The Chicco Cortina Travel System is compatible with two of the most highly rated infant car seats, the Chicco KeyFit 22 and the KeyFit 30. While experts love this combination, many owners say they buy a lighter, more comfortable stroller for their child as soon as they outgrow the car seat, which could be as early as two months if it's purchased with the KeyFit 22.
Highly rated car seat. The Cortina comes with one of two infant car seats, along with a base that stays in the car. Both seats have the highest safety ratings from every independent testing organization and snap in securely. The stroller has one-touch, linked rear brakes, and the front swivel wheels lock for extra stability. Some users complain that the stroller isn't a good fit for infants or smaller toddlers because its five-point padded harness doesn't tighten sufficiently.
One-handed simplicity. Basically all of the features on the Chicco Cortina are one-handed: the fold and unfold, recline and car seat attachment/detachment. It locks when folded, and the child tray is removable to make it easier to get the rider in and out. At 23 pounds, it's not the heaviest stroller out there, but it's not light, either. Be sure you can lift that weight in and out of a trunk. Some stroller owners say the Cortina is hard to steer with an older, heavier child in the seat, and gets harder to fold and unfold the longer it's used.
Car seat a great choice, stroller maybe not. Parent reviewers consistently praise the Chicco KeyFit car seats, saying their plush padding and infant inserts cradle their babies snugly and securely. However, many also recommend buying a better stroller to go with the car seat.
The Cortina stroller has a weight rating of birth to 50 pounds, but a number of critics say infants and small children don't fit well. Specifically, when the footrest is pulled up to make the infant enclosure, it's too small for larger infants and the five-point harness doesn't snug up well on smaller babies.
On the other end of the weight range, owners say the seat doesn't sit fully upright, which bothers their toddlers. One posts that her toddler sat back so far he couldn't reach the snack tray. The Cortina has a large seat and lots of headroom, so if your child can tolerate the slight recline, he or she should be comfortable. In addition, a "memory recline" remembers the last position the seat was in before it was folded. Yet as much as Chicco touts that feature, only one of thousands of reviewers even mentions it.
The stroller's leg rest is fully adjustable and the handlebars adjust for parents of different heights. Users call the canopy small, but with the car seat on board it offers full coverage. Owners say the basket is also small and very hard to access with the seat reclined. The Chicco Cortina includes a parent tray with cup holders in addition to the child's snack tray.
One big complaint references the sheer bulk of the stroller, with some reviewers going out of their way to find a simile for its size. It has a large fold and takes up most of the trunk space in even larger cars, owners say. Be sure to measure the stroller and your trunk before committing.
A good reputation. According to expert reviews, Chicco has a solid track record when it comes to customer service. The Chicco Cortina Travel System carries an industry standard one-year warranty.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent This well-researched book includes buyer's guides and ratings for all types of baby gear, including car seat and travel system strollers. The authors conduct hands-on testing, and interview parents, manufacturers and retailers. They discuss the Chicco brand in general and the Chicco Cortina Travel System specifically.
Review: Strollers, Diaper Bags, Carriers and Other to Go Gear, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
Review Credibility: Very Good Senior editors of BabyGizmo.com give the Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System an excellent rating of 5 stars out of 5, saying it's easy to maneuver and fold. They also like its adjustable handle and flat recline. The child snack tray is dishwasher safe, and easily removable for a toddler to get in and out of the seat. They do call the canopy rather small and, at 9 pounds, the KeyFit car seat isn't the lightest out there. Still, the Cortina tops the site's list of top five travel systems.
Review: Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System, Senior editors of BabyGizmo.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The Chicco Cortina is one of the top choices in this roundup of three budget travel systems. Cheapism.com focuses on price, narrowing down features of various strollers and recommending those that are the best value. Conover says the Chicco Cortina stroller with the KeyFit 22 seat boasts a top-notch car seat and user-friendly performance.
Review: Chicco Cortina Travel System Review, Raechel Conover, Sept. 20, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 225 owners give the Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5, saying it's easy to maneuver and pushes well even on bumpier terrain. They also love the one-handed fold and unfold. On the downside, even its fans say it's huge, open and closed, and takes up a lot of room in their vehicles. Several also note that the KeyFit infant car seats weigh more than other similar seats.
Review: Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
5. Babies 'R' Us
Review Credibility: Very Good There are literally thousands of reviews of the Chicco Cortina Travel System here, split between the stroller with the 22-pound KeyFit car seat and the Cortina with the 30-pound car seat. It averages 4 stars or better out of 5 across the board, with owners saying it's easy to use, and seems sturdy and durable. There are the usual complaints about the bulky fold and weight, and a number of users say the basket isn't accessible with the seat reclined.
Review: Chicco Cortina Travel System, Contributors to BabiesRUs.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good The Chicco Cortina stroller is included in this roundup of 29 single, traditional strollers. It isn't listed as a travel system, but it's the same stroller sold with the KeyFit infant seat as a travel system. Each stroller is tested for safety, performance, maneuverability and ease of use, but there's no mention of how they're evaluated and little detail about each product. Several of the listed strollers have been discontinued.
Review: Single Car Seat Carrier Strollers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Review Credibility: Good Corley, the About.com guide to baby products, gives the Chicco Cortina Travel System a thorough overview, including pros and cons. She says the Cortina is one of the best available, both price- and feature-wise. She calls it easy to use and likes the full recline. Her main complaints are that it's heavy and may not be the best choice for taller parents despite the adjustable handle. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Chicco Cortina Travel System Review, Heather Corley, Not dated