Chicco has a wonderful reputation in the world of baby gear and, since it was founded in Italy in 1958, has won many awards for their products.
The Lite Way Stroller is no exception, bypassing such rivals as the Maclaren Triumph and Mamas & Papas Trip to scoop the accolade for Best Lightweight Buggy in the Practical Parenting Awards in 2010.
While I agree that the Chicco Lite Way has many great attributes, there are a few niggles that leave me wondering; “does it deserve such high praise?”
How is it assembling the Lite Way?
The front wheels come detached but it is easy to attach them and get rolling.
The instructions are in the form of 31 diagrams, along with explanations. Due to the many languages, though, the English directions are many pages away from the drawings. It’s not a big deal to keep flipping back and forth, but a minor irritation.
You can buy the Chicco Lite Way from Kiddicare, Argos, Tesco or Amazon if you like.
Most of the instructions are comprehensive, however, attaching the footmuff is irksome. It left me scratching my head, now, call me a dunce, call me sleep-deprived, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to attach the thing and the instructions were no use.
After 20 minutes of looping straps this way and that, I eventually enlisted the help of my dad, who worked it out… but it took him about 10 minutes and he didn’t use the hopeless instructions. Thanks, Pops!
So, just how light is the Lite Way?
The Lite Way stroller lives up to its name. When it’s folded (which is really easy, by the way), it’s light enough to carry to the car in one arm with my little boy, Josh, in the other.
It’s very compact (29 x 29 x 105 cm), so fits easily in the boot with plenty of room to spare. And even though it’s light, it’s strong and durable.
Having said this, the brake pedal seems a little delicate but, so far, it’s doing its job very well.
And as it folds down so effectively, it’s very easy to store in the cupboard under my stairs. I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on holiday.
What is the Lite Way like to push?
I really like how the buggy feels when pushing it. It’s withstood walks on the pavement, walks around the park on the grass, trips in and out of shops, through narrow aisles, in and out of lifts, and on slightly rougher terrain at a farm.
Given that it’s a lightweight buggy, I’m impressed with the suspension. I wouldn’t use it for a long walk on very uneven ground but, then, that’s not what it’s intended for.
The squishy handles are comfortable to hold and are set at a good height for me (I’m 5ft 4in) but they are not adjustable so aren’t in a good position for my 6ft 7in husband.
The front wheels have swivel and fixed settings, which are easily interchangeable with the push of a lever. The swivel setting is handy for manoeuvrability and the fixed setting is good on surfaces that are a bit bumpy – like at the aforementioned farm.
How comfortable is it?
Josh is 14 months and very comfortable in this buggy. The backrest has five adjustable positions, ranging from lying flat to upright.
It’s simple to adjust and can be done with one hand. The seat in my previous Mothercare pushchair couldn’t be positioned as upright as Josh would have liked so he was always slouching and not able to take in the world around him.
The upright position in the Lite Way is perfect, as are the lower positions when Josh is napping. There’s also a leg rest that has two positions but, personally, I find it a tad pointless.
Perhaps as Josh grows taller, I’ll change my opinion but at the moment it’s simply something I have to adjust when I unfold the stroller as it shifts when I collapse it.
What do you think of the safety harness on the buggy?
The buggy has a five-point safety harness, which is supposedly safer than a three-point one. I agree that this is a good feature for a car seat, but for a buggy it seems a little unnecessary (how likely is it that you’re going to crash?) and simply means more straps to adjust.
After I’d altered the straps when trying to fix the foot muff in place, it was fiddly to get them back to the correct position for Josh. He got annoyed and so did I!
Having said this, he was certainly secure when strapped in, which is obviously a plus point.
What’s the hood like?
The hood is a pain. Instead of being attached to the stroller (preferable), it clips on.
It’s quite flimsy so doesn’t feel secure when it’s windy. It also has a habit of unclipping itself when I fold the stroller up, meaning that I have to re-clip it when I come to use it again.
It has a zip-on flap at the back that can be removed to allow for extra airflow when it’s particularly warm.
To me, it seems that Chicco has overcomplicated the hood to the detriment of functionality and because the hood is a pain, this means that the rain cover is also somewhat of a nuisance.
The hood has to be attached to use it and unless the rain cover is Velcroed on within an inch of its life (not a fun activity while it’s raining), Josh can kick it off if he’s in a monkey-mood.
When I don’t need to use the hood (either as a sun canopy or when it’s raining) I’m going to remove it and hope that I don’t a) lose it or b) break it. It would be much easier if Chicco had simply decided to keep it attached.
Can you interact with your little one?
It doesn’t seem that the stroller is designed with interaction with your baby in mind. For example, there’s no peep-through window like I’ve seen on other pushchairs.
However, when the zip-on flap is removed, or if the hood is removed altogether, your baby can turn round and give you a grin.
If these remain attached, you’ll have to poke your head around the front to check on your wee one.
How’s the storage?
Very good. This stroller comes with a storage basket underneath which is big enough for my nappy bag and a few other things.
You can also hang the nappy bag on the handlebars if you need to use the basket for other items.
Just make sure your baby is in the pushchair when you hang the bag otherwise it’ll likely tip up.
Would you recommend it from birth?
When Josh was a newborn, I used a travel system with an infant car seat and stroller, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way – mainly because I didn’t have to wake him when carrying him from the car to the house if he was snoozing.
While I wouldn’t personally put a newborn straight in the Lite Way stroller, there is an option to buy a car seat that fits into the buggy to create the Chicco Lite Way Plus Travel System.
Is it stylish?
I think the Lite Way looks very classy. It comes in either black, purple, green or light grey. I have the latter, which I love.
Is it value for money?
It’s great that the rain cover and foot muff are included in the cost, but given that there are a few annoyances with this pushchair, it’s not particularly low-priced.
Not having a decent hood is, in my opinion, quite a big deal. Is it a case of style over substance? Perhaps, but Chicco is a quality brand and the Lite Way seems built to last.
I wouldn’t pay full price for it but if it were on sale then I’d buy it.
A lightweight, compact buggy that’s easy to manoeuvre, comfortable for the baby whether awake or asleep, and stylish to boot. The accessories are fiddly so perhaps not the best option if you’re easily frustrated. Great as a second pushchair to keep in the car and take on holiday.