Chicco Cortina Baby Stroller Reviews
Priced at the lower range of our stroller line-up, we were pleasantly surprised at what the Chicco Cortina had to offer. It retained many of the favorite features we found amongst pricier counterparts. It has some unique features as well, like the “Memory Recline,” which keeps the seat reclined to the same position as during the previous use; and compared to other similar strollers, it has a much firmer and more comfortable handlebar. However, if you are looking for a stroller that has great maneuverability, even if only on paved streets, you may want to look elsewhere.
More often sold as a travel system which includes both stroller and Keyfit car seat, the Chicco Cortina is also available as a stand alone unit. This review focuses on the stroller alone, and compares it to other strollers you might consider.
Overall, it’s a pretty good stroller that comes with all the convenient parts like child and parent trays and has a special seat reclining feature that makes each trip out the door more efficient.
The Chicco Cortina scored a 6 out of 10 in Ease-of-Use. It is solidly constructed with what we found to be durable, easy-to-clean material and a sturdy aluminum frame.
We found this stroller to have a very easy fold. The fold mechanism is conveniently right beneath the parent handle. It can be done one-handed, and we found a couple different ways that worked well for us. One thing we noticed, is that the stroller will not fold with the seat in full recline and the handle down. Nonetheless, the process is really quite fluid, leaving you with a stroller that reliably self-locks, stands on its own, and is very easy to wheel along behind you, which is super for airports.
Unfolding is just as easy! Completed with a single motion, even from a fully standing position. There is an audible snap when the stroller is locked and ready-to-go.
As easy as it is to fold and unfold, however, its tall and bulky size when folded makes it awkward and cumbersome to load into and out the back of a car. However, the parent handle and the sturdy rim of the storage basket are left exposed on top, and they make for two comfortable, convenient “lift handles” which make going from ground to car bearable.
Although not capable of switching from rear-facing to forward-facing like many seats in luxury strollers, the seat has a function that we find particularly useful. Its “Memory Recline” feature means that when you fold and re-open the stroller, the seat will end up in the same position you last had it in. This is really convenient for when you’re using it with an infant car seat as the seat must be fully reclined to accept the infant seat. Memory Recline is also nice for quick loading and unloading as it provides one less step to think about.
The parent handle has a comfy foam-covered grip and adjusts to three heights with a wide range of 28″ to 43.5″. The parent tray has one fairly sturdy cup holder and a lidded storage area that is too small to fit an iPhone.
This stroller has a very large storage basket that can only be accessed from the rear. It fits a large diaper bag and then some. One downfall is that it is hard to access when the seat is reclined flat.
This stroller scored very low in maneuverability. Overall, we found it to have loose and unresponsive strolling making it very difficult to push one-handed, and transitions felt rough and less controlled than with other strollers we tested in this review. With this stroller, the all-wheel suspension and locking, double, small, 6.75″ front swivel wheels fall flat. We recommend using this stroller only for smooth, paved surfaces.
On pavement, we found it difficult to turn because there is a lot of flex in the frame and its handle flexes a lot when going up and down small staircases. During tight turns, this stroller repeatedly ran into obstacles. Even with double front wheels we did not feel this stroller was suitable for unpaved or rough terrain like gravel, gaps between pavers, and small ledges. Additionally, we found this stroller quite forward-tippy, actually tipping forward with maneuvers such as going down a 6″ curb. In fact, our testers repeatedly found that they would kick the back of the stroller when walking and negotiating down small staircases.
This stroller also scored poorly in safety in our testing, a 3 out of 10. Primarily with the brakes being a weak point.
The one-touch linked brakes have nice rounded edges and are comfortable when wearing sandals though a little sticky to lift upwards. Nonetheless, we found 2.5″ of play (rocking back and forth) in the brakes when they are set, the most we experienced in our review alongside theEvenflo Journey. Most disturbingly however, we discovered that if the brake on each rear wheel was not seated properly, that both brakes might disengage. This occurred in our testing many times. We would advise parents using this stroller to double-check tapping each side to make sure the brakes are fully applied and secure each time the brake is used.
Furthermore, in our backwards tip-over test, this stroller performed below average, tipping backwards with 19 lbs 2 oz of weight on the handlebar. This is not a stroller we’d recommend hanging a diaper bag on the handlebar, as the extra weight would make the stroller too tippy, from our point of view. It performed above average in our sideways tip over test.
The 5-point harness has a simple, one-pull mechanism for loosening and tightening it. There is not crotch strap adjustment, however. The tray seems to be in the way as well, especially when using the harness.
This stroller did average in Quality/Durability. We feel that the frame has lots of wobble, the child tray that seems flimsy, and the seat material is prone to overheating.
There is no getting around it, this stroller large when folded and fairly heavy at 22 lbs 5 oz.
Though Chicco specifies it to hold a child up to 50 pounds, your child is very likely to outgrow it a lot sooner than that. It has a very narrow seat without much elbow room and was more than cozy for our average-sized 3 year old tester. And, there is no way our 42 pound 5 year old tester would fit into this stroller.
It took us 16:38 (min:sec) to set up this stroller and we gave it a score of 4 out of 10 in Ease-of-Set-up. The manual is pretty clear, but assembly is tricky with pins and washers for the rear wheel assembly.
The Chicco Cortina does okay on its own, separate from its highlighted use as a travel system. Its a simple stroller with some handy amenities, but is simply bulky. This is a common complaint of travel systems, in general, so this stroller’s weight and shape match those of its competitors.
Its big strengths are good storage, easy fold and unfold, comfy handlebar, and a memory recline seat. We recommend using it only on smooth terrain, such as strolling through town or at the mall.
As mentioned, because it is cumbersome to load and unload, you may want to consider an infant car seat stroller frame for the first year and an umbrella stroller afterwards if you will be day in and day out driving the car to your strolling destination or on public transportation.
The Cortina is a decent value with a list price of $180. However, for $50 less, we highly recommend that you look at the Baby Trend Expedition, which also functions as a jogging stroller and has a much smoother ride. Many parents are attracted to the bundle price of the travel system, in that the combination of the stroller and car seat can be obtained at an attractive price. However we feel that this stroller, while seemingly a good deal early on, is not the best solution in the first year, and other strollers significantly outperform it as baby gets older. We advocate considering the long-term use of a stroller, and urge you to make a choice that will serve you over a 3-4 year period.
This basic stroller compares to the Evenflo Journey and the Graco FastAction Fold as it’s usually purchased within a travel system, although it is a bit sturdier and heavier than both of the aforementioned less expensive stroller models. The adjustable, firm-grip handlebar also adds to this stroller’s sturdier feel as well, but the Evenflo Journey maneuvers better, is just under 4 lbs lighter, and is half the price. The Cortina does have a 5-point harness, however, unlike the above compared two strollers, a very important feature for baby’s safety.
Other Versions and Accessories
Available in the four distinct designs (Element, Elm, Cubes and Fuego), the Cortina is fully equipped without any additional accessories sold separately.