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The Elevate is a Group 1/2/3 car seat from baby manufacturer Joie, which prides itself on designing products to make life with small children less hassle and more fun. Combining the highest engineering and safety standards with durable, kid-proof materials, Joie boasts a clutch of parenting awards for its range of baby products, and the brand has become synonymous with baby car seats and pushchairs as a result.
The Joie Elevate is a much cheaper, lighter alternative to Maxi-Cosi’s Titan Pro and Britax’s Advansafix IV R car seats, which, like the Joie Elevate are designed for little ones up to 12 years old, but cost £200+.
Natalie is a mum of 4 and lives in Hove, East Sussex. She tested the Joie Elevate in her Peugeot 5008.
My first impression was how lightweight the car seat is – forget bulky car seats you need to carry with both hands and balance on one knee: this is a car seat you can carry in one hand with your child in the other.
It’s so lightweight (less than 6kg) that I did initially question its safety – how can something so light offer the necessary protection for my child? – but Joie promise Guard Surround Safety technology to protect your little one from head to hips.
What age is the Joie Elevate suitable for?
It is designed for babies from 9-36kg, or approximately 1 to 12 years old. Children from 9-18kg are secured with a 5-point harness, after which the seat converts into a belted booster for children weighing 15-36kg. I tested the Elevate with my (rather tall!) almost 3-year-old Marigold, who fitted snugly into the frame of the seat.
Tell us about its main safety features
The main safety feature is full side impact protection with Guard Surround Safety panels – a pop-out system that provides added security for the head, body, and hips if your car is hit from the side. The 5-point harness also has individual harness tensioners to help you secure your baby into the seat safely.
How easy was the car seat to assemble?
I had to enlist the help of my husband to fit the back of the car seat and the booster base, which come separately, together, as brute force is needed here, but after that assembly couldn’t be easier.
I didn’t actually use the instructions for assembly because there are picture instructions on the side of the seat.
How does the Joie Elevate install in the car, and how easy is it?
The car seat installs with a seat belt only – there are no Isofix connectors and no base – which is a bonus if you need to swap the car seat between different cars for school or nursery drop-offs and pick-ups.
For children weighing 9-18kg, your car seat belt weaves around and through the car seat to install it, and after that your child sits in the seat with the seat belt over them in the conventional way. There’s a handy car seat-to-vehicle fit guide so you know you’ve installed it properly, which is a reassuring touch.
Does it feel securely installed, once in place?
Given the Elevate doesn’t have an Isofix base, which we normally use, I was surprised how sturdy and secure the car seat felt once fitted with the seat belt. The seat sits flush with the back of our car seat and feels as secure as one fitted with an Isofix base.
How is strapping your child into the Joie Elevate?
The 5-point harness can be used one-handed, which is a must for me: you just marry the two pieces of the belt together and click them into the base of the clasp. There are shoulder pads on the harness for extra comfort, and as with Joie’s other car seats, you can tighten the harness by pulling a cord at the base of the seat.
How comfortable is the Joie Elevate for your child?
Thanks to the Elevate’s padded seat covers, shoulder straps and arm rests, Marigold was super comfy and protected in the seat, which is curved to fit her small frame.
Does the seat recline?
There is just one seat position with no recline functions. As Marigold is almost 3, this wasn’t an issue for me, given the generous head rest and curvature of the back of the seat, which fits snugly around your child. However, this may be a drawback for parents with a younger baby.
Can you adjust the height of the Joie Elevate as your child grows?
Yes, and adjusting this seat is easy-peasy – in fact, I think this is the easiest car seat I’ve ever adjusted, and as a MadeforMums reviewer, I’ve tested a lot of seats!
A handle on the back of the head rest allows you to both lift and raise the headrest and the harness at the same time, so there’s no need to fiddle with the harness or feed the straps through new holes after adjusting the height. There’s no need to unstrap the seat from the car to adjust it, either: you can do it in situ.
How do you pack away the harness once it’s no longer needed?
The harness is easy to remove by threading it through holes in the seat; then you can store it in a safe place.
Is it easy to transfer the Joie Elevate between cars?
At 5.47kg, this is the lightest car seat I’ve ever had and is by Joie’s own admission a streamlined offering. It can be lifted and carried with one hand by the head rest and easily swapped between cars – perfect if you regularly share the school and nursery run.
What do you think of the design?
Joie describe the Elevate as a ‘streamlined guardian’, which I think is a fair description. I liked the fact that it’s a sleek, understated seat that doesn’t shout out loud with bright colours or fixtures or fittings, and that it blends in well with our car’s upholstery.
What do you think of the fabric of the Joie Elevate?
The covers are removable and machine washable, which is a must if you’ve got a chunderer like me! Given how long the car seat is designed to last (1 to 12 years), for me the fact the covers are removable so you can wash them, rather than just wipe them, is a must.
The fabric on the back of the seat is also padded for extra comfort, and there are ventilated mesh sides, too.
How handy is the cup holder?
The cup holder is a thoughtful touch and a novelty Marigold loved, as we haven’t had a car seat with a cup holder before!
What’s in the box?
The car seat comes in two pieces, the booster base and the back with headrest, along with a user manual and cup holder.
Are there any accessories needed or available for the Joie Elevate?
The cup holder comes included – nothing else is needed.
What feature do you like most in the Joie Elevate?
My favourite feature has to be the headrest and harness which adjust at the same time and can be done with the car seat in place, one-handed. I can’t tell you the amount of time I must have spent grappling with headrests and feeding straps through new holes in car seats over the years, and with the Elevate this problem is completely eliminated.
Which type of family is this car seat best for?
The Joie Elevate is perfect for families using more than one car seat at the same time – we currently need 3 seats side by side and will soon be adding a fourth to our seven-seater car. If you need to swap seats between cars, this is the ideal solution as it weighs less than 6kg and is installed with a seat belt only, as opposed to an Isofix base.
Would you recommend the Joie Elevate car seat?
For families with more than one child in a car seat for whom space is an issue, I’d certainly recommend this seat: it’s great value for money, lightweight so you can transfer it easily between vehicles and is designed to last from babyhood through childhood.
How does the Joie Elevate compare to the Joie Duallo?
The Joie Elevate is both a cheaper and lighter alternative to the Joie Duallo, while still offering the same safety features. The only real difference is that the Duallo comes with 11 headrest positions, whereas the Elevate has 10.
How does it compare to similar car seats?
|Car Seat||Weight||Isofix or seatbelt installation?||RRP|
|Maxi-Cosi Titan Pro||12.55kg||Both||£250|
|Britax Advansafix IV R||11kg||Both||£250|
Is the Joie Elevate good value?
I think the Joie Elevate is great value given it’s a buy-once product designed to last from 1 to 12 years old. If you average out the cost, that works out at less than £6 a year!
Where can I buy the Joie Elevate?
The lightest car seat I have ever come across, the Joie Elevate is fantastic value for money compared to others on the market and lasts from babyhood all the way through childhood. It’s perfect for parents who regularly need to swap car seats between cars, and the fact the headrest adjusts simultaneously with the harness is a real bonus.
The only downsides are the fact there’s no rear-facing option and no recline function, which may prove an issue for parents with younger babies.
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Dimensions & Weight
|Child age (approx)||12 months to 12 years|
|Child weight||9kg to 36kg|
|Car seat installation||Seat belt|
|Travel system compatible||No|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|