Key features of the gb Vaya i-Size car seat:
Age suitability: Birth to 105cm (around 4 years)
Rear-facing to: 4 years
Installation: ISOFIX base included
Features: i-Size; advanced side impact protection system; 360 degree rotating system; driving direction control
The gb Vaya i-size car seat is a top-end car seat, and gold winner in the MadeForMums Awards 2018 i-Size car seat category.
At £375, it costs around the same as the comparable Cybex Sirona M2 i-size car seat (£350) and the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus (£395) but more expensive than the Joie Spin 360 (£249).
It is more expensive than more straightforward car seats on the market, but I do feel you get what you pay for and I still believe it provides excellent value for money – a feeling that’s shared by MFM readers and parents we surveyed*.
In my opinion, the gb Vaya is the most visually appealing car seat when compared to its competitors. I like the silver-coloured details, and the Lux Black colour option has stripes to the fabric which make it look really sleek.
You can buy the gb Vaya car seat from Pramworld, Uber Kids and Kiddies Kingdom.
See our pick of the best i-Size car seats for babies and toddlers
The first thing I noticed about the car seat is how heavy it is. It has a base which cannot be removed, and it fits with ISOFIX only rather than with a seatbelt, as it is an i-Size car seat.
This is much simpler, but also less flexible than having the option available.
i-Size child car seats – everything you need to know
As a result, the gb Vaya i-size is best suited for parents who wish to keep their car seat in their car all the time, rather than carrying their little one into the house with it as you could with a Group 0+ seat, for example.
I love the look and feel of the gb Vaya, as it is so sleek and luxe in quality, a feature also mentioned by MFM readers. I like the nice details like the magnets on the sides to keep the straps out of your way, and the harness is really simple to use. I also like the little box which houses the instructions underneath the seat fabrics.
The adjustable headrest is nice and comfortable-seeming, as it is cushioned but sturdy.
The car seat is suitable from birth to four years, and you could keep the car seat rear-facing for children aged up to four.
It does allow you to rotate it to forward-facing when the child reaches 76cm, around 1 year old (when the headrest is adjusted lower than this, the car seat will not rotate to forward-facing – another clever safety feature feature also praised by parents we surveyed as well as MFM readers).
Watch 5 things you need to know about the gb Vaya car seat
What age group does this seat cover?
From newborn (with the newborn insert, included) up to four years (105cm).
How long can it be rear-facing for?
It can be used as a rear-facing seat up to a maximum height of around 105cm, or four years old. Since this is considered the safest way for children to travel, this is a huge selling point. It is proven to reduce the risk of injury in infants.
It has to be rear-facing until your child reaches 76cm, due to the Driving Direction Control (see below).
Do you think a four-year-old would fit comfortably rear-facing in the seat?
I don’t see why not, perhaps with their legs apart, though I imagine they may be more comfortable forward-facing.
The best rear-facing Group 1 car seats
How does it install in the car?
With ISOFIX only, with no option to use a seatbelt to fit it as it is an i-Size car seat. We needed to use the ISOFIX guides as the points were difficult to get to in our Skoda Fabia, but these are included with the car seat and easy enough to hook on.
There are green indicators to show when the car seat is secure in the ISOFIX connectors, when it is secure in its rotated position and when the ‘foot’ is in the right position against the floor of the car. MFM readers and parents we surveyed found it easy to install, with the latter scoring it 8/10 or 9/10 for this aspect.
Is it easy to rotate? How does it rotate?
There is a handle at the front of/under the seat. It is fairly easy to rotate but it can get a bit stuck sometimes. It also reclines using the same handle. The 360-degree rotation makes it really easy to take your child out and put them in. This function proved a hit with MFM readers and parents we surveyed, who all said this was the seat’s best feature.
The best rotating car seats
When can the gb Vaya be used forward facing?
What is the Driving Direction Control feature?
It means, the car seat simply will not rotate to forward-facing until the headrest is adjusted to at least 76cm (around 1 year old).
Parents we surveyed, MFM readers and I agree that this is a great way to ensure the car seat is used as a rear-facing seat for longer. I can imagine parents who do not know the importance of this using other car seats forward-facing.
How is strapping your child in?
It is really easy. One of my favourite things about this car seat is the harness. The height adjusts automatically with the headrest. Although I felt the buckle was really easy to secure, an MFM reader and a parent we surveyed found it fiddly, with the magnets that keep the straps out of the way too small to be useful.
3 ways to stop your child escaping from a car seat
Is it comfortable for your child?
When I put my son in the seat, he seemed instantly comfortable and secure. And he’s not usually the type to enjoy being strapped into anything. Parents we surveyed, MFM readers, and customers from Amazon and Pramworld also gave the seat the thumbs-up for comfort.
What do you think of the design?
Apart from it being extremely heavy, the design is great. It’s not too bulky but it is definitely sturdy and safe-feeling. It is an extremely sleek, beautiful product, an opinion shared by MFM readers.
Does it feel sturdy?
MFM readers, parents we surveyed, and I all agree that it’s definitely a sturdy seat that feels safe. Not only does it feel very protective and have an energy-absorbing shell, when fitted you have absolute peace of mind that it isn’t going to jiggle around because of the ISOFIX fixtures.
What’s the headrest like?
It is nice and cushioned, with short ‘arms’ that come around the sides of the child’s head.
How many positions does the headrest have?
It has 12 positions, and is adjusted by pulling the button under the headrest.
Tell us about the energy reduction technology.
The headrest slides down in the event of an impact, reducing the strain on the neck, which would significantly reduce the injury risk.
How many seat positions are there and how easy is it to recline the seat?
There are three recline positions and it is really easy to recline the seat one-handed. You use the same button you use to rotate the seat.
What do you think of the linear side impact protection?
This is easy to operate as you press on it and it pops out, and the same to pop it back in. The side impact protection is on either side of the car seat, and you use the one closest to the side of the car. It aims to help in the event of a side impact crash, as it would reduce the impact.
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
At 43cm wide, by 63.5cm high and 70cm in depth, I’d say it is a good-sized car seat, not too big and not too small.
How heavy is it?
It weighs 14.9 kg. It is quite a struggle to carry, and I found that lifting it slightly in order to guide it into the ISOFIX points was a bit hard and had to ask a friend to help. It’s heavy compared to other car seats I’ve tried. MFM readers, Amazon customers and parents we surveyed also agreed that it’s heavy and bulky, but the general consensus is that if you don’t need to transfer it between cars then it doesn’t matter once it’s installed.
Is it travel system compatible?
No, there is no option to remove it from the base.
Is it easy to clean?
The covers are washable at 30 degrees, these are easy to remove and a bit fiddly to put back on but this is nothing insurmountable. The rest can be wiped clean. Parents we surveyed said they found it easy to clean, awarding it 9/10 for this.
Is it value for money?
In common with MFM readers and parents we surveyed, who felt the quality is worth the money, I would say yes, as it is a similar price to its closest competitors in the market, and gb have thought of all the little (and big) things. The only thing I would improve about it is that it was hard to lift up and into the ISOFIX connectors because it is heavy, but once it’s in, it’s in and there’s no real need to take it out of the car on a day-to-day basis.
I am really impressed with this car seat, gb have thought of everything us parents want and need and it’s a comfortable, high-quality product. What’s more, parents we surveyed gave the seat an overall score of 9/10 overall, with all saying they would buy it again.
* MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users
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