 point safety harness and height adjustable shoulder straps that can be altered between 2 positions. The harness release button itself is a round push button that requires reassuring force to get it open.
The colour pack includes a padded liner, padded shoulder pads and a padded buckle pad, all of which attach to the seat unit easily. The design team at Britax have paid extra attention to detail and convenience here as the shoulder pads popper on at the top of the harness. Thus keeping the shoulder pads in place and making the harness comfortable and a perfect fit for your little one.
The included newborn insert is a welcome and quite frankly, fabulous, addition to the Affinity pushchair. It is a soft padded cushioned wedge that fits into the ‘bucket’ of the seat unit creating a lie flat environment suitable for a newborn baby. Britax have used a lovely fleeced material for this insert and also provided a matching super soft fleece harness and buckle pads. The newborn insert seems to give the baby plenty of length to go both around the insert itself and also the baby which is a feature missing off of many other leading pushchairs.
There are 4 recline positions on the seat unit – from lie flat to very upright, with two semi reclined positions in between. But it’s here that i feel Britax have let themselves down as the recline is facilitated by two triggers and they are not best placed. They are located underneath the front of the seat unit and need pulling down to release the seat and adjust it to the required angle. Reaching these can be especially tricky when the seat unit is rear facing and i have had varying degrees of success as they at times can feel incredibly stiff and awkward to move. Also i have found that you need to crouch down to release the triggers which at present is not an issue but i can imagine it would cause an issue in the months ahead when long coats, skirts etc. would come in to contact with wet and/or muddy ground. I believe a recline trigger on the rear of the seat unit would have been a wiser and more practical solution.
The bumper bar is covered in the same leather material used for the handle bar and is stamped with ‘affinity’ – a tiny detail which gives the pushchair a superior and professional finish. It is gate opening and swivels completely out of the way if required allowing greater access for a child to climb in and out. However, i have two minor issues with this feature – the first being that the bumper’s release button can be quite difficult to locate and secondly that i’ve noticed the bumper gets in the way when my son is trying to drink from his bottle.
The Affinity’s hood is very generous in size and boasts a myriad of features including a front sun shade extension, a zip out mesh ventilation panel at the rear of the hood and a clear, plastic peek a boo window. The window is well placed to see the child but could do with being a bit bigger.
Wheels, Handling, Brakes & Suspension
The Britax Affinity has two small 6″ EVA soft feel lockable, swivel wheels at the front and two large 12″ rubber air filled tyres at the rear. I love how the 2 spoke wheels have had the ‘wave’ of the Britax logo incorporated in to their design – a brilliant touch! These tyres coupled with the built-in front suspension and adjustable rear suspension makes for a gentle, bouncy ride and provides optimum comfort. The Affinity is particularly easy to manoeuvere around and it glides along the pavement, handling rough, smooth or cobbled surfaces perfectly.
As mentioned above this pushchair has adjustable suspension so that the right level can be given for the correct age of child. There is a Hard (H) setting and a soft (S) setting. The two levers are easy to turn and both should be placed on the same setting. One area of the Affinity’s design that i’m not particularly keen on is the front suspension springs, as they are very noticeable and, i feel, detract from the overall look of the pushchair.
I do however love the brakes which are operated by a very simple pedal located on the right hand wheel hub. If you press the red side down then the brakes are applied and if you press the green side down then the brakes are released – quick, clear and easy to see from a glance whether they’re on or not.
The Affinity can fold one of two ways – either with the seat unit completely removed or when it’s attached to the chassis in the forward facing position. The fold itself can be achieved in a swift and easy motion and i’ve experienced no issue with this aspect of the pushchair. You need to locate the two slider buttons which are ideally situated either side of the handle bar, just below the height adjustment joint. The right hand slider has a small button which needs pushing in and then both sliders need pulling towards you so that the Affinity’s frame can ‘break’ midpoint and fold towards the ground. At the last moment push it closed so that the auto lock engages – the pushchair is now folded and freestanding in an upright position.
If folding with the seat unit still attached, it must be placed in the upright position with the handlebar rotated up and as far away from you as possible.
Unfolding is easy peasy as you simply release the auto lock and flip the pushchair open until everything clicks in to place.
Theft Protection System
Britax are the first ever pushchair manufacturer to try and combat theft by allocating each Affinity its own chassis code which can be registered online at code-no.com. The system makes it possible for anyone to carry out a status check of a code number, making the illegal sale of stolen items more difficult and providing, therefore, the registered owner with preventative protection from theft.
Carry Cot & Travel System
The Affinity Pushchair can easily be converted to a travel system using the matching carry cot, available to purchase separately for £110 and/or the Baby Safe Plus SHR II car seat, available to purchase separately for £129. Both of which can be quickly attached to the Affinity’s chassis thanks to the CLICK & GO system. I must admit though, we have had issues when removing the car seat from the chassis and it has on occasions taken quite some force.
Assembly of the carrycot takes a few seconds but i do find that it also requires a lot of strength, sometimes too much, but once erected it feels really sturdy and very safe. It is nicely lined inside with soft complimentary fabrics and has a well padded mattress to fully support newborns.
It takes a brave step and huge commitment for any brand to produce a product that is so different from their normal range, but Britax have taken that leap and most importantly succeeded in producing an excellent, stylish and superb pushchair with the Affinity. With its clean lines, quality feel, chic appearance and range of accessories the value for money on this pushchair is outstanding. It handles brilliantly and to be honest the combination of the handlebar, suspension and air tyres make the Affinity lovely and easy to push.
I only have a couple of negatives and that’s in relation to the seat recline triggers being in an awkward position and the basket not being deep enough to prevent items from falling out- as elements of the pushchair that you would use every day, it’s a shame in my opinion that they are both flawed. It’s so close to being a perfect 5 star product, but these two points just hold it back for me.
4.5 out of 5 stars