After initially saying we didn't want to spend much and just wanted the bare minimum we did persuade ourselves into going for the full travel system - pram, carry cot, car seat and isofix base. We ended up with a few front runners - the Joie Plus Chrome, the Mamas & Papas Zoom and the Mamas & Papas Sola2. We ruled out the cheaper Zoom as it just didn't feel as sturdy (I guess what you get for £100 less). After testing the systems for how well they worked and then for their fit in both our cars we decided on the Mamas & Papas Sola2. The trio package came with everything we wanted. The only thing we couldn't get our heads round was the choice of colour - lime green or tomato red! Now we both wouldn't normally let this affect us BUT they really were hideous and we had to think about re-sale value too. So we decided to upgrade to the Sola2 mtx in denim blue. This version was much more hard-wearing, designed for 'off road' use and came with an upgraded car seat.
Photo from www.mamasandpapas.com
We purchased this in the sale for a price of £499.99. As my partner's car has isofix we also had to purchase the isofix base at £110.00 (crazy price for a lump of plastic). We also ended up with the winter footmuff for the pram thrown in for free after the sales assistant accidentally scratched my partner's car when putting the isofix base in. We were quite upset about the scratch as we have only had the car a few months but hopefully it will polish out. The footmuff was priced at £79.99 and we will need one eventually when we move from using the carry cot to the pram.
Overall we made a saving of £310 on the system. Obviously we can't say how much we will like it yet (we collect in August) but from wheeling it around the store and car park and testing putting the different bits together it did impress us. The isofix base was a pain to get in but once that is in my partner's car it will stay there (my poor little 06 plate fiesta does not have fancy features like this). My partner's car is a Skoda Rapid - with plenty of boot room to fit the entire system in. My fiesta just fits the pram base in the boot and then the carrycot or pram top would need to go on a rear passenger seat. This would be the same with any travel system so nothing I can do about that (without selling my much loved car).
I do have to say that this system was actually purchased as a very kind gift from my partner's parents - we would have struggled to afford such a good quality system and would have had to made sacrifices on either parts or quality. Very much looking forward to collecting it in 13 weeks and very glad we do not have to look at travel systems anymore!