Chicco Cortina Travel System Review

Chicco Cortina Travel System

The Chicco Cortina travel system is one of the best travel systems available these days. While many travel systems scrimp on either the stroller or the car seat to bring the cost of the whole system down, the Chicco Cortina system features the outstanding Key Fit 30 infant car seat and the Cortina stroller, which is a bit heavy, but full-featured and sturdy. If you're planning to buy a travel system, put this one at the top of your list.

Chicco Cortina Features

The Chicco Cortina stroller makes up the base of this travel system. It weighs about 23 pounds and has a one-hand fold feature, an adjustable handle, a decent-size basket, and a fully reclining seat. You can also swing open the front toddler tray to let toddlers get in and out on their own. Both parent and baby have cup holders on the Cortina stroller, which is to be expected at this price range. The stroller has a suspension system to give a smoother ride for baby, too. The Key Fit 30 infant seat has built-in lock-offs for lap/shoulder belts, a single-strap pull-latch installation system, dual bubble levelers, and a very deep, EPS-foam-lined shell.

Chicco Cortina Pros

The Cortina stroller is not as bulky as many other travel system options. The frame feels sturdy without being exceedingly heavy, and it doesn't have the poor durability track record that plagues other travel system strollers in the lower price ranges. When folded, the Cortina stroller is about 12 x 21 x 40, so it fits in almost any trunk or cargo area.

The steering on the Cortina stroller is good on smooth and moderate terrain. This is a mall, sidewalk and park stroller—the plastic wheels are certainly not made to handle off-road adventures regularly. The 50-pound weight limit is better than most standard strollers.

The one-hand fold mechanism is also easy to operate. Just grab the handle on the parent tray, squeeze and pull up on it. The stroller almost does the rest for you. It also latches closed automatically, so you can just pick it up and stow it without fussing with latches.

A memory recline feature puts the seat back in the previous position when you unfold the stroller—very convenient when using it with the car seat. The full recline on the seat means you can use the stroller for newborns without the car seat, another plus. The basket is big enough for an average-size diaper bag, and you can access the basket even when the seat is reclined, a problem on other travel system strollers.

What We Like
  • Sturdy and durable

  • Fits easily into most car trunks

  • Good steering on smooth terrain surfaces

  • Holds up to 50 pounds

  • One-handed folding mechanism

What We Don't Like
  • Front tray release is tricky to operate

  • The car seat sits deep, so it can take some effort to secure

  • If you're tall, you may kick the axels

  • One-handed steering is nearly impossible with a full load

Chicco Cortina Cons

Like most full-featured travel system strollers, the Cortina is a bit heavy. At 23 pounds, you may not relish loading and unloading it during a full day of errands and play dates. However, there are few travel system strollers that weigh less, so the Cortina stroller certainly isn't the worst choice in terms of stroller weight.

The front tray release is hard to operate and sticks sometimes, especially when it's new. It can loosen up over time.

The car seat sits deep in the stroller, which is good, but you must make sure the seat latches fully into the stroller.

Tall parents may find that they kick the axles of the Cortina stroller when walking at a fast pace. The height-adjustable handle helps on this, but may not be enough for taller-than-average parents.

While the steering is good for a big travel system stroller, it's not top-notch among strollers overall. One-hand steering becomes nearly impossible when the stroller is fully loaded.

Should You Buy This Travel System?

While the Cortina stroller won't handle like a $500 stroller, it'll definitely tackle trips to the mall or park with relative ease, and with a much lower price tag.

If you're planning to buy a travel system, the Chicco Cortina travel system is likely the best available right now. The Cortina stroller is lighter than most others in this category and Chicco has managed to address some of the most annoying issues with other travel system strollers, such as basket access when the seat is reclined, size when folded, durability and maneuverability.

If you need a stroller that can handle rough terrain on a regular basis, the Cortina probably isn't right for you. City dwellers who need to carry their stroller up and down lots of stairs or must navigate tight spaces may want to look at super-lightweight strollers in a higher price range to take advantage of better maneuverability. For those that like the Chicco stroller style but also want to be able to use their car seat with a lightweight stroller frame, take a look at the multi-mode Chicco Bravo Trio travel system.

By Heather Corley
Heather Wootton Corley is a mother, freelance writer and certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor.