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Hands-on Gear Review
Chicco Bravo LE Review
Price: $250.00 List | $249.99 at Amazon
Pros: Easy to use, storage hold a lot of supplies, good protection from sun
Cons: Poor maneuverability, disappointing quality
Bottom line: Nice features, but they aren't good enough to make up for being hard to maneuver
The Chicco Bravo LE earned better than average scores in most of our tests, but it would have scored higher overall had it not earned a disappointing score of 3 for maneuverability. This resulted in a 14 of 19 place rank. Because the stroller is difficult to push and a struggle to turn and negotiate various terrains, its low score in the one metric brought down its overall average and left us not liking this product as much as some other Chicco gear we have reviewed. While it is an easy to use stroller that has some nice features like a child tray and larger storage bin, it isn't enough to turn the tide in its favor.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Full-size Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Chicco Bravo LE can be used with the Chicco Keyfit 30 (sold separately) or as a toddler seat for babies that can sit upright. The seat insert is removable, reversible, and is a multi-position reclining seat. The stroller claims a one hand fold that can self-stand. The stroller features all-wheel suspension, linked brakes, storage basket, adjustable handlebar, and an extendable canopy with peek-a-boo window and flip out visor. The Bravo has a parent tray with zippered storage and 2 cup holders, as well as a child's tray with storage and cup holders.
This comparison chart shows the overall scores for all of the strollers tested in this review. The Chicco Bravo is shown in blue. With a 14 of 19 rank it is easy to see how the Chicco failed to win an award.
The sections below provide all the details of the Chicco's performance in each metric during testing. The individual metric scores were used to determine the overall score emphasising the results in ease of use and maneuverability.
Ease of Use
The Chicco earned a 7 of 10 for ease of use which is 1 point lower than the high score of 8 earned by UPPAbaby Vista and UPPAbaby Cruz.
This stroller has a large storage bin that fit our extra large diaper bag during testing. Accessing the bin is easy because it sticks out relatively far in the back, but is only accessible from the rear. It has a maximum weight limit of 10 pounds in the bin, which is the same for 6 other strollers and better than 6 more.
This stroller also has a parent console on the handlebar and a child's tray. The console has 2 shallow cup holders, a very small zippered pocket, and a small canvas pocket. These pockets are almost useless; we found that one of them will not hold anything much larger than chapstick. The weight limit for this tray is 3 pounds. The child tray has 2 cup holders and a small section for snacks.
The Chicco has a large canopy that has no SPF listed from the manufacturer. It does offer additional ventilation and it has a small peek-a-boo window. The window is made of mesh and is on the smaller side, but at least it is there. It also has a kick out visor for increased protection from the sun. It scored higher than average in our review for the canopy.
The cup holders on the parent tray are fully enclosed and non-removable. They can hold items like keys and mobile phones if necessary. They are compatible with the baby bottle, sippy cup, and water bottle that we tested. The small hanging pouch is larger than the tray compartment, but as stated before neither hold that much. The upside is they zipper close so you won't lose items you do fit in them. The child's tray is also compatible with the different bottles we tried, though the water bottle is less secure in the holder and tended to fall out depending on what terrain we went over.
We did not find any other accessories available for this stroller, though Chicco does offer some replacement parts should something on the stroller fail.
Chicco really struggled in our tests for maneuverability, and it is this metric that really hurt its overall score and prevented it from scoring higher in our review. This stroller only earned a 3 of 10, which is a real disappointment given that the primary function of a stroller is pushing and turning. If pushing is a struggle, then you will be reluctant to use it and the kind of trips or duration will be reduced. This is exactly the opposite of what parents hope for in a stroller. The high in the group is a 9 earned by the BOB Revolution Flex.
The Chicco is one of the hardest to maneuver in the group for pushing and turning, but still better than the 4moms. It does fairly well in tight spots, because of its size, but it is still slower because it is difficult to push. It requires 2 hands to push through most of the course, and the turns took a lot of effort. It is narrow enough to fit through tight spaces and the bumps and carpet were not more of a problem than pavement. This stroller takes even more work to push it over grass and gravel, in fact some testers found it nearly impossible. We also couldn't get it to push over a 1 inch curb; it fell into the grate during testing and nearly tipped over. Going over the curb and stairs were equally difficult, with too much flex in the frame for good control and the handle felt like it was going to break. Pushing this product will be frustrating and a workout.
The Chicco earned a 5 of 10 for quality, which is just below the average. The highest in the group is an 8 earned by the BOB Revolution Flex and the UPPAbaby Vista.
The top layer of the seat is a very soft fabric that is nice to the touch and similar to a jersey T-shirt material. The padding is removable and looks like it might snag easily or wear poorly over time. The lower layer is a similar fabric, but it is somewhat textured and not as soft as the top layer, but it appears to be more durable than the removable portion of the seat. The canopy fabric is a stronger canvas material. The storage basket is made from a thin material that looks fairly flimsy and has strips of mesh running along the top of each side. The peek-a-boo window on the canopy is made of a loosely woven mesh that we could not snag.
The frame on this stroller is a nice clean looking frame. The stroller we purchased developed scratches fairly easily, and after a limited testing already has a significant scratch. There is a little flex to the frame, but it isn't as bad as some of the competition. The overall fit and finish of this stroller is one that is relatively cheap looking and feeling.
The wheels on this stroller are some of the cheapest in the group and are made of foam filled plastic. They have the old style bushing with a press on end cap. These wheels do not feel like they will last very long, and if they do manage to hang in there, they probably will lose their ability to roll nicely and might end up feeling like a bum shopping cart at the grocery store.
This stroller has 4 wheel shocks, but they are not adjustable. The comfort of the ride is probably limited given the stiffness of the shocks and the harder seat bottom. The padding is fairly good as long as you use the extra padding, but without it the ride is probably not that comfortables. A sling style seat or adjustable suspension would have provided a more comfortable ride for little ones.
The Chicco earned a 7 of 10 for safety, which is pretty good considering the high for the group is 7.
The brakes on this Chicco are single action and easy to set, only average to release, and sandal foot friendly. The play in the brake is 0.75 which isn't great, but certainly not the worst in the bunch. The sliding resistance is very poor. We were able to get the brake to skip across the cogs of the wheel without locking into place, which means parents can think they have set the brakes when they haven't. In testing we also had the brakes release themselves at different points when we put weight in the stroller.
The cup holders on this stroller are fairly shallow at only 1.7 inches deep. They are located high and behind baby just below the handlebar. There is a moderate safety concern that some items might fall out of the holders, and we suggest that parents refrain from putting hot liquids, heavy items, or taller bottles in the holders to avoid the items falling out and landing on baby.
The Chicco has a 5-point harness that we felt was easy to put on, but sort of difficult to remove. The shoulder strap length is easy to adjust and there are multiple shoulder height positions, but the crotch strap only has one position, which means it might be difficult for parents to get a snug fit for all babies. The buckle itself is fairly easy to use, but the release button is stiff and hard to push. Once you get the button depressed the pieces pop apart by themselves.
Weight and Folded Size
The Chicco earned a 7 of 10 for weight and folded size, which is higher than average and 1 point lower than the high of 8 shared by the Mountain Buggy Swift, Baby Jogger City Mini GT, Baby Jogger City Mini, Britax B-Agile 3, and the Bugaboo Bee3.
The Bravo LE weighs 23.9 pounds (less than the manufacturer claims) and measures at 22"W x 13.6"H x 37.6"L and a little over 11.000 cubic inches. This is higher than average in the weight category and just lower than average for the folded size. The lightest strollers in the group were the Britax and the City Mini both at 17.5 pounds.
The Chicco has a one-handed fold that can self-stand. It does not auto-lock or have a carry handle or strap for easier transport. This stroller only requires 2 steps to fold. It is easy to operate and earned a relatively high score for this test with only the 4moms scoring higher thanks to its self-folding properties. The self-stand is very stable, but the foam handle might be damaged over time and will definitely get dirty from sitting on the floor when folded.
The unfold requires 2 hands, but it is super easy to operate and only 1 step. All you need to do is grab the handlebar with one hand by the footrest with the other and spread them apart until fully open. Only 3 strollers earned a higher score for unfolding.
Loading the stroller into a car trunk is difficult because the stroller is large, heavy, and the child's tray sticks out. It is easier with the tray off, but it still isn't as easy as the strollers that fold flat, and you'd have to take extra time to remove and replace the tray.
Ease of Setup
For ease of setup, this stroller is about average, and it took us 9 minutes and 45 seconds to get it out of the box and ready to roll. The documentation is also only average. The rear wheels still use the cotter pin and washer to attach them to the frame, which is kind of an old school design and takes extra steps to complete. The instructions do not cover how to attach the canopy, so you will be on your own with that portion.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Chicco Bravo comes compatible with the Chicco Keyfit 30 only. You can attach the seat with the toddler stroller seat installed or removed. When you remove the seat, it will take the canopy with it, but this is ok because the car seat comes with a canopy. Without the seat the stroller frame weighs just about 18 pounds. This makes it not the best option as a stand in frame stroller, when the Chicco Keyfit Caddy (a car seat frame product) weighs 11 pounds 7 ounces. The Keyfit 30 clicks easily into place, and we didn't have any problems installing it correctly each time. It isn't as easy as installing the Chicco on the Bugaboo Bee 3 because the foot of the car seat tends to get caught in between the sides of the stroller frame. Once installed it is only average for seat stability.
Chicco does not offer any other adapter for this stroller, which limits your car seat options significantly. Luckily, the Keyfit 30 scored well in our stroller and car seat combo review and won an Editors' Choice award, so it is likely to be a car seat parents enjoy, even if the stroller disappointed in our tests.
Many parents will be drawn to this stroller thanks to the popular Chicco name. It is compatible with the popular and award winning Chicco Keyfit 30 and can be purchased as a travel system. However, because it scored so poorly in our tests for maneuverability, it isn't the best option no matter what parents are seeking in a stroller. In addition, many of the strollers in this review are compatible with the Chicco infant car seat or an adapter can be purchased to make it compatible. Parents can get a stroller that performed better in our tests than this one, which means there probably isn't a best application for this stroller.
With a price tag of $250 there is no doubt that this stroller is cheaper than much of the competition and therefore seems like a good value on paper. However, several strollers in this price range managed to score higher in our tests than this one. Two Best Buy award winners are both around $250 and they scored significantly higher than this product. The Britax B-Agile 3 came in with a final score of 66, and the Baby Jogger City Mini earned a 65, compared to the Chicco with a total score of 57. Even the very inexpensive Baby Trend Expedition earned a higher score with a 59 which makes the Chicco not the best value in this review.
In previous reviews we have given a few different Chicco products awards, including an infant car seat and one of their lightweight strollers. So it is with heavy hearts that this stroller did not meet our expectations or perform that well in some of our tests. While it did manage higher than average scores for ease of use, safety, and weight and folded size, it disappointed in one of the most important tests for a stroller, maneuverability. Without the ability to push a stroller easily, we feel that constant frustration and struggle using a stroller for its primary purpose is a deal breaker. This makes the Chicco Bravo LE a stroller we feel isn't the best choice no matter what feature or function parents are looking for.
Other Versions and Accessories
Chicco makes two other standard size strollers, the Urban 6 in 1 and the CORTINA MAGIC. We did not review either of these strollers, but can tell from a comparison on the company website that the Urban is a step up from the bravo with more features and what appears to be higher end components and materials. The Cortina is a cheaper model with the double front wheel design we are usually disappointed in no matter which manufacturer produces it.
We did not find any accessories available for the Chicco Bravo LE.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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