Petite Star Zia Evolve Review
This is the Petite Star Zia Evolve. The Zia Evolve is a very compact, very lightweight, small folding pushchair, suitable for a toddler but with THREE different options for a newborn baby: A cosy parent facing pramette; a matching car seat or the lie flat seat. These photos show what comes with the Petite Star Zia Evolve: the pushchair, the pramette fabrics (liner and apron), footmuff, bumper bar, raincover and the matching car seat with hood. Everything a child needs from birth to 3 is here in one lightweight, small package, and all at a great price. Great value for money for a travel system!!
Our first impressions were of how compact and neatly folded the Petite Star Zia Evolve was. There’s no doubt that the Zia Evolve has to be one of the smallest folding, suitable from birth pushchairs on the market. I have to say, it is probably one of the best designed lightweight options for a newborn baby, and this, to be honest, will be one of the biggest selling points for the Evolve. The light, small, neat folded size of the Evolve, with the pramette part largely still attached in one piece, will make the Evolve very attractive to anyone who travels a lot; or has a small car boot; or has limited storage space in their house; or anyone who has to carry a pushchair upstairs. Our Evolve was a fabulous turquoise colour – very eye catching!
Our Petite Star Zia Evolve arrived with the pramette fabric already partially attached (see the second photo), so it was very easy to finish fixing the fabric and within minutes the Evolve pramette was ready to use – simply lift up the footrest to horizontal; then unzip the side panels of the pramette fabric, and do the velcro tabs up at the sides and back. The fabric hooks over the seat to finish it off. The hood unclips easily at the side and can then be reattached facing the opposite way. We suspect most people who buy the Zia Evolve, will be using it for a newborn or young baby, so its good that you are given a head start! We love that there is a matching apron included which finishes the pramette off, hides the mattress fabric and makes the Zia Evolve into a neat, smart pram.
We loved that there is an inbuilt mattress which incorporates a soft comfortable waist / crotch harness for a newborn baby. This will be reassuring for any parent on their first outings with their newborn baby. Great touch! The downside of this is that it would be hard to add on a sheet to the base of the pramette.
The newborn space didn’t look that big for a baby, however given our 2 year old can lie flat on the Evolve seat, (minus pramette fabric,) the space is really not that small.
We were not keen on the way that the pramette fabric flops down near the child’s head. We just could not find a way to get this part to stand permanently upright (see photos).
The instructions said to detach the pramette fabric before folding, but in real life, its hassle to have to deconstruct and reconstruct the pramette each time (however easy) to fold / unfold. As the photos show, it is possible to fold the Evolve with the pramette fabric on, but part does stick up. But this would still be managable to carry or put in a car boot. The next photos show that with the pramette fabric detached only at the rear, the Zia Evolve folds flat. It is simple to put the pramette fabric back on – two velcro straps and a zip on each side, but its not something I would want to do in the rain or in a hurry.
Pushchair Seat and Child Comfort
The Petite Star Zia Evolve seat is fabulous because it is a lie flat seat, with an adjustable lift up footrest. This makes it suitable from birth. The seat is roomy but not a particularly tall one. Our 2 year old looked really comfortable in the seat. However as the photos show, his head was near the top of the 40cms tall seat. This was not particularly an issue when he was sat upright, but when he fell asleep, his head was pressing on the fabric at the back of the seat. To be fair, at his age, he wouldn’t necessary be reclined flat, but he does still nap during the day. The knee to footrest length is very good for a pushchair, so although our son’s feet are on the footrest, his knees are not bent at all thus he has plenty of room to grow.
We found the harness was easy to do up and undo; and was simple to adjust. There are however no choice of harness height settings and I would be concerned if the harness would pull up tight enough for a younger child, especially given the Zia Evolve is suitable from birth. The harness is on the tightest settings in the photos for our 2 year old. The harness has sharp pointed edges on the buckle. We saw these on the Petite Star Njoy Bubble, but that did have a crotch pad to offer the child some protection from these. The Evolve does not have such a luxury. The stitching at the top of the harness did not seem the best on our Evolve.
The seat beautifully combines a press in button with a toggle, to give a seat that reclines easily to any position of your choice! Brilliant! To lift the seat back up, the toggle needs pulling up tight. We love this feature!
One of the other features that we like most about the Petite Star Zia Evolve is the a lift up calf rest. It can be hard to find one of these on an expensive pushchair, so to have one on a small folding pushchair is brilliant. This feature alone would probably sell the Evolve to us! We like having our son’s legs up when he is sleeping. A younger child looks so much more comfortable with their legs lifted up. The footrest is easily raised using two buttons to lift and lower. Best of all the Evolve folds with the leg rest left up.
The hood is easy to lift up and down. It feels solid when open which is surprising for such a small pushchair. The hood is easy to unclip to remove, or to turn around for pramette mode. We were not keen on having the see through plastic backed mesh above the head of where ideally you would have a sleeping child! We prefer a solid hood, or one with a peekaboo window. However it does mean that you are able to see the child in the seat whilst walking along.
The Zia Evolve comes with a bumper bar. This slides in really easily onto each side of the seat unit. The bumper bar is flexible which means first that it ‘swings away’ to allow a child to hop in and out of the seat unit easily; but also it means that the pushchair can be folded with the bumper bar left in place.
The Petite Star Zia Evolve comes with a beautiful matching footmuff. The top zips off to leave a liner for the pushchair seat in summer. This is a lovely touch and something that is rarely included in the price even on a more expensive pushchair.
Car Seat / Travel System
The Petite Zia Evolve Stage 1 car seat looks really smart with its aluminum handle and simple styling. The car seat feels light to carry using the narrow foam covered handle. Light car seats are a huge bonus as your baby gets older!!
The hood of the car seat is lined with the pushchair fabric, along with the harness pads. However the hood is just a piece of stiffened fabric which poppers onto the main seat and can easily get pulled off. There is no scope to fold the hood back but it could be removed if required. Long term I could see me removing the hood completely as it does get in the way a bit – both when putting the child in the seat, but also when trying to see how to fit the car seat into the car using the seat belt (we have a 3 door car). There is no base available for the car seat. The car seat handle is very easy to move and can be put behind the seat to give a stable place for the baby, or can be in rocking mode. The harness height is very easy to alter. The seat comes with a matching headhugger. However we did note that there is no newborn wedge for the seat although it is suitable for a newborn to use.
What we did really like is that Petite Star have recognised that the time when the car seat is mainly going to be used, is when the pushchair is in pramette mode. Therefore, the pushchair, with pramette fabric still attached can be used with the car seat. So a parent has the choice of whether to use the car seat for a short outing, or the pramette with its lie flat bed for a longer outing, without having to strip the pramette or seat fabric off to use the car seat. I will admit that the pramette plus car seat combination does not look the most neat, but its completely practical and for a quick nip in and out of somewhere with the car seat, its fine!
However what we found tricky was actually putting the car seat in situ on the pushchair chassis. There are two small round car seat adaptors which need fitting into place instead of the bumper bar. I spent ages puzzling over where these exactly fitted, and also which side was left and which side was right (they only fit one way)! However I know as a result of my feedback, the fantastic people at Petite Star have made the instructions more explicit about where they go!! Its easy once you know how! Once the adaptors were on, the next challenge was to actually put the car seat on. We found this tricky, HOWEVER Petite Star have looked at the ease of fitting the car seat since we reported that we had an issue and have resolved it. I have had a go with another Zia Evolve since and could fit the car seat easily – it just slotted into place on top of the adaptors. The two round adaptors are a bit difficult to remove and then need storing somewhere until ready to use and potentially could be easy to lose. However, I suspect that the car seat adaptors could possibly be left in situ when not being used, but this is not something we tried.
Wheels, Handling, Brake and Basket
The Petite Star Zia Evolve has four wheels which gives it extra stability. This is useful when using a car seat. The wheels are small hard wheels and are most suited to pavements. However we did challenge the Zia Evolve across mown grass and it went across it fine. Our gravel was more of a challenge. The Zia Evolve was easy to tip up and down kerbs.
There are two hard plastic handles on the Zia Evolve – not the most comfy handles ever, but they are fine! But the handles hide a hidden secret! There is a button on each handlebar which when released allows the handles to be pulled up or pushed down, to potentially extend them by approx 3.5cms! Brilliant!!!! A small detail like this, can make all the difference to how a pushchair feels to push and use.
We found the Zia Evolve easy to manoeuvre one handed, although it is easier to push two handed. The Zia Evolve felt comfortable and easy to push. We did find there was some flex in one handle as we pushed and turned, but the other handle seemed sturdy. The front wheels are lockable swivel wheels.
The brake is a push on button down by the left rear wheel. I found it hard to apply, not least because its not logical! The brake needs flicking up to lock, and then down to release! This is the opposite to most pushchairs! There is a red button to assist with removing the brake, but it is difficult to get your foot underneath the pushchair to reach this.
There is a small basket on the Zia Evolve. Petite Star have thoughtfully added a zip onto one side of the basket to enable easy access especially in pramette or lie flat seat mode. The basket is larger than it looks, partly because it is quite deep. The Zia Evolve certainly is not the pushchair to do a weekly shop with, but there is certainly enough storage space to put the essentials that a carer and child need on a basic outing – nappies, wipes, purse, keys, phone, drink etc.
The small, neat fold is one of the biggest selling points of the Petite Star Zia Evolve. In pushchair mode the fold is small. As discussed, the Evolve can be folded with the pramette fabric left in situ, but this gives a more chunky fold. Undoing the pramette fabric at the rear allows the Zia Evolve to fold flat with most of the pramette fabric left attached.
The fold itself is easy to do. Simply unlock the centre bar by pressing in the centre button to ‘break’ it. Next press in the button on the right hand side and use the sliders on the left and right of the chassis to start the fold off. Push the handlebars forwards to complete the fold. There are two storage locks which need to be manually applied to keep the Evolve neatly together.
Opening the Petite Star Zia Evolve is easy. Simply undo the two storage locks, bring the handles up towards you and the chassis locks into place. The bar between the handles by the hood simply needs locking into place.
The Petite Star Zia Evolve is really the pushchair that many people have been looking for….it is a lightweight, small folding pushchair which properly addresses how a newborn baby can be carried in a choice of two lie flat positions. The included car seat can turn the Zia Evolve into a travel system, however we found this a little tricky to do. All round the Petite Star Zia Evolve is a thoroughly useful little pushchair and I think there will be many people glad of having such a small folding pushchair with such good newborn, and toddler seating options. The Petite Star Zia Evolve is amazing value for money for what is included in the package!
Other Petite Star Zia Evolve Reviews: