Cosatto Hug review
In a nutshell
The latest offering from Cosatto, a brand that is on a mission to save the world from boring baby stuff, the Hug Hipstar is the company’s most expensive and luxurious car seat.
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
3.0A star rating of 3.0 out of 5.
- Safety features
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Easy to fit and adjust, universal car compatibility, robust side-impact protection, generous padding, easy-to-clean upholstery, includes four-year guarantee.
- Minimal recline doesn’t support heads during sleep, expensive, bold design of upholstery may be off-putting.
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Cosatto prides itself on making baby stuff with personality and is so sure that its products provide style and substance, it offers a four-year guarantee on all car seats.
The British brand has over 40 years of experience in designing practical and stylish items for babies and its new car seat collection covers all age ranges, from the Hold Group 0+ infant car seat, the Moova Group 1 car seat, and lastly the Hug Group 1/2/3 seat.
At £200, this pricey piece of kit comes in at virtually double the cost of its ‘sister’ products (I’m thinking of the Cosatto Zoomi range) but remains comparable to other Group 1/2/3 seats from other brands on the market.
Rivalling the likes of the Casualplay Multifix, Kiddy Guardianfix Pro 2, Britax Evolva 1-2-3 plus and Joie Stages car seats, it is a forward-facing chair that conforms to the ECE R44/04 safety laws, has five recline positions and is a universal fit, meaning you don't have to have ISOFIX in your car.
What’s in the box?
- The Hug Hipstar car seat shell
- Seat pad
- Seat liner
- Two chest pads
- Instruction booklet
- Four-year guarantee information booklet
Any additional extras?
- No, everything was included
It’s huge! And bright! And surprisingly light. I’m sure it doesn’t weigh much less than our Britax 0+/1 seat but it was a heck of a lot easier to carry to the car as I was able to grip it from the top.
Once installed, it also became apparent that it’s shallower than the Britax (50cm deep versus 57cm), so it took up less space and gave Tyler more leg room. Meanwhile, the sporty upholstery, all red flashes and leatherette, makes the car seat look like a baby boy racer’s well-padded throne.
How complicated is installation?
It’s refreshingly easy thanks to the clever design of the car seat and the simple instruction booklet. Plus, there’s an online instructional video and the instructions are handily printed on the side of the car seat.
Once the main part of the seat is flipped away from the back, you slide the seatbelt through the back in two places and then secure the seat back against the base.
When in place, a firm tug on the seat affirms it was properly in place and it was simple to adjust the straps.
I should point out we actually a truck, not a car. So the back seat on which the seat is secured is higher off the ground than a regular car – making fitting the seat easier but moving Tyler into and out of it potentially more difficult.
It felt very secure and the whole process took under ten minutes, whereas our older seat, the Britax First Class Asis (a Group 0/1/2 chair - no longer made), took considerably longer – probably the best part of half an hour.
How is strapping your little one in?
Not that easy. The crotch strap seems to get caught underneath my two-year-old son Tyler.
It became easier once we stripped away some padding by removing the lower seat liner, but the strap still evaded our grasp on most occasions.
With that said, the seat buckle is large, easy to use and seems to be smoother than our previous car seat.
How many recline positions does it have?
It has five tilt positions, which are all easily adjustable; you can do it with one hand while your child is in the seat.
But they don’t seem to have much of a difference between the angles, as even at its most reclined, the seat is fairly upright and doesn’t look comfortable to sleep in – Tyler looked like he was leaning forward a lot.
How comfortable is it for your son?
Yes and no. The ample padding on the tummy and chest pads, combined with the cushioned liners, makes for a snug and secure seat and Tyler seemed very happy in the chair.
But, as we continued driving, rather than settling back, he appeared to be on the edge of the seat.
After removing his jacket, Tyler was able to sit further back into the seat and fell asleep 20 minutes into the journey, a bonus.
However, when we stopped at a red light, I turned round to see Tyler’s head, which had flopped forward, snap back. He remained asleep but at the next set of lights, the same thing happened.
Alarmed, we removed the lower seat liner to see whether it made a difference but it didn’t. Although Tyler didn’t complain, I can’t imagine he found the experience comfortable.
It’s a multi-stage car seat (Group 1/2/3) but which age is it best for?
As a group 2-3 car seat, it’s hard to fault as it delivers substance – easily adjustable headrest and strap height, plush padding – and style (the upholstery design is playful without being babyish).
But as a group 1 car seat, I’m not so keen. The sight of Tyler’s sleeping head flopping about every time the car braked convinced me that he’s better off in a more reclined seat until he’s old enough to stay awake on medium-distance car journeys.
From reviews of similar seats, this problem is not unique to this model or the brand. Rather, it’s an inherent problem of all group 1-2-3 as they cannot recline enough to fully support the smallest passengers’ heads while also retaining the ability to support older and bigger kids’ heads. You can’t be all things to all people, after all.
That said, even if we waited until Tyler outgrew his group 0+ & 1 car seat, he’d still get about 10 years of use from the Hipstar, which makes it very good value for money, not least because it will fit in any car – or truck – we happen to be driving in the future.
How does it compare to your previous car seat?
It’s far less bulky and much easier to fit. But although it offers more protection and far more padding that his usual seat, Tyler doesn’t seem as comfortable in it when he’s asleep as the seat remains close to upright, even when it’s at its maximum recline.
What’s the best thing about this car seat?
The adjustable headrest means you can adjust the height of the shoulder straps without having to take the whole thing apart, so no fiddling around with pesky straps.
Is the seat good value for money?
Yes, assuming your child will be able to stay in it until they are (nearly) 12.
It feels sturdy enough to withstand regular use and the well-cushioned upholstery seems tough and fairly stain resistant.
But ultimately, it would depend on how tall and wide your child grew! Obviously, you’d still need to buy a car seat for the child to use from birth until about 9 months and possibly longer if, like me, you don’t find the design supportive enough for small heads.
Is the car seat easy to clean?
Yes, very. The leatherette can be wiped down and the covers are removable and washable.
Who is the car seat best for?
People who don’t want or, in our case, can’t have an Isofix base in their car and perhaps need to swap the seat between cars as it’s light enough to pick up and can be carried easily.
I’d say this is probably better for older children, who are less likely to fall asleep on car journeys, so there heads will remain supported.
Made for Mums Verdict?
The Cosatto Hug is an easy to fit and adjust seat, which is great for parents who don’t have ISOFIX, and comes with a brilliant four-year guarantee when registered with Cosatto.
But the minimal recline doesn’t support heads during sleep and the bold design of upholstery may be off-putting, but if you’re going for a Cosatto product plain and simple is probably not what you’re after.
Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.
|Child age (approx)||9 months to 12 years|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Removeable cover for washing||No|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|