I managed to find a great half-price deal on a new Valco Baby Ion Ex 4 Two via e-bay about four months ago, so I snatched the stroller up before trying it out in a store. I really liked it the minute it arrived, but as Andrew got bigger, I knew it wasn't going to work for us.
So... I resold the stroller (for a $30 loss!). But, in the meanwhile, I was able to write up a review of it for you. Voila!
My first impression of the side-by-side Ion Ex 4 Two was that it was an awesome stroller. Its egg-shaped chassis is very sleek-looking, toddler-climbing strong, and slim enough to fit through most standard-sized doorways. It handles like a dream, even with one-handed steering, and I really liked the multi-position-adjustable handlebar. I also loved that there was no way that I could kick the back axle of the stroller without taking an abnormal lunging step (I'm 5'4'').
The sun-canopy offers excellent coverage (very much like the City Mini) via a zip-out extension and has a nice-sized mesh child-viewing window. And, the under-seat storage basket is very large and easily accessible. There are also two hanging, compartmentalized storage bags on the back of each seat, one of which is detachable and can be used as a small portable hand-held diaper bag.
|Valco Baby Bassinet, $100-ouch!|
The stroller is typically $500 and the accessories aren't cheap either. The bassinet runs around $100 and the car seat adapter is $40 (a better bargain, I think, if you can find the adapter compatible with your seat.) There isn't a built-in cup holder for you or your little one either--unless you'd like to purchase an accessory, of course!
It takes a bit of practice learning how to adjust and unbuckle the five-point harness, but I guess this is so that little geniuses don't figure how to get out. Also, while the fold is easy to figure out and accomplish, it isn't a self-locking fold and it isn't a very flat fold either.
Additionally, while the stroller is super easy to assemble, I had no idea how to attach the upper portion of the storage basket for which there were no assembly instructions. I contacted Valco Baby and they sent me an instructional video and some photos to help me out with the installation, but it was still a pain to do (email me if you'd like a link to the Valco materials.)
Finally--and my reason for returning the stroller--because of its sleek and slender design, larger toddlers are not going to fit into this double stroller for long. Andrew was not even two when I got the stroller, but being 3 feet-ish tall, the fabric from the canopy and curved headrest of the stroller seat hit him on the head. The seat width is also slimmer than other doubles and I could tell my 35-pounder would outgrow it soon. Not to mention that adding a car seat adapter would have taken up more of his space.
The bottom line:
This is a really great stroller if you have smaller children, but there are other strollers out there that would be better for the longer/heavier haul. I'm looking into purchasing a Joovy Ergo Caboose, which transforms from a double stroller with a car seat adapter to a sit-n-stand. As always, I will be sure to report back here. Until then...