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With 35 years of experience under its belt, children’s travel brand Maxi-Cosi know more than a thing or two about car seats. The company’s latest design, the Coral, is a modular car seat and it may well be its most exciting product yet.
This innovative Group 0+ car seat is the first of its kind to feature a 2-part modular system – the first module is the inner detachable soft carrier, weighing just 1.7kg, which you can lift out of the second module – the outer plastic shell of the seat.
The inner carrier, which has retractable handles, clicks and locks easily in and out of the plastic shell, which is then clicked into the FamilyFix3 base unit (sold separately) or secured in your car with a seatbelt.
Lifting your baby out of the car seat in the inner soft carrier is significantly lighter and less bulky than carrying a standard car seat (around 5kg) around and is brilliant for whisking your baby from the car to your home and can even be comfortably carried for a short walk, such as into a cafe or baby class.
Georgina lives in the Kent countryside with her husband, two daughters – aged 3 months and 4.5 years. She tested the Coral car seat with her youngest daughter while running errands, on the school run and for a couple of longer journeys to visit friends.
What age is the Coral suitable for?
The Coral is rear-facing and is suitable from birth up to 13kg/29lb and 45-75cm (approx 12 months). It is also i-Size compliant.
What were your first impressions of the Maxi-Cosi Coral?
Having used (and loved) the Maxi-Cosi Pebble (Pebble Plus now available for £199 on Amazon) when my first daughter was a baby, I had fairly high expectations for the quality of this car seat. The Coral is a similarly smart, simple and modern design to the Pebble, but with a new and ground-breaking feature – the removable soft carrier.
As well as being safe and comfortable in a car seat, parents of newborns generally want one thing: once their baby is asleep, for them to stay asleep. The transfer from car seat to Moses basket or cot can be a tense time and the last thing you want to do is to have to get your baby out of the car seat while it is still in the car and carry them all the way into your house!
The Coral solves this problem with its soft carrier, which unclips smoothly and quietly from the shell of the car seat with the click of a button.
How does the Coral compare to other Group 0+ car seats?
While it looks very similar to other Group 0+ car seats, what sets the Coral apart is the fact you have two ways to carry your baby out of the car. You can unclip the entire seat (which weighs 5.3kg) as you would with a normal baby car seat, or you can unclip and just lift out the soft carrier, leaving the seat’s shell in the car.
We have rarely taken the car seat shell out of our car, as the soft carrier is so much easier and lighter to use. In this respect, the Coral is unlike anything on the market currently.
How does it compare to other car seats you have used?
With our first daughter, we mainly used the Maxi-Cosi Pebble and then sometimes the Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix (£139 on Amazon) in our second car. We liked the functionality of the Pebble and how comfortable and padded it was, and we have found the Coral similar in many respects. I never got on with the CabrioFix, as I found it really fiddly and difficult to unclip the seat from the base and had the same problem when trying to click the car seat back into the base.
We also used a Joie Spin 360 (£199 on John Lewis) car seat with our first daughter from age 1, as we wanted her to be rearward facing for as long as possible. While we rate this car seat highly due to the recline positions and swivel mechanism (which saves you from damaging your back when putting a larger child in the car), the Joie Spin 360 is quite a large, bulky seat and is fixed into the car. With a newborn, we prefer to be able to unclip the car seat from the base to carry the baby into the house as you can do with the Coral.
How easy is it to install in the car?
The Coral can be secured in your car using the seatbelt or it is compatible with the FamilyFix 3 Isofix base (£199 on Maxi-Cosi). We tested the car seat using both the seatbelt and the base; both options have been found to be equally safe in independent safety tests.
We found the instructions for how to install the Coral using the seatbelt very simple and straightforward. Because of the functionality of the car seat, it’s likely you’ll only have to do this once or twice as you can simply remove the soft carrier from the shell of the seat rather than the whole seat. (It’s worth noting that you cannot use the car seat shell without the soft carrier)
When using the FamilyFix3 base, to clip the car seat into the base you simply lower it onto the base at a slight angle and engage the seat in the forward clip. Then, the rear clip automatically engages. The base lights up and gives off an audible beep to let you know that the car seat has been installed correctly. The whole process takes seconds.
We found that the soft carrier was so useful, we hardly ever took the car seat shell out of our car. The soft carrier is simply lowered into the shell and clicks in place. Visual red-to-green indicators let you know that the carrier has been fitted correctly.
The FamilyFix3 base was extremely easy to install – in fact, my husband did it in minutes without even looking at the instructions. Two clips on the base lock onto the ISOFIX anchors in your car and then you simply extend the base’s leg to the floor of the footwell until the green light flashes.
The FamilyFix3 can also be used with the Jade safety carrycot, Pebble Pro i-Size and Pearl Pro2 i-Size car seats – meaning it can be used from birth up to 4 years old. Owing to this, it has quite a large footprint, so it might not be suitable for more compact cars.
How safe is the Coral?
The Coral has been designed and manufactured to be i-Size so you can be reassured it meets the highest safety standards, both when installed onto the the FamilyFix3 Isofix base or with the car seat belt.
The audio-visual indicator to confirm correct installation also provides reassurance as well as Maxi-Cosi’s ‘Side Protection System’ which can help protect your baby in the event of a side collision. This can also be seen in testing done by ADAC, lead testers of car seats in Europe, who give the seat a “low risk” of injury in a side crash and “very low risk” of injury in a frontal crash.
How comfortable is the car seat for your child?
We started testing the Coral when our daughter was around 2 months old. The seat comes with a newborn insert that is very well padded and offers great support. Our daughter was still within the length limit of 60cm at this age, but we decided not to continue using the newborn insert as her head was sticking out just above the padding and it seemed to be tight and making her too hot.
Unfortunately, the soft carrier seat without the insert is quite deep and not particularly comfortable for her. If you have a long baby and they are too big for the newborn insert, there is a stage when the empty seat is just a little bit too deep and we felt that additional support, like a headrest pillow which you can buy for the Pebble Plus, would be useful.
What is the harness like?
The Coral has a 3-point easy-in harness, which means that the straps and buckle spring up when not in use. This is great because you don’t have to move the straps out of the way each time you want to put your child in the soft carrier.
It is simple to loosen the straps by pushing a button and pulling them. Or to tighten, you just pull the excess strap material at the base of the seat; a feature that we have experienced with most baby car seats. You cannot move the shoulder pads up or down, but they seem to sit in the correct position and offer a good amount of padding.
What do you think of the look of the car seat?
The Coral comes in four colours – Essential Red, Essential Black, Essential Graphite and Neo Green. We tested the Essential Graphite, which is unassuming and complements the interior of our Ford Kuga. For parents who want something a bit brighter, the Essential Red or Neo Green will add a fun pop of colour to your car.
The Coral has a smart and modern design, not dissimilar to many other baby car seats on the market. For us, the colour and look of the car seat are less important than the functionality and safety features.
Is the Coral easy to clean?
The soft carrier cover is removable and machine washable, while the rest of the seat can be wiped clean, which means you don’t have to worry about spilt drinks and snacks, leaky nappies or if your child is car sick.
Which pushchairs can you use it with to create a travel system?
What’s in the box?
- Coral car seat
- Instruction manual
Which accessories are available to use with the Coral?
Additional accessories that are available to buy separately:
- Coral Summer Liner/Inlay, which is thermo-regulating to keep your baby cool and comfortable
- Rain cover
- Mosquito net
What features do you like most about the Coral?
The soft carrier is the star of the show when it comes to the Coral. It is such a simple idea that I’m surprised other manufacturers haven’t thought of it sooner. The carrier features retractable fabric handles that are comfortable to hold and allow you to carry your child close to you (even one-handed). For us, the soft carrier makes the £239 price tag worthwhile.
Another feature of the Coral that we particularly like is the extra-large sun canopy that is attached to the shell of the car seat and extends right down over your baby to keep the sun out of their eyes. The only downside to this is that I cannot see my daughter’s face in the mirror when the sun canopy is fully down, but it also means that the sunlight won’t upset her or wake her up if she is asleep.
Where can I buy the Coral from?
It’s available to buy from Mamas & Papas.
A revolutionary car seat that has pushed the market in an exciting direction, the Coral is attractive, lightweight and being iSize compliant, it has future-proofed safety credentials. Thoughtful features like retractable handles have been added to make parents’ lives easier and transporting your baby less stressful. Impressive design from an established brand makes the £239 price tag worth every penny.
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Dimensions & Weight
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 12 months|
|Child weight||0kg to 12kg|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base, isofix connectors and seat belt|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|