I have scoured the internet for a good year before settling on the Kolcraft Contours Options in Cosmic. So I am writing this review to spare you the pain of having to do that, or at least help you cut you research time in half! I wanted an all-in-one stroller that would serve many purposes (what parent doesn't?) and would work for shopping, walks, jogs, rugged terrain, crooked pavement, grass, beach, you name it. At the same time I wanted all of that for no more that $160, I wanted it to look stylish, and fit comfortably folded in our Honda Accord trunk. The most important feature that guided my search was that it absolutely had to turn to face the parent.
If I ever found a stroller that would stop me from looking at other ones, it would get a rating of 5. This one only gets a four for a few of good reasons:
1. It is pretty big (but then again, I am very little).
2. It weighs a good 27 arm straining pounds.
3. The fold and unfold takes [some] practice.
But, don't get me wrong! It has so much more positive aspects :) Hence the rating of a 4. Plus if you do compare it to other full size strollers with similar features, they will weigh somewhere in the same range anyway. I was first drooling over the Mia Moda Atmosferra, which is 3 pounds lighter but has a price tag of $280. Once I found the Contours stroller I was sold because not only did it look very similar, and had the same reversable seat, but at $150 it was a lot easier to convince my husband that we need it.
When my husband first saw it I didn't have the parent tray on the handle yet and he said, quote "it's a lawn mower!". Once we put the accessories on it didn't look as big and after a couple of days I got used to the sheer size of this multi-functional stroller. The woman model in the photos is about 5'8" by my estimates and she makes the stroller look a lot smaller - something that of course did not cross my mind when I ordered it. I am 5'2" and the handlebar that is not adjustable is at my waist, but I find it comfortable. I could not find it at any stores to see it in person, so reviews were crucial and most of them were good. So I kind of knew what I was getting into because most reviewers did say it was big and heavy.
So here are its strong points, in order of importance to me, i.e. item # 1 is what really sold me on this full-size stroller:
- Reversible seat so that child can either face out or face parent
- Functions as a 'snap 'n go' (you can take out the seat and just use stroller frame with any car seat using the adapter)
- Durable with light aluminum frame and not too many plastic parts
- Suspension system for a smooth ride
- More or less easy fold that fits into an Accord
- Never flat wheels
- Cool looking and stylish, comes in green and red (unisex)
- Large capacity storage basket
- Reclining seat, suitable for newborn
- The standard 5 point harness
- Parent tray
- Locking front swivel wheel
- Stroller stands on its own when folded
Some points that were not important to me but might turn you off:
I want to emphasize that the stroller is pretty well made and is one of the least flimsy I have tried. I can't compare it to a Graco, it is a step above. It is even sturdier and a smoother ride than the Peg Perego Atlantico that I had - and I thought that was smooth. Although the canopy shade on the Contours falls short (literally) of the one on the Peg Perego. You might want to consider an aftermarket canopy extender if you buy this stroller. Overall this product is great if you are looking for:
- It is not really designed to be used as a jogger although it looks like one
- Smells awfully toxic when new and just out of the package, takes a good week or two to air out
- Made in China (well, that did turn me off a little, but what isn't these days?)
- Does not have an adjustable handle bar
- Does not have a child tray
- Seat fabric is not removable to wash, spot clean only
- Canopy does not cover well in the recline position
- The seat is not very big and might not work for every child past 2 years old
I got mine at ChitChatbaby, great prices and free, extremely fast, FedEx shipping. You can also get it at other online retailers (not sold in stores) such as Amazon and Babies R Us. It takes about 30 minutes to assemble and you will need a philips screw driver.
- Something 'head turning' yet affordable
- A reversable child seat
- An all-in-one stroller deal
- Something at around the price of a Graco Quattro but with more features and a unique look
- A stroller that not every parent has
EcoMama Green Factor: Well, it does not have one! Show me a stroller for under $160 that does :) There are very few (if any) Eco-friendly strollers on the market and none of them are in my price range. If you find one, let me know!
September 2009 UPDATE
We have used the Kolcraft Contours for a good five months now and I just must share this and tell the world:
WARNING: This is not a travel stroller!
If I could change colors in the editor I would make that 'warning' red, bright red!
I love this stroller for long walks with my daughter, I love that she can face me and she enjoys that a lot too. But after a couple of road trips I realized it is no good for putting it in and out of the trunk. I now try to avoid traveling anywhere with it. Twenty seven pounds is a lot, and the way it folds makes it seem like even more because it is cumbersome to pick up. I now try to deal with it myself if I need a stroller in the car with me because my husband really hates it and wants nothing to do with it. So all that strain is on my back now, and I don't have a very good back.
I got a lot of use out of it because we take walks around the neighborhood nearly everyday. Once it is unfolded it handles very well and is a pleasure to use. So if that is what you need it for, go for it. But do not by any means buy this if you live in a small city apartment and use the stairs a lot. If you need a cool stroller to travel with, this is not it. Look for something under 20 pounds and it will make your life a lot easier. Oh, and watch out for the canopy when you fold it so it doesn't get caught in the folding mechanism - or you'll snap it in two, learned that the hard way!