Bugaboo Turtle car seat review
In a nutshell
Well-padded robust car seat with some ingenious features, such as the hooded canopy and merino wool padding, you'll feel very safe putting your baby in this i-Size compatible car seat, which has won our coveted Triple Tested Best Buy Award 2020
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Safety features
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Comfortable, stylish, extending sun canopy with 50+ UV protection, easy one-pull strap harness adjustment and i-Size compliant
- Quite bulky, base does not have electronic indicators, handle adjustment needs two hands, buttons are quite stiff
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This smart and stylish seat is the first car seat offering from luxury buggy brand Bugaboo. It’s an extremely sturdy, comfortable and well-built seat from a trusted name, with some seriously clever features. When shopping for a car seat, the absolute top priority for any parent is always going to be safety and comfort, and this seat ticks both those boxes. It’s i-Size compliant and the seat’s patented padding offers a great level of protection.
Bugaboo has an impressive 2 decades’ worth of experience in the pushchair market. Its buggies are known for combining style with great functionality, and this seat does not disappoint in either respect. Like the buggies, the seat is very much priced at the top end of the market – the price includes the car seat adaptors, but not the base (£129 on Amazon).
Bugaboo has collaborated with Nuna to create this seat – a baby brand that’s notable for its high-quality car seat offerings and the Bugaboo Turtle is comparable in price and style to the Nuna Pipa range. This seat fits into the 0+ group, which means it is suitable from birth until your child is around 12 to 15 months old (13kg). With the car seat adaptors, it can fit onto most Bugaboo strollers to form a travel system.
Laura is a first-time mum to Elin Rose, who is 8 months old.
What were your first impressions of the Bugaboo Turtle?
On first view, the seat looked smart and felt super-comfy. I liked the design, but it did appear bulkier than other seats I’ve seen. It’s actually fairly lightweight to lift (which is a major bonus, especially during those first couple of months when you’re recovering from giving birth) and the carry handle is comfortable to hold. It’s robust and feels well made, with a high-quality finish, which is exactly what I would expect from a brand like Bugaboo. Bugaboo has also taken its popular extending sun canopy from their pushchairs and included it on this seat, and it’s a really great addition.
What age is the Bugaboo Turtle 0+ car seat best suited for?
It can be used from birth and my 6-month-old daughter Elin was very comfortable in this seat. The generous padding meant she was extremely cosy, and she tended to snuggle down and play quietly until she fell asleep. Life currently revolves around how much (or how little) sleep Elin gets, so this was instantly a huge plus!
The seat comes with an extra padded insert, making it ideal for newborns, or babies that are on the smaller side (like my daughter), which will keep them secure from the very first use. My daughter was a little over 6lbs when she was born, and with the insert I would have happily taken her home from the hospital in this car seat. A lot of the current seats on the market say they are suitable from birth, but I feel because of the insert, this one really does work for newborns.
The seat is suitable right up to 13kg, and for most babies this would comfortably take you up to 15 months old. However, it’s worth noting that although my 6-month-old had plenty of room to happily kick her legs while facing the rear of the car, I think a baby at the top end of the weight limit may potentially find the seat a bit of a squeeze and may need to be moved to another seat earlier. This could be frustrating considering the price.
How easy is it to install the Bugaboo Turtle?
The Turtle was highly rated for ease of installation by Bugaboo and Amazon customers as well as parents we surveyed*, with 71% scoring the seat 8/10 or more for this aspect. I too found the seat and Bugaboo Isofix base quick and easy to fit. Like the Bugaboo pushchairs, all the white buttons have a function – and for a seriously sleep-deprived mum this makes using the car seat fairly simple, as you know exactly what you’re looking for. The seat locks into place with a click and there is a white handle to pull to remove it. It lifts off easily, with very little pressure. The instruction manual uses simple diagrams, so there are no wordy instructions to wade through.
On the first outing it only took me about five minutes to fit the base in the back of the car. There are indicators on the Isofix base, the support leg and the connecting arms which switch to green to tell you when the base and the seat are fitted correctly. To be honest, I would have preferred the indicators to be electronic, like they are on our Maxi-Cosi Isofix base. The indicator lights on the Maxi-Cosi flashed from red to green and the base beeped, which was handy at night. The indicators on the Bugaboo Turtle base only slide from red to green. This isn’t a major problem, but for a seat that in every other area is so well designed, it seems a shame.
The seat is just as easy to install using the seat belt option. There are secure clips on the back and on either side to hold the seat belt in place.
Does the Bugaboo Turtle feel secure?
Very. The seat locks into place on the Isofix base with a reassuring click and the stabilising leg provides extra support and is there to minimise any forward motion. I felt quite happy that Elin was completely secure.
What is the harness like?
Like 71% of parents we surveyed, who scored it a 8/10 or more for strapping their child in, I found the Bugaboo Turtle’s harness easy to use, and my daughter was very comfortable in it. I found the best way to put her in when she was in a wriggly mood was to keep the straps over either side of the seat, then sit Elin inside and quickly tuck her arms under each strap. A sensible addition to this car seat was the extra padding around the buckle mechanism. Elin is at the age where she absolutely loves touching buttons and clips, so the extra padding meant her little fingers could not get pinched or trapped while I was doing up the harness.
What do you think of the design?
Amazon and Bugaboo customers and parents we surveyed all love the look of the Turtle, as do I. The all-black design is sleek and stylish and works well for a boy or a girl. I have a Bugaboo buggy – the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Plus (£687.78 on Amazon), so the matching Bugaboo car seat looked great when I used it with the pushchair frame, although it’s a shame that the seat isn’t compatible with Bugaboo buggies without the use of car seat adaptors. The adaptors come with the seat at no extra cost, which is good, but for ease of use (considering the car seat and buggy all come from the same brand) it would have been lovely to be able to transfer a sleeping baby in the car seat straight to the buggy without having to faff around with adaptors.
Does the Bugaboo Turtle feel sturdy?
Yes. The upside of having a slightly bulkier seat is that it feels very secure and sturdy. Compared to my previous Maxi-Cosi Pebble (£199 on Amazon), Elin looks really supported and protected in this seat. The padding gives it great side impact protection too.
Are there different seat positions?
Because this car seat sits within the 0+ group, it does not recline and is just rear-facing. To be compliant with i-Size, babies have to be rear-facing in the car until they are at least 15 months old.
How comfortable is the Bugaboo Turtle?
Bugaboo and Amazon customers and 71% of the parents we surveyed, who scored it 8/10 or more for this, all agreed that the Turtle is a really comfy seat. I rated it too, as my daughter was so comfortable in this seat. The head support is easily adjustable (so it can grow with your baby) and it’s very soft and cushioned. It provided really good support for Elin’s head. The padding hugged her head and neck, and the two harness straps that went over her shoulders had the nice addition of cushioned pads that supported her head from underneath.
I liked the fact that Elin’s head couldn’t drop down onto her chest too much when she was sleeping heavily in the car and the padding held her snugly in a position that I knew she was safe in.
The padding on this seat is made from merino wool, which is meant to act as natural climate control in warmer weather. It seemed to work well as Elin didn’t get as sweaty in this seat compared to her Maxi-Cosi. The soft-touch fabric was also singled out for praise by Amazon customers.
What are the main safety features of the Bugaboo Turtle?
The key safety features of the Bugaboo Turtle are the no-thread 5-point harness, the true-lock base with triple installation confirmation and the patented ‘tailor tech foam’ padding. The instructions state the foam is for optimal side-impact protection, but it also has the handy added effect of making the seat a really snug and supportive place for a baby to sleep.
On top of this, it’s i-Size compliant (i-Size is the new car seat safety standard that ensures better side-impact protection and safer positioning).
How easy is it to get out and transfer between cars?
The car seat is fairly lightweight, despite being a little bulky. I had no problem fitting it with the base in our small Fiesta. Like 57% of the parents we surveyed, I found it easy to get the seat in and out of the car using the base, and although it takes a little longer using the seatbelt method, I’m only talking about an extra minute or two. I needed to use two hands to move the seat from car to buggy, but I didn’t find this to be a huge problem. I definitely have heavier bits of baby kit.
Is the Bugaboo Turtle easy to clean?
The merino wool padding is machine washable, although I found sponging it with a little bit of washing-up liquid was a good way to clean any milk spit-ups. The stains didn’t really show up on the black material, and the seat still looks smart. Parents we surveyed were also happy with how easy the seat is to clean, with 57% of them scoring it 8/10 for this aspect.
How heavy is it?
At around 4kg, this seat is bulky, but not really heavy. I didn’t find the extra bulk a particularly bad thing, as it just meant my daughter was really safe and secure in a padded seat.
What feature do you like the most?
The two features that seriously impressed me were firstly, the quality of the padding, and secondly, the sun canopy. Also loved by Amazon customers, the sun canopy on this seat is definitely worth talking about. It’s very sturdy and extends out and under the handle for even more protection from the sun. It gave my daughter a really shaded, cocooned space to sleep in. Even when we moved the seat to somewhere noisy, like a restaurant, we kept the canopy fully extended and she didn’t wake up.
The canopy’s material offers 50+ UV protection, too. There is a handy little mesh peekaboo window, which I used to check in on Elin when the canopy was completely extended, so I didn’t disturb her. The ‘smart visor’ (the slightly transparent mesh section at the end of the canopy) gave her even more protection, leaving her completely cocooned. Also, because the canopy fully extends under the carry handle and attaches to the sides of the seat, Elin was protected from any weather, not just the sun. This would have made bringing Elin home from hospital on a cold and rainy November evening a much easier experience!
On my previous Maxi-Cosi Pebble, the canopy only extended as far as the handle, which isn’t really much help with low sun. The Bugaboo Turtle’s canopy extends like a shell, then fixes easily to either side of the seat using two magnets which are inside the material. Using magnets to attach the sun canopy is simple but so handy, as one of the most frustrating things with a crying or hungry baby is having to fiddle with buttons or hooks – this canopy is super quick and hassle-free to attach. Because of the boning in the canopy, it's also really easy to fold out and push back.
Are there any accessories needed or available?
The base is sold separately for £129.
Would you recommend this car seat and is it worth its price tag?
I would absolutely recommend this seat. It's a high-quality, solidly built seat, that combines essential safety features with stylish design. The generous padding is extremely comfy and has a lovely luxe feel. The cost of the seat, coupled with the base (sold separately for £129), makes it a serious investment for 12 to 15 months of use. But some genuinely clever design features, like the extendable canopy, the easy-to-use magnetic attachments and the quality of the padding, combined with how well my daughter slept, would make it worth the investment for me.
Where can I buy the Bugaboo Turtle?
It's available from Bugaboo and Kiddies Kingdom.
My daughter was extremely comfortable in this car seat and tended to sleep within a few minutes of most car journeys. I loved how sturdy the seat felt, and it held my daughter snugly and securely. The padding feels very luxurious and really stands out compared to other seats on the market. What's more, 85% of parents we surveyed were happy with their purchase and would buy the seat again.
*MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 15 months|
|Child weight||Up to 13kg|
|Child Height||40cm to 85cm|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|