Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 i-Size review
(base sold separately from £169)
In a nutshell
An extended rear-facing seat that offers superior comfort from a young age – though added extras such as the Isofix base will bump up the cost significantly
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.1A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.
4.8A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.
- Safety features
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.3A star rating of 4.3 out of 5.
- Extended rear-facing, easy-in harness, extra padded cushion, reversible padding for different seasons, multiple recline positions, simple installation with base
- Higher price point, base not included with seat, no swivel function
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The updated version of the Maxi-Cosi Pearl (£129.99 on Amazon) offers an even comfier inner seat cushion for babies from 6 months to 2 years, while maintaining the sturdy and quality appeal of the original model.
It ticks all the safety boxes and can be used rear facing until baby is around 4 years/105cm, although it can also be easily switched on the Isofix base to become front facing from 15 months. From one of the world’s leading car seat manufacturers, it comes with a great reputation for safety and ease of use.
Dianne is a mum of two boys, 5-year-old George and 11-month-old Freddie. She tested the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 i-Size on the FamilyFix2 base, with baby Freddie on short drives to baby classes and on longer motorway journeys.
What were your first impressions of the Pearl Pro2?
As with all Maxi-Cosi seats I’ve tested, the Pearl Pro 2 i-Size has a reassuringly solid quality and feel – although I’m pleased that despite the size it doesn’t feel all that heavy. It also looks straightforward to use even without looking at the instruction book and I’m immediately struck by the spring-fixed 5-point harness which I can see will make getting a wriggling child safely into the seat an easier task.
How easy is the Pearl Pro2 to install?
The seat itself is a dream to fix into place, as you simply wiggle it onto the base until you hear the click. However, I did have a bit of a struggle making sure the FamilyFix 2 base I was using was correctly in place. Probably because it was brand new, the fixings were very stiff, and it wasn’t clear from the picture-only instruction booklet how to pull out the support leg properly.
It turns out you just pull it really hard until the little grey button “pops” out. There are green light indicators on the base that will light up and beep when you’ve got it all correctly in place which is comforting.
Once the base is in, it is straightforward to get the seat itself into place for rear-facing – and there are simple grey handles on either side to “pop” it out so you can change it to forward-facing if when the time is right.
How does the Pearl Pro2 compare to its previous version?
The Pearl Pro2 is the updated version of the Pearl Pro i-Size, with the main change being the extra padded cushion for improved comfort for younger children. This was one of the main features that impressed me, as it looked so comfy in the seat, and as soon as I placed my 11-month-old in it he was giggling and happy as Larry.
The comfort cushion can be used up to 84cm (approximately 2 years old) and is easy to remove for washing. It is also reversible – with one side covered in a 3D mesh to make the seat more breathable through the summer months. We stuck with the soft and warm side for winter during our testing.
How does the Pearl Pro2 compare to other car seats in this category?
The market for extended rear-facing car seats has expanded in the past few years. Another close competitor the Pearl Pro2 i-Size is the BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size. Like the Pearl Pro2 it comes with a soft insert for babies, but it has also been Swedish Plus Tested which is reflected in the high cost (£429). This is one of the most thorough forms of testing, which uses higher speed impact crashes than i-Size testing with very short breaking distances.
There's also the Britax Multi-Tech III (£190.23 on Amazon) which was developed for the Swedish market and offers rear-facing up for longer than the Pearl Pro2, up to 6 years.
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 is also squarely facing up to popular 360-degree spin seats that also offer the option of rear-facing for longer. These include the Britax Römer Dualfix i-Size (£427) or Maxi-Cosi’s own spin option, the AxissFix Plus (£323 on Amazon) which includes the base – but is only rear-facing to 2 years and is certainly a bulkier proposition (although the Dualfix allows rear facing until 4 years too). If you have more than one young child, you will also need to consider the space available in the back of the car – which is more limited with 360 spin options.
How easy is it to strap baby into the seat? Does the ‘Easy-in’ harness make a difference?
The seat itself sits quite high in the car, and I was able to slip baby Freddie into place easily.
One of the main things I love about this seat is the moulded straps are designed to keep open when undone, meaning no more scrambling about trying to find the straps under your child’s bottom when trying to manoeuvre them in. You simply push the buckle forwards to make the straps longer to fit baby into place – the way the harness is attached means it is held off the seat area.
And then once the harness is buckled up, pull the loose silver strap to be tight on his body. The spare length of strap did dangle rather a lot though, I wasn’t sure where to tuck it into.
While I find it easy to get the harness all clicked into place, the buckle itself is a little stiff when trying to release baby. I couldn’t pop it open with one hand despite seeing on the official Maxi-Cosi video that their tester/model managed it. Perhaps this will get easier with time, and at least there’s the reassurance that it will be nigh on impossible for baby to work out how to undo it when he’s older.
How comfortable did the Pearl Pro2 seem for your baby?
Baby Fred looked extremely content and cushioned in the Pearl Pro2, and we really like the extra inner cushion for added support.
There are also multiple recline options both in forward and rear-facing mode. You operate it easily with the push of a lever at the front of the car seat – it has 4 recline positions.
For us it was a case of either full recline for sleeping or upright – which we deployed if we wanted to keep baby awake and avoid the dreaded late afternoon baby nap during the journey.
It is also great that the design allows you to reverse the padding depending on the time of year – with a more breathable, ventilated mesh for summer, and a snugger option for winter. This should make a great difference for baby’s comfort.
The Pearl Pro2 is designed from 6 months to approximately 4 years – how well does it adapt to a growing child?
The headrest on the Pearl Pro2 moves easily up and down with the pull of a lever at the seat back – there are full visuals in the handbook – to ensure correct safety for the height of your child.
The inner seat cushion can be used with baby from 67cm to 84cm and can then be taken out to allow more room for your child up to 105cm. So it’s really adaptable and should cope well with a growing child.
What are the key safety features of the Pearl Pro2?
The Pearl Pro2 i-Size is approved to the latest European safety standards (ECE R129) and is built to ensure better head, neck and body protection.
It also allows children to face the rear up to 105cm (approximately 4 years old), which is a great option for the safety conscious, as that is proven to reduce injury significantly in case of impact. The Pearl Pro2 is definitely a reassuringly sturdy looking seat which cocoons baby during travel.
The Isofix system with visual and audible confirmation when all connections are securely in place will also give parents extra peace of mind.
How easy is the Pearl Pro2 to move between cars and on trips?
The Pearl Pro2 weighs 7.55kg which is one of the lightest compared to its Group 1 competitors. It didn’t feel particularly cumbersome and I found it quite easy to lift into and out of the car.
Given that you need to use it with an Isofix base, it might not be suitable to change often between cars, as you would have to dismantle and reinstall the base every time. This also means it’s not great for air travel, as it will be quite a faff to take on trips that depend on hire cars and flights.
How easy is the Pearl Pro2 easy to clean?
The Pearl Pro2’s covers are removable and machine washable – there are clear picture instructions in the manual how to remove them and it was reasonably easy to do this. It is also very easy to wipe clean the cushioned surfaces with sanitiser wipes when needed, so it’s very easy to keep it pristine.
How do you rate the design of the Pearl Pro2?
The Pearl Pro2 is available in 5 different colours including some snazzy beige and maroon colour options for those who like something a little different than the standard grey or black.
What’s in the box and what is extra?
The seat comes in one piece in the box, with an instruction booklet attached. It can only be fitted into your car with a compatible Maxi-Cosi Isofix base which you need to buy separately.
Non-essential accessories are also available to buy separately from Maxi-Cosi. They include:
- Sun canopy £25
- Back Seat car mirror £15
- Back Seat protector (to keep the adult car seats clean) £20
- Summer cover to keep your toddler cool £39
Is the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 good value for money?
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 is £239 RRP, but you need to factor in the cost of an Isofix base – I tested it with the Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix 2 Isofix base priced £169 (which is the cheapest of the Isofix options compatible with this model).
At £400+ that makes for quite a sizeable investment, but this is a solid and safe piece of kit which will offer practicality for those families who may need to move it in and out of different cars. However, if you are looking for a seat that you can fix into your car and forget about for the next 4 years, you might be swayed by less expensive seats on the market that have an Isofix base combined with the seat.
A stylish, sturdy and safe car seat option enabling your child to stay rear-facing up to 4 years. Not the cheapest option in this category, but the Pearl Pro2 offers practicality as well as extra comfort for babies and children, so is perfect for families who make regular or longer car journeys.
|Model||Pearl Pro2 i-Size|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Child age (approx)||6 months to 4 years|
|Child weight||9kg to 18kg|
|Child Height||67cm to 105cm|
|Car seat installation||Isofix connectors|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|