A top-quality Maxi-Cosi car seat that’s easy to install, with comfy seat padding. Comfortable for both long and short car journeys, but more neck protection for younger babies would have been appreciated
At nearly £400 for seat and base, it is not cheap, but it offers superior safety features and is good quality.
Mum-of-two, Sophie, lives in London with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, Ada, and 8-month-old daughter, Lily. She tested Lily in the car seat on daily short drives to drop Ada at school and to the shops, as well as on one long motorway journey, in her Skoda Octavia.
What were your first impressions of the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
When I opened the box, I found a safe, smart, sturdy and well-made piece of baby equipment already assembled. The Pearl Smart i-Size comes separate to the Isofix base, so the seat is relatively light (6.9kg).
How easy is it to install?
The Pearl Smart i-Size was straightforward to install – I’m currently using a Maxi-Cosi Isofix base and CabrioFix infant carrier and have previously used the older version of the Pearl seat for my 5-year-old when she was a toddler, so I’m familiar with the brand. It took less than 10 minutes to get it all set up in the car ready for its first outing and the picture-led instructions provided, although brief, were clear and concise. I’m not renowned for being great at installing things, so the fact I could do it on my own illustrates how easy it is to fit.
How do you install the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
- Firstly, you need to install the FamilyFix3 Isofix base, so you need to make sure your car is Isofix compatible before purchasing the car seat.
- To install, click the Isofix backboard into place and then pull out the fixing points (yellow bars on either side of the base).
- Next, place the base of the stand on the back of the car seat, ready to then push the bars into the Isofix metal clips on the vehicle seat. You’ll hear a clicking sound when it’s fitted securely.
- Push in a button behind the Isofix support leg which allows you to extend and shorten the leg to the correct height and position on the floor of the car. This button can be a little stiff and I wasn’t sure I was doing it correctly so I had to ask my husband to double-check – all it required was a bit more force.
- If fitted correctly, a green light will appear on the base and then the seat is ready to be fitted, which simply clicks into place.
- You know it is safely secured because a second green light appears on the Isofix base.
What are the key safety features of the Pearl Smart i-Size?
The seat is approved according to the latest European-wide car seat safety regulation i-Size. It has interactive light and sound feedback to confirm correct fit, minimising the chance of incorrect installation.
It also has a simultaneous safety harness and headrest adjustment, which is easy to use, and a 5-point safety harness, which is the best design for restraining a toddler in the event of a forward collision.
How long is it rear-facing for?
The Pearl Smart i-Size can be used rear-facing until your child is 4 years old or until they measure 105cm in length. However, in accordance with government guidance, as the chair is an i-Size seat (meaning a height-based seat), it can also be used forward facing if leg room is tight as soon as your child reaches 15 months old.
Any unique features of the car seat, how does it differ to the previous Pearl model?
You can use this seat rearward facing from 6 months up to 4 years old; the older Pearl model is only suitable from 9-months upwards. However, there is also the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro 2, which is very similar to the Pearl Smart.
How comfortable did your baby find the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
The seat has four recline positions, from sitting to sleeping in both rear- and forward-facing positions, perfect for finding the position that suits your child best. In addition, the seat padding feels thick and well cushioned. There’s a lever to pull at the front of the chair to switch between positions which is simple to use. My 8-month-old baby didn’t cry while seated in it and fell asleep on both short and long car journeys, which must be a good sign.
What did you think of the headrest?
The headrest, which is attached to the seat straps, is easy to move up and down depending on the height of your child via a lever behind the headrest. However, there’s no extra insert for babies. As the seat is suitable from 6 months old, I would have personally liked some additional head and neck support for younger babies.
How do you rate the straps on the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
It has a simultaneous harness and headrest adjustment, which simply slides up and down according to the height of your child. This makes it easy to fit and ensures the straps and shoulder pads will always be in the correct position – a great safety feature.
The 5-point harness is a little fiddly at first, but but you soon get used to it. As with most car seats, you tighten and loosen the straps by pushing a button at the foot of the chair to release the tension. It’s really easy to use.
How robust does the car seat feel?
The car seat feels safe and sturdy.
Can you swap the Pearl Smart i-Size easily between cars?
The Pearl Smart itself is relatively easy to lift and quite light for a toddler seat, as it detaches from the Isofix base. However, as it can only be used with the base, swapping it between cars is a bit of a faff. It could work well if the second car had its own base, but the Pearl Smart is definitely not one for taking abroad on planes or having to move between parents’, carers’ and nannies’ cars a lot.
How easy is the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Smart i-Size to clean?
Although the covers are easy to remove for cleaning, I wouldn’t get the Authentic Grey colour option. It is quite light in colour, so I fear would stain more easily. There are also Black Grid, Authentic Black and Authentic Graphite.
What’s in the box?
- Car seat
- Instruction booklet
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
The Pearl Smart i-Size doesn’t come with any extras, but there are a range of Maxi-Cosi accessories available to buy, including:
- Sun canopy (£29.99)
- Pocket cup holder (£14.99)
- Back seat mirror (£18.19)
- Back seat protector (£23.69)
- Summer cover (£45.49)
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
The car seat is marketed for use from 6 months, however I wouldn’t want to use it for children this young. Mainly because it doesn’t have a carry handle and you can’t attach it to a travel system like you can with infant car seats which go up to 1 years – so you lose out on 6 months of this benefit. I would miss not being able to quickly pop the seat onto my pushchair for school runs and errands to the shops while my baby is still light enough to do so. But I realise this may not be a problem for all families.
Who would this car seat be most useful for?
It’s great for families planning on both short and long car journeys, and families who are happy to make a long-term investment on an Isofix base that can last them until their child turns 12 years old.
Is the Pearl Smart i-Size car seat worth the money?
The Pearl Smart i-Size has an RRP of £199 and requires a FamilyFix3 Isofix base at an RRP of £199.99 so it is pricey, but you get a lot of quality for your money. Also, Maxi-Cosi’s Pearl Isofix system is very much designed as a family of products, so you get one base, and then you can opt for an infant carrier, but use the same base from older baby/toddler age. So it is potentially quite a good value option. And Isofix bases also tend to retain a bit of resale value.
Where can I buy the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Smart i-Size car seat?
A sturdy car seat that offers superior comfort and safety features. It’s simple to install and easy to strap your child into, and you can keep your child rear facing for longer
|Child age (approx)||6 months to 4 years|
|Child weight||Up to 18.5kg|
|Child Height||67cm to 105cm|
Graco and Evenflo are well-liked in the marketplace and they fall more on the budget/mainstream side of the spectrum. Diono is a higher-end brand, while Maxi Cosi is considered more of a European/luxury brand. I wouldn't say it's the “BMW” of car seats (that would be Nuna) — it's more of an Audi.
The ADAC gave our Maxi-Cosi Pearl and Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix an above average score for safety. Not only is our Pearl car seat comfortable, its Side Protection System reduces the risk of injury should there ever be a hard side impact.What is the difference between the Maxi Cosi Pearl Pro and Smart? ›
MAXI-COSI PEARL PRO 2 VS MAXI-COSI PEARL SMART
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Smart is i-Size compliant and can be used for a baby between 67 - 105cm in length or 6 months - 4 years. The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro is i-Size compliant and can be used for a baby between 67 - 105cm in length or up to 18.5kg.
9-18kg or 20-40lbs, approximately 9 months to 4 years old. Isofix compatible (base sold separately).How long can a baby stay in a Maxi Cosi car seat? ›
Lots of parents want to know "how long can babies stay in car seats?" The general advice is that your baby should sit/sleep in their car seat for no more than two hours at a time.Why was Maxi-Cosi recalled? ›
Seats recalled: Dorel Juvenile Group Maxi-Cosi Coral XP IC313 rear-facing infant seat. The problem: Because the seat's inner carrier must be attached to the outer carrier when in the vehicle, the seat does not comply with several provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213, including S5.What is the best Maxi-Cosi car seat? ›
The Magellan Max is one of the best Maxi Cosi convertible car seat options. It has an easy in-and-out harness, better fabric, and a magnetic chest clip which is an improvement from the prior model. The chest clip is easy and convenient for you to open with one hand but tricky for your kids.Who is Maxi-Cosi owned by? ›
Maxi-Cosi, a brand of Dorel Juvenile
Dorel Juvenile create innovative products and services for growing children. Their strong brands Maxi-Cosi, Quinny, Safety 1st, Tiny Love and Baby Art can be found in over 100 countries worldwide.
The car seat manufacturer has decided to recall all models of Safety 1st onBoard 35 SecureTech and Maxi-Cosi Coral XP, Mico XP, Mico XP Max, and Mico Luxe+ rear-facing infant car seats and Maxi-Cosi Infant Car Seat Base with self-retracting lower anchor systems, they announced in a safety bulletin last week.
Both the Pearl 360 PRO and the Pearl 360 can only be fitted in your vehicle using the compatible FamilyFix 360 PRO base. These car seats should never be fitted without the use of the base.Is it OK for baby to sleep in Maxi-Cosi? ›
It is especially recommended that child seats (Maxi-Cosi) are only used to transport little ones safely in cars. We recommend they are not used for longer than one-and-a-half or two hours, as indicated by the different manufacturers.What age is Pearl Smart for? ›
Maxi-Cosi Pearl Smart i Size safely accommodates your little one from when they're 6 months old up until they're 4. Complying with the latest i-Size legislation, it is used in tandem with the FamilyFix One i-Size base and enables rear-facing travel for children up to 105 cm.Can you rear face the Maxi Cosi Pearl? ›
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl One i-Size goes with the FamilyFix One i-Size base, and complies with the latest European i-Size safety standard. Your little one will travel in the rear-facing position until he or she reaches 105 cm, enjoying optimal head and neck protection the whole time!Which Maxi-Cosi car seat is the lightest? ›
The Coral XP is the lightest Maxi Cosi infant car seat, and the one-button release makes getting your baby in and out of the car a breeze.What does Maxi Cosi I size mean? ›
1. What is i-Size? i-Size (also known as UN legislation - R129) is the latest standard for maximum child car safety. Whereas ECE R44/04 compliant child car seats offer great safety, i-Size takes it to the next level. Besides improved safety i-Size also helps parents to choose the right product.What is the weight limit for Maxi Cosi infant insert? ›
The infant insert provides comfort and helps achieve a snug harness fit. To learn how to check harness tightness, see pages 26-28. You must use the infant insert for children who weigh 4-5 lb (1.8-2.3 kg). You may remove it for bigger infants.What is the weight limit for infant car seat insert? ›
Most baby products will have weight recommendations to help ensure safety. Just like the Tushbaby has a recommended weight limit of 45 pounds, a newborn insert is generally recommended for babies that weigh less than 11-15 pounds.