Key features of the Joie Duallo Group 2/3 car seat:
Age suitability: Approx 4-12 years (15-36kg)
Headrest positions: 11
Recline: No, but 3 seat positions to adjust for growing kids
Installation: with and without Isofix connection, plus seatbelt
Features: Auto-adjust side wings, adjustable headrest and seat, Retractable Guard Surround Safety panels, retractable Isofix connectors
The UK’s Joie is one of the leading brands when it comes to car seats (and baby gear in general). It has made a name for itself by combining safety with practicality and it has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Red Dot design award.
In the car seat market, Joie has a great array of good value options for every age, and the Joie Duallo is a Group 2/3 high-backed booster for kids from 15-36kg, approximately 4-12 years old. It has integrated Isofix connectors and is very adaptable – with 11 headrest positions, sides that expand as the child grows and even a 3-position base.
It is available in three simple colour-combinations, Caribbean (which includes a nice blue), Tuxedo (mainly black) and Urban (with dark grey accents). With an RRP of £100, the Duallo compares well with competitors in the market. The Cosatto Skippa Fix, for example, costs £159.99, the Cybex Solution Q-Fix will set you back £190, while the Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Air Protect costs £150. There are cheaper options, such Joie’s own Trillo, which costs around £50 or the Britax Römer Adventure car seat, which retails around £25, but the Duallo is super adjustable and has some extra safety features, which makes it fantastic value for money.
You can buy the Joie Duallo at John Lewis, Mothercare or Halfords, for example.
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Our first impressions of the Duallo were good. It seemed simple and sturdy, with soft, comfortable fabric and a nice, sleek shape to it. My daughter immediately liked the feel of it.
A Group 2/3 car seat, what’s the best age child for this particular car seat and why?
The high backed booster Group 2/3 car seat is designed for kids from 15kg to 36kg, which is approximately 4-12 years of age. It is advised to keep children rear-facing as long as possible (my daughter was happily in her rear-facing Axkid until nearly five years), and there are quite a few car seats out there that allow you to do that.
However, once you’re happy for your child to move away from the full-blown five-point-harness, super-fixed safety seat, there are quite a few impressive high-backed boosters that come with good safety features. What I really liked about the Duallo is that it’s adaptable, with an adjustable headrest, and side wings that automatically make more space as your child grows. It’s a great option to see your child through until the prerequisite 135cm in height or 12 years, at which point they can use the car’s seatbelt on its own.
How does the Joie Duallo install in the car?
The Joie Duallo booster can be installed with its Isofix connectors or without – in both cases the seat belt additionally holds seat and child in place. You have to release the Isofix connectors by squeezing a lever at the front of the seat base. The connectors pop out and then you flip them 180 degrees to attach to your car’s connection points.
The quick release buttons to detach them again is easy to find and use, so moving between different cars is easy. When not using Isofix, remember to secure the seat with the seatbelt, even when the child isn’t in place, to prevent it moving about in the car unsecured.
Does the Duallo feel secure once in place?
When installed with the adjustable Isofix connectors, the Duallo fit very well in our car and felt secure and solid. It nicely hugged the contours of our back car seats, and there was not much movement once installed.
How is strapping your child in?
The seat belt guides of the Joie Duallo are really clear and easy to use, and threading the seatbelt through is straight forward.
Compared to my daughter’s previous rear-facing seat with five-point harness, the booster set up – secured only with a seat belt – made me a bit nervous. But my daughter understood that the seatbelt had to be kept in place, and seemed well protected with our new product.
What do you think of the design?
The design is very simple, with no frills – I don’t mind it, but it’s very basic.
Does the Duallo feel sturdy?
The Joie Duallo feels very sturdy. It keeps its shape well, the fabric looks good quality and the seat and back are solid. We took the Duallo on a recent holiday and had to check it in for our flight (contained in a basic car seat bag) – I’m pleased to report that it survived the baggage handling very well, not a scratch on it.
What is the headrest like?
The headrest is great. My daughter found it very comfortable and it’s super adjustable with 11 different positions. I am not sure if it actively prevents kids’ heads falling forward, but my daughter happily slept in it with her head upright. She really liked the feel of the fabric too.
Are there different seat positions?
There are three different positions for the base of the seat – this is not to help any recline, but to fit the size of the seat better to the length of your child’s legs. It was quite nice to have this flexibility, but I don’t think it made that much of a difference to my daughter’s comfort.
How comfortable is it for your child – what did your children feedback?
My daughter really enjoyed riding in the Duallo – although a lot of it was down to the novelty of facing forward and not being in a harness any more. She did mention that she liked the feel of the fabric, but she thought it a bit annoying how upright she had to remain in the booster – definitely worth trying out a booster with a certain level of recline next time. However, she did manage to sleep in the Duallo on a long journey and was happy in it. The seat felt like it supported and enclosed her – still rather small – body well.
Tell us about the Joie Duallo’s safety features?
The Duallo has side impact protection which offers added security for the head, body and hips of the child. Plus, its retractable Guard Surround Safety panels offer extra protection, but can be folded into the seat when not in use (on the side not next to the door, for example). I love the feeling of additional safety that these add. Make sure you pop them out correctly so that they’re securely in place, as the seat cover is a bit in the way.
The only reason I marked the Duallo down on safety is that I would have liked some extra feature to keep the seat belt’s lap section in place and/or some padding on the diagonal section – as a first time user, my daughter had a bit too much license to wriggle, I thought. Although at this great price you can’t have everything.
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
I really liked the size of the car seat – it was very manageable, and didn’t seem too bulky. It was easy to take along and install in our hire car on holiday, and the Duallo also offers the option of using the extra side-impact protection on just the side of the door, which makes more space on the other side – allowing you to better fit an additional seat or person in the middle seat.
Will your children fit in the Joie Duallo until they are 12 years (36kg)?
My five-year-old is very tall for her age, but she does have quite a bit of room to grow with the Duallo. The fact that the headrest has so many positions and that the sides adjust as your child grows is really handy as it provides better room for growth. I do think that my daughter will be able to use it for quite a few years yet.
Is it easy to clean?
The Duallo seat cover is removable and machine washable so it’s easy to clean – although I tend to just spot clean car seats. Luckily as children get older there is less mess, so hopefully there is no need to clean a group 2/3 seat too often.
How heavy is the Joie Duallo?
The Duallo is a very manageable 6.84kg, so it’s easy to pick up and install, to change between cars and to take it on planes etc. As it’s a high-backed booster it is a bit cumbersome but we had no problems with it on our travels.
What design feature do you like most in the car seat?
I really like the simplicity of this seat, combined with the extra safety features.
Is it value for money?
With an RRP of just under £100, the Duallo is great value in my opinion. Joie is a well trusted brand for car seats, and the Duallo convinces with its simple design and safety features. I liked that it has extra side impact protection with its additional panels. It is a good value, basic booster that should last you a few years.
What’s in the box?
The car seat base and back – these need to be clicked in place and always used together. Plus, the instructions.
How easy was the car seat to assemble? Were the instructions useful?
It was very easy to assemble the car seat, and the instructions were useful. Always make sure to read them – for example, I didn’t know that you had to feed both bits of the seat belt under the arm rest.
Are there any accessories needed or available?
Who is this car seat best for?
This is a great option for car safety-conscious parents who want a good value, no-frills car seat to see their four-year-old through to their teens.
Would you recommend this car seat?
Yes, I would recommend this car seat to those, looking for a no-fuss seat on a budget.
The Joie Duallo is a very sensible option for those looking for a Group 2/3 booster. It’s well designed and comfortable, has side impact protection and is very easy to install – so a doddle swapping it between cars or taking it on travels.
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