The Chicco Cortina travel system is one of the best travel systems available these days. Where many travel systems scrimp on either the stroller or the car seat to bring the cost of the whole system down, The Chicco Cortina travel 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, the Chicco Cortina travel system should be on your list of finalists.
Chicco Cortina Features
The Chicco Cortina stroller makes up the base of this travel system. It weighs about 23 lbs. 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 cupholders 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 "memory recline" feature is unique - it puts the seat back into the same position it was before when you unfold the stroller.
The Chicco Cortina travel system comes with a Key Fit 30 infant car seat. The Key Fit 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 12x21x40, 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 lb. weight limit is better than most standard strollers.
The one-hand fold mechanism is 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, though, 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.
I'm a big fan of both Key Fit car seat versions. The Key Fit 30 gives you more use before it is outgrown, but the regular Key Fit is lighter if you intend to carry it outside the car all the way to the weight limit.
Chicco Cortina Cons
Like most full-featured travel system strollers, the Cortina is a bit heavy. At 23 lbs., you may not relish loading and unloading it on 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 a bit 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 be careful that the car seat latches 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?
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. 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 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.