The Chicco Cortina is sold as both a single stroller and a travel system. It's compatible with the highly rated Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat (*Est. $180). It gets better reviews from experts than from actual users, indicating that it may be a better stroller in theory than in fact. It has all the features parents love in a stroller -- cup holders, parent and child trays, a full recline -- but it doesn't seem to be a good fit for infants and may not be sturdy enough to use to its upper weight limit of 50 pounds.
May not be the safest option for infants. The Cortina has all the safety features parents like, and more: a padded five-point harness, dual one-touch linked brakes, and a baby tray for extra security. However, owner reviews note that the harness doesn't fit infants or smaller toddlers well as it does not tighten sufficiently. In addition, several users say the car seat doesn't always snap in well and it's hard to tell if it's secure.
Age may make features more difficult. The Chicco Cortina gets high marks for its easy fold and unfold, although a couple of reviewers says it gets harder, not easier, as the stroller gets older. It steers fine with younger children but becomes more challenging as they get older, and doesn't maneuver well on anything but smooth surfaces. These complaints about the stroller becoming harder to use over time imply durability issues.
The Cortina's front tray swings out to simplify getting a baby in and out of the seat. The stroller's automatic lock makes lifting and carrying it easier, and the seat pad is removable for machine washing.
Mixed reviews make us look elsewhere. The Chicco Cortina is considered one of the best travel systems on the market by experts; unfortunately, users don't feel the same way. In fact, previous owners recommend buying a better stroller and a car seat that fits it.
The Cortina is fairly heavy at 23 pounds and doesn't fold compactly, so it may not be the best choice for parents who have smaller car trunks or would have to lift it in and out of the trunk numerous times daily. It has good weight ratings -- birth to 50 pounds -- but a number of reviewers 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 babies and the five-point harness doesn't snug up well on smaller infants.
At the other end of the weight range, several owners say the seat doesn't sit fully upright, which bothers their toddlers. It has a large seat and lots of headroom, so if your child can tolerate the slight recline, he or she should be comfortable.
The Cortina comes with a medium-size canopy with peek-a-boo window, parent tray with cup holder and a place to store small items, baby tray with two cup holders, adjustable handles and a large underseat basket. At the lower end of the price point, this stroller is a good value considering its many features.
Standard industry warranty. The Chicco Cortina comes with a standard one-year warranty. We contacted customer service for the folded size of this stroller, and they were prompt and helpful.
The Chicco Cortina gets very high ratings from professional reviewers, but doesn't score as well with owners who use it every day. People seem very happy with the stroller at first, but as they use it more frequently they find many things that don't work for them, such as its weight, bulky fold and poor fit to child.
1. Baby Bargains
Excellent "Baby Bargains" is a popular and well-organized guide to baby-related products. Authors Denise and Alan Fields conduct hands-on testing as well as parent, manufacturer and retailer interviews. Their section on strollers is detailed and offers a wealth of useful information. Both the Chicco brand in general and the Cortina are reviewed and rated against dozens of other popular strollers.
Review: Strollers, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
Very good The editors at ConsumerReports.org rate 35 full-featured strollers for ease of use, maneuverability and safety. While the testing is commendable, editors give virtually no written details about the strollers and the report is outdated, with several models having been discontinued. Durability and the reality of long-term, everyday use aren't taken into account.
Review: Traditional Stroller Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of Oct. 2010
Very good The Chicco Cortina averages 3.5 stars out of 5 in about a dozen reviews spread over a handful of color choices. Several users complain about poor fit, not only for infants when the stroller is fully reclined but also the harness fit on smaller children. Others say it's comfortable for bigger babies, and is sturdy and easy to fold and unfold.
Review: Chicco Cortina Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2012
Very good The Chicco Cortina gets a detailed review, with pictures, followed by more than 100 customer reviews who give it 4.2 stars out of 5. As with Amazon.com, reviews are mixed. Some owners don't like that the seat doesn't sit fully upright. Others say that while the stroller folds easily, it doesn't fold compactly and takes up their whole trunk. Fans like Cortina's adjustable handle, ease of use and compatibility with the Chicco car seat.
Review: Chicco Cortina Stroller, Contributors to ToysRUs.com, As of Aug. 2012
Very good Schultz thoroughly evaluates the Chicco Cortina as a single stroller. It's an older review, but no significant changes have been made to the stroller's design since. She gives the Cortina her highest rating of 5 stars based on its easy fold and unfold, great features and compatibility with a highly rated car seat. She just wishes it had a bigger canopy.
Review: Chicco Cortina Stroller Review, Hollie Schultz, Jan. 1, 2008
Very good Corley, the About.com guide to baby products, gives an in-depth analysis of the Cortina travel system and provides good details on the stroller alone. She likes its smooth steering, ease of use and recline features, but adds that it's heavy and it's easy to kick the axle when walking. (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
7. Celebrity Baby Blog
Fair People.com's Celebrity Baby Blog entry on the Chicco Cortina covers its range of features, including ease of assembly, maneuverability, sun protection and seat performance. We would rate this source higher if it included more information on how (or if) strollers are tested.
Review: Chicco Cortina Stroller: A Full-Size Stroller for Americans with Italian Style, "Kristen", June 25, 2009