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Hands-on Gear Review
Chicco Cortina Together ReviewPrice: $300.00 List | $299.99 at Amazon
Pros: Accepts two car seats, versatile seating
Cons: Length makes it harder to navigate indoors, disparity between seating features
Bottom line: Heavy inline option that is frustrating to move and turn
Folded Dimensions: 23"W x 19"H x 47.5"L
Capacity Limits: Minimum: Child must be able to sit unassisted with full neck/head control (approximately 6 mo.), Maximum: 40 lbs
The Chicco Cortina Together tandem stroller is an inline style stroller that is hard to push and turn, heavy and awkward to lift and has an interesting division of features between seats. This Chicco offers dual cup holders to the front passenger with none for the second seat. It has disappointingly small canopies that cover almost nothing and definitely won't protect your baby from the elements or an unexpected storm. While we often find Chicco products offer a little something extra for a budget-friendly price, this option has a higher cost than strollers that performed better in our tests. With plastic wheels, dual front wheel design and two wheel suspension the Cortina Together couldn't stand up to the competition and is not a stroller we recommend.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Double Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Chicco Cortina Together is a tandem inline double stroller. This stroller works with 2 Chicco infant car seats, 2 toddler seats, or one of each with a maximum weight allowance of 40 pounds per seat. The forward folding seats accept the Keyfit and Keyfit 30 seats without additional parts or straps. The rear seat can also work with the bassinet enclosure. This stroller has an aluminum frame, one hand folding, and auto-locks. It offers a child's armbar or dual cup holders, independent and removable canopies, and a zippered storage basket.
The following graph is a comparison of the overall scores for each double stroller tested in this review. The Chicco is shown in blue.
The below portions share information on how the Chicco performed during testing in each metric.
Ease of Use
The Chicco Cortina Together earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use, which is better than some of the competition, but not good enough to truly compete. Strollers like UPPAbaby Vista Double and the Peg Perego Book for Two were much easier to use and offered more features that improved the daily functions of the strollers.
Fold and Unfold
The Cortina has a fairly easy fold, but the front seat canopy does get in the way and it feels like there is no good place for it. The Cortina earned a 7 of 10 for fold and unfold. This above the average of 6, but not as good as the high of 9, earned by the Peg Perego Book for Two. The fold is a one hand operation with 3-4 steps. The stroller self-stands and auto-locks and is only average compared to the competition for folding. You will have to bend all the way to the ground to complete the fold, or you can use two hands to squeeze the halves together. Like other tandem inline strollers we tested the final product is large and sort of unwieldy. The unfold on this stroller is easier than much of the completion. It can be done with one hand, has 5 steps, and can be done without bending very far. It rated very easy compared to the competition and this helped boost its overall score for the test. The unfold lock on the handlebar is easy to use, but it does get in the way of pushing, so it isn't the best design.
The Cortina brakes are designed as single action brakes, which are only average compared to the competition for ease of setting and releasing. They are sandal or barefoot friendly, which is a plus given that at least one stroller was so hard we ended up bending over to use our hand, but it still isn't enough to make these nice brakes
The under seat storage bin on the Cortina isn't as easy to use as the side-by-side strollers, but it still beats most of the tandem competition. The bin is large and
There is no child's tray, but the front seat does have either an armbar or dual cup holders. Given there is not an equal offer in the back seat we imagine children will be fighting over who gets the "better" seat. The cup holders worked with all our test items, but we still found it strange that the front gets two cup holders and the rear seat gets nothing.
Cup holders that are located high on the handlebar behind baby's head pose a potential safety risk if they are particularly shallow or if they allow items to fall out while stroller or coming to a stop. We prefer cup holders that sit down low or are deep to prevent them from falling. For this reason, parents should avoid placing hot liquids or taller/heavier items in the holders. The cup holders on the Cortina are 2.25 inches deep. This is relatively shallow we in our tests items regularly fell out of the holder and into the rear seat. Had a baby been sitting in the seat at the time a potential injury could have occurred. We consider the risk for this stroller's cup holders to be high.
The photos above show the sunshades on the Together closed and fully open
The sunshades on the Cortina are as disappointing as most of the tandem inline strollers. The stadium style strollers offer far better canopies overall in most respects. The shades are both small and neither one will cover much of baby beyond t
The Cortina has an adjustable 5-point harness on each seat. Putting the harness on isn't as easy as taking it off, and it is a rethread adjustment operation, which is inherently more difficult than most non-rethread options. The Cortina is still very easy to adjust the height of the shoulder straps. Each shoulder strap only has 2 positions and the crotch strap is not adjustable and only has 1 position. This lack of adjustability concerns us that it will not be suitable for children of all heights and weights. The buckle requires that the upper and lower straps be connected before being inserting into the buckle, which means you will need two hands to buckle the straps. Unbuckling can be managed with one hand as the straps spring away from the buckle when you depress the button.
Neither seat on the Cortina has a leg rest as the seat bottom just stops and legs fall from there to the plastic foot pad. If the baby isn't tall enough to reach the pad, they will have legs dangling. This could be rather uncomfortable for the passenger and we preferred the strollers that have leg rests. This is pretty typical for the strollers of this style. Unlike some of the similar strollers, both seats offer a recline feature that can be operated with one hand. The rear seat has less of an upright standard position with more of a recline, while the front seat reclines less, but sits more upright, to begin with. Neither are great because without a leg rest little ones are likely not to be cozy because there is nowhere for their legs to go except to hang straight down.
Ease of Setup
The Chicco is the most difficult stroller in the group to put together in the group. It took us over 12 minutes to get it out of the box and ready to toll. The manual is only okay for instructions, but the packaging is a nightmare to manage, and we hope they get on board with Amazon's frustration free packaging.
It seems that the best way to make a hard to push and turn stroller is to give it dual front wheels and make them plastic. The dual wheel design causes the stroller to veer off in random directions and the plastic wheels ensure a wobbly ride that isn't very comfortable or forgiving. Unfortunately, like many of the similar looking products in this review, the Cortina is made this way and earned only a 3 of 10 for this metric. This is the lowest score in the group and tied with the similar Graco Ready2Grow LX and the Graco FastAction Fold Duo. The high in this metric is 9 shared by Thule Urban Glide 2, Thule Chariot Cross 2, and the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, both side-by-side double jogging style strollers with 3 rubber pneumatic wheels.
Pushing the Cortina on hard flat surfaces takes a lot of effort, and it feels long. It fits through our smaller bathroom test door, but the longer footprint made it difficult for us to make the corner turn once inside. The front wheels were wobbly and the suspension wasn't that impressive. Pushing off the pavement and onto other surfaces only made the job harder with grass terrain being a burden, and gravel nearing impossible. The added length and weight made it hard to pop this stroller up and onto curbs and we felt stairs would be a significant gamble in safety. If the children in the stroller weigh more than a newborn, we think most parents will need to take the stroller up and over the curb backward. As it was the handle felt like it was going to break when we tried the forward navigation.
Weight and Folded Size
While all double strollers are on the hefty side, not all of them are giant beasts. Unfortunately, the Chicco seems to fall closer to the beast side than the lighter side. The Cortina scored a 3 of 10 for this metric; this is the lowest score in the group and ties with the Britax B-Ready Double. This stroller is 36.6 pounds, making it one of the heavier options.
When folded the Cortina is about 20,758 cubic inches; this is larger than the average for the group which is closer to 18,000 cubic inches. The smallest folded stroller is the Britax B-Agile Double at 10,649 cubic inches. The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite is the lightest option and the second smallest at around 23 pounds and 11,600 cubic inches.
When compared side-by-side aspects like the quality start to stand out. In general, we are fairly big fans of the Chicco brand with several Chicco products earning awards in various categories. However, this is not one of those categories, and we were disappointed with the Chicco quality score of 5 of 10, which is below average with the high score of a 9 earned by Thule Urban Glide 2 and the Thule Chariot Cross 2.
The fabric on the Cortina is nice looking with a little bit of a rough feel that might chafe over time. It has nice firm padding with a storage basket that has heavier material than most. The side of the canopies is a mesh covered in a plastic type material that makes us question how long it will last when faced with the elements. The frame has many plastic components and fasteners that give it a little more flex than some and cause it to be harder to steer. The wheels are plastic and have a tread pattern in them that is solely for looks and doesn't affect the functionality or performance at all. The overall fit and finish are better than some of the other similar looking strollers like the Graco Ready2Grow or the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand.
The handlebar on the Chicco feels good in the hand and is adjustable from 39.6 to 44.4 inches from the ground. We liked the size of this handle, which is a touch larger than the handlebar on the Britax B-Ready Double. The way the tubing flattens out near the end is a little weird, but it doesn't impact performance.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The Cortina is only compatible with the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Keyfit. We tested the seat with the Chicco Keyfit 30. You do not need to remove the canopy or the seat to attach the car seats. The seats click into place and are easier to attach and remove than the average combination in the group. They are still surprisingly difficult given they are both made by Chicco. To install you have to apply pressure to fully engage the seat. Installing the front seat is easier than the rear seat, with the rear seat colliding with the canopy and making it harder to press in place. The Peg Perego Book for Two can also accept two infant seats from the Peg brand and are easier to install. We think the Chicco should be similar in ease and it isn't.
The Cortina Together does have the ability to accept two Chicco infant car seats. This factor alone might make parents think it is a good choice for twins, after all about half of the competition only accepts 1 infant seat or none at all. However, the main problem with this line of thinking is what happens when babies are out of their car seats. The seat disparity in this tandem stroller is similar to others of its ilk. In short the differences in features and functionality from one seat to another, to include recline angle, cup holders, leg room and canopy size, mean that children will likely disagree about who gets to sit where. This leaves parents making the choice or switching seats every so often as to appear fair. At the end of the day, we think strollers like this are better suited to children of different ages and skill levels so that the choice of who sits where is based on skill and activity level as opposed to which child cries the most.
The Cortina has a list price of $300, which puts it on the lower end price wise for products in this review. However, a less expensive price doesn't necessarily translate to a better value, and the Chicco proves this. In short, there are 4 other strollers that have lower price tags but scored higher overall than the Chicco. This indicates that a higher price can indicate a better quality product with better performance, but is doesn't always mean this. Our Best Value winner the Joovy Scooter X2 has a list price that will save you about $20 and it scored 16 points higher overall. This makes it a better value in our minds than the Chicco. Alternatively, if you are expecting twins and need a stroller for two car seats we prefer the Joovy TwinRoo+ with a price of $130 that accepts almost any brand of seat. This option is cheaper by more than half of the Cortina, but more importantly, it keeps your options open for a long term stroller as you determine your strolling needs.
The Chicco Cortina Together is an interesting Chicco option that accepts two Chicco car seats and works for older babies as well. This stroller is easy to fold and unfold and it has a self-stand feature that can almost make you forget the awkward canopy and lifting experience. On the downside, however, this stroller is excessively difficult to push and turn and it is very heavy or what it has to offer. The cup holders are a potential safety risk, the storage bin is difficult to access, and the canopies are far too small to be of any real use. In the end, the Cortina fails to offer a quality ride for either passengers or parents and we think both will be disappointed with its performance and riding experience.
Other Versions and Accessories
Chicco is no stranger to the stroller genre of baby gear, and they offer several strollers for various activities. However, this appears to be their only dip in the double full-size stroller pond with their only other double stroller being an umbrella style, the Chicco Echo Twin Stroller. For this reason, we did not review any other options in this review.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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