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The 2way Family set comprises:
- Pebble Plus
- 2wayFix base
The 2way Family set was developed to meet the new i-Size safety regulations, which came into effect in the UK in July 2013. By buying all three products, you can keep your child rear-facing up until around 4 years old – first with the Pebble Plus and then with the 2wayPearl.
Using the bespoke 2wayFix base, which is essentially an ISOFIX base, the Pebble Plus can be used until your baby is around 12 months old, before moving onto the 2wayPearl car seat, which can be used rear-facing and forward-facing till your child is 4.
Pricewise, it’s at the higher end of the market, at £199 for the Pebble Plus seat alone. But Maxi-Cosi has a track record in safety, and has won a series of awards in Europe for the innovative design of the 2way Family system, as well as performing well in crash tests, so you could say the product warrants the price.
There was a time when Maxi-Cosi and its Pebble and Cabriofix seats held a monopoly over the infant car seat market. However, over the past 5 years there has been a steady set of rivals emerging. And this new Pebble Plus seat is fighting against the likes of the Britax Baby SAFE i-Size, which costs £329.99, the Cybex Cloud Q infant car seat, which is £220, and the Joie i-Gemm, which is i-Size compatible and costs £130.
So what makes the Pebble Plus different from the Pebble?
The main difference about this infant car seat is that it can be used as part of Maxi-Cosi’s 2way Family, which meets new i-Size regulations keeping your child facing rearwards for longer using just one base.
However, it’s important to point out that the Pebble Plus itself is just a Group 0+ car seat, and on its own will only keep your baby rear-facing until 12 months. You then need to buy the 2wayPearl to get the rear-facing for longer benefits.
Another noticeable change comes in the form of the harness. It can be adjusted in two ways – shoulder sections move up and down the base of the seat, while the straps can be lengthened or shortened.
The mechanism for releasing the straps is different from the previous Pebble model, which had a button to press between your baby’s legs.
With this one, the straps can only be extended when the harness is undone and the buckle pulled forwards, which I think is an improvement as there is absolutely no way your child could accidentally loosen the straps.
It’s sold around the ‘Click-and-go” installation, tell us about it.
Technically, this car seat can be fitted with both the seat belt and Maxi-Cosi’s new 2wayFix base.
The 2wayFix base is essentially an ISOFIX base, which allows you to click the seat into the base and go. Very easy to both click in and to ensure your child’s car seat is fitted correctly.
Not all car seats fit all cars so it’s best to check the Pebble Plus is compatible for your car by using the Fitting List on the Maxi-Cosi website.
We used the seatbelt with our daughter. There are large seatbelt guides on each side of the seat, which were easy to slip the belt through, while the curved belt guide at the back of the seat was also simple to use, and it feels secure.
But remember, here at MFM we always think it’s better to get an expert to show you how to safely install a car seat in your vehicle before you buy it.
How easy is it to install the car seat?
The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus comes with a small instruction booklet, which contains 16 pages of diagrams on using the car seat in different situations, like in the car using either the seatbelt or an ISOFIX base, on your buggy frame, and in an aeroplane.
I didn’t find them particularly useful, and it was more a case of trial and error with working out what the diagrams to adjust the harness actually meant. Having said that, 88% of parents we surveyed* found it quick and easy to install, scoring it 8/10 or higher.
How easy did you find getting it in and out of the car?
Quite easy, the car seat weighs 4.5kg and it didn’t feel too heavy to carry from home to the car, even with my five-month old baby in it. The ease with which it can be moved in and out of the car is backed up by MFM readers and Amazon and Maxi-Cosi customers, plus 26% of parents surveyed by MFM, who said this was their favourite feature about the seat.
It’s worth noting that it weighs slightly more than other lightweight car seats such as the Joie Gemm (£90) which weighs 3.4kg, or the Britax Baby-Safe Plus SHR II (£129.99), which weighs 3.9kg. Some Maxi-Cosi customers, 15% of the parents we surveyed, as well as a few of our MFM readers, felt that the seat was heavy, listing this as their biggest dislike about it.
The handle is shaped at the top so that it is easy to grip and, because the seat isn’t particularly bulky, I could get it into the car without having to open the door fully, which is handy if you are parked awkwardly.
Is it easy to strap your child in?
Yes, 86% of parents we surveyed found securing their child into the seat a breeze, scoring it 8/10 or more for this.
Does it work as part of a travel system?
Yes, the Pebble Plus can be used with all Maxi-Cosi and Quinny buggies. It can also be used on buggies including Bugaboo and iCandy, if you get the car seat adapters for those pushchairs.
Is it easy to put on and take off a buggy?
Yes, once the car seat adapters are attached to your buggy, the Pebble Plus simply slots into place. There is a small grey button on each side of the car seat, which can be pressed in individually to release the car seat from the buggy, so you can do this with just one hand.
How comfortable is it for your little one?
Very comfortable – and this was backed up by the parents we surveyed as well as Amazon and Maxi-Cosi customers. The seat comes with the baby-hugg newborn inlay, which is really well cushioned and a good fit. Plus, the wings around the head give good support, and the whole seat is well padded.
Is it more comfortable than your previous car seats?
The new baby-hugg newborn inlay is certainly more comfortable than the previous Pebble car seat newborn insert, and this earned lots of praise from MFM readers and Amazon customers, who said it made the seat super-comfy for their babies.
Overall the seat feels well-padded, particularly around the head and shoulders. The shoulder strap pads are well-cushioned and made from a soft, jersey fabric, which is pleasing to touch, while the main seat fabric is high-quality and has a soft, but durable feel.
It’s a group 0+ seat, do you think it will last to 12 months?
The height seems to be a good fit for the recommended age and size of your baby, as the newborn inlay means even a small baby will be in the right position to be protected by the side wings.
There isn’t an adjustable head rest, however, so once you stop using the inlay, the height is fixed. And Maxi-Cosi recommends this seat can be used up to 12 months, or when your baby is 75cm tall, and I do think it would last this long.
I’ve been using it with my five-month old baby, and she fits really comfortably in the Pebble Plus, and there’s plenty of space for her to grow.
However, a few of the parents we surveyed were disappointed by the life of the seat and felt that their child grew out of it quickly.
Is it easy to clean?
It has a removable cover, but 24% of parents we surveyed did not find it easy to clean, scoring it 6/10 or less for this aspect.
Tell us about the sun canopy.
I think the sun canopy is a definite improvement on the previous Pebble model, as the lip it tucks into at the back of the car seat is now made of a flexible rubber.
This makes it a lot easier to pull out, while the catches that secure the canopy to the handlebar are firmly sewn in place and surrounded by a rubber c-shaped ring.
These stay firmly in place on the handlebar. The fabric is soft and stretchy, but there is a gap between the canopy and the handlebar when it’s fastened, so it might not necessarily keep off all the sun.
Is the product value for money?
It really depends if you want to have a separate car seat for your baby that could be used as part of a travel system.
As a standalone car seat that straps in with a seatbelt, £199 is at the upper end of the Group 0+ market.
However, if you buy it with the 2wayFix base (£199), this can later be used with the Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl car seat (£225) for children aged nine months to four years.
To buy the whole package comes to £623, which compares to a seat like the Cybex Sirona, but that chair can be used from newborn to age four, and costs £375.
What’s in the box?
- Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus car seat
- Baby-hugg inlay for newborns
- ISOFIX guides
What extra accessories can you buy?
- Summer cover – £27
- Rain cover – £10
- Footmuff – £45
- 2wayFix base – £199
The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus is a high-quality car seat that is comfortable and meets the latest safety standards – something that MFM readers, Maxi-Cosi and Amazon customers and parents we surveyed found particularly reassuring. It’s built to last and I would recommend it from newborn – I feel really confident that my baby daughter is well protected in this car seat. It was a hit with the parents we surveyed, 85% of whom gave this seat an overall score of at least 8/10, with 90% saying they would buy the seat again.
*MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users
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|Child age (approx)||Birth to 12 months|
Dimensions & Weight
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Optional extras||Summer cover - £19.95,Rain cover - £14.99,Footmuff - £40,2wayFix base - £175|