Maxi-Cosi Opal car seat
Opal car seat
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The Maxi-Cosi Opal is a compact car seat with the instant appeal of being rear or forward facing. But you’ll have to leave this one in the car – it’s hard to carry and doesn’t work as part of a travel system.
The Maxi-Cosi Opal is a Group 0+/Group 1 car seat, which means it last from birth through to 18kg (about 3 or 4 years). Your baby can use it as a rear facing Group 0+ car seat until they’re 13kg (about 12-15 months), and its unique swivel base solves the problem of having to buy a new car seat when your baby becomes a toddler, as it can be used in the forward facing mode from 9kg to 18kg.
In the rear facing position, there’s one recline position but in forward facing mode there are five, from sitting upright to sleeping. A Side Protection System gives support for the head and neck and there’s a support pillow for younger babies.
The height of the headrest and harness belts can be adjusted at the same time (there are six positions). Colour-coded tabs ensure that you’re using the car seat in the correct position and fitting instructions are clearly displayed on the seat.
The Opal is available in four colours: Total Black, Intense Red, Walnut Brown and Sweet
Cerise. Additional accessories include a summer cover, hook-on side pocket and travel buddies (toys that hook onto the seat).
What we love
The Opal’s much loved older sibling, the Group 0+ Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix car seat was an essential newborn buy for me. So this Group 0+/1 offering instantly appealed. The swivel base is an interesting feature that extends the life of the Opal car seat and in the long term may save you money.
The compact designed doesn’t look like it could accommodate an 18kg child but it is easy to adjust the height and width of the seat to make room for your growing baby. What’s more, in rear facing mode there’s more legroom than your usual car seat, which would encourage me to use it in the rear facing position passed the 9kg mark and up to the 13kg point.
One feature that I love is the ability to take off the cover without taking out the harness. With one very travel sick child, the cover on my current car seat comes off at least once a week.
Finally, because the Opal is so compact there’s still plenty of room for two passengers in the back of the car.
What to watch out for
Installing the Maxi-Cosi Opal car seat is relatively straightforward but feeding the belt under the seat is awkward and swivelling the base from the forward to rearward position, or vice versa, takes practice. Don’t try and do it in the car, there isn’t enough room.
As with most car seats, the pictorial instructions are confusing and hard to follow, despite the colour coding on the belt guides.
Whilst the swivel base is valuable, in reality it doesn’t allow you to use the car seat facing rearward for the full four years, just up to 13kg as any Group 0+ car seat would allow you to.
The Opal car seat has true longevity, but it comes at a price. You won’t be able to use it as part of a travel system, so you won’t be able to transfer your newborn from the car to the house with ease. For this reason, despite the expense, I’d probably still buy a Group 0 or Group 0+ seat before moving up to the Opal.
The car seat is light for a Group 0+/1 car seat, though if you do end up lugging it between cars or into the house, it’s bulky and awkward to carry.
Who is the Maxi-Cosi Opal car seat best for?
New parents who value longevity over portability.
The Maxi-Cosi Opal offers rear and a forward facing car seat in one through its innovative swivel base design. Covering a wide age and weight range, this product has longevity but be aware that it’s not travel system compatible.
First reviewed 19/10/2010. Updated 23/02/2012.