Web site: chiccousa.com
Chicco (pronounced KEY-ko) has a 50-year history as one of Europe’s leading juvenile products makers. Along with Peg Perego, Chicco is one of Europe’s biggest baby gear brands. When we first started writing about baby gear (way back in the 1990′s), Chicco always played second fiddle to Peg, whose strollers outsold Chicco by a large margin. In recent years, their fortunes have switched: Chicco has seen a string of successes in America, with a popular infant car seat and several lightweight stroller models.
The models. The heart of Chicco’s stroller line is their lightweight models: the Liteway, Echo and Capri (C6).
The Liteway ($109, 17 lbs.) features two handles, rear wheel suspension, padded five-point harness, cup holder and a full recline. We liked the boot that tucks away when not in use. Unfortunately, the Lightway isn’t car seat compatible. For that you need the Liteway Plus ($180) which works with the Chicco infant seat. After you are finished using it with the infant seat, you flip back the stroller seat and it becomes a toddler stroller that has an umbrella fold and weighs 19.2 lbs.
Similar to the basic Liteway, the Echo ($100 for single, $190 for twin) features a four position reclining seat and adjustable leg rest. The main difference between the Echo and Liteway: the Echo has double wheels up front, while the Liteway has single wheels. In our opinion, the double wheels make a stroller easier to steer.
The entry-level Capri (also known as the C6; $80, 11 lbs.) features a two-position seat recline, five-point harness and basic canopy.
As we move up in price, we come to Chicco’s full-size strollers, anchored by the Cortina. It is sold separately ($180, 23 lbs.; pictured) or as part of a travel system ($330, paired with Chicco’s highly rated KeyFit infant seat). The Cortina features a more traditional design with height-adjustable handles and decent size basket. We thought it was well designed—we liked the one-hand fold and fully reclining seat. FYI: There is also an upgraded version of this stroller, the Cortina Magic, that runs $200 and features upgraded fabric, a slightly larger canopy and boot, plus a reversible seat insert.
The Chicco Bravo Trio ($230 stand-alone, $380 travel system, 22.7 lbs.) features a self-standing, quick fold. With a seat that pops off, the frame then can carry the Chicco infant seat. It is similar to the Baby Jogger City Mini 4 wheel and Britax B-Agile. FYI: The Bravo will eventually replace the Cortina over the coming year. The Bravo LE has upgraded fabrics for an extra $20.
The Chicco Neuvo straddles the full-size and umbrella stroller categories—the Neuvo has umbrella-style handles and fold, but also features a multi-position reclining seat, child’s tray and two-position leg rest. The Neuvo is sold as a travel system with an infant car seat ($196-$280).
Chicco has been expanding their stroller offerings in recent years, adding a multi-function stroller (the Urban), an all-terrain model (Activ3/Tre) and stroller frame (KeyFit Caddy).
The Urban ($400-$450) is a modular stroller with telescoping handle, aluminum frame, standing fold, large basket, quick release EVA tires, included car seat adapter for the KeyFit and a reversible seat. This 24.1 lb. stroller also includes a clever seat that converts to a carry cot. The Urban is clearly aimed at the UPPAbaby Vista and is priced aggressively ($200+ cheaper than the Vista).
The Activ3/Tre strollers are Chicco’s take on the tri-wheel, all-terrain market dominated by the BOB Revolution. The Active3 features height adjustable handle, swivel/lockable front wheel, extendible canopy, large basket and included car seat adapter. The Active3 ($300; travel system $460) also has 12″ foam filled tires and a standing fold plus adjustable suspension. The Tre ($300) is an upgraded version of the Active3, with bigger 16″ air-filled wheels, hand brake and upgraded fabrics.
Rounding out the Chicco line is a stroller frame, dubbed the KeyFit Caddy ($100, 11 lbs.). As you might guess, it fits a Chicco KeyFit infant car seat (which pops in with a click) and has a big storage basket plus a height adjustable handle. The frame only fits Chicco infant seats, however.
Finally, lest we forget, Chicco makes two double strollers: the Cortina Together and Echo Twin. The Cortina Together ($300, 30 lbs.) is a front/back tandem stroller that holds two car seats and features an aluminum frame, a storage basket with trap door access, three-position handle and flat fold. Chicco also makes a double version of the Echo, the Echo Twin ($190, 30.5 lbs.). This stroller is a Target exclusive.
Our view. Chicco’s strength is their lightweight strollers, which combine good quality and affordable prices. We like the Liteway best, but the entry-price Capri is great for travel and mall trips. Fans like the overall design, ease of use and (in the case of the Liteway Plus) compatbility with the KeyFit infant seat. Critics note the Liteway isn’t that light (at 20 lbs., it stretches the definition) and the Capri’s skimpy canopy pales in comparison with Uppa Baby G-Luxe (but, of course, that costs twice as much).
One caveat to Chicco’s strollers are the handles, which in most models are not height adjustable. That frustrates taller parents.
Chicco’s full-size strollers earn kudos, especially the Cortina. Fans cheer the easy steering, one-hand fold and padding (critics point out when folded, the Cortina is a bit bulky). We also would recommend Chicco’s double strollers, especially the Echo Twin.
Bulk and weight are the main drawbacks with the Chicco Urban, which otherwise earns cheers for its multi-function feature that can morph into six different modes. A color pack lets you change the stroller’s look; the price at $400 is also attractive since competitors are in the $500-$700 range. But the Urban can’t fold with the seat attached—you have to remove the seat first. Even when folded, the Urban will take up a large amount of trunk space. So a mixed bag for the Urban: good value, but competitors like UPPA, Baby Jogger City Select and Britax B-Ready outshine the Urban on usability.
Overall, we think Chicco is a good brand and the prices are a decent value. Baby Bargains Resale Rank: Good. Rating: B+