What's in the box?
The RRP of the Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl is £210
The 2wayPearl comes in Origami Black, Black Raven, Concrete Grey, River Blue, Robin Red, Triangle Flow, Watercolour Blue and Sparkling Grey.
• Child height: 67-105 cm
• Child's age: 6 months - 4 years approx.
• Weight: 7.25kg (13.75kg with base)
The Maxi-Cosi Pearl was a well renowned car seat for taking your baby safely up to the next level after their infant carrier. The 2wayPearl is the i-Size compliant version of this best selling seat which allows your child to rear face for longer.
i-Size is becoming pretty familiar lingo in the car seat world now, but for those of you who are still a little hazy, i-Size in essence means a safer (side impact protected) seat for your little one that is easy to install (via ISOfix) and that meets the latest safety standards. Following the i-Size or R129 regulations, it is a requirement for children to rear face in a car seat until at least 15 months old. Rather than focusing on age or weight, i-Size uses the length of a child to determine when they need to change position or seat.
The 2wayPearl allows your child to rear face not just up until 15 months, but right the way up to 105cm or approximately 4 years old, which gives great peace of mind to parents knowing that their child is travelling in the safest position.
First appearances of the 2wayPearl are of how smart it looks. It's easy to coordinate the look of this super safe seat with your car interior or paintwork with the large range of colours. We are testing the River Blue colour way which is a gorgeous deep tone of blue with a horizontal pinstripe detail on the headrest. The mouldings of the seat are also blue giving it an incredible feel of quality, it is clear that this is a very well thought out design from Maxi-Cosi.
Installing car seats is always a slightly scary prospect for any parent. It's important that we get it right for the car seat to be safe and the new i-Size regulations have been brought in for this very reason.
Installation is easy and very quick. With a 2 minute read of the instruction booklet it is really clear how to pop the 2wayPearl into your car, but you will need to purchase the 2wayFix base for an additional £175.
This may sound pricey to some but bear in mind that the 2wayFix can also be used with the from birth infant carrier, the Pebble Plus, so you only need to purchase one base for two different seat over four years.
If you do need to buy the base, this takes the total cost of the 2wayPearl to a top heavy £385, however it's a price tag quite familiar within the top of the range, rear facing i-Size car seat market.
Once you've got yourself a 2wayFix base, the clear pictorial instructions show how to install the base correctly. What we love is that Maxi-Cosi provide a comprehensive list of the car makes and models that the 2wayFix and 2wayPearl fits into, so you are under no illusions as to whether the seat is compatible with your car. It is still always worth getting a fully trained car seat fitters advice before you purchase.
The first job is to fit the base, and you need to extend the ISOfix arms to their longest. This is done by pressing in the buttons next to the ISOfix clips themselves at the same time as drawing them outwards from the base. Once this is done, just line the points on the base up with the anchor points on your car seat and push! You will hear a reassuring click and the clever 2wayFix base will flash its first green light on the front panel and beep a cheery tune when the anchors are securely locked on.
The next step is to anchor the support leg to the footwell of your car, which is also a simple task. Squeeze the grey button on the back of the leg and extend until it is firmly in place and you hear another cheery beep and the second green light will appear. The lights on the base will not turn green unless the base is securely installed so you know there no room for error. If any installation was to change once the car seat was clicked on to the base, then you would hear and see warning beeps and red lights.
Once the 2wayFix base is installed, you can click the 2wayPearl on by guiding the bars on the bottom of the seat into the hooks on the top of the base. Again, when everything is clicked in as it should be, the base will sing a merry tone to you and the last light will turn green, which is really reassuring. If you want to check its status at any time after fitting, simply press the small button on the front of the panel to see your row of shining green lights.
When you put the car seat onto the base, the 2wayPearl can either face rearwards or forwards. Using the 2wayPearl, any child 15 months and under has to rear face. From 15 months onwards it is your choice if you wish to turn the 2wayPearl around. However it is much safer to keep your child rear facing and the 2wayPearl brilliantly allows your child to rear face until they reach the maximum height limit of 105cm, which is approximately 4 years old. The fact the 2wayPearl allows for children to rear face for such a long period of time really adds to its value for money factor.
Even though the combined weight of the 2wayPearl and 2wayFix base is on the heavy side, it was still easy to chop and change the seat and base from car to car. Each time we moved the seat, it got easier and quicker, which is testament to the easy installation design that Maxi-Cosi have created.
One of the most noticeable things about the seat of this car seat is its width. At nearly 48cm wide it's pretty chunky and would make the back seat a tight squeeze if you needed to fit three car seats in a row. That said, this chunky width does give your child the benefit of sitting in a spacious seat so there is plenty of air circulating around them on longer journeys. The inside seat width is 27cm which, when tested with a 1 year old and 4 year old child, gave a comfortable ride and just the right amount of wriggle room.
As usual, the Maxi-Cosi fabrics are plush and exciting, available in plenty of colours to suit all different preferences. The seat fabrics are nicely padded and we loved the fact that they were elasticated and really easy to remove in that inevitable case of chocolate smears or yogurt spillages.
The harness of the 2wayPearl is far from a fiddle. The stay open harness is brilliantly designed to hold the shoulder straps open all by itself so there's no need to get in a tangle whilst persuading a determined toddler into their seat. The harness is a five point harness clicking into a chunky buckle with one reassuring click. The metal prongs of each shoulder strap interlock and clip into the buckle quickly and securely. The button on the buckle is stiff enough to deter your toddler from pressing it but not so stiff that it's too difficult for parents to operate. The harness is also easily tightened by pulling the cord between baby's legs.
The height adjustment of the harness system is quick and simple as it is connected to the protective headrest of the seat. As you adjust the headrest, the harness automatically alters to lift the shoulder straps - no fiddling about or threading through tiny holes. This height adjustment is operated simply by squeezing the lever button on the back of the headrest and pulling up or pushing down to the correct height. When rear facing, it is advised for the harness to be level or just below the shoulders, forward facing they should be level or just above the shoulders.
The seat also has four recline positions. Younger children may want to travel in the fully reclined position constantly whereas older children may prefer the more upright position. The recline on the seat is operated by an easy to reach lever at the front of the seat.
The 2wayPearl may come with a larger price tag, but this is accompanied by a super safe and ultra comfortable seat that can take your child all the way from 67-105cm.
As with all Maxi-Cosi products, safety has been of paramount importance throughout the design process and the 2wayPearl has been passed in accordance with the new i-Size regulations, making it more future proof and a more positive investment than a non-i-Size seat.
The fact that your child can rear face up to a maximum height of 105cm in the seat provides peace of mind to parents that their child is as safe as can be whilst travelling, but at the same time there is the option to forward face if the need arises.
The stay open harness makes life easier for parents and the recline positions and ultimate padding on the 2wayPearl help to make it a comfortable ride for your little one.
This quality seat from one of the greats of the car seat world will definitely give your child a comfortable and safe ride, and uses the same base from birth.