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Hands-on Gear Review
Chicco Liteway Plus Combo Review
Price: $180.00 List | $179.99 at Amazon
Pros: Fairly easy car seat attachment, stroller canopy can be used with car seat
Cons: Heavy for an umbrella, no one hand pushing
Bottom line: The heavier weight makes it a poor choice for an umbrella or car seat stroller
The Chicco Liteway Plus is what Chicco calls a lightweight product. It has the folding features and handles of an umbrella stroller, with a small storage bin. While we like the all around suspension and the easy to use cup holder, the maneuverability of this stroller makes it one that feels like a compromise with no valuable trade-off. The Liteway is overly cumbersome for a product of its kind, and we don't think it lives up to its classification given that several standard strollers were significantly lighter. In the end, the Liteway Plus failed to stand out, and it didn't impress in our tests for a car seat and stroller combination option.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Chicco Liteway Plus is an umbrella or lightweight stroller, and the only one of its kind in this review. The Liteway is advertised as a 2 in 1 product because it can be used with the Keyfit car seat as well as for babies that can sit up on their own. This stroller has rear suspension, a storage basket, and padded handlebars. The toddler seat reclines and folds completely forward for car seat attachment, which makes the canopy on the stroller unusable with a car seat. The attachment has an audible click.
The chart below shows a comparison of the overall scores for the products we tested in this review. The Liteway is shown in blue.
The details in the subsections below include information on how the Liteway compared to the competition during testing.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Liteway is above average for car seat attachment ease with a 7 of 10 in our tests. This score is significantly better than the average of 5.5 for the group, but not good enough to compete with the perfect score of 10 earned by the Doona that is a car seat and stroller in one.
The Liteway is only compatible with the Chicco Keyfit family of infant car seats. We tested ours with the Chicco Keyfit 30, an award-winning seat from our best infant car seat review. The Liteway, as well as other Chicco strollers, are designed specifically to accommodate their native seats so it seems like it should be easier to attach the carrier to this car seat than it was.
Installing the car seat requires folding the toddler portion of the stroller all the way forward; this is unlike any other stroller and car seat combination in this review. This attachment process renders the stroller canopy unusable which is a shame because it is still attached and contributing to the weight of the stroller, but it doesn't serve a purpose that makes the added weight acceptable. Getting the seat to attach to the stroller isn't difficult, but it is more effort than the Bugaboo Bee3 Combo where the Keyfit 30 almost installs itself. You will need to apply pressure to hear the audible click, but we didn't have any trouble installing it wrong or thinking it was connected when it wasn't. Releasing the seat is just as simple as the connection. We did feel, however, that this stroller car seat combination is the least stable of all the Chicco options in our tests for this review.
Weight and Folded Size
After car seat attachment we think weight and folded size is the next important aspect to consider when putting together a stroller and car seat combination. Given that new moms may have limitations on the amount of weight they can or should be carrying, we feel the lighter the stroller, the better. The Liteway is ironically not that light or that small, for a product that calls itself a lightweight stroller; it only scored a 5 of 10 in this metric where the high is 9, a score shared by all the dedicated frame strollers. `
The Liteway weighs 19.6 lbs, which means it should be embarrassed and ashamed to call itself an umbrella or lightweight option. With several standard size strollers coming in with smaller weights, we aren't entirely sure what Chicco is playing at here. The standard size UPPAbaby Cruz Combo scored a third place rank and weighed only 14.3 lbs, making tit e lightest standard option in this review. The lightest option is the Baby Trend Snap-n-Go EX with a weight of 10.9 lbs, and the BOB Revolution is much heavier with a weight 26.5 lbs. Only five products weigh more than the Liteway.
When folded the Liteway measure at over 9,000 cubic inches, which is smaller than much of the competition, but once again larger than some higher scoring products. The BOB Revolution is a little over 15,000 cubic inches, while the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo is only 6,414 cubic inches folded. Even the UPPAbaby Cruz is smaller with a folded size of 8,030. Once again the "umbrella" product is bigger than some of the standard strollers in this review. Perhaps Chicco needs to consider paring down the features of this product or use lightweight materials during production because we aren't impressed with the Liteway in the weight and folded size metric.
This stroller folds much like a traditional umbrella product by collapsing in on itself. You can fold this stroller using just one hand, but you will need two to unfold it. It does have an auto-lock and carry strap, but self-standing is not part of its charms. You will need to bend all the way to the ground to push the Liteway closed which helped give it only an average feel for folding. But, it does roll like luggage after it locks shut if you don't want to carry it very far. You will have to lift it up to get it into most cars, though, so we caution parents from thinking that they can get away without lifting almost 20 lbs.
Maneuverability is not the strong suit of any umbrella product, and the Liteway is no different with a score of 5 of 10. The average is closer to 6, with a high of 9 for the BOB Revolution (a jogging style product) and the low of 3 for the Chicco Bravo LE Combo (a full-size option).
The Liteway is easier to maneuver than the other Chicco products in this review, as well as the frame stroller products. It feels more stable and responsive than the frame options and only struggled marginally less in the grass and gravel. If you had to choose a Chicco option in this review based on maneuverability alone, it would be the Liteway, but even this product is nothing to write home about. The smaller plastic wheels and dual front wheel design have the Liteway getting caught on objects and veering off in directions we didn't intend, and dropping down from curbs was trying both because the brake pedals drag on the step and the handlebar height and placement had us bending in an awkward way.
For most umbrella products we can forgive a little in the ease of maneuvering department because it is considered a trade off for a smaller more lightweight product. However, at 19 lbs and over 8,000 cubic inches, it isn't small, or light and the lower maneuverability doesn't seem justified.
Ease of Use
The Liteway tied for just above the last place in ease of use with the Graco SnugRider Elite, a dedicated frame stroller designed less for features and more for simple car seat attachment. The high for the group is 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo.
The storage bin on this product is a tough one to use thanks to the elaborate cross bar set up on the back of the product that helps it fold down like an accordion. Access is only possible from the rear and sides and is increased somewhat by the forward fold of the attached seat which opens the back up more than if the seat were in place. The bin itself is small, and we barely crammed our medium bag inside. The 5 lb weight limit might be more of a limiting factor than the size, with most adequately stocked diaper bags weighing 5 or more pounds.
The brakes on the Liteway are double action and require the use of 2 separate pedals to engage fully. If parents forget or intentionally forgo a pedal, then the Liteway is not properly parked and baby could be potentially injured. We prefer single action brakes for this reason. On the upside, the brakes are easy to set and release, and they are friendly to bare and sandal wearing feet.
The unique front folding process for car seat attachment this stroller does not include the canopy that stays attached to the frame. The canopy is small and not the best, but it does work well in conjunction with the Chicco infant car seat canopy. It also has a medium size vinyl peek-a-boo window.
Other features for convenience are also unimpressive on the whole. The side frame cup holder is flimsy, and while safer for a baby than the one located above baby's head, it isn't the best and sort of gets in the way when moving a folded Liteway. This product does not offer a parent or child tray, but it does have a padded leg rest and a reclining seat back for the toddler seat.
The Liteway earned a 5 of 10 for quality, just 2 points over the low of 3 for the Chicco Keyfit Caddy, and 3 points lower than the high of 8 earned by the BOB Revolution.
The frame on the Liteway feels sturdy and has a nice finish, but the exposed fasteners and components give it a cluttered look and detract from the overall fit and finish of the product. The fabric is a slick feeling canvas that seems like it will clean easily and wear well over time. The Peek-a-boo window in the canopy is a tinted vinyl, and while neither the canopy nor the window is that impressive, they feel like they will stand the test of time. Overall this is a very basic stroller that would have looked nicer if there were less or at least hidden junction points and exposed components.
The wheels on this stroller are relatively small and made of foam filled plastic. The wheels spin freely and don't wobble. The plastic is dense and feels nicer than some of the competition, but it is still plastic, and rubber would have performed and looked better. The Liteway does offer all around suspension which will help absorb some of the bumps for baby, but the hard plastic wheels mean there is no way to disguise rougher terrain.
The handles on this stroller are two-sided and curve up from either side of the frame and are common on the umbrella and lightweight products. They are about 40 inches tall from the ground up, but you can choose to hold them a little lower if you find that more comfortable. The handles are covered in dense foam and angle inward toward each other for a more ergonomic feel. The handles are only about average for comfort, and the two-part design means the whole ride will be harder to push with only one hand.
It is hard to find the best application for this Chicco, even for parents who love the brand. While it does offer an attachment for the Keyfit car seats and has a seat for older babies, it isn't good at much including maneuverability, being lightweight, or features most parents want. somewhatWhile we can forgive it because it isn't a standard stroller, it is hard to overlook that many of the dedicated frame options performed better, and several of the top ranking full-size strollers weighed less. So even if your goal is an umbrella or lightweight product, this one won't fit the bill and is likely to disappoint.
This product has a list price of $180, which feels like a good value until you realize many umbrella products are cheaper and the $100 Chicco Keyfit Caddy performed better. You might conclude that its ability to accept an infant car seat makes the price even more impressive because you'll get double duty from it, but when you analyze the fine print; it is too heavy for a good umbrella product and too difficult to maneuver to be used as your primary stroller. The Britax B-Agile 3 is about $70 more than the Liteway, buy you get a product that scores higher overall, is easier to push, lighter to carry, smaller for storage, and works with a variety of car seats without locking you into a single brand. Alternatively, if Chicco is your bag, we'd recommend the Top Pick for frame strollers Chicco Keyfit Caddy over the Liteway any day.
We wanted to love the Chicco Liteway Plus because it was offering something few lightweight product do by working with a great infant car seat. Unfortunately, it didn't perform that well in our tests, and while it's relatively easy to attach the Chicco Keyfit 30 to the frame, it feels less stable than any other option and tips to the side at a shallower angle than the other Chicco products we tested. If you add the small weight limit on the storage bin, dual plastic front wheels, and a heavier than some standard strollers overall weight you get a product we didn't feel that great about and probably would recommend to a friend.
Other Versions and Accessories
Chicco makes several different stroller options, and we tested 3 of them in this review. The Chicco Keyfit Caddy earned the second highest score in this review and was by far the best Chicco for a car seat combination product. The Caddy won Top Pick for Frame Stroller and is budget friendly to boot.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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