Both the Kangacruz and the Cricket are lengthwise collapsible, so they will (barely) fit in the back of a pickup truck with a raised gate. They both have published carrying capacities of around 600 pounds, travel at about the same speeds and have about the same battery life.
The Kangacruz Aspire SS
|Kangacruz Aspire SS (from their web site)|
The problem with the Kangacruz was their ongoing promises that the SS model was "coming soon". Initially, it was to be available in early and we were told that it would be ready on time. Then they said it was delayed to the summer because some parts were on backorder. That changed to late fall, and so on. I corresponded with them by e-mail and they were very nice, but had nothing that they could sell me.
When it came time for the Tampa RV Show in early 2017, they told me that they planned to actually have one at the show. I noted that their booth at the show seemed to be inside of an expo hall and asked them if we'd be able to drive it. Their answer was "no", it would not be available to test drive; just available to look at.
On the 18th of January, the opening day of the Show, we went to the Kangacruz booth early and looked at the prototype of the new SS. And even though we were one of the first ones to visit them, we were told that we would have to pay them over $4000 now and that shipment "might be in March or April". Not only were they kicking the can again, they had reduced the recommended weight back to 600 pounds from their earlier online listing of specifications.
At that point, we decided that we didn't want to put our faith in Kangacruz because 1) they had been promising shipments for about 18 months and still wouldn't provide a firm delivery date, 2) the weight limit matched the more popular Crickets, and 3) they are located in Canada, which worried us in case it might ever need service.
The Cricket SX-3
The Cricket SX-3 cart weighs about 305 pounds, collapses to about 58" in length, and seems to be the most popular collapsible golf cart we could find anywhere. In the months leading up to the 2017 Tampa RV Show, we were told by a local Florida Cricket dealer that they would not be shown at the show as they had in some previous years.
To our surprise, we saw the outdoor Cricket display at the Show shortly after we had walked away from the Kangacruz booth. The sales people willingly handed us a key to one and told us to take it for a spin, on our own, away from their area. We did and were impressed that such a small cart did such a great job.
The seats on the Cricket are just wide enough to fit two adults. It's tight, but not uncomfortable. The back seat folds down to make a bed that can be used to haul anything from groceries to camping chairs. It's top speed is about 8-10 miles per hour.
One of the things I never liked about the Crickets was that the steering wheel was in the center of the cart. With the new 2017 version, that has been changed and the wheel is thankfully more towards the left-hand side. Their later models also feature LED headlights, which is either good or bad depending on your opinion of extremely bright lights on such a small cart.
Options included a top frame that has a vinyl cover at the top that is tied to the frame, a long rear-view mirror, and a plexiglass windshield. There's also a cart cover (only used if top frame isn't in place) and a rainproof slip-cover that fits over the entire cart (top frame included, with windows on the front and side).
|Our Cricket, bought at the 2017 Tampa RV Show|
We liked it a lot, and decided to buy it with the standard (no-top) cover, top frame, mirror and windshield. We also got a pair of aluminum ramps so we could load it into our pickup truck. The ramps were about $200. The total price, which had to be paid using cash or check, was in the neighborhood of $4300. We got to pick our color (candy apple red) on the spot and after about a half hour of some top assembly and instructions, were able to drive it away into the fairgrounds and use it during the Show.
The Cricket sales people were very nice at the Tampa Show. They apparently were getting about 10 of them every day of the show and were selling them all. If you think you may want to get one at the show, I recommend that you get there on Wednesday (opening day) so that you can pick your colors and options - and drive it home. You'll also be able to use in inside of the show each day - a real bonus.
Cricket post-buy review
Now that we've had it a while, we still love our Cricket. However, there are some things that are definitely worth noting:
- They told us at the show that it should carry more than 600 pounds. We were concerned because you sometimes may want to take four "larger" adults. We tried it out and it seems capable, but it can "bend up" (picture an upside down "V") with all of the weight. It does a lot better if you put the two heaviest people in the front seat.
- One of the biggest reasons we wanted a Cricket was because it could collapse to fit in the bed of our truck. However - and this is important - you can't collapse it unless you remove the frame for the top; the top won't collapse. So, if you want to collapse it, you have to remove the entire top and store it (it's pretty large), or break the top frame down into pieces by removing 8 bolts, 8 nuts, and 16 washers. Not good at all if you plan to take your cart in and out of your truck/SUV a lot. In the long run, I decided to remove my truck topper so that we could fit the un-collapsed cart in our truck while traveling. We will have to remove the vinyl top, windshield and rear footrest each time, but that's a lot better than removing or dismantling the entire frame.
- The charging cord isn't long. To charge it at night without an extension cord, I had to park it about two feet from my coach and use a plug in the basement area. One morning, I went out, turned the key and drove off - cutting the still-plugged-in charging cord. I quickly replaced it with a cord bought at Home Depot, and bought a magnetic reminder strip to put on the steering wheel whenever it's plugged in.
- Those LED lights are bright. Man are they bright. Especially at night.