Chicco TRE Review
Pros: Grippable Handlebar, deceleration capabilities
Cons: Uncomfortable seating and hard to run with
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Italian company Chicco (KEE-ko) has over 30 years in the juvenile product field. The company found success and popularity in the United States with their infant car seats and strollers. In 1958, a pharmaceutical device inventor committed himself to the creation of useful products for babies after he had his first child.
The Chicco earned one of the lowest scores for run-ability in our tests. The Chicco has an adjustable handlebar creating better biomechanics. There is no adjustable tracking feature and serious runners will consider this to be a deal-breaker but it does have suspension. Our runner felt it didn't have much glide and is less of a running stroller than the competition.
The handbrake isn't great and is poorly placed for running. The brake is a puzzle to activate and it doesn't provide much deceleration.
The stroller seems stable while running, but it wanders significantly when you travel off the beaten path and we missed the adjustable tracking. If we apply uneven pressure to the handlebar, it veers, and if it goes too far, we end up stepping on or kicking the wheel. It is hard to tip the stroller back to turn (a necessary move when running), but you only have to do this for sharper turns because the play in the front wheel allows for smaller corrections. This stroller fails to be good at the one thing it was designed for, running.
Ease of Use
The TRE is average for ease of use, tying with several other products.
Fold and Unfold
The TRE is an easy to operate one-hand fold that auto locks and self-stands. It might take a little practice to be able to fold and unfold it gracefully, but it isn't difficult, just awkward.
The Chicco has single action brakes with a process that is not intuitive and includes the complicated handbrake system we loathe. It consists of pulling the brake and moving the locking lever. It is easy to think you've activated the brake when it isn't, so we encourage double-checking. While the handbrake is also a deceleration brake, we find it doesn't do this very well and is hard to pull and located in an awkward place.
The large storage bin holds up to 10 lbs and works with our large diaper bag. The bin is easy to access and can be used from the back, sides, and front. The basket is a little shallow and a little further back with a solid bar in the back.
The parent console is canvas and appears to be a weak attempt at reproducing the BOB's parent console. It has 3 mesh pockets that are too shallow and loose to hold water bottles. The canvas bag has a heavy wire frame that hangs from the handlebar and keeps the bag open.
The TRE has one of the largest sunshades with good ventilation and a medium, vinyl peek-a-boo window. It has magnetic closures for the window cover and the back portion of the canopy zips up to make a smaller canopy. Closing the zipper deprives you of the mesh ventilation, but the canopy comes down low in the front.
The harness is a 5-point and easy to get on, but not the best for adjusting. The thicker straps and extra stitching make it tricky to get them through the connectors and the padding gets in the way. Also, it is the only product that lacks an adjustable crotch strap and the strap provided is so long it reaches up to smaller babies shoulders; this makes the harness hard to fit on smaller riders.
The seat is a strange shape and the bottom is hard plastic. The edge of the seat has a strange transition to the leg rest that doesn't feel very cozy. The seatback reclines easily with one hand into four positions. It has no ventilation inside the seat unless you unzip the back of the canopy, which disconnects it from the rest of the stroller.
Ease of Setup
It took about 12:30 minutes to get this stroller rolling. Overall, it has double the amount of assembly required, but it doesn't require tools and is relatively easy. The handbrake on our stroller was loose and required tightening. It has a two language manual that is straightforward with good illustrations.
The Chicco has a swivel front wheel that locks in place for running. The locking mechanism is located high on the frame instead of at the wheel. This prevents touching a dirty wheel, but we wonder if this mechanism is why the front wheel is wobbly when locked. Our runner feels it is a little heavy and harder to maneuver than it should be.
Inherently, the Chicco is easier to turn and push that the fixed wheels strollers. It is harder to push on the flat ground due to size and turning it is also difficult. The frame flexes and is less responsive when you turn it, which makes the process more difficult.
It performs about as well off-road on grass and gravel as it did on flat surfaces. It isn't as easy to turn on grass as some of the competition, and it got tippy on the side hill requiring us to wrestle it upright, but it did perform well in deep gravel.
Weight and Folded Size
The Chicco weighs about 30 lbs and is over 15,800 cubic inches when folded. If you remove the wheels it folds more compactly, but we assume most parents will be too overwhelmed to bother.
The quality on the Chicco looks nice and is similar to other strollers they offer. The fabric is a coarser weave and it looks like it will collect more crud due to the way the fabric is folded and stitched, but it didn't snag in our tests, so we think it will at least stay in one piece.
The seat and stroller have an upright appearance and reminds us of high-end wheelchairs designed for daily life activities, not running. The final fit and finish are above average, and we can see why parents might be drawn to the flashy color contrast and unique look of this stroller.
The wheels look aluminum with pneumatic tires that have a smooth tread. It has the tightest set of spokes of any products with spokes and the frame is sturdy aluminum with clean lines and a little flex. The adjustable handlebar isn't as tight as the competition, but it has a foam covered handle with a slight arch that is softer to the touch than competing foam.
We don't like the placement of the handbrake because we kept inadvertently grabbing the cable when reaching for the bar, and the brake is not close enough to grip while holding the handle. We regularly rubbed the back of our hand on the brake while holding the bar. While it sounds like the brake is too far away and not far enough at the same time, we had none of these issues with other handbrakes, so we conclude that Chicco needs to change the design in some way.
The ride comfort is average and we suspect little ones will grow uncomfortable with the seat of hard plastic. Despite some extra padding is not as comfortable or shock-absorbing as sling-style seats. The TRE has adjustable suspension, but the manual suggests putting it on the stiffest setting when running, so we doubt it will do much to help comfort.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers