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Dutch baby brand Nuna has specialised in luxury baby products since 2010 and the Nuna Arra i-Size Group 0+ car seat is one of 9 car seats in the company’s growing range. It’s a premium product with a host of high-end features, including a merino wool removeable inlay, memory foam headrest and 3 reclining positions – one of which is a 157º near lie-flat recline that works both in the car and on a pram. The Arra is also i-Size compliant and weighs remarkably little at just 3.9kg (without the insert and canopy).
Such a strong tick-list of features commands a higher-than-average price at £350, a top-end price point for a Group 0+ car seat, which will last your baby until around 15 months. However, considering its innovative near lie-flat recline, lightweight feel, i-Size compliance and strong build, the Nuna Arra is priced in line with other products that have similar future-proofed features. The price also includes an Isofix base.
Designed for your baby to sleep in comfort and safety, Group 0+ seats that recline to a near flat position have boomed in popularity in recent years. Unlike upright car seats, which it’s recommended babies should sit in for no more than 2 hours, some lie-flat models have no time limit, meaning you can use them for long car journeys and on your buggy when out and about. As parents strive to find the safest, most comfortable spot for their babies to travel in, the market in this area looks only set to grow.
Journalist and first-time mum, Lucy Dowling, tested the Nuna Arra with her 7-week-old daughter Emilia on a series of short and long car journeys.
What were your first impressions of the Nuna Arra?
My first impression was how stylish it looked. The dark grey and black colour scheme felt really luxurious and the car seat looked sturdy and well made. For £350, including the Isofix base, it certainly felt like I had received a high-end product and I was excited to see how it would compare against my previous car seat – the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size.
How does it compare to other similar car seats?
One of the Nuna Arra’s closest competitors comes in the form of Maxi Cosi’s Marble car seat (£228.95 on Amazon). They’re remarkably similar in a number of features, such as the 157° near-flat sleeping position and upper age limit (15 months). It’s £70 cheaper than the Arra, and for this, there are 2 less recline positions, 2 less headrest positions and it’s a little under 2kg heavier.
The Cybex Cloud Z is another popular near lie-flat car seat. As an i-Size seat (with the £185 Base Z), it’s surpasses the price of the Nuna Arra, costing £409.99. The Cybex Base Z however does boast a 180-degree swivel – a nice back-saving extra that the Arra doesn’t have.
Although the Cloud Z can be used for longer, up to 18 months, its lie-flat position can only be used outside of the car, unlike the Arra, which reclines inside the car to 3 positions. This may be a deal breaker for parents who are keen to use the recline function while on car journeys.
For an 180° lie-flat car seat, there’s also the the Jane Matrix Light 2 (£300). It can be fitted with a seatbelt, or, for £250 more, with its own rotating Isofix base, which brings the total price up to a rather whopping £550. It turns into a carrycot, which can be used in the car, as part of a travel system, and even for overnight sleeping with the correct mattress. This can also be seen in the Maxi-Cosi Jade (£229 on Amazon), which is the first car cot to comply with the latest safety standards (R129 or i-Size).
How easy is it to install the Nuna Arra?
The 2 installation manuals for the Nuna Arra were quite self-explanatory. There was one manual with written instructions that matched up to illustrated instructions in the second manual. Having to cross reference both manuals was a bit of a faff and I found the illustrations on their own were much more helpful. I would have liked all the instructions in one place and I think a link to an installation video would have also been helpful.
In total it took me around 45 minutes to install it and familiarise myself with all the features, which compared to other car seats I’d tried felt quite a quick, easy process.
How do you install the car seat?
The Nuna Arra car seat comes with an Isofix base, making it very easy to install. The Isofix base has a strong steel leg for added stability and safety and once installed the car seat simply clicks into the top of it. There are coloured installation indicators that turn green when the Isofix base and the car seat have been correctly installed. As a new mum I really loved this feature as it gave me peace of mind that it was all safely in place.
Unfortunately, you can’t install the Nuna Arra car seat without the Isofix base, which might be quite limiting for some families. With its high price tag, I would have liked the flexibility of being able to use it with or without the base, especially if I had wanted to use it in a different car, as it is quite annoying having to remove the Isofix base each time.
This is the same for similar car seats in the sector – the Maxi Cosi Marble for example can also only be fitted with its Isofix base.
What are the car seat’s key safety features?
With a heavy-duty shell, the Nuna Arra feels very strong and safe and complies with i-Size regulations. The Isofix base has a steel stability leg with ‘crumple zone’, which absorbs any impact in an accident.
Other safety features include side impact wings, which are easy to pull in and out, a comfortable 3-point harness to keep your baby in place and a one-hand, 10 position headrest for a custom fit.
Compared to other car seats I’ve tried, I found the harness and headrest really easy to adjust, and this reassured me that my baby was in a safe and secure position within the seat.
All of the Nuna Arra’s closest competitors offer a similar set of safety features, and each of the i-Size compliant seats offer side impact protection.
Does the Nuna Arra rotate?
Unfortunately, this car seat does not rotate, which for the price was disappointing.
Some lie-flat car seats, like the Cybex Cloud Z and Jane Matrix Light 2, both have the option of a swivel Isofix base that is sold separately. But this pushes the price up to exceed the Arra, coming in at £60 and £200 more expensive respectively.
How useful was the recline feature on the Nuna Arra?
The main selling point of the Nuna Arra is that it has 3 reclining positions, and it can lie flat at 157 degrees both in and out of the car. This is a genius selling point, as newborn babies should lie flat as often as possible to keep their spine in a healthy position and improve their oxygen levels.
As a mum of a 7-week-old baby, I thought this feature was fantastic. My baby loves falling asleep in the car and it’s nice for her to be able to lie flat when doing this (it’s a feature the Cybex Cloud Z only allows outside of the car). When visiting friends or family or going to a restaurant, it also means we can bring Emilia inside asleep in the car seat and we don’t have to worry about moving her, as she is already lying flat.
How easy was the Nuna Arra’s recline to operate?
To get the seat to recline you have to lift a plastic handle at the back of the car seat. I found this really stiff to use at the beginning but over the testing period it gradually became easier.
I also found I had to put the passenger seat quite far forward when installing the car seat in the full recline position, or else it didn’t fit into the back of my Fiat 500 X. This could become a problem, depending on how far back your passenger needs their car seat.
There are 3 reclining positions and it goes from upright to a semi reclined position, to a final recline of 157°. I did struggle to find the semi reclined position, so when testing it we only used the full recline and upright position.
How comfortable did your baby find the car seat?
The removable merino wool insert felt extremely soft and along with the memory foam headrest gave the car seat a very luxurious feel. The padding, both in the insert and on the harness, felt really substantial and Emilia looked comfortable and fell into a deep sleep very soon into each car journey. She also stayed asleep when taking the car seat out and bringing it into the house.
However, at 7 weeks old and weighing 9lbs, the car seat did already look really snug for Emilia and I do wonder how long this car seat will last and how well bigger babies of the same age would have fitted into it.
How easy is the harness to adjust on the Nuna Arra?
The straps on the Nuna Arra were really simple to adjust and felt very secure. You simply pull a strap down to tighten and push a cleverly hidden button to loosen them again. The harness has a no-rethread feature, making it really user friendly and it also comes with nice, thick luxurious padding.
How many headrest positions does the Nuna Arra have?
The Nuna Arra has 10 headrest positions, which is a standard amount in the market – the Cybex Cloud Z has 1 more with 11, while the Maxi Cosi Marble has 8.
The headrest is made of memory foam and it helped make Emilia looked very comfortable in the seat. Compared to the Cybex Cloud Z, our previous seat, the headrest was a lovely snug fit and looked like it would really support and protect my baby’s head. There is a small handle at the back of the head rest, which you can pull up and down allowing you to customise the position of it.
Would the Nuna Arra be able to fit your child by 15 months?
At 7 weeks and weighing 9lbs, Emilia already felt quite snug when sitting in the seat with the insert. As she gets older and I take the insert out, I do have my doubts if the car seat will see her through all the way to 15 months. At the higher end of the pricing scale, this does make me question the longevity of the product and if I’d have to replace it sooner than expected.
How robust does the car seat feel?
It felt very sturdy and the materials used, such as merino wool and memory foam, give it a high-end vibe and something its closest competitors don’t incorporate, so it really sets the Arra apart. Overall, the construction of the Nuna Arra felt like it would last a considerable amount of time.
How easy is it to clean?
Over the testing period the car seat didn’t get too dirty, and any milk stains vanished with a wipe of a damp cloth, which is how the manufacturer advises you clean the frame, plastic parts and fabric of the car seat.
Comparable car seats have removable, machine washable covers, so it’s slightly disappointing this isn’t an option with the Arra, especially considering the amount of mess babies like to make and the cost of the seat.
How light in the Nuna Arra to carry?
At 3.9 kg (without the insert or canopy), this is one the lightest reclining baby carriers on the market. I did find it much lighter to carry than my usual Cybex Cloud Z, which is 4.8kg. The silver handle is comfortable to hold and comes with a stylish brown leather panel at the top.
Naturally, I did find it heavy to carry once Emilia was in the seat (although this may be just my weak arms!). Because of the reclining feature, I found I would take the car seat inside the house much more than a standard seat, which I would be tempted to leave in the car, so the light weight is definitely a plus point.
How effective is the sunshade?
The main feature that lets this car seat down is the sunshade. Compared to the rest of the seat, it felt really cheap and flimsy. It didn’t stay up properly once pulled down and was quite clumsy to push back.
The sunshade did have a breathable panel at the back, which would be useful in the summer, but I’m really not sure why the manufactures didn’t make a hood to match the high spec of the rest of the car seat.
Is the Nuna Arra car seat travel system compatible?
Yes, it can fit onto a variety of travel systems when using the correct adapters. However, I did not have a compatible travel system to try this feature out.
The seamless transition from cot to car seat to buggy is arguably one of biggest selling points of car seats that lie flat or near-flat, as your baby can go from one to the other without disturbance.
What’s in the box?
- Car seat with insert and sunsunshade
- Isofix base
- Plastic car seat LATCH guides
What additional accessories can you buy for the Nuna Arra?
- Wheeled travel bag
- Extra Arra base
Is this car seat worth the money?
Compared to the car seat market at large, the Nuna Arra is undoubtedly expensive, and yet, when contrasted with other i-Size seats that have a near lie-flat function, it’s surprisingly well-priced, especially when considering the cost of the Isofix base is included.
It looks and feels like a luxury product, it’s easy to use, it’s extremely lightweight and parents can rest easy knowing their baby is in a safer reclined position when travelling, especially on longer journeys. It’s disappointing it can’t be used past 15 months, and it doesn’t have a swivel base, but for anyone after a premium seat of this type, the Nuna Arra is a great option.
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Nuna Arra?
That you couldn’t use this car seat without an Isofix base. Also, that when tested with the newborn insert, it felt like Emilia has less room to grow. I would have also like to have known that it didn’t have a rotate function.
Where can I buy the Nuna Arra?
Nuna’s slogan for the Nuna Arra is ‘from cosy seat to deep sleep,’ and on that promise it certainly delivers. For a higher price point, the Arra provides a safe, secure, cosy sleeping environment and it ticks all the boxes when it comes to style, ease of use and portability. However, if you’re looking for a car seat with a little more value for money and longevity, it may not be for you.
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Dimensions & Weight
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 15 months|
|Child weight||Up to 13kg|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|