In a nutshell

A well-designed, comfy and good value Group 1/2/3 car seat installed using ISOFIX or a seat belt, and with an added safety impact shield

What we tested

  • Ease of installing
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Comfort
    A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
  • Safety features
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Style
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Durability
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Worth the money
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.


  • Simple to use, comfy, looks great, comes with replacement front cover cushion, ISOFIX or seat belt


  • SnugShield takes a little getting used to

The Joie (let's get this straight at the beginning. It's pronounced 'joy') Transcend is a Group 1/2/3 car seat that could be keeping your little one safe from 9-months-old until they're 12.


Released in July 2015, it's most noticeable feature is that, for the Group 1 stage, it uses an impact-absorbing 'SnugShield' front cushion/shield as a restraint, rather than the more common 5 point harness - something Joie says reduces strenuous forces on a child's body. Front shield car seats also may have extra appeal to parents of little ones always straining to free themselves of straps.

Beyond the shield, the Transcend offers some neatly unique features.

It grows upwards and outwards with your little one, has user-friendly features for adapting the car seat, including (take a deep breath) an 11 position headrest, 10 position ISOSAFE connectors, 3 position seat depth and a 4 position SnugShield. The depth and side wings on the headrest auto adjust as you extend the seat.

Forward-facing, it can be used with ISOFIX fittings together with your car seat belt, or just with your car seat belt on its own.

At £180, the Joie Transcend compares to Group 1/2/3 car seats including the Cosatto Hubbub (£185), the Kiddy Guardianfix Pro 2 (£220), and the Joie Every Stage (£200), although the latter is suitable from birth.

You can also buy the Joie Transcend car seat from Amazon, Precious Little One, and Kiddies Kingdom.

Will the Joie Transcend car seat last 12 years?

You can look at this from two perspectives: durability and size.

Durability-wise, it's a very well made car seat. The fabrics are soft yet strong, and the moveable parts run smoothly and click into place well. I can see this lasting a long time.

Will a 12-year-old fit in it? Yes, I reckon I could when it's at its full height! It has 11 headrest heights, the sides adjust when the headrest is moved too. And it has three seat depth positions, so that your little traveller is comfy whatever stage car seat they're using.


Tell us more about the Transcend SnugShield

The SnugSheild is used instead of a 5-point harness. It can be adapted to accommodate your little one, and when they stop being so little, the seat depth (automatically) adjusts too. These features obviously add extra comfort, but they also add extra security as, when adjusted, they also redirect any force from an impact to the shell of the seat. Clever.

This is the first time I've used a front cushion. It sits over the lap like a big, padded dinner tray and is strapped on using the car's seat belt.

Joie calls its front impact cushion the SnugShield and says, as a replacement to the more common 5-point harness, it 'reduces strenuous forces on a child's fragile body'.

The cushion is used from 9 to 18 kg (around 9 months to 4-5 years). It can also be adjusted easily for comfort.

Also, the side impact shields can be adjusted, so that they can be popped out on the door side and popped back into the seat on the passenger side if you're short on space.

My son is 4, so it fitted around him fine. Fitting it was easy, as the sides of the cushion slot into the seat. The car's seat belt can then be threaded through slots along the cushion's front. This was really easy to do, and not fiddly at all.

In this sense I much prefer this kind of car seat to one with the 5 point harness, which almost always involve a wrestling match to clip together.

My son did find the cushion a little restrictive on his leg movements though, but this may be because he's used to a harness. It may just take a little time to adjust to the cushion.

If your child hates being strapped into the harness or always wriggles out, then a seat with a front cushion may be the way forward.

One really good thing is that the Transcend comes with an extra cushion cover, in case you need to wash one. Any parent whose children get car sick will know what a bonus this is.

What do you think of the design?

It looks great; it's obviously a high end car seat (without being too pricey). There are 3 two-tone colour options. I had Raven black, but there is also Caribbean blue and a fiery Sunrise red.

What's in the Joie Transcend car seat box?

  • Car seat
  • SnugShield front cushion
  • Replacement front cushion cover

How does it install in the car?

There are two options: ISOFIX together with the car seat belt, or just the car seat belt.

If you have ISOFIX fittings in your car all you do is click the ISOFIX connectors in the back of the seat on to the ISOFIX bars, and make sure they're secure.

Car seat safety - what is ISOFIX?

Depending on the age and size of your child, you then either use the SnugShield front cushion, and strap that in place with the car's seat belt, or place the car's seat belt through the strap guides, across your little one's front (as you would an adult).

If you don't have ISOFIX, you can do the same as above.

It's a Universal seat so should fit most cars (there's a long list of cars that the seat is suitable for on the Joie website).

How do you install the Joie Transcend car seat?

I always get intimidated by car seat instructions. You literally get a book, and I start to phase out as soon as I try to match the diagrams to the text. Once I refocused on this booklet, though, I found that the instructions were actually quite simple to follow.

The design features, like the ISOSAFE connector buttons and height adjustment are intuitive too, so easy to use. It really didn't take long to install at all.

How to install a car seat properly


Does it feel sturdy?

Yes it does, like an armoured shell with a cushiony inside. It's well built, and looks and feels strong.

On top of the SnugShield cushion it also has 'Guard Surround Safety' panels for extra side protection, which fold into the seat when not in use, and also extra side impact protection. I've seen some car seats that really don't look up to the job but this looks strong. The Transcend looks like it's very well made, with comfort, durability and safety in mind.

How comfortable does it feel?

Really. My little one even volunteered the information that it was comfy without being asked. Again, some car seats look far too hard with thin cushioning. But you get what you pay for. The Transcend is very cosy.


How is strapping your child in?

As there's no 5 point harness, it's just a matter of using the front cushion and car seat belt, or, after a certain age, just the car seat belt. As I've said, there are some easy to find and use slots that the car seat belt is threaded through on the front cushion. They are very easy to find and thread through.

As your child reaches around 5 years old you can use just the car's seat belt without the front cushion. There are some really easy to use guides, at the bottom of the headrest to slip the belt through, protecting the child's neck and directing the belt over the shoulder. Again, there's nothing fiddly at all. Another sign of good design.


- It is worth noting that if you're not using ISOFIX fittings and a car seat is not being used, you must still strap it in to the car so it doesn't fly off the seat if you have to suddenly stop. This is the case for all car seats.

What's the headrest like?

Very padded with big 'wings' on the side. It's comfy and good to rest the head against for snoozing. Some car seats I've used aren't great for sleeping as the sides are too small on the headrests, causing the head to slip all the time.

How many positions does the headrest have?

11! And it can be adjusted with one hand very easily. The side wings 'auto adjust' as the headrest height is changed too - a neat feature.

How many seat positions are there and how easy is it to adjust the seat depth?

There are 3, and they also 'auto adjust'. So you don't have to do anything!

How portable and easy is it to get in and out of the car?

It has a little handle, which is good as sometimes you end up picking up your car seat by a movable part and then have to readjust it when you're putting your child back in. It's quite light too.

It was easy to get in and out of the car too.

What do you think of the size of the car seat?

It's compact enough and isn't too bulky. It's designed to adapt to your child's growth, so extends to seat a 12 year old. Even at this stage it still fits well in the car.

Is it easy to clean?

Yep. The seat cover is machine washable and the front cushion has a replacement cover. All this is important for car sickness and general muckiness. Other bits can be wiped down.

Is the product value for money?

£180 (or as little as £139 from some retailers) for something that'll last you 11 years - and protects your little (or fast growing) one - is good value to me. It's £12.63 a year (Yes, I did that on my calculator).

What did you think of how the various parts adjusted?

This is one of the great things about the Transcend for me. Sometimes a car seat is so complicated and fiddly it can take ages to fit in to the car and then adjust to suit your child.

But with the Transcend the parts move easily, are easy to find and the design is intuitive.

There's a little handle under the front of the seat to release the ISOFIX fittings, which are released from their hidey hole in the back. They swing around so you can fit them into place (and, of course, they have multiple positions too).

The seat height is adjusted by a handle at the back of the headrest, which is easy to locate even when the car seat is in place. It has a really fluid movement, which is pleasing to use.

And the side impact bars pop out when pressed and pop back in just as easily.

The Transcend is very user friendly.

MadeForMums verdict:

The Transcend is packed with excellent safety features and its working parts are very user friendly. On top of this it looks stylish and durable. I think this is a great car seat and a very good buy.

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Product Specifications

ModelTranscend Group 1/2/3 Car Seat
Suitable for
Child age (approx)9 months to 12 years
Child weight9kg to 36kg
Dimensions & Weight
Removeable cover for washingYes
Recline positions3
Height adjustible headrestYes