Nuna Cari next car seat review
In a nutshell
A luxurious and safe piece of kit, but has a short lifespan and is not easy to manoeuvre from car to pram wheels and vice versa
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.1A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.
- Safety features
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.3A star rating of 4.3 out of 5.
4.4A star rating of 4.4 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Ultimate comfort for newborn, looks luxurious, stylish, well-designed, made from quality materials, R129 safety tested
- Not cost effective, only lasts until baby is 6-months, large, bulky, not suitable for smaller cars, tricky to lift in and out of car, only compatible with the Next ISOFIX base
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Premium Dutch brand Nuna prides itself on bringing practical and functional baby products to families, with their new offering, the CARI Next car seat no exception.
They are the latest brand to branch out into the world of lie-flat carrycot-style car seats, with the luxurious CARI Next promising that your baby will be super comfortable and easy to transport from car to pram and beyond without waking them from their slumber.
Doubling up as a car seat and carrycot, the CARI Next allows your little one to lay peacefully at a full recline in the car. It can work as part of the Nuna Next travel system, allowing you to use one ISOFIX base for all compatible products.
Suitable from birth to 6 months, it's a lightweight seat (3.6kg) that promises to be a game changer when out and about with your new baby, allowing them to lay peacefully from home, to car, to pushchair without being disturbed.
Frances Leate is a journalist of 15 years from Essex and tested the Nuna CARI Next car seat with her partner Paul and their 3-month-old daughter, Cora. It was used in their mini SUV Toyota CHR for short shopping trips, combined with the Nuna MIXX Next pushchair, and longer journeys to the beach for walks along the seafront.
What were your first impressions of the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
From the moment you take the CARI Next car seat out of the box it’s obvious that this a premium product, the quality of the materials, from the leatherette handle to the soft plush inner lining, all shout luxury. It definitely looks the part, with vents at the back to allow plenty of light and air, and the magnetic shade which is cleverly made and very easy to use quickly for when you need to shield your baby from the sun. It even has a handy little compartment at the top of the inside of the hood to hold the shade in place when not in use.
The attention to detail is fantastic, with a little pocket inside to carry your phone or a spare muslin. As promised, it is incredibly lightweight too, and easy to lift from either the handles at the side or the handle on the hood. Only, after admiring the obvious quality of the product, my next thought is that it looks bigger than expected and quite bulky for our Toyota CHR.
When we unpacked the Next ISOFIX base, we are also surprised at the size, which is up to a third bigger than the usual base we currently have installed for our regular upright car seat as part of the Infababy travel system.
Can you talk us through the steps to install the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
When it comes to installing the CARI car seat, you need to follow the simple steps below:
- First install Next ISOFIX base - start by fully extending the leg of the base
- Insert both ISOFIX prongs into the ISOFIX points in the rear passenger seat of the car
- Adjust leg to correct height
- Ensure all indicators on the dial are green, meaning ready for the car seat
- Ensure the rotating base is facing forward
- Place the CARI car seat onto the ISOFIX base by aligning the two rails on bottom, feet end into the two grooves. Once the base grabs the prongs, it is in place
How easy was it to install the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
It was incredibly easy to install the Next ISOFIX base, as shown in this manufacturer’s video. We pulled it out the box, and although it looked large and bulky at first, it was lightweight but sturdy and easy to position correctly, with very clear instructions on the base itself. It just quickly clips into the 2 ISOFIX points at the back of the car in the rear passenger seat.
The 2 prongs connect easily and there’s a dial at the front which goes from red to green when connected correctly, which happened almost instantly for us and gives you peace of mind. Once installed though, as suspected, it does take up a lot of space as it is a large ISOFIX unit.
Once the ISOFIX base was installed, you can place the CARI carrycot lateral facing onto the base, with the hub in a locked position. At first, we thought that you had to place the car seat in rear-facing and then rotate the seat but once we worked out how to place it in directly, by slotting the CARI into place and holding the seat either side, it was much easier. However, the rear doors of our car are quite low so this wasn't entirely comfortable. We also found it a bit tricky to lift the car seat out of the car, especially with Cora inside, again due to the height of our car door. You have to squeeze the infant release button and lift it up — it was the lifting with the baby inside that was difficult as there wasn't much room between the handle of the car seat and the roof of the car.
Can you install the Nuna CARI Next car seat using seat belts?
This car seat can only be used alongside the Next ISOFIX base so there is no option to use in someone else’s car with just the seat belt, which we immediately thought could be a bit of a disadvantage for us. For example, if we wanted Cora to travel in her grandparent’s car without them buying another car seat, or travel abroad as we would need to transport the base as well or hire a car seat when reaching our destination.
How does it compare to other carrycot-style car seats, like the Joie Calmi R129 car cot or Maxi-Cosi Jade car safety cot?
While I’ve not tried any other lie-flat or carrycot style car seats, the Nuna CARI does seem very good quality and kept Cora safe and snug during our car journeys. It looks very similar to the Joie Calmi R129 car cot, both in its design, price and the fact they weigh the same at 3.6kg. The Maxi-Cosi Jade is slightly cheaper at £219, but is nearly twice as heavy as the Nuna CARI car seat, weighing in at 6.05kg. I would also say the Nuna CARI also appears more luxurious in its fabric finishings, perhaps reflected in its £250 price point.
What are the key safety features of the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
One of the main advantages of the CARI car seat is that it allows your newborn or young baby to lie flat in the car which is thought to be safer for them than an upright position for longer periods of time.
While upright car seats are perfectly safe to use, it’s currently recommended that babies don’t stay in one for longer than 2-hours at a time due to the potential for slumping which could create issues with their breathing or hips and spine. So, with this in mind, I found this particularly reassuring especially when using the CARI car seat for longer journeys. However, at first, it did feel a bit strange for it not to be rear facing, and it did look just like a pram bassinet sitting sideways on the back seat of the car rather than a car seat, which took some getting used to. Also, knowing the ISOFIX base had been properly installed, thanks to the helpful dial, also gave me peace of mind.
Is the Nuna CARI Next car seat R44 or R129 classified?
The CARI car seat is R129 safety classified, meaning it has been tested based on the length of your child, not just their weight, and is currently thought to be safer than just the R44 standard which uses a child’s weight. It offered Cora optimal comfort with an inner liner made from GOTS certified organic cotton textiles, free of harmful substances.
What age range is the Nuna CARI Next car seat recommended for? How suitable is it for the youngest and oldest ages?
This CARI Next car seat is recommended for newborns to babies up to around 6-months-old, or 70cm in length and 9kg, whichever comes first. We started using this seat when Cora was around 3-months-old, but I would have felt quite happy taking her home from the hospital as a newborn in this car seat as she wouldn’t have been scrunched up or slumped in any way.
Once we place her in the seat and fasten the 3-point harness, she looks very snug and comfy, but I can’t help wondering if she’d soon prefer to see more as her curiosity grows with age. For this reason, I feel the seat does have a relatively short shelf life, even in the context of baby equipment, which often does anyway.
Does the Nuna CARI Next car seat rotate?
The actual car seat itself does not rotate, but it does in conjunction with the base. The Next ISOFIX base rotates 360° and this comes into play when your child outgrows the CARI as it is part of the Next car seat system which includes 2 more car seats for older children, the PIPA and TODL.
What are the Nuna CARI Next car seat’s unique features?
The biggest USP of the CARI is that it is both a comfy bed and car seat, meaning you can transfer your sleeping baby from vehicle to pram smoothly, while keeping them safe and secure. Despite Nuna using this to promote the CARI car seat, stating that your baby’s snuggly sleep won’t be interrupted, we did find it more than a little fiddly transporting the car seat from our vehicle to the pram. This was mainly due to the height of our car door, but this still struck me as a disadvantage as the main unique feature of this product is that the baby doesn’t have to be disturbed when transporting her from the pram chassis to the car and vice versa.
However, the fact your baby can lie flat in a car seat does have some major advantages. Your baby is comfy and safe for longer journeys and for a newborn, this would definitely be an attractive selling point. I hated seeing her scrunched up on those first few car journeys in her upright seat but depending on your baby, they may grow bored of lying down in the car after just a few months.
Cora increasingly prefers to see what's going on around her, so while this is a great feature for now, as your baby grows the novelty may wear off.
How comfortable was the Nuna CARI Next car seat for your baby?
Our daughter looked very content, comfy and secure inside the CARI car seat. The fabric inside was so soft and luxurious and the padding kept her snug and safe. We found that for Cora, who has struggled with reflux since birth, she was well cocooned in the carrycot thanks to its secure head pillows and although she does cry for a few minutes when we start our journey, she quickly settles down and falls asleep.
How do you rate the straps and how easy are they to fasten?
The CARI Next car seat comes complete with a 3-point harness system, which Nuna says ensures a secure ride by keeping your baby in the safety zone of the shell. The straps do seem sturdy but also very comfortable and padded. The harness is easy to use and adjust and I found it simple to securely tighten and loosen by pulling the strap at the front of the seat.
I felt confident my daughter wouldn’t slip out and would stay in place throughout the journey. There was no need to disturb her much while strapping her in either, which made life a lot easier.
Does the Nuna CARI Next car seat feel robust and durable?
The CARI car seat seems very sturdy and robust, with the manufacturer reassuringly explaining that it is made from integrated EPP foam for maximised energy absorption on impact.
I would say that the materials used also feel durable, although due to its cream interior, it marks easily so perhaps a darker colour would have been more practical.
How easy is the Nuna CARI Next car seat to clean and keep clean?
As mentioned above, the padding inside the CARI car seat is cream in colour, meaning it does stain easily but it is washable. Nuna recommends cleaning the frame, plastic parts, and fabric with a damp cloth, but not to use abrasives or bleach. It also advises that the carrycot should not be stored in a damp place and to ensure longevity, the product should always be wiped with a soft, absorbent cloth after using it in rainy weather and before storing away.
What is the Nuna CARI Next car seat like to carry around?
Thanks to the fact it’s lightweight at just 3.6kg, the CARI Next car seat is incredibly easy to carry to the car and lift onto the pushchair wheels, even with your little one inside. This made things a lot easier when getting out and about when it was just me and baby, especially when I had a changing bag or other bags to carry as well. The hood also has a luxe, brown leatherette carry handle, which made the process even simpler and great for parents on-the-go.
How did you find attaching the Nuna CARI Next car seat to a pushchair as part of a travel system?
The CARI Next car seat is suitable to use with adapter-friendly Nuna pushchair frames, and in this case, we tested it with the MIXX chassis. As mentioned briefly above, I did not find the CARI car seat that easy to manoeuvre between my vehicle and the buggy, but this probably wouldn't be much of a problem if you had a large car. Once attached and clipped onto the wheels of the Nuna MIXX pushchair, it looks great and works very well as a pram.
Does the Nuna CARI Next car seat have a sun hood and is it effective?
Yes, the CARI Next car seat comes complete with a UPF 50+ canopy with an additional mesh panel, which Nuna states offers all-season comfort. It also features a Dream drape which pulls down smoothly and attaches quietly with magnets. While both options offer your baby the chance of interrupted sleep, I found that when travelling in the car, you can’t see your baby if the hood is up.
However, once the CARI car seat was installed on the Nuna MIXX pushchair, both these features were great for those sunny strolls and offered great protection.
How does the Nuna CARI Next car seat compare to similar products?
|Product name||Weight||Dimensions||ISOFIX base?||Suitable from birth?||RRP|
|Nuna CARI™ Next Car Seat||3.6kg||H:59cm x W:44cm x L:81cm||Yes||Yes, up until 6 months||£250|
|Joie Calmi™ R129 Car Cot||3.6kg||H: 60.6 cm x W:44.8 cm x L: 82.4 cm||Yes||Yes, up until 6 months||£240|
|Maxi-Cosi Jade Car Safety Cot||6.05kg||H:58cm x W47.5cm x L80.5cm||Yes||Yes, up until 6 months||£219|
What’s in the box?
- 1x Nuna CARI Next car seat
- 1x Zip cover (already attached)
- 1x Instruction manual
Are there any additional accessories you can buy?
- Nuna Next ISOFIX base £220 (essential)
- Nuna MIXX Next pushchair £660
- Nuna PIPA Next i-size car seat £240
- Nuna TODL Next i-size car seat £330
- Nuna MIXX Next ring adapter £45
- Nuna MIXX cup holder £20
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
Before purchasing the CARI car seat, it is important to know whether it would fit comfortably in the back of your car. For us, both the base and car seat took up a large proportion of space on the backseat, including the middle passenger seat.
As a result, it would be a squeeze for an extra passenger or another car seat if you had additional children. It’s also worth pointing out that the Next ISOFIX base is not included, so would have to be purchased separately and is essential for use.
Who would the Nuna CARI Next car seat be most useful for?
This car seat would be wonderful for on-the-go parents with newborn babies and large cars with plenty of space, who want a safe and luxurious travel system. For those buying for a second baby or with limited back seat space, it may not be the best option.
Is this Nuna CARI Next car seat worth the money?
With its £250 RRP, it’s not initially that pricey. Although most parents will find they have to buy more than one car seat in their child’s lifetime, the CARI does have a relatively short lifespan, not just because of the weight and length but because babies may prefer to be upright when they get a bit older. It is very well made with quality materials for the price but I would personally prefer the first car seat we bought to last for longer, or at least until our baby was 12 months old. However, it does give you a stylish, lie-flat option to use not only as a car seat, but in conjunction with the compatible pushchair as a travel system – so saves you having to buy an additional carrycot.
Where can I buy the Nuna CARI Next car seat?
The Nuna CARI Next is like the Rolls Royce of car seats and perfect for parents who plan on making longer, undisturbed journeys and don’t want to stop every 2 hours. It’s also ideal for babies who tend to sleep in the car.
I would have loved to use this from birth as I think a newborn would be very comfy inside this style of lie-flat car seat and I’d recommend it to others for this reason.
However, we just found it wasn’t that easy getting it in and out of our medium sized car, and transferring it from the pram to the car and vice versa, which really was the main appeal of buying this product in the first place. Also, considering it only lasts until your baby is 6 months old, ultimately, it wasn’t right for us.
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 6 months – (approx.)|
|Child weight||Up to 9kg|
|Child Height||40cm to 70cm|
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Positions of carry handle||3|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|