The 10 best car seats – from 4 years

Where to buy the best, expert tried and tested Group 2/3 car seats for your child, including ISOFIX and non-ISOFIX options

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How to find and pick the best car seats for 15kg+

Your child now weighs 15kg or more (roughly 3 or 4 years of age) and they can use a Group 2/3 car seat.  A Group 2/3 car seat lasts until your child is 135cm tall or 36kg (around 11 or 12 years old).

The biggest changes when moving to a Group 2/3 car seat is that your child will probably be ready to sit forward-facing and the 5-point harness or impact shield will now be replaced with an adult car seat belt.

How does a Group 2/3 car seat fit in a car?

Not all car seats fit in all cars, so you need to check the car seat you like can be fitted correctly in your car.  Most manufacturers have a quick online checking service, such as Britax’s Fit-Finder or Maxi-Cosi’s car fitting list.  Have your car’s make, model and year of production close to hand for fast checking.

When fitting a Group 2/3 car seat you’ll be able to the car 3-point seat belt to install it, but there are a growing number of Group 2/3 child car seats that using ISOFIX systems.

How much will a Group 2/3 car seat cost?

Despite having to last at least 7 years, Group 2/3 car seats are probably the cheapest child seats you’ll need to buy.  Prices range from £40 to £200, and there are, of course, the expensive and budget options.

While price is important, it is not an indicator of how safe a car seat is, as all car seats are tested to set safety standards.  It’s more important to choose the right seat that works best for you, your car and your child.  Remember, don’t settle for second best – or secondhand car seats.

When can I use a booster cushion?

new law on backless booster car seats (booster cushions) has come into force, so now children will have to be:

  • Taller than 125cm tall (4ft1)
  • Weigh more than 22kg (3 stone 6.5 pounds) to sit on backless booster cushions

It’s important to note that this rule only applies to brand new products, it does not affect any booster seats that you may currently be using.

You can find all the information on booster seats and backless cushions in our safety article here.

Once I’ve chosen the best car seat what do I do then?

Once you’ve picked your ideal car seat, it’ll have to be fitted in the car.  While we’re fans of DIY at MFM headquarters, we recommend you get your car seat fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer) if you can.

Here’s our pick of the 10 best Group 2/3 car seats…

Diono-Monterey-2

1. Diono Monterey 2, £120

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019, Group 2/3 car seat – Gold

The Diono Monterey 2 car seat is suitable for children between 15kg and 36kg – up to 160cm, and is installed with either your car’s own seatbelt or ISOFAST (an ISOFIX compatible system that keeps the seat fixed in place when your child’s not in it).

The engineered seat is super-comfy with deep side-wings and a headrest. It can even be adjusted one-handed to accommodate your growing child – both height and width-wise. Compared to the Apramo Ostara at the same price, it has much more padding, making it a great choice for longer journeys. There’s also a selection of colours to choose from that includes neutrals and paintbox brights.

MFM judge Maxine says: “The Diono Monterey 2 is great value for money. I love the concept of the expanding sides that make the seat bigger as they grow. It feels plush and sturdy, like a comfy armchair and I love that it’s well padded at the head to make car journeys comfortable. Plus, there’s the added extra of the cup holders. It’s a grown-up car seat for little ones.”

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Diono, Amazon

Britax-Kidfix-III-M

2. Britax KIDFIX III M, £180

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019, Group 2/3 car seat – Silver

The updated Britax KIDFIX car seat – the Kidfix III M, is a top-end group 2/3 high-backed chair boasting an ergonomic seating area with advance side impact technology. The seat also features Britax’ patented SecureGuard, which ensures optimal lap belt positioning. The SecureGuard acts as a 4th attachment point to a seat belt to help keep the belt in an ideal position over the lap and pelvic bones so it better distributes the impact energy involved in frontal collisions.

MFM judge Anna says: “This is a nice, sturdy car seat that has some cool extras to make it worth the money. Britax Römer is great on safety features and it is also very easy to install – no instructions needed. It has some good adjustability and it’s recline is particularly impressive. This seat feels strong enough to last the distance and is reassuringly secure.”

The wide V-shaped backrest and ergonomic leg position provides a comfy ride for growing children from around 3.5 years up to 12 years. Similar to the Maxi-Cosi Rodifix, there’s also great colour choice with eight fabrics to pick from.

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Britax, Mothercare, Uber Kids

Peg-Perego-Viaggio-Flex

3. Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex Car Seat, £190

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

The Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex is a car seat that will see you through from preschool to secondary – suitable for children from 15kg to 36kg.

At £190, the Viaggio is more of an investment than the purse-friendly Joie Trillo or the mid-priced Apramo Ostara, but for the cost it does have a standout feature of ‘4D Total Adjust technology’ – meaning it can be adjusted at four different points that are all independent from one another.

So, the headrest can be adjusted in five positions, the backrest and headrest can be adjusted in three positions, the sides open out so the width of the seat can be extended up to 10cm, and the seat can be reclined to five positions.

The Viaggio 2-3 Flex also has an ‘All Side Impact Protection’ system with reinforced aluminium frame and side wings lined with EPS Styrofoam. When the seat’s not in use it folds up neatly, making it great for holidays or if you’re short on storage space.

Our reviewer says: “It covers a large age range, is the easiest to car seat to adjust that I’ve ever used, and it’s easy to transport. I think it’s good value.”

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Amazon, Pram Centre, Trendy Baby

maxi-cosi-rodific-airprotect

4. Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Airprotect car seat, £139

Installation in car: ISOFIX

The Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Airprotect is a sleek-looking seat with plenty of safety features to reassure parents. It’s suitable from around 3.5 years up to 12 years (15kg to 36kg) and the two recline positions and simultaneous height and width adjustment means you can adapt the seat to your child for comfort and safety as they grow.

The Airprotect technology safeguards from the side and claims to reduce the risk of head and neck injury by 20%. Our reviewer says: “My little girl loves the comfort and style of this seat. I love its simplicity and reliability and it’s very good value at the price.”

Unlike the Hauck Bodyguard Pro that costs just slightly more, the Rodifix doesn’t have an integrated cup holder, but there is one available to purchase separately. To help keep your child cool and dry when the temperature rises, you can also buy a terry fabric summer cover.

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Maxi-Cosi, Amazon, John Lewis

recaro-monza-nova-evo-seatfix

5. Recaro Monza Nova Evo Seatfix car seat, £125

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

Here’s a group 2/3 car seat that scores very high on ease of installation. The Recaro Monza Nova Evo comes equipped with an easy to extend, easy-to-use, and easy to retract ISOFIX connector, that fits a whole range of cars.

Its ‘Advanced Side Protection’ system and anti-static side pads reduce crash-generated forces to the head and shoulders by 30% and the neck by 20%, offering maximum peace of mind when in the car.

Plus, it has 11 settings on the headrest – even more than the similarly priced Apramo Ostara and comfy, reinforced armrests give further protection. The Recaro Monza Nova Evo is a good mid-priced choice that will see you through from 3-4 years up to 12 years.

 Available from: Uber Kids, Groovystyle,

cosatto-skippa-fix

6. Cosatto Skippa Fix, £159.95

Installation in car: ISOFIX

This bright, fun-looking car seat will attract the kids instantly – in contrast to the understated Britax Adventure and Hauck Bodyguard Pro seats, the Skippa Fix comes in a pick of bright fabrics including unicorn and dragon prints.

And it’s not simply style over substance as this ISOFIX only seat also features side impact protection, a two-position recline, height adjustable backrest, washable fabric covers and a removable drinks holder.

Our home tester says: “The seat reclines for long journeys which is helpful to stop a sleeping child from falling forward, and the material cover pops off really easily and washes well, which is just as well seeing as my daughter stained it with food on its first outing!”

Available from: Cosatto, Amazon, Uber Kids

Joie-Trillo

7. Joie Trillo, £79.99

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

Priced under £100 – rivalling the similarly good value Britax Adventure, the Joie Trillo is an adjustable and extendable group 2/3 seat with an accommodating seven-position headrest.

It has side impact protection and is suitable for your child if they weigh between 15kg and 36kg. You’ll find a black or plum colour choice with breathable fabrics that can be taken off and popped in the washing machine, meaning it’s super-easy to keep clean. Unlike the Adventure, this seat boasts little padded arm rests and the tuck-away cup holders come in handy too.

Our reviewer says: “The Trillo is a light, easy-to-install seat with enhanced safety features and some clever additions. An impressive level of adjustment makes this a long-lasting seat. A good choice if you need to swap seats between cars.”

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Mothercare, Halfords, Boots

Britax-Adventure-Highback-Booster-Seat

8. Britax Romer Adventure Highback Booster Seat, £65

Installation in car: Car’s 3-point seatbelt

The Adventure Highback Booster Seat is one of Britax’s classic car seats and this affordable group 2/3 model has stood the test of time, garnering great feedback from parents over the years for its straightforward installation and ease of use.

The Adventure isn’t ISOFIX compatible or doesn’t have the ergonomic design and V-shaped backrest of the premium Britax Romer KIDFIX III M, but it’s a different offering. The benefit of this seat is it’s super lightweight at 3.9kg, so easy to move between cars or keep as a spare at the grandparents’ house.

You’ll also find an adjustable headrest and side impact wings, as well as a pull-out drinks holder and snack tray that’s equally handy for stashing little toys.

Our reviewer says: “What’s not to love about the Britax Adventure? From a parent’s point of view it is genuinely simple to use. If you’re used to fiddling with all the complex fixtures and fittings that can accompany baby and toddler car seats, installing the Adventure will seem like a breath of fresh air.”

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Britax Romer, Uber Kids, Precious Little One

Hauck-Bodyguard-Pro

9. Hauck Bodyguard Pro, £149.99

Installation in car: ISOFIX

Here’s a highly structured car seat that has good safety features and gives a great level of comfort. Easy to adjust and suitable for children from 3 to 12 years, (15kg to 36kg) this seat has lots of room for adjustment without being overly bulky.

Highlights of the Hauck chair include an innovative ‘Crash Absorbing System’, seat belt guides, three recline positions and a seven-height adjustable headrest along with wings that widen too. The breathable fabrics are moisture-regulating and come off easily for cleaning.

When we tested the older version, the original Bodyguard, our reviewer says: “The ease of fit and the adaptability really stands out as a plus point for me – the range of adjustments that can be made is also a major plus point that really backs up the claim that this seat will last until your child is heading for their teens.”

The updates on the Pro make it a good choice seat that comes in slightly cheaper than the equally premium Britax KIDFIX III M or the Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex.

Available from: Hauck, Amazon, Halfords

apramo-ostara-fix

10. Apramo Ostara Fix, £119

Installation in car: ISOFIX or car’s 3-point seatbelt

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019, Group 2/3 car seat – Bronze

The Apramo Ostara Fix is a simple group 2/3 seat that’s light and super-easy to install. It features advanced safety technology with side-impact protection and is suitable from 15kg right up to the age of 12 (or 36kg in weight).

Although this seat isn’t as comfy or smooth to adjust as the Diono, and there’s only one seat position unlike the Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex, it does have a seven-height headrest with handy measurement indicator so it can be adjusted to fit the height of your child perfectly.

MFM judge Katherine says: “It’s lightweight so easy to transfer between different cars and the covers are removable for easy-cleaning. My son rests his head on the siderests when sleeping and he also uses the arm rests.” You can buy the seat in a choice of red, grey or black fabrics.

The Apramo Ostara is fitted with ISOFIX connectors but can also be secured using just the seatbelt.

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Uber Kids, Precious Little One, Amazon

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