• Easy to maneuver
• Five levels of recline
• Compact design doesn't take up a lot of space when open
• Not super sturdy
• Doesn't roll well on rough surfaces
• Tricky to fold at first
The Chicco Liteway Stroller is an excellent choice for your little one, especially when you’re traveling or navigating tight spaces—just don't expect it to do well on rough surfaces. If you're looking for something that's extremely durable and can handle any terrain, this isn't for you. That said, this stroller isn't as flimsy as some of the more bare-bones umbrella strollers on the market—it's a nice in-between. For the first five months of my daughter's life, I preferred using a stroller that accommodated my car seat, because I liked how snugly she fit in there. But once she was able to sit upright, I was comfortable putting her in the Chicco Liteway.
Rating: 4 stars
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I was getting ready to fly with my infant for the first time, and the stroller I already had (the City Mini GT) was a beast. Don't get me wrong—I love the City Mini GT, but it's large and heavy and I wasn't sure that I could handle lugging it around (along with other bulky suitcases). Let's just say my postpartum biceps weren't exactly bulging. So I went searching for a more travel-friendly umbrella stroller at Target.
The most affordable umbrella strollers were at the other end of the spectrum—they were so delicate, they looked like they were made with toothpicks and might collapse whenever someone sneezed. So I was pleased when I saw this Chicco Liteway stroller, because it seemed to be the best of both worlds. It was sturdy enough for me to feel like my infant was safe and comfortable, but it wasn't so much of a monster truck that I felt like I needed steroids to carry it. Plus, there was no assembly required.
The Chicco Liteway folds up in a matter of seconds, although learning how to get it to fold wasn't totally intuitive. I looked pretty foolish at Target for a few minutes, but eventually figured it out. You have to kick up one latch with your foot and kick down another, then pull the bottom of the stroller toward the top with your hands. It has a plastic latch that keeps the stroller securely folded, as well as a handle. These features are wonderful, because you can easily carry the stroller without it accidentally opening up on you. If you put the handlebar side on the ground once the stroller is folded, it stands upright, so you don't have to worry about it tipping over.
Baby is securely strapped in with a padded five-point harness that's similar to a car seat harness, so I never worry that my daughter is going to fall out. The stroller’s coolest feature is that the seat reclines to five different levels, and at the last level, baby is lying almost completely flat. This has made naps possible in places like the airport and the beach. There’s also an adjustable footrest for older kids and a "hideaway boot" for younger kids. To be honest, I'm not sure what the point of the boot is. Is it for tucking in a blanket? Keeping feet warm? In my case, it was initially useful in catching the socks that never seemed to stay on my daughter, but I rarely use it anymore. ( Ed Note: According to Chicco, the hideaway boot is an added feature to cocoon reclined infants, keeping them extra cozy.)
Another notable feature is the extendable canopy with four different position options. It blocks a decent amount of sun, although my child's lower body and arms are usually exposed, so sunscreen is still a must.
There’s a storage compartment below the stroller seat that can easily hold a small backpack or diaper bag if the child is seated upright. But here's a downside: If the child is reclined at all, the storage area becomes very small and difficult to access. The stroller also comes with a parent cup holder that attaches just below one of the handlebars. I have no idea what happened to mine—perhaps it got lost during travel. It would be nice to have a place to put a latte or bottle of water. If you see it, please tell it I miss it.
On smooth surfaces, the stroller rolls very well. The product glides along with minimal pushing, turns efficiently and takes up minimal space so you're not always bumping into others. It’s been a lifesaver for me at the airport, because it's not as heavy as my regular stroller and it's much easier to check at the gate. ( Ed Note: The Liteway weighs about 17 pounds. That puts it at the heavier end of the lightweight spectrum, which can range anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds.) I even found it to be useful at the beach. Though the stroller's wheels aren't great on sand, I parked it under an umbrella, pulled down the canopy for extra shade, reclined my daughter to a flat position and watched as she slept peacefully for an hour without trying to eat sand (a true victory).
Figuring out how to fold the stroller can take a few minutes, but once you learn, it becomes second nature. The fabric is pretty easy to clean with a damp cloth. After that trip to the beach, I wiped it down and shook it out to remove the sand. The reclining seat stays in its proper position once you lock it in place. On the whole, everything works the way it's supposed to—just don't go off-roading. It doesn’t handle so smoothly on rough surfaces, like bumpy sidewalks, grass or trails.
The stroller’s aluminum body is fairly lightweight (17 pounds compared with my City Mini GT's 22.5 pounds). There are four large back wheels (two on each side) that don’t swivel, and two small wheels in the front that do swivel. This combination makes the stroller fairly stable, yet still easy to turn. The two back wheels have brakes that you snap into place with your feet. The padded handlebars rest 40 inches high, which is a comfortable height for me. ( Ed Note: That translates to 3 feet, 4 inches.) If you're especially short or tall, you may want something more adjustable.
As for the look of this stroller, it probably isn't the most beautiful or trendy one in the room, but it isn't ugly either. I consider the two-tone style to be chic and modern. There aren’t any crazy bells and whistles or flashy, luxurious features, but the stroller does what you need it to do. I love how compact it is.
Overall, I've been very happy with the Liteway. My daughter gets excited when I put her in it, looks comfortable and safe during our outings, and regularly falls asleep in it, especially when the seat is fully reclined. I can't imagine traveling without it.