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Big and solid, the Graco Vivo Travel System is well-priced but difficult to first assemble and not for ideal for anyone who relies on public transport.
There used to be a car advert about the ‘clunk’. You know – the reassuringly solid noise the doors made. I’ve discovered there’s a travel system ‘clunk’ and it’s one of the things Cormac, 5 months, and I were looking for when we unpacked the Graco Vivo Travel System.
The Graco Vivo Travel System comes in at a very reasonable £229.99 – even cheaper in a lot of online places – and is billed as being as luxurious as the Graco Quattro Tour only smaller, lighter and more manoeuvrable. We’ve never met a Quattro Tour but, after a long, sweaty unpacking and assembling session, I’m not sure I ever would.
Usually when I set up a new travel system it’s fairly quick to figure it out and stick it together. And that’s because of the ‘clunk’ – it lets you know you’ve done it right, it’s solid and it works. Actually it’s a ‘clunk’ followed by a little tug or wiggle to confirm it’s fixed right. You barely notice it’s there until it isn’t and without the ‘clunk’ you just don’t know when to do your test wiggle.
But the only ‘clunk’ I got from the Graco Vivo was when I dropped the hammer I’d been using to fix the wheels on. How Cormac laughed. Having said that, the Graco Vivo looks the part with its toy bar/cup holder and vast basket.
What we love
We loved the size and general sturdiness of the Graco Vivo Travel System. It feels like the Yorkie bar of travel systems – big and satisfying. There’s nothing flimsy about it.
It’s clearly going to last the distance from tiny tot to robust toddler and carry your shopping while it’s at it.
In fact the Graco Vivo Travel System is so roomy, Cormac, a chunky 75th centile dweller, actually looked petite in it.
It was also a positive pleasure to fix the car seat to the chassis – pop and it’s on.
I also liked the fact that when folded, it’s free standing. No irritating clatter as it falls down or corresponding marks on the walls. You could put your latte-to-go (or baby’s juice) in the cup holder and fold it up without spilling any.
The travel system comes with a pretty all-consuming rain cover and washable apron – another bonus. Plus the cosy car seat comes with a hood that actually looks like it might keep a few drops of rain off.
What to watch out for
At first I couldn’t put my finger on what I didn’t like about the Graco Vivo Travel System because, on paper, it’s got a lot going for it. Okay, it’s bulky and not much fun on public transport, but you wouldn’t choose it if you needed a dinky one, would you? It’s bulky and heavy and is more-or-less guaranteed to break a nail and cause sweating putting it in an ordinary sized car.
Initial assembly requires you to hammer the wheels on, which amused Cormac but left me decidedly uneasy, and the lie-flat mechanism requires fiddling with a strap thing. The seat back also seems not to come very far upright, so Cormac was left straining to be vertical.
But it wasn’t any of those things that troubled me – what was missing was a good satisfying ‘clunk’. I’m sure things were properly locked-in and set up, but there wasn’t that strong sensation to confirm it.
Who is the Graco Vivo Travel System best for?
Mums on a budget who like to walk and want a solid, built-to-last system.
This is a great value travel system – roomy, built to last and able to carry some shopping. The car seat is easy to pop on the chassis and it’s freestanding when folded. However, it is heavy, bulky and has a few niggles that will depend on your personal preferences as to whether or not you can live with them.
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|Child age (approx)||Birth to 4 years|
Dimensions & Weight
|Dimensions||H:103cm W:64cm L:98cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:86cm W:64cm L:40cm|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats||Graco Junior Baby (included)|
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing|
|Front wheels||Lockable swivel|
|Accessories included||Car seat, raincover, apron, head hugger (for car seat and buggy)|