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Hands-on Gear Review
Chicco Bravo LE Combo Review
Price: $250 List | $249.99 from Amazon
Pros: Console, use stroller canopy with car seat
Cons: Heavy, maneuverability
Bottom line: Difficult to maneuver, only average for car seat attachment
The Chicco Bravo LE standard stroller did not score high enough overall in our tests to be a real contender for a car seat and stroller combination. While the stroller is made to work with the Keyfit infant car seats the attachment is a little harder because the canopy blocks the attachment, giving it the feel of being an afterthought not a thoughtful design. The Bravo has a large storage bin, a good size canopy, and other storage options, but none were that impressive during testing, and we would have gladly sacrificed some of them for a stroller that was easier to push.
RELATED: Our complete review of stroller and car seat combos
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Chicco Bravo LE can be used as a standard stroller or as a frame stroller with the Chicco Keyfit car seats. The infant carrier is used without the seat and canopy attached which means you will need to rely on the infant carrier canopy for protection from the elements. The Bravo can fold with one hand and self-stands. It has all wheel suspension, single action brakes, adjustable handlebar and under seat storage. It is one of the few in this review with a parent tray and will work for children up to 50 pounds using the included toddler seat. No adapter is required to use this stroller with the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Bravo earned a 6 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment. This is slightly above average for the group, but not that impressive for a product that should work better with its native seat than other brand strollers with attached adapters. The Bravo is compatible with the Chicco Keyfit and the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is the only seat we tested with the Bravo. The high for this metric is 10 earned by both Bugaboo strollers, and the low is 1 for the BOB Revolution Flex Combo that has a 2 step installation that includes restraint straps.
So in short, with the canopy and seat attached you will have extra coverage for baby, without the canopy and seat you will be able to install the carrier without obstructions. You will need to apply pressure to the carrier to ensure a full attachment with both methods, and we suggest giving the carrier handle a good tug to double check the connection.
Weight and Folded Size
The Chicco Bravo weighs 23.9 pounds, making it the second heaviest product in the group. The lightest option is closer to 10 pounds for the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX, and the lightest standard stroller (like the Bravo) is about 14 pounds for the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo. Once the Bravo is folded it's the 4th largest product in the group at 11,250 cubic inches in size. This makes it a tougher one to transport, lift, carry, or fit in a trunk. Those with smaller cars might struggle to get this one in and out of a sedan or coupe. The smallest folded option is the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo that measures at about 6,614 cubic inches; even the Cruz is smaller than the Bravo with a size of around 8,000 cubic inches. No matter which type of stroller you are looking for, standard or frame, there is a smaller and lighter option that the Bravo.
Folding the Bravo is very easy compared to much of the competition. It requires 1 hand, has 2 steps and it self-stands and has a carry handle for easier transport. It can also roll when folded in a fashion similar to rolling luggage. You will have to bend to about a 45 degree angle to grasp the handle that pulls to initiate the fold. The handlebar will get worn and dirty if you use the self-stand feature as it relies on the handlebar to stabilize it. It does not offer a locking mechanism of any kind, but you won't need one if you keep it standing. Unfolding is just as easy as folding; it only has 1 step, but it will require 2 hands to accomplish. This unfold is a little awkward at first, but after a few tries we think most parents will find it easy to use.
This stroller isn't the best at commuting and wouldn't be our first pick. The larger size and protruding child's tray make it harder to get into and out of a trunk. And while it does conform to the 2x4 rule on some public transportation so it won't need to be folded and it self-stand if you must fold it, its larger size made it a bad option for smaller stores and eating at a café. The height of the carrier is okay for sitting at tables, but the length of the stroller itself will result in it sticking out in the aisle and causing trouble for your server and other customers.
This stroller is difficult to push and turn even on flat surfaces. It manages smaller space okay thanks to its size, but it is slow going and won't be a quick mover should you need to get out of someone's way. It requires pushing with 2 hands no matter what so you won't have a free hand to answer your phone or take a sip of water while still moving. It struggled even more in rougher terrain and doesn't turn that well in grass and gravel. It wouldn't go over most bumps or the grate in our course. The flex in the frame make it a bad choice for stairs or curbs, because there is very little control on the descent.
For more details on how this stroller performed in our tests for maneuverability please read its full review in our standard stroller category.
Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Combo. The low is a 5 for the Chicco Liteway Plus Combo.
The brakes on the Bravo are double action brakes, which means you have to depress the brake pedal on both sides individually for the brakes to be properly set. We aren't big fans of double action brakes because we worry parents will only set one side and skip the other for various reasons. They are easy to apply and only about average for releasing, but they are sandal foot friendly for the most part. We were able to get the cogs of the brake to skip across the wheel without fully engaging. We thought the brakes were properly set because we heard the click sound and felt the pedal shift down, but they weren't really installed and the stroller could be pushed into rolling with little effort. The play in the brakes is about 0.75 inches once properly set, and the sliding resistance on an incline was poor with the stroller moving further than we felt comfortable with while the brakes were set.
The cup holders in the parent console are 1.75 inches deep. This isn't the best depth and during testing we had some items fall from the holders while strolling. The console and holders are set high and behind baby on the frame near the handlebar. We feel they are a moderate safety concern and encourage parents to either not use them for cups and bottles, or limit the cups and bottles to shorter, lighter products that cannot cause injury to baby should they topple out. Under no circumstances should hot liquids be placed in the holders.
The Bravo's side tip angle is about 18 degrees from flat, which is less than the side tip angle without the car seat attached. The car seat changes the center of gravity of the stroller. The back tip weight of this product is 35.6 pounds hanging from the handlebar before it tipped over backwards. Parents shouldn't place any weight on the handlebar of any stroller, but at least this one could manage a typical diaper bag without tipping should one be accidentally hung from the bar. The Britax performed the best in this test with a weigh over 56 pounds on the back before the stroller toppled.
For more information on safety related testing and score concerning the seat, harness and recline features please see the detailed review of the Bravo in our Standard stroller review.
Ease of Use
This Chicco earned the highest ease of use score in our tests for all the Chicco options in this review. With a score of 7 of 10 for the metric it managed to earn the highest ease of use score in the review. The low for the group is a 3 earned by the Chicco Liteway Plus and umbrella product that did not impress in our tests for this metric.
Bugaboo Bee3 Combo's 4 pounds, nor impresses like the UPPAbaby Vista Combo's 30 pound max. The Bravo also has a parent console with 2 shallow cup holders and a zippered pocket. This area has a weight limit of 3 pounds, but the cup holders aren't the best at holding cups (though smaller bottles and sippy cups worked well) and the zippered pocket is only large enough for lip gloss with no space large enough for keys or a phone.
The Bravo offers a padded leg rest and an adjustable recline that you can read more about in our full review of the Bravo in our standard stroller review.
Chicco Keyfit Caddy.
This stroller has a nice clean looking frame that has considerable flex when pushed with weight inside. Ours seemed easy to scratch and ding and after just a few days of testing had a significant scratch on one side. The storage bin material is a thin material with strips of mesh running down each side of the bin. The canopy is a sturdy canvas material with a loosely woven mesh we couldn't snag. All of the fabric fits the frame fairly well without creating a rumpled or tight appearance.
The wheels on this product are foam filled plastic. On the bright side they won't become misshapen or dented like plastic air filled options, but they are still plastic which doesn't maneuver as nicely as rubber and don't offer any kind of comfort for passengers over rougher terrain. The design and the materials used in the construction of the wheels is also unimpressive, with old style bushings and a press on hub cap. They just don't have the feel of something that is going to last for very long. It does have 4 wheel shocks which is a plus in our book and might help negate some of the sting from the hard plastic wheels.
Ease of Setup
Parents drawn to the Chicco name might be interested in the Bravo feeling it would be a good standard stroller that will also accept a car seat without an adapter purchase. Additionally, parents that already own or plan to purchase the Keyfit 30 might also consider the Bravo as a potential product to buy. However, given that the Bravo is the lowest scoring Chicco option in this review and the fact that most of the other strollers offer a Chicco adapter for the Keyfit, we don't think there really is a best application for this stroller. If it had been easier to push we might have considered it an ok compromise thanks to its cheaper price tag, but even with the lower price we don't think this product has what it takes to make most parents happy.
The Bravo offers a fairly well rounded stroller for a reasonable price compared to the competition. Unfortunately, what looks good on paper and manages to check the boxes of parental desires, didn't translate well to an actual product and failed to perform well in most of our tests. So despite the budget friendly list price of $250, this one doesn't end up feeling like a good value given how difficult it is to push and how limited the features are. The Britax B-Agile 3 is only 2 dollars more and it score significantly higher in this review winning a Best Value award here and in our standard stroller review.
Other Versions and Accessories
Chicco makes a lot of strollers for different purposes, including several we looked at in this review. For car seat stroller combination we really liked the Chicco Keyfit Caddy the dedicated frame stroller that is designed to work with Chicco Keyfit car seats. This product score well in our review with a second place rank, and it has a list price of $100 making it affordable for most families. While it will only work until baby outgrows their infant car seat, we think most parents will like what it offers for the price, and the use time will give them longer to decide what their stroller needs are so they can make an informed choice for their standard or jogging stroller options.
— BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: June 19, 2016
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