Chicco Cortina Together Review
Pros: Accepts two car seats, versatile seating
Cons: Length makes it harder to navigate indoors, disparity between seating features
Our Analysis and Test Results
Chicco (kee-ko) is the largest juvenile brand in all of Europe. The company is part of the lifestyle company, the Artsana Group. Chicco gear includes items used for strolling, eating, medical supplies, and car seats. Chicco was started by Enrico Catelli and they currently sell gear in over 120 countries. Their lineup includes products for children from birth to preschool.
Ease of Use
The Chicco Cortina Together is not easy enough to use to be a real competitor.
Fold and Unfold
The Cortina is fairly easy to fold, but the front seat canopy gets in the way and there is no good place for it. The fold requires one hand with 3-4 steps. The stroller self-stands, auto-locks and is average compared to the competition. You need to bend to the ground to fold, or you can use two hands to squeeze the halves together. The final product is large and sort of unwieldy. The unfold is easier and can be done with one hand, and has 5 steps without bending very far. The unfold lock on the handlebar is easy to use, but it gets in the way of pushing.
The brakes are single action and average for ease of setting and releasing. They are sandal or barefoot friendly.
The storage bin isn't as easy as the side-by-side strollers, but it beats most of the tandem competition. The bin is large and has a maximum allowance of 10 lbs. It can be accessed from the back or front, with a zippered portion in the back. We were able to fit our extra-large diaper bag inside, but it is a tough squeeze and we couldn't get it past the bar across the middle. It is hard to access the bin depending on seat configuration. If you plan to take a lot of supplies or want to carry items you purchase, this bin likely won't meet your needs. It also has a parent console with two cup holders and a covered storage tray.
The front seat has an armbar or dual cup holders. Given this is untrue on the back seat we think children will fight over the "better" seat. The cup holders worked with all our test items, but it's disappointing that the front gets two cup holders and the rear gets nothing.
Cup holders located high on the handlebar behind the baby's head pose a potential safety risk if they allow items to fall out. The cup holders on the Cortina are 2.25 inches deep, which is relatively shallow. Items regularly fell out of the holder and into the rear seat during testing. Had a baby been sitting in the seat, a potential injury may have happened, so we consider the risk for these holders to be high.
The sunshades on the Cortina are as disappointing as most of the tandem inline strollers. The shades are both small and neither one will cover much of baby. While both will rotate, they can't block the front and the top at the same time making them virtually useless. The fabric is thin and looks wrinkled no matter what. They both offer ventilation and small mesh and vinyl peek-a-boo windows. The windows are impossible to see through and we aren't sure why they are mesh and vinyl. However, the shades are so small you don't really need them.
There is 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 operation, which is inherently more difficult than non-rethread options, but it is very easy to adjust the height of the shoulder straps. The shoulder straps have two positions and the crotch strap is not adjustable. The buckle requires that the upper and lower straps be connected before inserting into the buckle, which means you will need two hands. Unbuckling requires one hand and the straps spring away from the buckle.
Neither seat has a leg rest as the seat bottom 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. Both seats offer a recline feature that can be operated with one hand. The rear seat has more of a recline, while the front seat reclines less and sits more upright. Without a leg rest little ones won't be cozy because there is nowhere for their legs to go except straight down.
Car Seat Compatibility
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 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. Installing in the front is easier than the rear, with the rear seat colliding with the canopy and making it challenging to press in place.
Ease of Setup
The Chicco is the most difficult stroller to put together in the group. It took us over 12 minutes to assemble with a manual that is only okay for instructions. The packaging is a nightmare to manage, and we hope they get on board with Amazon's frustration-free packaging.
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.
Pushing 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 turn once inside. The front wheels are wobbly and the suspension isn't impressive. Pushing onto other surfaces only makes the job harder with grass being a burden, and gravel nearing impossible.
Weight and Folded Size
While all double strollers are on the hefty side, not all of them are giant beasts. Unfortunately, the Chicco is closer to the beast side for this metric. This stroller is 36.6 lbs, 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.
When compared side-by-side aspects like the quality start to stand out. We were disappointed with the Chicco quality, which is below the average for this group.
The fabric on the Cortina is nice looking with a rough feel that might chafe. It has firm padding with a storage basket that has heavier material than most. The side of the canopies is mesh covered in a plastic that makes us question how long it will last. The frame has many plastic components and fasteners that give it more flex and make it harder to steer. The wheels are plastic and have a tread pattern in them that is solely for looks and doesn't affect functionality. The overall fit and finish are better than similar looking strollers but still disappointing.
The handlebar on the Chicco feels good in the hand and is adjustable. We like the size of this handle, but the tubing flattens out near the end which is a little weird, but it doesn't impact performance.
The Cortina Together can accept two Chicco infant car seats. This factor alone might make parents think it is a good choice for twins, but the main problem 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, including recline angle, cup holders, legroom and canopy size, mean that children will likely fight over who gets the better seat. 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 easier.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team