Pros: Includes stroller and carseat, drink trays, storage, shade. One hand folding.
Cons: Bulky, heavy, weight limit only 20 pounds, didn't use much overall
What it is
The Euro Graco is a travel system it consists of a base, a car seat/infant carrier, and a stroller. This way, there is no need to get the sleeping baby out of the car seat to put him/her in the stroller. The stroller can be used long after the baby has outgrown the car seat.
It comes in two colors an ugly yellow/gray striped and polka-dotted combination called Coventry and a boring blue/gray plaid striped combination called Hamilton. Did I mention that they were really not that attractive? Well, anyway, the Hamilton was fairly neutral, so we went with that one, and I dont need to have cute fabrics on my strollers and car seats to feel comfortable with them. However, it would have been nice to see something a little brighter. The fabric is the fairly stiff waterproofed fabric, but trust me, thats a good thing.
The car seat
We ordered a separate base for the car seat, so we could go back and forth between two cars. Sears did not carry the bases, so we had to order directly from Graco, but fortunately this was an option. I believe it cost somewhere around $35.
Our model had a three point car seat. Thankfully, Graco has switched to five-point for this model, which is much safer. If I had it to do again, I would have insisted on a five-point model, but having my baby 10 weeks early curtailed my research.
The handle snaps to the upright position fairly easily, but it does take both hands to lower it. Lowering the handle is required for traveling in the car the car seat is not safe with the handle up. This is typical of most infant carrier car seats, and was not unmanageable.
Also typical carrying the car seat with a baby is difficult. They are heavy.
Installation was not difficult, and once the base was in, it was fairly easy to remove and replace the seat from the base. We had our seat checked at the local fire station, and they agreed that we had installed it correctly.
The weight limit on the car seat is only 20 pounds and 26 inches. This is a very low limit. Many infant carrier type car seats go at least until 23 pounds or more. People with a larger baby would be forced to buy another car seat much more quickly than they had anticipated.
We got much more use out of the stroller than we did the car seat, of course. The weight limit for the stroller is 40 pounds, which my daughter still has not reached.
Assembling the stroller is a pain. It doesnt come even nearly partially assembled in the box, so there were many parts to put together, and the instructions were slightly confusing at times.
The stroller folds and unfolds by pushing a button and twisting the top of the handle. This actually works fairly easily, and allows one handed assembly. The stroller has a sun shade with a plastic window, which can be closed/opened, depending on your need to check on the baby. There is also a snack tray/drink holder for toddlers in the front, and a drink holder for parents in the back. The bottom of the stroller has a basket for diaper bags and other necessities. Toddlers snap into a three-point buckle in the front, and theres a sturdy step for children who can climb up into the stroller themselves.
The seat is lightly padded and comfortable enough that my daughter fell asleep and stayed asleep in the stroller. Although the ride is not as smooth as a jogging stroller or other stroller with inflated tires, it was easy to steer and the ride was still pretty smooth.
The car seat snaps to the top of the stroller, but getting it back out is sometimes very tricky. I had more than one frustrating experience in a parking lot trying to unlatch the car seat, so I could go home!
The major flaw with the system is that its very bulky. The car seat is, of course, bulky, but the stroller itself is bulky enough that it may not fit into some car trunks. Even in our Ford Taurus, we sometimes had trouble getting the stroller in and out of the car. The drink tray in back has snapped off, and Im not sure if this is because it was flimsily put together, or if it was because we forced it into the trunk one too many times.
It is also fairly heavy, so it was not something that could casually be included on vacations. We found ourselves using umbrella strollers more and more often, just because we wanted to avoid the hassle of carrying around that much stroller. Finally, we ended up buying a better umbrella stroller and getting rid of the travel system.
This works OK as a travel system, but its certainly not the best system available. In retrospect, I probably would not have gone with a travel system at all. Half the time, in an effort to cut down on the number of things I had to lug, I ended up just picking the baby out of the car seat and carrying her in a sling, or Id put her carrier in the shopping cart. Overall, Id call this one of those devices that new parents think they need and many end up just not using.