If you are looking for a pushchair which will go the whole way from birth to toddler-hood when your child no longer needs a pushchair then you can't go far wrong with the Maxi Cosi Elea. It is stylish as well as practical and from a make you know you can trust.
The first thing I noticed about the Elea after unpacking it is that the instruction book has no words in it - just pictures - great for somebody like me who struggles somewhat with complicated instructions!
Opening the pushchair is easy, simply press the red button down, pull the handles up and click it into place with your foot on the grey pedal on the back in one easy, swift movement.
One of the things I like best about the Elea is that it is both forward and rear facing and it's really easy to switch between the two by pressing the buttons on the side of the unit. These can be pressed independently and will stay depressed until you have lifted the seat off and re-positioned it, the buttons then click back into place.
The recline feature on the Elea is situated at the back of the seat unit and has 3 positions from sitting upright to lying flat (it is one of the flattest pushchairs I have ever seen!) and it is a really smooth mechanism so wont disturb your child if they have fallen asleep and you lie them down. The downside to being in the lying flat position is that the pushchair is very exposed at the sides as there is not much height to the sides of the pushchair. It is also very long when lying completely flat which takes a bit of getting used to when your going around the supermarket!.
The five point harness has comfortable, shoulder pads which are great for keeping little heads in place, I think the strap that goes between the baby's legs could ideally be placed a little further forward as it makes the seat unit quite small for an older child.
The height adjustable handle is a great feature and easy to operate by pushing the buttons on the side of the handles.
The baby nest is easy to fit and is super snug for a newborn baby. It uses a swaddling technique which folds over three times to keep baby really warm, this can be unzipped for the warmer weather. It has a head-hugger attached which is velour, making it a really safe, comfortable place for a newborn. The best bit about it is that it all comes as part of the package and doesn't need to be purchased separately.
The raincover is easy to fit and covers the entire pushchair, there are no fiddly zips or press studs to deal with. The hood has a great feature in that it can be extended by unzipping it which offers a bit more protection in the lie flat position. I think it would be better though if the hood was fixed a little further down the pushchair to offer more protection to a newborn.
There is a generous sized basket underneath the Elea and there is a hook on both handles to keep your changing bag in place if you put it over the handles which is an ingenious feature. Another thoughtful design of the Elea is the buttons positioned on the frame of the pushchair to operate the front swivel wheels, no more fiddling around with dirty wheels when you want to switch from swivel wheels to going in a straight line.
The Elea can be folded either with or without the seat unit attached, with the seat attached it folds like a standard pushchair, but remove the seat and it becomes very compact, almost like an umbrella fold. To fold the pushchair you press two buttons on the right hand side of the handle and one on the left and slide it down, this manouvre does take a bit of practice but you soon get the hang of it.
I think the pushchair is fairly heavy to lift, the upside of that is that it is really sturdy to push. Thanks to the large wheels at the back and the smaller front wheels it handles different terrains brilliantly and the steering is very smooth.
The Elea can be used with the Maxi Cosi car seat and you can purchase a carrycot, foot muff and parasol as extras.
Overall the Elea is a stylish, modern pushchair with all the features you would expect from a pushchair in this price range plus a few extra features to make your life a little easier. I would recommend this pushchair from newborn as it comes as a great package.