Mothercare Advance XP Car Seat

Our score


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In a nutshell

A stylish budget car seat with potentially a very long life, this isn’t loaded with frills and features, but covers the bases well.

  • Pros

    Good value, spans three Groups so could take your child to the point where they no longer need a car seat, spacious

  • Cons

    Fiddly clasp, materials feel cheaper than some options, tricky to convert back to Group 1 if you want to use again for a younger baby

Our review

The affordable Mothercare Advance XP Car Seat doesn’t feel as plush as some options, but it can accommodate a growing child reasonably well.

This affordable forward facing car seat from the longstanding high street baby retailer Mothercare is designed for Group 1/2/3, meaning it covers your baby from 9kg to 36kg, roughly 9 months to 12 years.

The Advance XP car seat has a headrest and removable harness that are adjustable. It has a lightweight shell and is installed in your car with your car’s own seatbelt – Mothercare’s site puts “easy to transfer between cars” as one of its key product features.

Car seats can generally be confusing to fit to begin with  – in fact, a recent report has suggested up to 66% are badly fitted – and though hardly a doddle, this seat didn't feel too overwhelming to get in place. It fitted our car - a Mazda - just fine.

After securing with the seatbelt, the Advance XP did wobble a little more than my current one. You can get your car seat checked out by your local council's road safety team (most will do tests for you), as well as experts in-store, to make sure it is fitted safely.

For Group 1 (9kg to 18kg), you use the Advance XP’s 5-point harness to restrain your child. For Group 2 and 3 (15kg to 36kg), this harness is removed and the car’s seatbelt, guided via a side slot, is what holds your child secure.

What we love

Our car seat came in a cheerful bright red, which my son loved - bonus. We tested it in both the Group 1 and Group 2/3 positions as my 3-year-old son is at a crossover weight where it's okay to use either – and very happy he looked in it, too. In fact, he refused to go back to our old car seat.

For the money, the padding is fairly generous, with a comfy, easy-to-adjust headrest. The seat also feels nice and spacious.

What to watch out for

Converting the Mothercare Advance XP seat from the Group 1 set-up to Group 2/3 felt quite fiddly. Once the 5-point harness was removed, I felt it would be quite tricky to refit and could cause a few scratched heads, if, for example, you wanted to use it again for a younger infant as a Group 1 car seat.

While the headrest is very easy to move up and down, some parents may find it doesn't go high enough for taller children – we had to move it to a fairly high position, even though my son is only 3 years old.

The buckle on the harness felt fairly cheap. Admittedly, this is a common issue with many budget options, be they car seats or buggies.

The fitting instructions were largely diagrams (to cater for the international market), which can be confusing to get your head around. More words please!

Who is the Mothercare Advance XP car seat best for?

Budget-conscious mums with short or average height kids, who want to do away with repeat car seat purchases.

MadeForMums verdict

There's no doubt the Mothercare Advance XP car seat is great value – it's a good budget option for those who like the idea of a seat that can be used for a long period of time. It should fit most cars, and while it doesn't have the plush feel of some brands, it’s long life means you won't have to make repeat visits to the shops as your toddler grows.