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Hands-on Gear Review
Chicco Bravo LE Combo Review
Price: $250.00 List
Pros: Parent console, can use stroller canopy with car seat
Cons: Heavier, poor maneuverability
Bottom line: Difficult to push and turn heavy option with only average ease of 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 REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
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 fits without the seat and canopy, which means you will need to rely on the 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.
The following chart shows the overall score for the Chicco Bravo (in blue) as it compares to the competition we tested in this review.
The sections below include information on how the Bravo compared in each metric.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Bravo earned a 6 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment. This score 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 carrier we tested with the Bravo. The high for this metric is 10 earned by the Doona Combo that is a car seat permanently connected to a stroller.
The Keyfit 30 can installs on the frame of the Bravo without the seat and canopy attached as shown on the Chicco Website, or it can be installed using the seat and canopy attached as described in the Bravo user manual. We tested it with the seat and canopy in place. However, this method is slightly more complicated because the canopy creates somewhat of a barrier in the attachment process. To ensure a connection is tight and secure we had to juggle the carrier under and up to push the canopy edge out of the way. The foot of the car seat will get in the way of the canopy with each attachment, and removing the seat and canopy will prevent this and make it weigh less overall. But, if you remove the canopy and seat you will only be able to rely on the car seat canopy and protection from the elements will be limited.
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 Bravo is neither light nor small, and it earned a 5 of 10 in this metric. We think this metric is important for a car seat and stroller combination product as new mothers may be unable to lift a certain weight. The low score for the group is the BOB Revolution Flex with a 3 and the heaviest weight and largest folded size in the group. The high score for this metric is 9 shared by all three of the dedicated frame stroller products in this review. Frame strollers are designed solely for car seat connection and are supposed to be lightweight, easy to fold and transport.
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 you fold the Bravo, it's the 4th largest product in the group at 11,250 cubic inches in size. This larger size makes it a slightly tougher one to transport, lift, carry, or fit in a trunk. The smallest folded option is the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo that measures at about 6,614 cubic inches; even the UPPAbaby Cruz is less 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 one hand, has two 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 two hands to accomplish. The unfolding process is a little awkward at first, but after a few tries, we think most parents will find it easy to use.
The Bravo earned a 3 of 10 for maneuverability, which is the lowest score in the group and a disappointment given that it ranked lower than frame strollers that aren't built for easy maneuvering. The high score for the group is the BOB Revolution with a 9 and features designed to improve performance in part because it is a jogging style stroller.
This stroller 's hard 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 two 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 didn'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 makes it a bad choice for stairs or curbs because you have limited control on the descent.
For more details on how this stroller performed in our tests for maneuverability, please read its full review in our full-size stroller review.
Ease of Use
The photos above show the Bravo with the canopy removed from the frame (left) and the canopy still attached to the frame to work in conjunction with the car seat canopy (right).
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.
The Bravo has a large storage bin under the seat that fit our extra-large diaper bag inside. It has easy access from the rear only, which decreases when the toddler seat is fully reclined for use with the infant carrier because the bin sticks out farther than most of the competition. The maximum allowable weight for the bin is 10 lbs, which is about average for the group and neither disappoints like the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo's 8 lbs nor impresses like the UPPAbaby Vista Combo's 30 lbs max.
The Bravo also has a parent console with two shallow cup holders and a zippered pocket. This area has a weight limit of 3 lbs, 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 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 correctly set. We aren't big fans of double action brakes because we worry parents will only set one 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 engaged because we heard the click and felt the pedal shift down, but they weren't, and the stroller started rolling with little effort.
The canopy on the Bravo is large and rated at 50+UPF. It has extra ventilation if needed and a smaller mesh peek-a-boo window. The canopy works in conjunction with the car seat offering additional protection when used with the carrier canopy, but it is also somewhat of an obstacle when installing the car seat, so we caution parents to ensure they have a proper connection by giving a firm tug on the handle to check their work.
This Chicco comes with a child's tray in addition to the parent console, and it offers 2 cup holders and a depressed are in the middle good for snacks. The tray is essential to car seat installation, so it isn't good for much when the carrier is attached to the seat.
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 is known for being of adequate quality for the price you pay. The Bravo score below average in our tests for quality with a 5 of 10 when the average is 6. The high for this metric is 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and the BOB Revolution.
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 basket. 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 isn't comfortable for passengers moving over rougher terrain. The design and the materials used in the construction of the wheels are also unimpressive, with old style bushings and press on hubcap. They just don't have the feel of something that is going to last for very long. It does have four wheel shocks which are a plus in our book and might help negate some of the sting from the hard plastic wheels.
The adjustable handlebar on this product has a range of 36-44 inches from the ground, and the smaller foam covered bar isn't as comfortable as most of the competition. No matter where we positioned the handlebar, some of our taller testers continually kicked the back of the stroller while walking.
The overall fit and finish of this product are fairly cheap. With flimsy feeling fabric, flexing frame, and plastic wheels, it didn't offer much that stood out in comparison to the other standard strollers in this review. This product almost had more in common with the frame stroller quality of materials than the full-size options.
Ease of Setup
The Bravo earned a 5 of 10 for ease of setup thanks to a time of 9 minutes and 45 seconds and an instruction manual that is only average compared to the competition. While this product doesn't have a lot of pieces to assemble, it is more than most, and the illustrations and descriptions are so simplistic they are difficult to understand. The rear wheels require the use of a washer that is tough to add and the manual doesn't offer instructions on how to assemble the canopy, leaving you to guess. The pictures in the manual show the canopy already attached, but it did not come that way in the box we received.
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 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 scores significantly higher in this review winning a Best Value award here and in our full-size stroller review.
The Chicco Bravo checks the boxes for what many parents are looking for with car seat compatibility, a parent console, storage bin and child's tray. It has a large canopy and folds fairly easily. Unfortunately, all of those features are better on paper than they are in real life and none of them are great enough to make up for the difficult maneuvering of this stroller. In addition to the trouble we had pushing and turning this product, we didn't think the car seat attachment was all that great considering the two are made for each other, and we worry some parents will struggle with making a complete connection to the frame every time. So while the stroller has a budget friendly price compared to some of the more expensive options, it didn't perform well enough in our tests to earn enough points overall to be a real contender.
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 liked the Chicco Keyfit Caddy the dedicated frame stroller that is designed to work with Chicco Keyfit car seats. This product scored well in our review, 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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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