05. 22. 2007
Mia Moda Cielo stroller review
It seems like Mia Moda, a relatively new stroller company based in Pennsylvania, is making the blog rounds. Fresh from winning an Innovation Product Award at the 2007 JMPA show, they kindly sent me their award-winning Cielo stroller for review. I've only ever used 2 strollers, the Phil & Teds E3 and the MacClaren Quest, both of which have served us well, but I'm always game to try out a new stroller.
Make sure to also check out Thingamababy's impressively thorough review of the Terra Stroller, another model from the company's offering of 5 strollers. He's certainly set the bar for stroller reviews and I'm not even going to try and promise that I'm going to be just as thorough - it's that good.
When the package arrived, I was really surprised at just how small the box was. "What the hell? There's a stroller in here??" The innovation in the Cielo stroller comes in the fact that it folds down to an amazingly compact 22" x 10" x 18". It's also freestanding, which seems like such a minor detail, but is so useful for storage. You can try to visualize dimensions all you want, but unless you actually see the folded stroller for yourself, you won't quite get how small it really is. There are also a number of cool features like the easy, central brake in between the 2 back wheels. You simply step on the lever to engage it, and I like the netted storage bag in back. I've gotten into the habit of not carrying a diaper bag and only packing the minimal essentials so it's the perfect size for me.
Thingamababy thought the Cielo looked a bit "skeletal" and I know what he means (and yes! I do have a shot of the stroller in the trunk on the next page). The first thing I noticed when I placed the 6 month old in the seat was that the stroller has no sides. It's a bit like pushing the baby in an office chair. And forget my 3 year old - she's a bit taller than average for a toddler her age and she looks ridiculously big in the stroller; her head is way past the top of the seat. The weight limit is 40 lbs which she is well under, but it's the height of the back that just makes her look silly in it. It should be said, however, that the Cielo's main draw is for traveling. With its compact folded size and carry bag that's included, it fits in the overhead bin on an airplane and slips nicely into a trunk of a car.
So here's a real life photo of the baby in the stroller. I guess it's a good sign that she was smiling as soon as she sat in the seat. It's very cushy (again, think office chair cushy), much more padding than either the Quest or the Phil & Ted's. And maybe the no sides thing isn't so bad as long as she's strapped in snugly. Unlike our other 2 strollers whose straps are still a bit too big, the baby is harnessed in quite nicely and it allows her to have a much larger field of vision because her view isn't obstructed from the sides of the stroller. She seemed very pleased with her view. Interesting...
The stroller weighs about 15 pounds, which puts it squarely between the Quest and Phil & Teds in weight, but I can't tell much difference between the Cielo and the Quest when picked up, largely because the Cielo is much more compact when folded. So how does it maneuver? Surprisingly well. I suppose it's the larger wheels, but much smoother than the Quest and it's really easy to push and turn even with one hand.
The Cielo touts one hand folding, but I haven't been able to do it yet - it took me a few tries to fold and unfold it, but once you know what you're doing, it's pretty easy (make sure the harness straps are undone first - that's key). And here's the trunk test (yeah, that's a Subaru Outback - we just got it after having our car totaled in that car crash, joining legions of other families who own the Outback)
As you can see, it fits nicely in there with plenty of space for other stuff. You could even stand it upright for more room if you have a wagon-style car. Since we live in the city, we don't use the car all that much except to visit the grandparents in the suburbs once a month, but when we do, we hit all the suburban big box stores like Costco and Target so we're always coming back with a trunk full of stuff. This will work quite well.
As for style, it's a good looking stroller. Mia Moda is selling itself as a company that offers European style strollers at a more affordable price - the Cielo is about $149 in stores. I suppose the ultimate test is the reaction on the streets. As soon as we pulled up to the playground across the street with the Cielo, all our mom friends instantly noticed the new stroller and wanted to know more about it. It's been turning heads...and yeah, in case you haven't figured out which Brooklyn neighborhood I live in from my posts, I live in Park Slope, the often maligned baby populated neighborhood where any new baby gear will get the heads turning.
So I'm really curious just how long the baby will be able to fit comfortably in the stroller because I like it. The toddler has regressed and won't walk as much so I'll still be using the Phil & Teds as our everyday stroller, but the Cielo is definitely going to be our car/travel stroller, and may just replace the old Quest when we're going solo with the baby.