The name Maxi Cosi needs no introduction. It’s the iconic market leader that’s been producing baby car seats for over 30 years for families worldwide.
The CabrioFix is a mid-priced (£135), rear-facing Group 0+ car seat for babies from birth to 13kg, around (12 months). It’s over 10 years since this seat launched and it’s still one of the most popular car seats in the UK.
Its dominance lies in its price, superior safety record and the fact it’s travel system compatible with so many of the bestselling buggies.
It has side-impact protection, a 3-point harness, multi-position carry handle that can fold right down at the back to stabilise the seat when not in the car, and a clever integral sunshade.
I was pleasantly surprised how superlight it felt. It felt lighter than the two Cabriofix seats I had with my twins – now 5 years old. I pulled it out the box with one hand, no problem. The head support looked more prominent than the ones I had too.
The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix does not have an ‘Easy-in harness’ or harness that adjusts simultaneously with the headrest, which the Pebble does. An ‘Easy-in’ harness means it doesn’t fall into the seat of the carrier, it is sort of suspended over the seat and means you’re not fighting with a wriggly child and gravity when trying to strap him or her in.
Another difference between the seats is the price. The CabrioFix is more affordable from £99, while the Pebble is around £160 and the Pebble Plus is £199.
All three seats can be installed with a three-point seat belt or ISOFIX, but the Pebble Plus is the only one that’s i-Size compatible. With the CabrioFix you have a choice of using the cheaper EasyFix base as well as the more expensive FamilyFix and 2wayFix bases. Style-wise, the CabrioFix comes in more colour ranges – 10 in total.
The CabrioFix is the better option if you’re on a budget, limited on car space or don’t have ISOFIX points in your car. You can get the new 2017 CabrioFix for £135 and older versions for as little as £50.
The i-Size Pebble Plus will set you back £199 which isn’t much more than the CabrioFix and EasyFix base put together. If you have a small car and multiple kids to transport, you might struggle to get everyone in the back with the wider i-Size Pebble Plus.
It’s simple to install. The instructions are clever using numbers and colour coding to guide you through the two different options of installation. With seat belt it takes 2 mins to install.
The blue seat belt guide at the back is bigger and less finicky than I remember my old one being. Using the EasyFix base is even simpler. We’ve been using our EasyFix base in the back, middle seat with a seat belt as we don’t have Isofix there.
Before, we were sweating bricks slotting Isabella in between her 5-year old brothers. We literally just click-and-go with green meaning go. The EasyFix base is heavy and uses a support leg which rests on the car floor. If using in the middle chair, you’ll need to check you have enough floor space.
Will it work with cars with short seat belts, do you think?
It might not work installing with a seat belt. You need some length to position the belt around the back of the chair. However, you could have a short belt using it with the EasyFix base.
What kind of base will it fit into?
The CabrioFix fits into all three of the Maxi Cosi bases. The EasyFix base is the affordable option, designed soley to use with the Cabriofix up to around 12 months. It allows you to install the seat with the car seat belt or ISOFIX points, making clicking in and out of the car very simple. Like the CabrioFix seat, this base can be used from birth to 13kg.
The FamilyFix and 2wayFamily bases are ISOFIX only and can be used with the CabrioFix up to 12 months and then the 2WayPearl car seat up to 4 years - allowing for a longer and safer rear-facing travel.
With the FamilyFix you can put the Cabriofix into an extra upright position for when they need more legroom.
How is strapping your daughter into the Cabriofix?
Strapping Isabella in is quick and easy. With the three-point harness and one-pull adjustment it’s great when you’re in a hurry. Because when am I not in a hurry?
Hence why I appreciate the strap hooks that save any fumbling for straps underneath a seated baby. I less appreciate is routing underneath her for the harness lock…again in a hurry but it is a minor. The carry handle is comfortable in-hand and has multi-positions, shame you need two hands to adjust it.
How comfortable is the seat?
Isabella’s used to our Pebble so has taken a little getting used to the Cabriofix. I think it’s largely down to the head hugger and wedge.
With a few adjustments – raising the head hugger which is integrated with the wedge, and removing the wedge padding – she now sits and sleeps comfortably.
The support really does hug the head so it’s great for holding her in place when she’s milk-drunk and head- droopy. I only wish the integrated sun canopy was bigger so it could fully shade Isabella from the sun.
Does it have a rocker function?
Yes. And it’s a smooth rock. Push it once and it continues the job. I can go, grab something and come back to see Isabella still rocking.
Is it easy to clean?
Not really. The straps and shoulder pads wipe well which is where most of the mishaps occur. As for the cover, the instructions say hand-wash only, much to my disappointment. The practicality of not being able to put a baby car seat cover in the washing machine is a real downside for me.
In fact, as a sleep-deprived mother of a reflux-y newborn, the car seat care instructions weren’t something I had time to read, let alone abide by.
It went in the wash and has looked tatty and un-hemmed ever since. It’s quite a struggle getting it on and off, too.
My Pebble cover survived a machine wash and so will the Cabriofix have to. But only when a wipe won’t do. Note the cover is easier to remove than put back on.
Is it travel system compatible?
Yes. It fits onto so many makes of pushchairs, including the Maxi-Cosi Stella, Maxi-Cosi Dana For2, Mothercare Orb, Quinny Zapp, Quinny Moodd, Quinny Buzz, Quinny Speedi, Bugaboo Bee, Bugaboo Cameleon, Stokke strollers and more.
You will have to spend £20-30 for adapters, but they vary depending on the pushchair you use. In terms of ISOFIX, it’s always best to check the car seat is compatible with your vehicle before purchasing.
What’s in the box?
Maxi Cosi car seat
Carbiofix Footmuff £50
Cover Cabriofix £47
Summer Cover £35
Mosquito Net £9.99
Who is the Cabriofix for?
It’s for those who want a reliable car seat from a trusted name with good protection for baby but don’t want to spend an absolute premium.
Is the Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix car seat affordable?
It’s not a cheap option – the seat itself is over £135 and if you go for the EasyFix base option that’s another £130.
And if you want it to form part of a travel system you have to buy the attachments that go on your particular buggy, another £22.99.
So all-in-all it'll set you back around £288, and last 12 months. As far as infant car seats go, that is about the average price parents spend on an infant car seat, with the cheapest being £80 (without a base) and the most expensive infant car seat being around £345 (with ISOFIX base).
The latest Cabriofix with the Easyfix base isn’t the cheapest option at around £245 all in. However, you can save some money by looking around for bundle deals online.
Using the CabrioFix with seat belt is easy enough and does the job just fine. But this seat does come into its own with the click-in and go base.