In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Contours Lite Review

Economical with many features
The Contours Lite
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Price:   $80 List
Pros:  Storage, child tray, cup holder
Cons:  Strange fold, bulky
Manufacturer:   Kolcraft
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Aug 24, 2014
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59
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight/Folded Size - 25% 6
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 7
  • Maneuverability - 20% 5
  • Safety - 15% 5
  • Quality - 15% 6
  • Ease Of Set Up - 5% 6

The Skinny

The Contours Lite was discontinued in July of 2015.

The Contours Lite is a nice economical stroller with a lot to offer. It has the largest storage bin in our review, with child and parent accessory trays. It offers a larger than average sun shade and a nice reclining back. There really isn't much to dislike about this cheaper than average stroller that could. No other stroller came close to meeting its scores or features for such a budget friendly price. We recommend this stroller and think parents will be pleased with this product.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Contours Lite is an economical lightweight stroller made by Kolcraft Enterprises. It has a large under seat storage bin, a child accessory tray with cup holder, and a parent cup holder on the side. The average sized canopy is somewhat adjustable, and can detach from the seat back for added ventilation. It boasts one hand easy maneuverability. The back has adjustable recline, and it folds into a fairly compact package that self-stands and fits easily in many in cars and on public transport. This stroller is good for children up to 40 pounds and comes in a one color variation.

Performance Comparison


The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review
The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review

Ease of Use


The Contours Lite stroller moves in style and comfort
The Contours Lite stroller moves in style and comfort
This product earned high marks for ease of use with only two products getting higher scores in this metric. It has generous storage, larger than average canopy, and a few extras that standout.

Storage
The Contours Lite has the largest storage in our review
The Contours Lite has the largest storage in our review
The under seat storage bin on this stroller scored a 10 of 10, and was the largest in our review. Not only is it large, but it is also deep, and easy to access from the back and front. It has a maximum capacity of 10 pounds, and easily fits a standard size diaper bag and more. Even when the seat back is fully reclined, this bin is still accessible. Something that cannot be said for many of the bins in our reviews. When It came to storage, only one other stroller came close to matching the Contour's, Mountain Buggy Mini earned 8 of 10 in this metric, but its bin is smaller and is fairly shallow on one end.

Sun Shade
The average sized canopy on the Contours connects to seat back  or opens for more ventilation
The average sized canopy on the Contours connects to seat back, or opens for more ventilation
This sun shade is average sized, but seemed larger than most of those we tested. It does not have a peek-a-boo window for spying on little people shenanigans, but it does offer ventilation and expansion without lock out arms. It connects to the seat back and even protects from side sunshine. The canopy is not removable and is only 1 of 2 in our review like this. We aren't sure if it is water resistant, but it certainly does the job of keeping the sun at bay.

Convenience
The parent cup holder on the inside of the Contours frame prevents it from snagging on things as you stroll
The parent cup holder on the inside of the Contours frame prevents it from snagging on things as you stroll
The parent cup holder on this stroller is locate inside the handle bar and toward the middle of the frame. This is nicer than many of the others we saw that hung off the side of the frames and repeatedly got caught on items we strolled past. While we still think that cup holders located above baby heads is a possible hazard, this holder is at least nicer than most and if cups are shorter and narrow they should be fine without falling. It snaps off for easy cleaning, and the closed cup design means you can store keys, phones, and change without fear of losing them through the holes.

The Contours child accessory tray has a cup holder and snack space
The Contours child accessory tray has a cup holder and snack space
This stroller has a unique child accessory tray and is the only one we reviewed that offered a cup holder and snack tray for the passenger. The cup holder is 3 inches in diameter and fits many sippy cups and bottles, but isn't great for the fatter squatter versions common in the transition cup styles. The tray next to the cup is large enough for snack and small toys. The entire tray itself swings out to the side to allow passengers easy in and out access, and it snaps back into place when you are ready to roll. It is also completely detachable if you are not interested in using it, don't want the added weight, or for cleaning.

The seatback adjusts from 64 degrees to 28. It isn't the flattest and certainly not the best for napping, but it can give added comfort to most passengers and sleeping is possible. At the very least children won't have the weird head hang or awkward neck angles found in strollers that don't recline. The recline feature works via a cinch strap located on the back of the seat. The strap can get lost in the back cover of the canopy, but it isn't difficult to operate. However, it might require two hands to move the extra fabric around.

Maneuverability


Single front wheels on the Contours Lite maneuver easier than the standard double fronts on most of the products
Single front wheels on the Contours Lite maneuver easier than the standard double fronts on most of the products
This stroller has two different size wheels with 6 inch in the front and 8 inch in the back. Not only is this something of a rarity in this type of stroller, but it seems to help in ease of maneuverability. It has two single front wheels instead of the more common double wheels which seem to help it when traversing different terrain. The double wheels had a tendency to get stuck and wander, while these did not. On pavement it turns fairly easy, has good responsiveness, and was easy to handle with just one hand. This could also be due to the single bar type handle as opposed to two handle bars. This is also unique amongst the products we tested. In addition, it did pretty well on carpet too. The back wheels did get caught going around corners sometimes. This could be from the design of the stroller that has them sitting out in front of the stroller in a seemingly isolated location. The full swivel front wheels also mean it can spin in a tight space without needing a 3 point turn or backing up action.

The placement and design on the front wheels is unique on the Contours Lite
The placement and design on the front wheels is unique on the Contours Lite
Off the pavement is a little bit more of a struggle, but it isn't anything to sneeze at either doing better than many of its competition. It is easier to turn on grass than our Best Value winner, the Chicco Liteway, possible because of the single bar. It is okay for handling on the side hill, but it won't roll over a 2 inch ledge and it gets caught in the storm drain on our course. None of this is a huge deal breaker. Most umbrella or lightweight products are not meant for off-roading and spend most of their time on flat hard surfaces. This one does well enough to get you over the occasional bumpy road or greenbelt, but will probably cause frustration if this is the majority of terrain types you plan on traveling over. None of the strollers did that well over rough terrain though, so it isn't outside of the normal range for this kind of product.

Going up and down stairs is also a little difficult as well given the shorter handle bar. This makes everything a bit harder because you will invariably have to stoop over further than with other strollers. You also will need to walk with your feet on either side of the stroller instead of directly behind it so you don't step on the storage bin. This might be the only down side to such a large storage compartment. The up side is the brakes don't seem to catch when going up backwards so at least the stroller will keep on moving instead of getting stuck and immobile due to accidental brake engagement.

Safety


Safety is an important consideration, so we tested each product for safety including the harness, brakes, and the tendency to tip. The Contours only scored a 5 in this metric, which put it below average but equal to the Jeep Wrangler All-Weather. The Quinny Yezz did the best in this category thanks primarily to innovative design features.

Brakes
The brake mechanism of the Contours Lite
The brake pedal on the Contours Lite
This is a double brake control design that is only average for ease of setting. The brakes have fairly small pedals that are not sandal friendly. They also have a considerable amount of play in them compared to the completion, with about 1 inch wiggle room when properly set. The brakes also flex some which allows the stroller to rock a little bit. In addition, it takes about 7 pounds of pressure to slide backwards and 6 to slide forwards. This is on par with most of the strollers we tested, with only one requiring significantly more. Quinny Yezz stood out once again with over 19 pounds of pressure to slide back and over 15 to slide forward.

Harness
The padding on the seat back and shoulder straps of the Lite make adjusting the harness more difficult
The padding on the seat back and shoulder straps of the Lite make adjusting the harness more difficult
This 5-point harness is only average for ease of getting on and off. It is harder than many to adjust, and it does not have an adjustable crotch strap which is limiting.
The waist straps on the Contours thread through the buckle inserts in a way that makes adjustment difficult
The waist straps on the Contours thread through the buckle inserts in a way that makes adjustment difficult
The waist straps are a pain to adjust because of the way the straps thread into the buckle. You will need to move the shoulder padding to adjust the shoulder straps, but there is no padding around the buckle itself so it is easier to unbuckle than some of the others in this group. Once the shoulder straps are adjusted they still feel a little loose for smaller passengers.

Tipping

This stroller is fairly average for tipping points being neither a standout nor a disappointment. It has a side angle tipping point of about 25 degrees which is average for this category of products. It take about 34 pounds hanging off the back of the stroller before it tipped backward. This is average for the products we tested, but given the large under seat storage you may not have any reason to hang weight off the back making this consideration less significant than those strollers that have no storage and even lower weight requirements.

Quality


While the score for quality isn't great  the Contours Lite surpasses the price of this budget stroller
While the score for quality isn't great, the Contours Lite surpasses the price of this budget stroller
This product has a pretty average score for quality, but given it is cheaper than the other strollers we tested by more than half, it still looks and feels pretty darn good. The fabric is a heavier looser weave, that is spot clean only. The center section of the seat is smoother and has a slightly tighter weave that feels nicer on bare skin. The very soft shoulder strap padding has a mesh like cover for breathability. The fabric is a little lose on the frame, but the give seems intentional for a more comfortable forgiving seat.

The frame is a little less tight than some but it didn't flex as much as others, like the Peg Perego Pliko Mini. The fold is different than any other we tested, and is not like an umbrella style at all. The connection are not the most solid and overall it did feel cheaper than many we looked at.

The wheels are two different sizes and are bigger than many of competition. They seem to vibrate less than others, but aren't as nice as some of the more expensive models like the Quinny Yezz or the Mountain Buggy Mini. However, they were not as rickety or flimsy as many others.

The smooth finish on the Contours foam handle bar seems fragile
The smooth finish on the Contours foam handle bar seems fragile
The handle is a unique one bar style with a soft foam cover that has a smooth finish as opposed to a grooved or textured one. The cover feels like it might crumble of too much pressure is put on it, or if it were to get accidentally nicked.
Testers with longer legs often kicked the axle on the Contours when walking due to the short handle
Testers with longer legs often kicked the axle on the Contours when walking due to the short handle
The bar is the lowest handle height of all strollers in this group. The bar is slightly curved for better control and we were able to use it with just one hand when desired. However, the shorter length of handle height means we did end up kicking the rear axle every so often.

The comfort factor on this stroller is below average, only 6 other products came in with a lower score for comfort. It has soft front shock, no rear shocks, very soft shoulder strap padding, a sling type seat, harder than average back with minimal padding throughout and the waist strap sewn onto back could cause chafing on bare skin.

Weight and Folded Size


The Contours Lite folded and ready to store
The Contours Lite folded and ready to store
Weight and Folded Size

This stroller has an average weight of just over 14 pounds. This means it is neither heavy nor super light, but manageable to heft when necessary. Depending on your strength level you may not want to lug it a far distance, but out of the products we looked at it certainly was on the lighter side. The unique thing about this product is how it folds. While it is a lightweight stroller, it does not fold like a standard umbrella product. Instead is sort of folds in half. This means it measures fairly short compared to others at, 19.5x34.5x12.5. However, it takes up more room than most of the products at 8,409 cubic inches; this is about 2,000 cubic feet over the average size. Our reviewers called it short and bulky. It seems to fit better in smaller trunks, and can just squeeze behind the front seat of many cars as an additional storage option.

Ease of Folding
The strange fold makes the self-standing Contours Lite wider when folded than most of the others
The strange fold makes the self-standing Contours Lite wider when folded than most of the others
It will take two hands to fold this product. However, once folded it has an auto-lock feature and it self-stands. The handle bar doubles as a carry handle when folded, so no additional handle is needed. The ease of fold for this product is average. It has 3 steps which is on par for this product type, and it is sandal foot friendly. Overall, the folding of this stroller is awkward. You have to be push down on the handle with just the right amount of pressure or the locking latch is either too far away or too close. In addition, the seat back tends to hit the canopy when folding, or it hangs out the back. It sort of felt like folding the stroller is an afterthought, and not part of the original design concept. This could be a deal breaker for this kind of stroller depending on how often you plan to fold and go on the fly.

Unfolding is significantly easier requiring only 1 hand and 2 steps. All you need to do is unlatch the lock and pull up till it clicks. The motion isn't necessarily intuitive at first, but once you get the feel for it, it is quite easy.

Commuting
Commuting over bumpy roads with just one hand in the Contours Lite  frees up the other hand for sipping refreshments
Commuting over bumpy roads with just one hand in the Contours Lite, frees up the other hand for sipping refreshments
Commuting is the not the strongest metrics for the Contour. It has a fairly big foot print due to the low center of gravity design and front wheels that protrude past the edge of the foot rest. It has an awkward fold that makes it sort of bulky to carry around despite its lighter size and self-standing capabilities. All of this isn't necessarily a deal breaker, given its tight space maneuvering capability you can probably look past these issue. However, if your goal is frequent folding and carrying, coupled with transporting in a car or on public transport, the two hand fold and awkward size might be more difficult than the competition. In addition, it is not the easiest for café trips given it larger foot print, lower seat, and bulky size.

Ease of Setup


This product scored average for ease of set up. It took over 8 minutes to set up with lots of parts and things to assemble, unlike many other strollers that came almost completely assembled. The stroller is well packaged, and all of the items were individually wrapped to avoid damage during shipping. The instructions are just black and white illustrations which could have been easier to understand; photos would have been easier to follow in a step by step assembly. There were minimal instructions that lacked in depth and detail. In addition, the wheels assemble with washers and pins, unlike what seems to be the more common "snap" on wheels found in the other products.

Best Applications


This is a good budget strollers for parents who have limited funds for a second or even primary stroller. It has many cool features and conveniences that put it close to being a primary stroller, so it might even be possible to consider it a cross over stroller, using it as an only stroller. Otherwise, given the cheap price tag, it makes a great secondary stroller for travel or Grandparents. It has a large storage bin, recline for napping, sun shade, cup holder, and child accessory tray. It is hard to be disappointed with this stroller. To find one with similar features, it will cost significantly more.

Value


This stroller is a strong competitor to our Best Value award winner, the Chicco Liteway. It offers a lot for a small price tag. It comes in at $80 on average making it one of the cheapest products in our review, and certainly the cheapest with this many additional features outside the standard umbrella stroller. The Chicco Liteway costs almost $60 more for similar features, but it is worth noting that the Liteway offers significantly better overall performance. The Contours is a contender for those looking for an economical choice that still offers good overall quality for the price. If you are considering a similarly priced model, like the First Years Ignite or Chicco Capri C6 Lightweight, or even a cheaper one, like First Years Jet, we urge you to take a good long look at the Contours because it really does offer more bang for the buck in just about every category.

Extra large storage  a child accessory tray  cup holder  and reclining seats makes the Contours Lite a very versatile product
The shoulder carry strap on the back of the Chicco Capri makes carrying the stroller a breeze
The First Years Ignite
The photos above show the Contours Lite (left), Chicco Capri C6 (middle), and First Year Ignite. Even pictures show that the Contour offers more for the same price.

Conclusion


The Contours Lite is definitely a product worth considering. It has the largest storage bin of those we tested, a nicely placed cup holder, child accessory tray, an adjustable reclining back pad, and a good sized canopy for protection from the sun. It did fairly well maneuvering over hard flat surfaces, and it is lightweight, and short once folded. It is one of the cheapest products in this review, and it managed to beat not only all the other cheaper products, but it scored higher than 4 of the more expensive models as well. It has many extra features not commonly found on a basic umbrella stroller, and these features are done well for the price. The only real issues with the Lite is that it can be a bit bulky for on the fly transport when commuting, and the overall quality does not match some of the more high end, high dollar product in this review. However, for the price, there is no other product that offers as much, or does it as well, as the Contours Lite. That is why we feel that parents on a budget will like what they get it they make this purchase.

The average sized canopy on the Contours connects to seat back  or opens for more ventilation
Side view of the Peg Perego Pliko Mini
McLaren Quest Sport with canopy fully open
The photos above show the Contour (left) in comparison to the more expensive, but lower scoring, Peg Perego Pliko Mini (middle), and Mclaren Quest Sport (right).

Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz