RECARO Celona travel system review
In a nutshell
A stylish and versatile travel system suitable from birth to 4 years old, with a series of thoughtful ergonomic features and practical one-handed compact fold function – if you can get the knack of it
What we tested
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
3.7A star rating of 3.7 out of 5.
- Comfort for child
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.2A star rating of 4.2 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Multiple seat options, one-hand fold with buggy seat in place, all-terrain, compact, lies completely flat, stylish, high-quality design
- Vague instructions, steering could be improved, harness difficult to adjust, easy to kick the brake pedals, small front wheels
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One of two modular travel systems created by German brand Recaro, the Celona is a smart combination buggy that allows users to switch various components in and out of its base unit. While its sister system, the Sadena, is intended for city dwellers (featuring a narrower wheelbase, making it more compatible with public transport), the Celona prides itself on comfort for child and parent by making use of various ergonomic features and generous basket storage.
Sold as a 4-in-1 package, the Celona system consists of infant carrycot, a buggy seat that lies completely flat and can be used from birth, a car seat and i-Size base unit. The Celona pushchair features large rear wheels to cope with all types of terrain, and benefits from a 5-point harness using Recaro’s patented HERO safety system (originally a manufacturer of seating in cars, aircraft and racing cars, Recaro is an expert in this field). Further enhancing practicality, the Celona can be folded one-handed with the seat unit in place and stored easily as a self-standing unit. It is also available in a range of colours including Night Black, Pacific Blue and Pale Rose. Priced from around £899, the Recaro Celona was also shortlisted in the Best Travel System Package over £800 at the Made For Mums Awards 2022.
Megan Conner is a freelance journalist and mum of 3. Megan tested the Recaro Celona travel system with her 3-month-old daughter on the school run in Surrey, and on walks in parks with varied terrain.
What were your first impressions of the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system?
My first impressions of the Celona travel system was that it felt reasonably light in the packaging, considering all the components that were involved. It arrived in 4 separate boxes, taking up most of my hallway, but I was able to move them around without too much effort. Once I’d opened everything up, I also liked the look of it – the fabrics felt high quality and the charcoal/black colourway was slick and smart. I was particularly impressed with the car seat – it felt stylish yet robust - and the buggy chassis, which was folded down compactly.
How easy was the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system to build?
All the elements were easy to construct. Although I had to put the wheels on, this was pretty simple, and once I had released the lock on the buggy frame, the chassis almost sprang up by itself. There were a few things that were unclear, like how to fold down the chassis (the design ensures that you can do it one-handed). I also wasn’t sure how best to adjust the straps on the seat unit. Annoyingly, the instructions were just a series of vague diagrams with arrows, so I ended up consulting the Recaro online tutorial video for more help. MFM Parent Tester Natalie – who tested the Celona travel system with her 2 month old and 3 year old – found that the pushchair was “very straightforward to set up”, adding: “The wheels clipped on easily and the carrycot and seat units were in one piece ready to go. Everything worked as expected and although simple, the unit was put together with ease and felt sturdy straight away.”
Does the RECARO Celona travel system have a good carrycot?
Absolutely. The Celona carrycot is suitable from birth up to 6 months old/9kg and measures H63cmxW42cmxL84cm, and thanks to its look and feel, it’s one of my favourite things about this travel system. It just felt really plush and snug for young babies, especially for the winter. The sides are padded, which I really liked, and all the bamboo fibre fabrics were removable and machine washable. The soft, foam mattress felt firm but breathable and there was still plenty of space for my 3-month-old baby to grow into. It felt quite long compared to our usual carrycot and when I measured it, there was a difference of about 5cm, but the chassis underneath was comparatively smaller.
There’s a zippable cover on the cot, making it easy to open up the top layer and reach into your baby, plus a hood that could be pulled up and down by pushing buttons on either side with a viewing window for optimal air circulation. Despite boasting a large extendable sun canopy with UPF50, a slight negative was that I found there was still a lack of pull-down visor to block out the sun’s rays and light, something I really value for nap times.
Is it easy to put the RECARO Celona carrycot on and off?
The memory buttons make taking the carrycot off the Celona pretty simple and it also came equipped with an integrated carry handle, which enabled me to remove the carrycot with one hand, which for me, was really useful for transferring my daughter from inside to outside while she’s sleeping.
What do you think of the RECARO Celona pushchair’s seat unit?
The Recaro Celona buggy’s seat unit can be used up until the age of 4/22kg and gives parents the option of having their little one either facing you or forward/world facing. Unlike some other buggy seat units, it’s also possible to lay the seat completely flat. However, parent tester Natalie felt the seat unit had “ample padding and good support around the head area, the straps are particularly well made and meant my toddler was safe and secure”. The one-handed recline feature was excellent (there were 3 recline options, including one that lies the seat completely flat). I can’t go on enough about this – I was so impressed by how flat I could lie the seat back, it’s a complete game changer for sleeping. Natalie also loved this feature, noting how the seat could be “easily adjusted and there is a good range of movement”. The leg rest was also easily adjustable, and there were some thoughtful ergonomic features like a padded, adjustable headrest. The seat also has an enormous UPF50 sun shade that stretches all the way down to your child’s chest/lap, making it perfect for naps.
What are the straps like on the RECARO Celona pushchair?
Overall, I thought the seat looked really attractive and comfortable, but in reality, the shoulder straps on the harness were a little too thick and rigid. Although I appreciated that my daughter was secure in the 5-point harness, in practice I found it difficult to get her into the seat and adjust them with her in it. The instructions indicated that you should undo the poppers, pull out the smaller straps inside, adjust them via a small buckle, then fold the straps back inside and re-seal the poppers – this is a lot to do with a wriggly 3 month old in tow. Buckling was easier as the harness has 2 magnetic pieces that lock together, which you then insert into the holder. I felt reassured by the HERO safety patent (a single unit compromising shoulder pads, shoulder straps and headrest which prevents the harness from twisting and slipping) on the harness, although I did wonder how happy a 4 year old would be fastened in with such rigid straps that don’t allow a great deal of movement.
Does the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system come with a car seat?
Yes, it does. The Avan i-Size car seat is a really nice piece of kit and complies to the latest UN R129 safety standards to provide ultimate comfort for children from 40-83cm, making it suitable from birth to 13kg/approx. 15 months. I really liked the way it looked with its plush fabric and the addition of the adjustable headrest for your baby. It felt simple and practical, and once in, my daughter seemed really comfortable. The straps felt particularly substantial and secure over her shoulders, which was reassuring, and I found them really easy to operate. In addition, the big pull-down hood was a really nice feature and so much more generous and user-friendly than the covering supplied on our existing Maxi-Cosi car seat.
How easy is it to install the RECARO Celona travel system car seat?
The Recaro Avan/Kio comes with an i-Size Base, which was straightforward to install in the car using the isoFix system. My only criticism would be that I didn’t find the instructions very clear when positioning and securing the supporting leg part of the system (they didn’t indicate I should pull a lever on the seat as I pulled the supporting leg out). In terms of fixing the car seat on to the buggy chassis, this was easy with the adaptors provided. To remove it from the chassis, I just had to release the big green lever-type button on the back of the car seat. This, for me, made the process of getting a heavy car seat on and off much simpler than with our existing travel system, the Uppababy Vista. MFM Parent Tester Natalie also had a positive experience with the car seat, stating she found it “very easy to get on and off the buggy frame”, adding: “With two clicks the car seat is easily removed and it is also easy to put on. I have had absolutely no issues with this.”
Is it easy to fold and unfold the RECARO Celona travel system pushchair?
In theory, this should have been really easy to do because of the one-handed folding mechanism. The concept of folding the Celona is that you should be able to do it really quickly at the click of a button, and one-handed. I watched the online tutorial video to see how to do this as I couldn’t get the chassis down easily after reading the pamphlet instructions. It took me several tries to get the knack (cue me watching the guy in the online tutorial on repeat to analyse how he did it!) Eventually I worked out the magic and once I knew how, the simplicity of folding the buggy down was a really strong point of the system. MFM Parent Tester Natalie also had some issues with the one-handed fold, claiming: “There is definitely a knack to collapsing and folding the pram, sometimes I can do it first time, however sometimes I do struggle”. Despite this, Natalie did go on to note that the Celona pram is “extremely easy to unfold, with one clip the frame unfolds quickly and easily”. I also loved that I could fold the chassis down with the seat unit still attached, in both forward-facing and parent-facing positions, and store everything away neatly.
How compact is the RECARO Celona travel system pushchair once folded?
Once folded, the Celona pram is pretty compact (H65cmxW57cmxD30cm) and you can also detach the wheels if needed for an even more compact fold. It is also self-standing – a feature I would really value in my existing travel system. I really couldn’t fault the compactness or the size and shape, and the fact it all stayed together thanks to a simple locking latch. There was also a handy bar with which you could pick up the folded base and carry it – another thoughtful feature my current travel system lacks.
Can the RECARO Celona travel system be carried and stored easily?
The frame was reasonably heavy (8kg) to carry but not excessive, and it didn’t even take up a third of the boot of our Volvo (the Uppababy Vista, when folded, is bigger by comparison). The carrycot obviously took up more space. Parent tester Natalie also agreed that once folded, the frame is “very compact” and “easy to store”, adding: “The buggy is light when folded, there are well placed handles to make it easy to pick up and carry around. I particularly liked the handle on the bassinet which was strategically placed to balance the weight of the unit when carrying.”
What’s the RECARO Celona travel system pushchair like to push and steer?
I had high hopes for manoeuvrability because the Celona pushchair seems such a well-made product and the manufacturer’s boast that thanks to lockable 360 degree swivelling wheels, manoeuvring the pram should be simple. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case in this field, as I felt it wasn’t as superior as the Uppababy Vista travel system that we already own. The Celona buggy felt slightly heavier and was harder to pivot, and there was less flex/suspension when trying to negotiate it up steps and kerbs (without getting too scientific about suspension). I found it particularly hard to push up a kerb by my son’s nursery and in order to do this, I had to really bear weight down on the handlebar. I also found steering one-handed more challenging. However, MFM Parent Tester Natalie found it easier to manoeuvre up the biggest of kerbs using the back wheels, adding: “When pushing on normal pavements it handles well, the turn is smooth and it is easy to push one handed.”
How well does the RECARO Celona buggy work on public transport?
I made one short bus trip using the Celona pushchair and found it manoeuvred and fitted down the aisle just fine. At approximately 53cm wide, the wheelbase is narrower than our current buggy, which I would say has an exceptionally wide wheelbase. My daughter seemed secure and pretty comfortable throughout our journey.
What’s the RECARO Celona pushchair chassis like?
I found the chassis to be a really nice shape, and quite neat and compact. The 5kg basket was a great feature and because the chassis is smaller than my usual Uppababy Vista buggy, I could negotiate smaller doorways more successfully. The chassis was matte black and didn’t scratch during the time I used it, but it is also available in silver.
How do you rate the RECARO Celona buggy handle?
The Recaro Celona pushchair comes with a height-adjustable handle which can be ergonomically adjusted to any body size. There are 3 settings to create 3 different heights between 93-110cm and for me, this was a big plus point. The handle also felt quite wide in comparison to other buggies I’ve used but it did feel comfortable in my hands. The faux leather finish was a nice touch but I wasn’t massively into the massive Recaro branding which is across it.
What are the wheels like on the RECARO Celona travel system pushchair?
The manufacturer states that the Celona buggy has puncture-proof, foam-filled wheels, which are said to be maintenance-free, easy to look after and can tackle any terrain ranging from gravel to park paths. For a buggy that’s designed with the above all-terrain attributes, the wheels are relatively slimline and aesthetically, I probably prefer the look of chunkier wheels. However, I found I didn’t need to clean any mud off the wheels after our off-road adventures in the park. The front wheels also detached easily, and coped well with a few longer bumpy rides. Despite the Celona’s all-terrain claims, MFM Parent Tester Natalie found that the pram “isn’t the best on uneven ground”, explaining: “The front wheels are quite small so get easily stuck in potholes for example. I have also found that the wheels don’t work too well on gravel and cobbled pavements.”
How good are the brakes?
There are 2 brake pedals on the Recaro Celona pushchair – one by each wheel, serving as a ‘go’ and ‘stop’. They held brilliantly, but I did find 2 pedals a bit unnecessary and that I had a habit of kicking them while walking, causing them to auto-lock. Parent Tester Natalie also found it very easy to accidentally step on the brake pedal while walking, which would bring the pram to an abrupt halt – but did note that despite this, the brakes do work well.
How do you rate the RECARO Celona pushchair’s storage basket?
The Celona pushchair’s storage basket is really generous, with a 5kg capacity. It was more than adequate to store everything I needed, including food shopping and a large rucksack. MFM Parent Tester Natalie was also a fan, stating: “The basket on the buggy frame is large and deep making it easy to store whatever is needed whilst out and about underneath. I feel there is also easy access to the basket when the bassinet is in use which is good, the access is even easier with the seat unit on. The net on the sides of the basket is a welcome addition as any loose crumbs for example can be easily swept out.” Despite its many plus points, the only downside is the fact there is a bar running through the middle of it, making positioning certain items more tricky. If I were being really fussy, I would add a couple of easy-access compartments to hold baby bottles or water bottles upright for extra storage.
How does the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system compare to similar products on the market?
|Product name||Pushchair weight (kg)||Car seat included?||Folded Size (Hcm x Wcm x Lcm)||Total Travel System RRP (£)|
|RECARO Celona||12.5||Yes||H65cm x W57cm x D30cm||From £899|
|Uppababy VISTA V2 Pram||12.4||Yes||H84.5cm x W65.3cm x L44cm||From £1,200|
|Silver Cross Wayfarer 2021||10kg||Yes||H32cm x W54cm x L85cm||£899|
|Maxi-Cosi Adorra Luxe||11.6kg||Yes||H67.5cm x W59.5cm x L44cm||£899|
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Carrycot
- 1 x Carrycot raincover
- 1 x Seat unit
- 1 x Seat unit raincover
- 1 x Seat unit adapters
- 1 x Avan i-Size car seat and adapters
- 1 x i-Size car seat base
Are there any additional accessories you can buy?
- Lite cot (a softer more flexible carrycot that is attachable to seat unit) £93.22
- Foot muff £75
- Hand gloves £51.23
- Cup holder £17.93
- Carrycot mosquito net £24.68
- Seat unit mosquito net £25.61
- Changing bag £59.69
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system?
In general, I would have liked a bit more information about the product to be provided in the box (call me old-fashioned!). I still feel like there are features I might not have spotted. For example, I only recently learned that elements of the buggy are reflective to aid pedestrians and road safety.
Who would the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system be most useful for?
The Celona buggy is an appropriate choice for any parent looking to invest in a travel system to take their baby from newborn to toddler age. If you drive, the Celona is a good example of a travel system that integrates a car seat really seamlessly. For parents who tend to walk from A to B, it offers a really cosy carrycot, a seat that lies completely flat for sleeping and a generous basket for storage.
Is this RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system worth the money?
At around £1,000, the Recaro Celona is averagely priced for a travel system that includes a carrycot, seat unit, car seat and base. Although Recaro is less established as a baby brand, its Celona travel system is designed to compete with the likes of big names like the Silvercross Wayfarer, Uppababy Vista and Cybex Gazelle. Although I might have expected such a new kids brand to be a bit more competitively priced, the overall package is good value and when compared to other brands, the Recaro Celona offers some different plus (and minus) points.
Where can I buy the RECARO Celona 4-in-1 travel system?
It is available from Kiddies Kingdom and Baby Planet
The Recaro Celona is a cutting-edge travel system with lots of favourable elements and thoughtful features, including a cosy carrycot, a seat unit that reclines fully and a one-handed compact fold, to name a few. However, it doesn’t win out over competitors in all areas, with its awkward seat harness and less superior steer technology letting it down. Recaro’s line of car seats are one to watch out for, and overall, the Celona travel system is an attractive, stylish and affordable option for parents who want to invest in a pushchair that will see their child from the newborn days right through to the toddler years.
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||H:93cm–110cm W:57cm D:79cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:65cm W:57cm D:30cm|
|Child age (approx)||From Birth|
|Child weight||Up to 22kg|