Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat review
A statement car seat that offers i-Size, near lie-flat option, rotation when you buy the additional base, a large sun canopy and a MadeForMums Triple Tested Best Buy Award 2020
In a nutshell
A stylish i-Size baby car seat boldly offering a wealth of cool features and a premium price tag
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Safety features
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Near lie-flat option outside car, additional base enables 180° swivel, ISOFIX and seat belt installation, extra large sun canopy
- Can't adjust the recline position in car, tricky to remove covers, pricey
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Looking for the most up to date model for 2023? Read our Cybex Cloud Z2 i-Size car seat review.
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The Cloud Z i-Size is a sleek and bold car seat, boasting a multitude of features to reassure parents that the high price tag isn’t all talk. i-Size compatibility, travel system compatibility, 180° swivel entry (when used with the Cybex Base Z, additional £185), linear side impact protection system, an extra long sunshade, the ability to lie near flat when outside of the car, as well as an 11-point adjustable headrest means there’s a lot going for this car seat to keep it going from birth to when your baby is 13kg (around 12-15 months).
Mum-of-2 Lara lives in Essex with her husband, 5 year-old son Dexter and 17-month-old son, Felix. She tested the car seat and base in their Kia Ce’ed.
Additionally, mum of 3 Christy tested the seat with her newborn baby, both with a seatbelt in granddad’s VW Golf and using the Sensorsafe feature and the Cybex Base Z in their Volvo XC90.
What are your first impressions of the Cybex Cloud Z?
Looks great – despite the in-your-face colour. It’s well made and the movements of the handle and sunshade are smooth and sleek. I’m impressed.
Do you need to buy a base to use the Cybex Cloud Z?
You don't have to buy the base - the Cloud Z can be installed using your car's seatbelt, but this then means it's no longer classified as i-Size (as i-Size requires ISOFIX fitting). However, you still get the additional side-impact protection and the car seat still exceeds current safety requirements. If you're set on using an ISOFIX base, then it's reassuring to know that the Cloud Z can still be used safely in an alternative car, such as grandparents', without needing to use the base.
Fellow reviewer Christy says, "We found it really easy to install when we borrowed my father-in-law’s VW Golf, which doesn’t have ISOFIX. You just feed the 3-point belt around the seat, making sure it hooks into certain points, and clip the belt in as usual. However, it’s not as convenient as using the base."
The compatible base is the Cybex Base Z, a rotating base that has an RRP of £184.95. It's another big cost but is part of what Cybex call its Z-line modular system - which means it can be used with the next stage up Cybex car seat - the Sirona Z i-Size (birth to approx 4 years). This means, if you stay with Cybex car seats, you can use 1 base from newborn to 4 years - and the £184.95 starts to look like good value.
How is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat different to the Cloud Q?
The Cloud Z i-Size differs from the popular Cybex Cloud Q in that it is i-Size compatible when used with the base. i-Size regulations require a higher level of side-impact protection and the Cloud Z features what Cybex calls Linear Side-impact Protection (LSP). The Cloud Z is also 15% lighter than the Cloud Q. Given that the two car seats boast a similar price tag I’d personally choose the Cloud Z i-Size.
What age is the car seat suitable for?
The Cloud Z i-Size is suitable from birth to 13kg. Interestingly, Cybex states 13kg is equivalent to around 18 months, whereas most manufacturers (and MadeForMums) use the more common comparison of 12-15 months. My son is 17 months but not yet 13kg, so a great test of Cybex's claim of 18 months. While at the end of Cybex's suggested age range, the rear-facing seat is a little snug but does fit him.
Reviewer Christy tested the seat with her son from birth. She says, "It’s a great seat for newborns, with thick padding, a newborn insert and the option to make it flatter outside the car so there’s less worry about keeping them in it for too long. I felt really confident bringing our son home from hospital in the Cloud and his frequent naps suggest he finds it comfy."
How do you install the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat in the car?
The car seat can be belted into the car quite easily or you can use it with the Cybex Base Z to install it with ISOFIX fixings (which you need in order to fully comply with i-Size standards). In common with 80% of parents we surveyed*, I found the seat straightforward to install. For added reassurance, there's a noise sensor to alert you if the base isn’t sitting correctly.
I would definitely choose to use the car seat with the ISOFIX base rather than belt. It feels more secure, and is quick and easy – much less faffing around when you’re running late and trying to get the family into the car!
Mum of 3 Christy agrees, adding, "Once we’ve got the older children strapped in, it’s so nice to be able to quickly click my newborn’s Cloud seat into the base. It’s always a rush to get going before he starts crying as the car motion sends him off to sleep, so speed is the name of the game!
"If he is fussing and I’m stressed, the base is so easy and clear to use that I don’t worry about whether I’ve installed the seat correctly the way I might using the seatbelt method."
How do you install the Base Z?
Follow Cybex’s instructions and checks, which include useful online videos, but in a nutshell:
- Slide each of the base’s 2 ISOFIX prongs into the corresponding ISOFIX plugs in the car
- Extend the Base Z leg so it’s touching the floor of the car’s footwell
- To make the process easier, you can use the plastic ISOFIX guides included with the seat, which help open up the gap between the car seat cushions so you can find the plugs more easily
- Check relevant ‘traffic light’ at the front of the base is green
How easy is it to use the base with the seat?
Christy, who tested it with her newborn baby, says, "I hadn’t used a base before and it was a real eye-opener, making the seat much nicer to use. I did find it a bit fiddly to slot the seat into place at first, but it got easier with practice.
"And removing the seat from the base is really easy. If you want, you can rotate it round towards you – there’s a button on either side of the rotating plate and you only need to press one of them in order to unlock it. Then to unlock the seat, simply raise the button at the front of the base and lift the Cloud Z out."
Does the Base Z rotate a full 360°?
It has a 360° rotation for Sirona Z i-Size car seat, and 180° rotation for Cloud Z i-Size car seat. This is because the Cloud is rearward-facing only, as it’s an infant car seat, so doesn’t need to swing round to the front.
Christy says: "When rotating the Cloud Z, it will go just beyond 180° and does not lock into position when at the side angle. This is a great safety feature as there is no risk that parents can lock it into the side-facing position and mistakenly think it’s safe to drive off like that.
"Basically, the seat will only lock into the base when it is correctly positioned in the rear-facing direction, which is helpful. It also means you can’t mistakenly use it in a forward-facing position, which would be unsafe for an infant.”
How easy was it to swivel the car seat?
OK, but the only downside of the swivel feature is that if you have long nails or have just had a manicure, you may struggle to grip the shallow lever, pull it towards you and push it to the side to turn the chair, with one hand – a minor detail, but an important one for when you’ve actually had a chance to pamper yourself.
Reviewer Christy says, "I don’t have particularly long nails so I found it quite easy to use, but I can see it is shallow. If I am able to get a nice manicure when my son’s a bit older – fingers crossed! – I don’t think this would bother me too much as it’s still easy to place him in the seat when it’s rear-facing."
Does the car seat feel securely installed?
I tried out both methods for installation (the instruction booklet was clear in helping me with both). Just using the strap did feel like the seat was held in place and I would be confident using it in this way. However, once I then installed the Cloud Z I-size with the ISOFIX base I instantly felt more comfortable that the car seat wasn’t going anywhere.
Christy adds, "The base unit has a really useful traffic light system to show whether the seat is installed correctly. Each of the 3 lights indicate whether the base’s leg is correctly positioned, the seat is clicked into the base, and it’s locked into a rear-facing position – green for yes, red for no.
"Obviously I also check everything manually as I fit it each time, but it’s such a simple feature that gave me extra peace of mind."
How comfortable is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat for your child?
Felix looked comfortable in the Cloud Z, despite being at the upper limit for this seat. The harness and straps were easy to do up and undo, and I felt that he was held snug and securely.
While he was comfortable in it for shorter journeys, on long journeys he would start to become distressed - possibly because it was more restricting for him. As he is right at the top end of the age recommended for this car seat, this may be why.
He is also used to being in a car seat that is front-facing and has become accustomed to seeing more of what is going on, so I think this was a factor in how much he liked the product.
Fellow reviewer Christy, who tested it with her newborn, says, “My son seems really comfortable in the Cloud. It’s very well padded and the fabric feels tough but quite soft. He often falls asleep in it which is a good sign.”
In our survey, 60% of parents gave the seat full marks for comfort, while customers of Natural Baby Shower and Bella Baby also gave the seat the thumbs-up for this aspect.
What are the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat's main safety features?
The Cloud Z has several safety features, and most notably, when used with the Base Z, it is i-Size compatible. This means that your baby can remain rear-facing until they're 13kg and the seat has improved side impact protection.
Our article on what you need to know about i-size car seats tells you exactly what this means for car seats and how regulations can affect your choices.
I was really impressed with the telescopic linear side impact protection system. It features an 'arm' on each side that pulls out to help stabilise the car seat and will absorb some of the impact, if involved in a crash, before it reaches the flexible shell. As there's an 'arm' on each side, this protection is there whichever side the seat is installed. It’s a great idea and as Cybex are innovating in safety features, I trust that it's another element to keep my baby safer even though it may not feel very substantial.
What is Sensorsafe and how does it work with the Cloud Z?
It’s a piece of new technology which Cybex works using a clip attached to the harness of the car seat, a smartphone app, and a dongle plugged into your car to connect the two. The feature is available for other Cybex car seats too, like the AtonM i-Size (£189 on Amazon), and you can buy the Cloud Z with or without the clip – the Sensorsafe version costs around £75 more.
If you buy the Sensorsafe version of the carseat, it comes with the clip attached to the harness straps. The idea is you clip it together along with the usual harness buckle, and it provides updates and alarms to help prevent dangerous situations – namely watching out for your child:
- unbuckling the clip
- becoming at risk of vehicular heatstroke due to overheating
- being left alone in the car
- being seated for too long
Is it easy to set up Sensorsafe?
Reviewer Christy says, "Yes and no. In theory it’s done in minutes, especially as the clip is already attached to the seat – follow the instructions to plug the dongle (a small grey device) into your car’s OBD-II port (usually just below and to the right of the steering wheel) and download the app onto your smart phone.
"I downloaded the app and started the process of trying to pair them all up. The first step is a simple registration process, but then the app could not seem to find the Sensorsafe clip to pair with it.
"Trying to follow the instructions on paper and on the app, I tried standing next to the car, standing closer to our Wi-Fi, putting the seat next to the car, turning car on, clipping and unclipping the clip both with and without the baby in the seat (not fun as he was crying by that stage) and still the app would not budge from the pairing step and the clip did not light up to indicate it was activated."
She adds, "The troubleshooting section of the app suggested a low battery might be the problem. As it was a brand new seat I was doubtful, but I changed the battery and was relieved to find it solved the problem, although changing the battery is really quite fiddly.
"I think it would be worth Cybex highlighting the risk that the battery might need changing before first use in the manual to save frustrations during set up. It doesn’t help that the app will search indefinitely for the clip without prompting you to check the battery, offers a helpline that wouldn’t connect my call, and a battery changing video that was permanently frozen.
"However, with a fresh battery in it, the clip’s blue light flashed twice immediately when I clipped it together, and the app picked up the clip. So, if your battery is working, it’s a pretty quick set up!"
How useful did you find the Sensorsafe with the Cloud Z?
Christy says, "I don’t think my son would have the dexterity to unbuckle the clip before he outgrows the seat, although I can see it would be a handy feature on Cybex’s seats for toddlers and older children.
"As a parent with a newborn baby, the temperature gauge and 2-hour warning were of most interest.
"Once set up, the app is pretty simple to follow. You have to keep the app open throughout your journey, and the homepage confirms the clip is buckled, and tells you the ambient temperature around your baby (with green colouring and the word ‘optimal’ when it’s in a safe range of 8-34 degrees).
"Travelling in July, it said the car interior was around 32-34 degrees on most journeys, which surprised me because it certainly didn’t feel that warm and we had the air conditioning on. When my baby’s legs felt cool at one point I put a blanket over him, and around 15 minutes later a red alert flashed up to say the temperature around him was too hot. His legs did feel a bit warm, so I removed the blanket and the app confirmed the temperature dropped to a safer level. I check him regularly anyway, but it was helpful here."
She adds, "You also get warned if the clip is buckled up for more than 2 hours. We’re pretty careful about not putting our newborn in the seat for too long but it’s an extra layer of reassurance that’s nice to have and might be useful to help parents keep track on a long journey.
"The main warning I seemed to trigger was the ‘Child Alone’ alert, letting me know I (or presumably my phone, as I’m not personally tracked!) had strayed too far from my son. This happened when he was seated in the car, while I went around 3-feet from the boot to fold down the pushchair.
"I’m not sure exactly how far I can stray from the car before alarm is triggered, but it seems to be quite a tight radius even though we chose the longer distance option in the app. To be honest, it felt a bit irritating to be alerted when I was right next to the car. It also doesn’t work if I leave the car to pop into shop, for example, while my partner remains in the car with the kids.
"However, the idea is that if you don’t acknowledge the alert and your child is left unattended for too long, then your emergency contacts will be sent their location. Having heard of rare but tragic incidents where a child was forgotten and overheated in the car, I can understand why it would appeal to some worried parents."
Is it worth the extra money?
Parenting a new baby can be scary, and for some parents, having a device that offers the additional features like temperature warnings and ‘child alone’ alerts will genuinely offer them extra peace of mind. And of course in some situations, it could really make a difference – nobody thinks they will leave their baby alone in a hot car and yet it has, on very rare occasions, happened. So some parents will absolutely love it, and find it very reassuring.
However, Cybex stresses that it is a supplementary safety support system not a replacement – e.g. responsibility for your child’s safety will always lie with you.
Christy says, "My feeling is the seat is very safe without Sensorsafe, so it’s more of an extra peace of mind feature than a safety essential. It’s also another thing to check over, which if you’re prone to anxiety – as I am with newborns – may not serve you well."
How heavy and bulky is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat?
The car seat weighs 4.8kg, which is 15% lighter than the Cloud Q. The handle makes it a breeze to carry – even with the sunshade down there is still enough space to get your arm through for a more comfortable hold. The seat's portability is backed up by parents we surveyed, all of whom gave it 8/10 or more for this.
Despite its lighter weight, the Cloud Z is a reasonable size - big enough for my 17 month old. However, given Felix's size now I wouldn’t want to lift it in and out of the car with him in it, but when he was smaller this would have been fine.
Fellow reviewer Christy agrees, saying, “It’s easy to carry our newborn in this with or without the hood raised and doesn’t feel particularly heavy.”
As the Cloud Z i-Size is easy to get into the car, whether belting in or using the more straightforward ‘click and go’ with the ISOFIX base, swapping between cars is a breeze. It's a bit more effort if you’re moving the base as well, especially as the leg can swing and be quite a whack to the shins!
When can you use it in lie-flat mode?
You can adjust the angle of the Cloud Z to make it flatter when it’s not in the car. This is useful if, for example, your baby nods off on the way home and you don’t want to remove them from the seat immediately.
You can just bring it into the house and then adjust the incline by squeezing the button behind the hood. It’s not completely flat, but certainly flatter than the standard bucket shape you get with most infant car seats, so your baby is better positioned to breathe comfortably.
It’s also a very useful feature to have if you fix it to a pushchair to use it as part of a travel system.
Is it easy to clean?
The covers can be washed at 30° on a delicate machine wash, which is very handy. The instruction booklet has a clear guide on how to remove them and, more importantly, how to put them back on.
Parents we surveyed were also happy with the ease of cleaning, with 80% giving it 8/10 or more for this.
What Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat feature do you like most?
I think the lie-flat function is definitely one of my favourites – and this was also a hit with John Lewis and Bella Baby parents. I haven’t used it so much with Felix, but to have this from when he was a newborn to 18 months would have been a dream!
Fellow reviewer Christy says, “The lie-flat feature makes this a real winner for me, it gives me real peace of mind. Even though it’s not completely flat, the more even angle and generous padding make it really comfy for my newborn son.”
Like John Lewis, Bella Baby and Natural Baby Shower customers, I also love the swivel function of the seat when used with the base, so handy when using with a baby who doesn’t want to co-operate!
Which pushchairs are compatible with the Cloud Z to create a travel system?
A high number. The Cloud Z is compatible with all Cybex pushchairs, including the Priam, the e-Priam, the Mios and the Ballios, plus a number of other other-brand buggies using universal adaptors including Bugaboo Fox (£979 from Amazon), Cameleon and Bee, UPPAbaby Cruz, Cruz V2, and Vista plus iCandy Peach and Lime.
How effective is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat as a travel system?
Mum of 3, Christy, tested the seat as a travel system with the UPPAbaby Cruz V2. She says: "It’s a great car seat to use within a travel system as it’s really well-padded and comfy, and has the unusual lie-flat feature.
"Most infant car seats are in a fixed bucket-shape, but you can flatten the Cloud out when it’s fixed to the chassis. It’s not as completely flat or rigidly fixed on as a carrycot, but I definitely feel happier letting my newborn son sleep in this when we go out for a short walk compared to a regular seat."
The angle of the seat can be adjusted simply by squeezing a button at the back of the hood and raising or lowering it. Christy adds, "I find the clip is quite stiff and often seems stuck, which can be frustrating however, it seems the trick is to push down at the very top of the seat and then squeeze the lever, as this will release the mechanism."
Is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat stylish?
The model I tested had the bright orange covers, which was a bit too bold for me, but other options are available. Customer reviews on Natural Baby Shower showed that parents loved the bold seat design. Aside from the colour, I loved the hood and how far it came across to shield Felix from sunlight and to aid naps.
I also liked that the sun shade was separate from the handle. Previous car seats I’ve had, such as the Maxi-Cosi Pebble (£250 on Amazon) has the sun shade attach to the handle which isn’t convenient for carrying the car seat.
Is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat good value?
The Cloud Z is part of Cybex's premium Platinum range and at the top end for pricing. So is it worth the money? For me, yes, it’s packed with safety features and additional extras such as near lie-flat and the opportunity to use a swivel base.
To benefit completely from all of these features, in particular the i-Size compatibility, you would need to invest in the ISOFIX base too, which is another £185, but can be used with the next stage Cybex Z car seat, so can be seen as a good investment.
How established is the manufacturer Cybex?
German company Cybex offers car seats, buggies, baby carriers and some nursery furniture, designed for a more urban lifestyle, with child safety, innovation and style among the brand's key goals. The company has built a big audience in the US, with many celebrities spotted using Cybex car seats and strollers, and have become an increasingly big player in the UK over the past 5 years, particularly with car seats.
What’s in the box?
- Cybex Platinum Cloud Z car seat
- Newborn inlay
How easy was it to assemble? Were the instructions clear?
It’s very straightforward, no assembly. There is a small instruction book which was clear at explaining how to use and fit which was a great help on a few occasions.
Are there any accessories available?
- Cloud Z base - £189.95
- Summer cover - £44.95
- Sun shade - £16.18
- Insect net - £19.95
- Rain cover - £17.95
- Foot muff - £55.99
Where can I buy it?
The Cybex Cloud Z i-Size car seat has now been replaced with the Cybex Cloud Z2.
This is a great car seat to invest in - it's a statement seat that lives up to its bold approach. It's packed with useful features and some smart additions such as the innovative Linear Side-Impact Protection, and exudes an air of safety with style.
Yes, it comes with a high price tag, but personally I feel that if it’s within your budget then it’s worth it, and this is a view shared by parents we surveyed, 100% of whom said they would buy the seat again.
*MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users
|Model||Cloud Z i-Size|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 18 months|
|Child weight||Up to 13kg|
|Child Height||45cm to 87cm|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|