Product Type: Petite Star prams, pushchairs and strollers
Newest Review: ... colour and the design of the pushchair is different to the usual four cornered wheels, instead it has three wheels positioned in a triangul... more
Petite Star Zia
Member Name: jo1976
Petite Star Zia
Date: 28/08/08, updated on 27/06/13 (1222 review reads)
Advantages: Good value, folds up incredibly small, lightweight, suitable from birth
Disadvantages: Not very sturdy. Basket is so small it's useless!
Earlier this year, we decided to get rid of our bulky travel system and buy a lightweight pushchair, as our baby was over 6 months old and could manage with less padding and didn't need to recline as fully. Now, generally speaking, we're not fussy people but when it came to choosing a new pushchair we had a list of requirements as long as your arm! This was our second baby and we now knew exactly what we needed to see the baby through to toddlerhood and were determined to get it!
Obviously, you buy a pushchair for the purpose of getting out and about with your baby - but the reality is that it spends more time in storage than in use. The main problem we had with our old travel system was that it was just so bulky and the only place that we could store it, even when it was folded up, was the boot of my car! This obviously isn't great so we really wanted a pushchair that folded up really compact, without compromising on comfort for the baby. (Told you we were a bit hard to please in this instance!) I also wanted something that was very lightweight to lift about (after mauling a great big travel system in and out of my boot for 6 months!)
As stated, we didn't necessarily want a pushchair that laid totally flat, as our baby was over 6 months old when we bought it. Nonetheless, just like most babies, ours spends most of his time in his pushchair fast asleep, bless him. We looked at the Quinny Zap, which has a similar look to the Petite Star Zia, but it is just too upright for my liking. Babies I've seen in them just don't look too comfortable when they're fast asleep with their heads lolling about!
Style-wise, we didn't want a traditional style pushchair with a brake across the back, as my husband is very tall and used to tread on our old one by accident - setting the brake off in mid-walk and catapulting the baby into the road! (Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but it is irritating when that happens!) He also wanted a three-wheeler - not for any practical reasons, he just liked the look of them.
Our final restriction was the budget - we were looking to spend around the £100 mark and for that we also wanted a raincover included (as I didn't want to get a bargain pushchair and then fork out another £30 on a raincover!)
So we headed off to Mothercare with our long list of requirements and a (relatively) small budget, not feeling too optimistic, to be honest. We reeled off our list and the helpful Mothercare lady simply said "Oh, the Petite Star Zia will be just right."
She showed us one in stock (only the pink one, but our baby boy wasn't old enough to object!) As promised, it folded up really compact. It has an ingenious folding system whereby it actually folds into itself so it is surprisingly small when folded. It is also incredibly light and it is actually possible to fold up whilst holding the baby without being a magician or double-jointed! (My husband disputes this but I'm a Mum so I'm used to multi-tasking!)
It was also suitable from birth so definitely laid back enough to accommodate our sleepy headed baby. It wasn't particularly padded, so I'm not sure if I'd have wanted to put a newborn straight into the Zia, but we did buy a footmuff which gives lots of extra padding and comfort for the baby. (This cost an extra £30 approx)
Okay - I've given the ending away there. Yes, we did buy the pushchair there and then as we were just so pleased to find a pushchair that had everything we wanted. At the time, the RRP was £99, so bang on budget, although we did have to pay extra for the footmuff and I'd say that was pretty much an essential for the pushchair. Now, the Zia retails for slighter more but you can often find discount codes for Mothercare on the web, which will bring the price down slightly. Even at an RRP of £119, I'd say that it is great value for money.
Okay, so up until now I've only told you what the nice lady from Mothercare could tell you. So - six months on, how am I getting on with it? Well - there are a few minor niggles with it. I say minor and they are genuinely minor. There isn't anything with the Zia that would stop me from buying another one in the future or from recommending somebody else to buy one.
The biggest irritation that you notice very quickly, is the shopping basket. It's so small, it's almost worse than useless. It just about fits in the raincover (supplied with the pushchair, incidentally) but only if you're an expert at origami and fold it up with expert precision. Dare to fold it in a hurry and you'll never fit that raincover into the tiny basket! There's no chance of getting anything else into that basket, believe me. Getting the raincover out when you need it (which is quite often given the British weather) was also a work of art - until I discovered that there are actually little hooks at the back so that you can unclip the fabric basket and remove it. You don't actually need to wrestle with the basket in the pouring rain - oops!
The tiny basket often leads on to the situation where you hang shopping bags off the handles...One of the drawbacks to a really light pushchair is that it is so lightweight and can quite easily tip over if you've overloaded the handles! At times it feels very flimsy and, dare I say it, almost cheap because there isn't much weight behind it.
I've also had occasions when the brake just seizes up and won't unlock. This has only started happening over the past couple of months but happens fairly frequently now and does get very irritating! Fair enough, you don't tread on it accidentally as it works from a lever at the side of the wheel, rather than a bar across the length of the pushchair. The only other thing I can remember is that one of the wheels has actually come off on two occasions when the pushchair has been in use. Obviously, it 's been used on hundreds of occasions so it isn't something that happens regularly and the wheels are designed to just slot on and off, but you don't really want that to happen.
My husband has cast a critical eye over this review and reminded me that there is another minor criticism. The seat adjusts using a sliding belt from the back. The problem we find is that it never seems to be exactly level and our baby ends up leaning towards one side or the other. I don't know whether this is a design fault or just our poor pulling technique!
I've included all the niggles above, just to give you a wider perspective on the pushchair's durability and day to day use. It's maybe not as durable and sturdy as other models out there, but I certainly think it's well worth the money and I haven't seen any pushchair on the market that has everything the Zia has, within that price bracket.
It comes in three colours - teal, black and pink. We ended up with a black model as the teal was out of stock. With hindsight, I wish we'd gone for the teal colour as it looks like a more expensive pushchair and is just a bit funkier!
The final verdict is down to my baby though.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Update May 2009: The pushchair is still going strong although my son has now outgrown his foot muff. It is showing signs of wear and I doubt this would be in a suitable condition to pass on to a new baby but it has been well used. The only major fault is that it isn't particularly easy to adjust the straps now that my toddler is older and he tends to look slumped in the seat when he's in an upright setting.
Summary: Excellent value pushchair. Well worth considering.