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Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat review

Our rating 
4.3 out of 5 star rating 4.3
User rating
£319.00 RRP
Ickle bubba mercury i-size thumbnail

In a nutshell

This stylish, rear-facing car seat is suitable for infants up to 15 months or 80cm tall – however, it’s heavy to carry around and the Isofix base is hard to get the hang of
Ease of installing
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Comfort
4.7 out of 5 rating 4.7
Safety features
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Style
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Durability
4.4 out of 5 rating 4.4
Worth the money
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Pros: Conforms to latest safety standards, adjustable headrest, stylish design, comfortable, travel system compatible, UPF50+ hood
Cons: Heavy, fiddly straps, not the most premium fabric quality, Isofix installation tricky
Skip to view product specifications
Ickle Bubba is a UK brand set up by two mums in 2013, who wanted to create stylish baby products at an affordable price. The brand now offers a comprehensive range of travel systems, strollers, cots, nursery furniture and car seats.

The Mercury i-Size is one of Ickle Bubba’s collection of five car seats, however it’s the only i-Size model in the mix. This rear-facing car seat with Isofix base features the latest safety technology and is designed to cater for infants to around 15 months. At £319, including the Isofix base it is at the pricier end of the car seat market, however the safety features it offers really help to justify the price. There’s side-impact protection, integrated air vents to regulate your baby’s temperature, 6 adjustable headrest positions and removable, washable covers. It can also be used as part of a travel system and is compatible with most pushchair brands.

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Tested by

Olivia lives in London. She tested the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat on drives around the city with her newborn son.

What were your first impressions of the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat?

The first thing I noticed about this car seat is its impressive design – Ickle Bubba aim to deliver stylish products and the Mercury i-Size is no exception. Black with white piping, it’s modern and sleek, with padding that looks comfortable and secure.

The fabric is soft to the touch, but it doesn’t seem to be as high quality compared to other car seats on the market. The Isofix base the car seat comes with is sturdy, and the instructions printed on the actual base give the impression it’s straightforward to use.

How do you install the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat?

The car seat is both Isofix and non-Isofix compatible. This means you can install it by attaching it the Isofix base, or by using the vehicle’s seat belt.

How easy is the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat to install?

This is where the car seat falls short – even with the Isofix printed-on instructions and additional manual. To click the Isofix connectors into place means both arms have to be perfectly aligned with the vehicle’s anchor points – as well as being pushed in at the very same time. There are other car seat models on the market that allow you to click one arm in at a time, which I’ve previously found easier to use.

However, the most difficult part of the installation is the adjustable support leg of the Isofix base. The coloured visual indicator to show it’s in the correct position is at the very bottom of the leg, facing forwards. It was too low down for me to see the visual indicator turn from red to green, plus the passenger seat in front blocked its view – even when I moved it forward. This is a weakness in the design and in my opinion compromises the overall safety of the car seat. It took me about 15 minutes to get the leg into the right place the first time I installed it, and I was never able to see if the indicator actually turned green without a great deal of effort on my behalf.

Installing the actual car seat onto the base, however, was easy. Again, there are visual indicators that turn from red to green when the car seat has been clicked into the right position – but these are easier to see at a glance.

To remove the car seat, simple lift the lever at the front of the base and pull the car seat out by the handle.

Can you still use the Mercury i-Size car seat if your car doesn’t have an Isofix feature?

Although the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat is designed for an Isofix base – as per the latest European safety standards – it can also be attached with a seatbelt for pre-2006 car models. To do so, simply run the lap belt through the blue guides on each side of the car seat, crossing over your child’s legs. Next, stretch the diagonal part of the belt around the back of the car seat through the blue guide and then click the seatbelt into place.

What are the key safety features of the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat?

To me, the Isofix base is what makes this car seat safer. Knowing it complies with the latest safety regulations gave me the reassurance that my baby was in the safest type of seat. The reinforced shell technology encasing the seat seemed sturdy and would hopefully protect a child should the car be involved in a collision.

How long can the Mercury i-Size car seat be used as rear-facing?

This car seat can only be used in the rear-facing position – it can’t be used in the forward-facing position.

Does the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat rotate?

Unfortunately, this car seat doesn’t rotate. This put a bit of strain on my back, as I had to bend to lift the car seat in and out of my SUV.

Does the car seat recline at all?

This car seat does not offer the option to recline.

How comfortable was the Mercury i-Size car seat for your newborn?

I first tested this car seat on my son when he was 3 weeks old. As a smaller baby, I was worried the straps and padding may be a little on the large size, but he looked content in the seat and seemed well-protected by the padding. We went on a number of car trips together and he never seemed uncomfortable. The newborn insert included is made of memory foam, while the headrest is cushioned. I personally would have liked additional padding at the top of his head to keep him even more secure, but as this seat is meant to last as he grows it makes sense to have a headrest that isn’t just designed for an infant.

How does the car seat harness clip in place?

The Mercury i-Size car seat uses a 3-point harness. To lengthen the straps, there’s a button just below the buckle. I found this difficult to find initially and hard to use, as you have to feel for it through the padding of the actual seat.

Did you feel confident your child was safe in the Mercury i-Size’s harness?

The straps of the harness were secure and kept my baby snug and safe while moving around. It was easy to strap him in using the 3-point harness, as well as releasing the straps by pushing the red button to lift him out.

The shoulder pads of the harness can also be moved up and down the straps, meaning they will work well as your child grows. However, I found these to be a little flimsy. They often got twisted and at times pulled off of the strap entirely.

How durable does the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat feel?

As this car seat is meant to last for over a year, durability is of course key. The harder shell of the car seat boasts shock-absorbing technology, providing advanced side impact protection for frontal, side or rear collisions. This part of the car seat certainly felt robust and reassured me of its safety.

For me however, it was the Isofix base that felt the least robust. Even when attached to its anchor points, the base still wobbled slightly, which didn’t personally give me the confidence that it was 100% secure.

Can you adjust the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-size car seat headrest?

The headrest for this Mercury i-Size car seat is wide and well-padded, which offered my child comfort and security. Overall, there are 6 positions the headrest can be adjusted to, according to the size of your baby, which is a key feature of this particular model. It’s also designed in a way to allow for one-handed adjustments.

The car seat also has integrated vents permitting air circulation. As the seat can be used as part of a travel system, I was particularly pleased about the vents, as it makes me feel happier taking my son out and about in it.

Does the car seat come with a sun hood to protect your baby?

Yes – its retractable UPF50+ sun hood protects your infant or toddler from harmful UV sun rays. The only issue with the sun hood is that the handle of the car seat often hit the roof of my car, which would inevitably lead to scratches after a while.

What did you think of the fabric of the Mercury i-Size car seat and hood?

While the fabric is removable and washable, the retractable sun hood is made of material that feels as though it could get damaged easily. Also, given the higher price tag for this car seat, the quality of the seat fabric didn’t match my expectations. The design is certainly appealing, although a higher quality, more breathable material would make this a more impressive purchase.

How easy is the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat to clean?

The fabric covers are removable and washable which comes in handy when spillages and little accidents occur. As this car seat only comes in black, marks are generally masked, but if needed it’s easy to remove the covers to wash or wipe any stains or dirt clean.

Is the Mercury i-Size car seat easy to carry around?

The Mercury i-Size weighs 4.8kg. It does feel heavier than other car seats to carry – especially with a baby in it – which is a view generally shared by other Ickle Bubba reviewers. The handle is easy to grip with its curved edges, however, moving it up and down requires two hands, which made things harder for me when I had my baby in one arm.

Is the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat travel system compatible?

Yes – this car seat fits onto most pushchair frames to keep your little one in the same seat as you move from place to place. It’s intended to fit onto an Ickle Bubba frame, but adaptors can be bought to fit onto most other travel system brands.

Is the Mercury i-Size car seat big enough for a growing child?

My newborn is a particularly tiny one, so it’s hard to know what size he’ll be at 15 months, but in my opinion it does look big enough to grow with your child at least throughout the first year.

What does the car seat come with?

  • Isofix base
  • Mercury i-Size infant car seat
  • Instructions
  • 4 year warranty

Are there any unique features of the Mercury i-Size car seat that stand out?

The features of this car seat that I particularly like are the 6 positions the headrest can be adjusted to as your baby grows. I also like the fact that the seat covers are removable and washable, which will be necessary as my son grows up!

Is there anything else you found useful about the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat?

The fact that the hood offers sun protection is a good selling point, and is something that’s particularly useful if using this car seat as part of a travel system.

Are there any additional accessories you can buy to go with the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size seat?

  • Adaptors for other pushchair brands
  • Sun visors for the windows of your car

Is there anything else you would have liked to know before buying the Mercury i-Size car seat?

I’d like to have known how tricky it was for me to secure the Isofix base. Additionally, although the design is great, the quality of the fabric is not as premium as you would expect, which in my eyes suggests it should be marketed at a lower price point.

Do you think the Mercury i-Size car seat is good value for money?

At £319, this car seat is on the more expensive end, although having an Isofix base included makes it worthy of the higher price point. There are so many infant car seats out there, but this one is comfortable and durable and I’m confident it would last as my baby grows. That said, for that amount of money, I’d want the fabric to be of a higher quality and have a more secure Isofix base to give me the proper reassurance of its safety.

How does it compare to similar car seats?

Product nameWeight (Kg)Able to recline?Age suitabilityRRP (£)
Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size 4.8 KgNoBirth to approx. 15 months£319
Jané Matrix Light 25.8 KgYesBirth to approx. 15 months£300
Kiddy Evo-Lunafix4.9 KgYesBirth to approx. 15 months£319.95
Maxi-Cosi Marble5.7 KgYesBirth to approx 18 months£279

Where can I buy the Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat and Isofix base?

Available from Winstanley’s Pramworld and Baby Planet.

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MadeForMums verdict:

Overall, this car seat looks good and my baby seems happy and protected in it. Ideal for parents who want a car seat they can use from birth to over a year, the Mercury i-Size boasts a lot of impressive features, such as the retractable sun hood and adjustable headrest. It’s great that it can be used as part of a travel system and is compatible with most pushchair brands, too. The main weakness for me, however, is the Isofix base. If it felt more stable and had a better design with the visual indicator on the extendable leg, I’d be much more comfortable recommending it.

Product Specifications

Product

Brand Ickle Bubba
Model Mercury i-Size car seat
Price £319.00

Dimensions & Weight

Weight 4.8kg

Suitable for

Child age (approx) Birth to 15 months
Child Height Up to 80cm

Features

iSize compliant Yes
Car seat installation Isofix base and seat belt
Travel system compatible Yes
Removeable cover for washing Yes
Side crash protection Yes
Recline positions None
Height adjustible headrest Yes
Features
  • 6 point adjustable headrest with air flow ventilation
  • Isofix and Non-Isofix compatible
  • Travel-friendly - this car seat can be used as part of a travel system
  • UPF 50+ hood that protects from harmful UV sun rays
  • Car seat & new-born liner, including crotch pads and chest pads