The Petite Star Zia Evolve is the latest version of the Zia to emerge from the Petite Star stable. With the ability to transform into a pramette one minute then support a car seat the next, this pushchair sounds too versatile to be true....find out more in our review.
In the true essence of a ‘travel system' the Petite Star Zia Evolve 3-in-1 is all you will need to get out and about with your baby/toddler.
For young infants, the body of the pushchair converts into a pramette but alternatively has brackets to support the included, stage 1 car seat. This allows you to transfer your sleeping child from the car to the pushchair without unnecessarily disturbing them.
Once your child can sit up independently and wants to see more of the world around them, the pramette converts into a reclinging stroller seat (with lie flat option for snooze time) and snuggle them up in the cosytoes that's also included in the bundle.
With a neat, petite fold, what's not to like?
What's in the box?
The RRP of the Petite Star Zia Evolve is £299
The Evolve is available in Grey and Teal.
The Petite Star Zia Evolve is already in the pramette configuration when you get it out of the box, so what better place to start....
When you initially pull the Evolve out of the box, it looks all crumpled, like Bambi, and without its wheels it seems lifeless until you take it firmly in hand, grip the handles and stretch out the frame to click it into shape. Even then it still looks unfamiliar because it has the white pramette liner in place and the seat is flat. Only when you have attached the wheels and straightened out the liner properly does it resemble a shape you might expect.
You must check that the liner is attached properly before using it. The instructions are a little obscure, but with a lot of velcro attachments, the liner is secured into the flat bed. Within the liner is a soft Sumo looking belt that holds your baby in place. D-rings either side allow for a further harness to be attached if necessary. An attractive turquoise apron velcros into place over the foot of the bed, it is accented with black and white swirls which really sharpen the design. The same pattern is repeated through the canopy, car seat canopy and cosytoes.
I am not overwhelmed with the rigidity of this configuration as a pram, the sides feel flimsy and the head of the cot seems a little unprotected, but then this is a soft cot pramette which is designed for the first few months only after which the child would sit in the fully relinable pushchair seat.The canopy is very large and the apron velcro seals around the head of the bed to enclose it. At full extension the canopy gives ample protection from the sun. A horizontal window cuts through the middle but it is lined with a white mesh to diffuse the full sun.
Petite Star Zia Evolve Car seat
The car seat can be attached to the frame whether it's in pram or pushchair mode. Slide the brackets into the round hubs either side of the bed/seat. Although it makes no mention of it in the instructions, I would remove the white, pramette liner before embarking on clipping the car seat into place.
When mounted onto the flat bed, it leaves a lot of room under the car seat to carry shopping or necessities for your travels. Really useful.
The car seat also comes with a cosy head hugger and contrasting (turquoise) chest and crotch pads. The canopy clips onto the relevant press studs around the head. It's well padded throughout and the harness can be adjusted in three shoulder heights accommodating very tiny newborns up to around 6 months.
The handle is adjusted by pressing the buttons on either side. It doesn't give any resistance in any of its mechanisms and is one of the better bundled car seats that I've seen.
Removing it from the pushchair isn't taxing either, simply pull up on the handle at the rear of the car seat and it will disengage from the brackets.
Petite Star Zia Evolve Pushchair
Converting the flat bed into a forward facing pushchair is elementary using the strap mechanism on the rear of the seat. I'm not normally a fan of strap reclines, but this is about as refined as strap reclines will get. To raise the back rest, pull on the D-rings on the end of the straps. If your child is on board, you may have to use your knee to take up the weight while you pull on the straps. To recline, just press on the release button and stop when you reach your required angle.
Drop the calf rest using the levers either side of the seat and your pushchair seat takes on a more familiar shape. Don't make the mistake of removing the canopy because it's unnecessary – it's reversible. It cleverly turns inside out, now revealing plain turquoise on the outside, leaving the swirly pattern on the interior. Split the velcro sides, fit the apron around the handle and reseal.
The five point harness does not have alternative shoulder height positions, so you are stuck with the pre-ordained average height it comes with. And watch out for the buckle, it's not complicated at all, meaning that your child won't have to be too switched on before they can work it out for themselves and escape.
The bumper bar slides into the slots either side of the seat. Small buttons on the underneath of the bar will allow it to be detached on one side or the other to form a gate, allowing your child access to hop-in independently, or making it easier to load.
Petite Star Zia Evolve Basket
Behind the seat is an almost square basket at 33cms wide, 25cms long and 20cms in height. It's small, but could cope with a lot of the necessities as long as they were packed separately and not in one large changing bag. When the seat is fully reclined you can access the basket through a zip on the right hand side.
Beneath the seat, the frame of the Zia Evolve is quite complex. It seems there's a lot of mechanics on show, but because the fold is unconventional the structure is unfamiliar.
The 8cm rear wheels and 6cm front wheels all have moulded foam tyres so you don't run the risk of punctures. The front can be locked off to be unidirectional as opposed to swivelling 180 degrees. The rear wheels come under the control of the brake that is operated by the red and grey pedals next to the left rear wheel. Push forward on the red pedal to apply and step on the grey pedal to release – easy to do and won't break your toes.
The handles are adjustable, but not by a great deal. At their shortest setting, the middle of the grip stands at 104cms tall, when extended, using the buttons on the outside of each handle, the middle of the grip comes to 108cms. Not a huge transformation, but for some couples, it could make all the difference.
The Zia Evolve folds in the same way as the Zia Plus. To fold, pinch the button on the centre portion of the spar between the handles and push forward to 'break' the frame. Press a button on at the top of the right hand side of the frame and pull the triggers situated underneath. All that is required is a simple lift and push forward and the frame folds in half, reducing the pushchair to a very compact size. Once the transport locks are engaged, the pushchair will freestand - excellent!
To unfold, undo the transport locks, pull the handles up towards you and the chassis pops open. Pull the spar towards you and you are done.
Petite Star Zia Evolve Accessories
All the accessories you are going to need are included in the price. A well padded Cosytoes offers comfort and warmth on colder days plus it adds more of the turquoise and swirl pattern to compliment the black of the seat. It is lined with soft cotton except at the foot, where it has an extra plastic coating to stop toddlers shoes from marking the inside. The top can be zipped off to leave a comfortable seat liner.
The rain cover is yet another velcro work of art. Not only is it secured to the pushchair by velcro but it has a front window that is also sealed by ...you guessed it...Velcro!
Petite Star Zia Evolve Conclusion
In terms of compact pushchairs, the Zia Evolve is by no means the smallest but it does fold into a neat package that would fit in any car. The colour is vibrant, unique and unisex plus it is nicely co-ordinated throughout the whole bundle. It has some nice touches and effectively bridges the gap between stroller and fully fledged travel system.
Although you need to run through the instructions to fully understand the configurations, it's easy to convert from pramette to travel system to pushchair when you are familiarized with its workings. The gate opening bumper bar is a real plus and the canopy is cleverly reversible meaning you don't have to remove it and reattach it.
On the down side, the pramette is rather flimsy and the soft carrycot means there is less protection in the head area. Also a negative for some parents would be that the seat is only forward facing, once it's in stroller mode, but this is the compromise for this type of crossover stroller style buggy.
In addition a negative for some parents would be that the seat is only forward facing, but this is the price you pay for this type of crossover stroller style buggy.
At £299 the Evolve is good value for money and could truly be used from birth right up to the point when your child no longer needs their pushchair. The Chassis has a super fold mechanism and is well made. The Zia Evolve almost makes sense of the from bith stroller. It's such a shame then that the design of the pramette, the one part that your newborne baby will need, lets it down.
We give the Petite Star Zia Evolve
3.5 out of 5 stars
Age: From birth
Folded: 80cms x 40cms x 43cms
Weight: 10.3kg (pramette), 9.2kg (stroller)