In a nutshell

A Group 1 car seat that is great for taller children who are big enough to sit forward-facing but still need the added safety features of a harness and side impact protection

What we tested

  • Ease of installing
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Comfort
    A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
  • Safety features
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Style
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Durability
    A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
  • Worth the money
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.


  • Good-looking, comes with ISOFIX base, lots of safety features, comfortable, good for big children


  • Fairly expensive, buckle a little fiddly

The Recaro Optiafix is a high-end Group 1 (9kg – 18kg), forward-facing car seat that should take children from around 9 months up to 4/5-year-olds.


It’s competing in the premium ISOFIX market against the likes of the Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2 and Concord Transformer XT Pro seats.

Sold on its ease of use and comfort, the Optiafix also comes with a ‘HERO safety system’, Advanced Side Protection and ‘SMARTfit Comfort System’.

Its competitors offer similar features by different names, but Recaro, with its 100 years of design and innovation, does have a reputation for finding new ways of making good better, so I hoped for a great experience.

First impressions

When it comes to car seats I don’t believe in such a thing as perfect, and although this slick and stylish system is undoubtedly good, there was never any doubt in my mind that my active two-and-a-half-year-old would be able to find fault with it.

As a father of a child who is very tally for her age, one of the key areas I was looking for with this seat was one that had a flexible and adjustable headrest, an area that many group 1 seats fail to offer.

Therefore I was pleased to find that the headrest was more than adequate to support and protect my daughter’s head and very easy to use.

And although I doubt it will last until she is beyond 4 as the manufacturer claims, I think the seat will therefore give her at least another year of comfortable and safe travel.

Has this car seat been labelled as a Which? Don't Buy?

No, the car seat in this review, the Recaro Optiafix has not been named as a Which? Don't Buy. It is in fact the older Recaro Optia car seat that has been flagged by the subscription-based consumers' association as being potentially unsafe.

The association is warning parents against using the Recaro SmartClick Base with the Optia car seat, as when tested together in frontal impact crash tests, the child car seat broke from the ISOFIX base.

Recaro has since issued a recall notice and are replacing the Optia car seats for free. Email Julia Möhrle ( at Recaro or call 0800-6863 560 and let Recaro know you need a replacement.

What does that mean? Is the Recaro Optiafix car seat safe?

Yes, the Optiafix is a different car seat, it has the ISOFIX base built or 'integrated' into the bottom of the car seat, as opposed to being two seperate , like the Recaro SmartClick Base with the Optia car seat

So what about the HERO Safety System harness?

Beyond the hyperbole in its name, the HERO harness is pretty good when it come to struggling with an active child and not ending up with both strap supports twisted into random places on the belt.

It’s easy to adjust the length of the belts with a push button at the front of the chair and tightening is performed with the same pull-cord system that most car seats offer.

Personally, I found the way that the two straps connected before fastening into the front of the seat a little more fiddly than some chairs I’ve used in the past, and no matter how hard I tightened the straps, my daughter was able to squirm her arms out if she really wanted to.

This is not a particular criticism of this seat as I have found no car seat that can contain her!

How about safety?

Compared to most car seats I’ve used in this group it has got to offer some of the most obvious side impact protection I’ve seen.

The side impact protection, which claims to contain high performance energy absorbance, can certainly take a good kick from my toddler!

The seat is cast from one single piece of plastic which makes it feel very sturdy and can stand up to a lot of force from any direction.

It also feels like it will take a great deal of knocks from the day-to-day wear and tear of a toddler and keep going without bits falling off, that’s not been the case with every car seat I’ve used.

Is it comfortable?

Yes. Despite being very tall for her age, my daughter found the plush seat and headrest extremely comfortable in both upright and the reclined modes even on quite long journeys.

And unlike most car seats, the breathable fabric didn’t see to make her too hot or excessively sweaty.

Is the Recaro Optiafix easy to fit?

The seat comes with an ISOFIX base which is intuitive and easy to fit to any fairly modern car.

It uses two metal arms that extend from the back of the base connecting to the ISOFIX anchor points in the car seat with a central post that extends from the front of the seat to the floor of the car.

It's a breeze to use and the seat slots in with one fluid motion.

Easy to clean?

There has never been a car seat designed that is particularly easy to clean and does not collect crumbs, raisins and breadsticks somewhere in its base!

With this in mind, this seat is above average with not too many nooks and crannies to attract detritus, and relatively forgiving wipeable fabric. It’s up there with some of the best.

How does it compare to other seats?

This is undoubtedly a high-end product - and it looks and feels like it.

Compared to most Group 1 seats I’ve used, the seat has more padding and seems more robust and hard-wearing than most.

I find all car seat harnesses relatively difficult to attach between the child’s legs (often because they are kicking and screaming) but this one was a little more fiddly than most.

Would you recommend the seat?

Yes. I have seen a lot of car seats and this is a good one.

It’s not the cheapest on the market for the age group, but considering the very sturdy ISOFIX comes in the box ready to go, it’s certainly competitive in its class.

My daughter is very active and really doesn’t like being confined in car seats, but she has certainly behaved better in this seat than previous ones.

I think that's primarily because of the high-level of comfort and a much more secure harness fit than you get in some other cheaper seats.

The ISOFIX base also means that no matter how much she wriggles there’s absolutely no chance of dislodging the seat, something that can happen with belt-fitted seats.

What’s in the box?

  • Recaro Optiafix
  • Recaro ISOFIX base

Any additional extras?

  • Car seat protector - £17.49
  • Summer cover - £25

MadeForMums verdict

This is a classy car seat with more than enough features and style to impress the most discerning parent. It is not cheap, but it offers good value for money for a parent who is looking for a very comfortable, supremely safe and extremely durable car seat.

In general it’s easy to operate and beyond a few little niggles will give you a fairly stress-free experience.

It’s a particularly good stage 1 seat for a taller child thanks to its multi-positional headrest and spacious layout.


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Product Specifications

ModelOptiafix Car Seat
Suitable for
Child age (approx)9 months to 4 years
Child weight9kg to 18kg
Dimensions & Weight
Car seat installationIsofix base
Removeable cover for washingYes
Recline positionsNone
Height adjustible headrestYes
Optional extrasCar seat protector - £17.49 Summer cover - £25