Recaro Privia

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In a nutshell

A Group 0/0+ car seat that has been rated one of the safest in Europe, made by the same company that produces seats for Aston Martin and Audi

  • Pros

    Surprisingly light, good head support, spacious, travel system compatible, comes in eight colour-combinations

  • Cons

    Fairly complicated to use at first, not as cozy-looking as other seats

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Our review

Recaro has over 50 years experience engineering seats.  Perhaps best known for its professional motorsport vehicle seating, and for manufacturing the chairs in the Aston Martin V03, Audi S and RS and the Ford RS Cosworth, Recaro also manufacture seats for a variety of airlines, the Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train and a particular type of German tank. And since 1996 the German brand has been incorporating its years of practical development into producing child car seats.

The Privia, the company’s newest little sporty number, was introduced as a Group 0/0+ seat in the brand’s 2013/2014 collection. Tested together with the RecaroFix base, the award-winning chair was the highest rated Group 0/0+ car seat for child safety, as rated by Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer organisation, which independently investigates and compares products.

What’s in the box?

  • Privia car seat

Any optional extras?

  • Recaro fix base - £100.00
  • Mosquito net - £14.50
  • Rain cover - £14.50
  • Replacement cover - £30.50
  • Seat protector - £13.50

First impressions?

When I first took the Privia out of the box, it looked so substantial, I expected it to be heavy, but it’s actually surprisingly light and easy to lift.  At only 3.7 kg, it’s lightweight and it feels less clunky than other seats I’ve used, so it’s easier to carry around. It’s also a good rocker, which has come in handy a few times when my 11-week-old son Samuel’s been drifting off to sleep.

How did you find the installation of the seat?

It was pretty easy; the marker has four indicators, which turn from red to green when the seat is installed properly. There’s an indicator for each of the Isofix connectors, which confirm they have been attached correctly; one to show that the prop is in place; and one that lets you know that the seat has clicked into position. 

The RecaroFix base was launched to coincide with the launch of the Recaro Privia.  I’ve used the seat with its base and I’ve also secured it with a seat belt when we’ve travelled in a car that doesn’t have Isofix connectors. Once installed, this base is great. It has a support leg for extra safety and a latch safety marker, which gives you extra peace of mind.

What was it like to take out of the car?

Easy, you unclip the seat from the base using one handle at the back. With my other car seat, I often felt I had to drag the seat out of its base, but this one lifts with very little effort. The carrier handle is slim and easy to hold.

Was it comfortable?

Yes, my son generally hates being strapped into car seats or baby carriers, but he actually didn’t mind being clicked into this one. He looks safe and secure without being hemmed in.  The design of the headrest is such that it allows him to move his head easily and have a good look around.

However, the Privia isn’t as padded and cozy-looking as other car seats suitable for newborns. It doesn’t cocoon the baby in the same way others do, which means it might not be as attractive to the parents of very tiny babies.

As with other car seats, there’s an extra removable cushion to support the backs of very young babies who cannot yet sit up by themselves. As soon as a baby is ready, this can be taken up so they can sit upright. The harness can be adjusted into five positions, so it’s easy to imagine it being comfortable for my son as he grows.

What did you think of the harness?

The seat uses Recaro’s patented HERO harness safety system, which is a shoulder support, shoulder belts and headrest into one, which, the company says, guarantees safety and comfort for neck, head and shoulders.  The straps and headrest do make one sporty-looking harness and they don’t twist around when I secure them. 

Strapping Samuel into the seat was easy – especially with Recaro’s one-handed tightening system.  However, I didn’t find it straightforward to adjust the length of the belts the first time, as the instructions aren’t very clear. I found that the seat and base have more features than other similar products, so they were slightly more difficult to get used to initially.

Is the car seat easy to clean?

Yes, the covers can be easily removed and washed at 30°c.

Is it value for money?

Sort of, it is worth the £135 price tag, but it’s a bit pricier than other popular seats, such as the Maxi Cosi Pebble. And the RecaroFix base, which is especially made to fit the Recaro Privia seat, costs an extra £100.

How does it compare to your previous car seat?

I have the Maxi Cosi Pebble, which has a simpler, but less-impressive-looking design. The Recaro Privia is slightly more expensive than Maxi Cosi Pebble and not as well known. I imagine the Recaro Privia will be the one my son will prefer when he’s one year-old.

Made For Mums verdict?

It is a stylish, surprisingly light and sporty car seat that has won many awards for safety, but it is pricey and complicated to use at first.