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A car seat that’s a joy to install? Yes, that’s exactly what the Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat (£185) is when used with the FamilyFix base (£149). Finally, a car seat that doesn’t leave you feeling stressed – or stupid!
TheMaxi-Cosi Pearl car seat is designed to fit into Maxi-Cosi’s ISOFIX FamilyFix base. The Pearl appears to be a well designed, good quality car seat suitable from 9kg-18kg (about 3 or 4 years). The real benefit though – and the one that’s a significant improvement for parents – is that the FamilyFix base can first be used for the Group 0+ Maxi-Cosi Pebble car seat (suitable from birth to 13kg), so there’s no need to purchase two separate bases to get from birth to 3 or 4 years. Together, the FamilyFix base and the two car seats make up the new Maxi-Cosi Car Seat Family.
Maxi-Cosi is known for well designed and safe car seats that are tested “in excess” of legal safety requirements. The FamilyFix base is extremely easy to install correctly using a car’s ISOFIX anchoring points. It even has a helpful light-and-sound LED display to ensure you’ve fitted the anchoring points, the support leg and then the car seat correctly. Very reassuring.
The Pearl car seat has simultaneous adjustment of the headrest and shoulder straps to ensure the headrest is always in the correct position to protect your child’s head. These are easily altered from the front of the seat. The base allows five reclining positions for your child, which is great and (unlike many seats) truly easy to use.
The Pearl is an attractive and relatively compact car seat that was sensibly developed to suit compact sized cars. It comes in an unusual range of great colours. There are also some thoughtful accessories for the Pearl including a flexible cup and a helpful playtray.
What we love
The ISOFIX technology built into this seat feels safe and secure and it is so easy to fit and fit properly. It’s a joy. Because the car seat splits from the base it’s not as heavy or cumbersome as the ‘all in one’ seats. However, the real benefit is that you can progress from the Pebble car seat for your baby to the Pearl for your toddler without having to replace this substantial bit of kit.
Although there are no ‘hooks’ to hold the harness straps out of the way when lifting your child in and out, it is an ‘easy-out’ harness where the straps stay put rather than falling onto the seat and getting in the way, which we find very helpful.
It’s nice to find a car seat that lives up to its claims of an easy to use harness strap and reclining position adjustments.
What to watch out for
The Pearl car seat feels well built and safe but the soft padding perhaps felt a little on the stingy side. We’ve used more comfortable car seats, particularly around the head rest area.
It’s worth highlighting that the Pearl car seat only fits a car with the FamilyFix ISOFIX base. There’s no base or seat belt alternative, meaning that if you’re swapping cars, the base has to come too! Not ideal for some.
Who is the Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat and FamilyFix base best for?
Parents who bought the Pebble and FamilyFix first for use from birth.
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat is a joy to fit. It isn’t too heavy and is secured in a few straightforward clicks – a process that doesn’t make you feel like a loser! The harness and straps were genuinely easy to use and adjust. The whole thing feels safe and sturdy, and it’s comfy for your toddler, too. While it’s certainly not a cheap option, you could get good value for your money, particularly if you use the base from birth to 3 or so years.
First reviewed 23/02/2010. Updated 24/02/2012.
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|Model||Pearl car seat (with FamilyFix base)|
|Child age (approx)||9 months to 4 years|
Dimensions & Weight
|Weight||6.5kg – FamilyFix Base: 6.8kg|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|
|Optional extras||Flexible cup holder,playtray|