Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used. This test focuses on the child’s comfort, product flexibility, the functions you get for your money and how long the seat can be used for. We didn’t test safety, but all rear-facing car seats in the test are type approved and tested according to European regulations.
In our tests of rear-facing car seats, we asked normal families with children of different ages to test the car seats as part of their normal everyday activities. The seats were used with different types of cars and over a longer period to get an idea of how durable they are. The dimensions we state in the test should be seen as a comparison between the different models of car seat and not as an indication of how well a child of a certain length will fit into the seat. During the tests, we looked in detail at aspects including:
Installation: How easy is it to install the car seat in the car? Are the instructions clear? Is there a risk of making mistakes during the installation process?
Functions: Can the car seat to be set at different angles? Is it easy to adjust the neck support position? How does the harness work?
Use: Is it easy to put the child into or remove them from the car seat? Is the car seat spacious? Can the cover be cleaned easily?
The factors above are then assessed against the price of the rear-facing car seat, after which a final score is allocated.
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 12.2 kg Height seat to top edge: 61 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes
The BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is a rear-facing car seat installed using the car seatbelt, anchor straps and a support leg. Compared to older versions, the iZi Plus X1 has an updated cushion for small children, together with improved side impact protection with the addition of SIP+. SIP+ is hooked onto the side of the car seat that’s facing the car door and reduces the forces the iZi Plus X1 is subjected to in the case of any collision.
The maximum weight for the BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is 25 kg, and in terms of length children up to 6 years of age have been able to use the car seat correctly during our tests. It’s easy to raise the neck support using a catch on the back of the car seat. At the same time, the iZi Plus X1 works extremely well for small children too. The car seat includes a cushion – known as a body hugger – that’s specially designed to lift up and enfold smaller children. This is a safety feature, as it’s important that the harness is at the right height around the child’s body, but it also improves comfort.
Even though the BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is a large rear-facing car seat, and sometimes works less well in small cars, it’s still surprisingly compact. Other passengers can easily sit beside it, or you can install another car seat. To do the installation you need to read the clear manual very thoroughly. The seatbelts must be routed correctly and tightened firmly. The front brace is then pumped outwards until the seatbelt is fully tightened. To tighten the anchor straps you have to be sufficiently strong or come at them from the right angle. And finally, you adjust the support leg so it’s in contact with the floor of the car. The installation process takes a little while and requires a certain amount of strength. But if you do it right, it will last for a long time without the car seat starting to move, even with daily use.
We’d hoped that the harness in the iZi Plus X1 would have been redesigned, but unfortunately the harness straps still tend to twist. The crotch strap could also be slightly longer so that you can more easily fasten the harness without pinching the inside of the child’s leg. But it still has the clever magnetic hooks on the shoulder pads of the harness and in the sides of the car seat. This makes it much easier to put the child into or remove them from the car seat.
The BeSafe iZi Plus X1 can be set to three different angles by tipping the car seat upwards and backwards. And you can do this easily with just one hand, even with a heavier child in the car seat. In the reclining position there is no risk that the child’s head will tip forward if they fall asleep. The upright sitting position means even larger children are happy and can see out. Legroom is reasonable, although older children will have to sit with their legs more bent or crossed.
When the BeSafe iZi Plus was first launched it was expensive compared to many other rear-facing car seats. But the market has changed, rear-facing car seats have become higher quality and prices have risen. With the launch of the updated iZi Plus X1, this popular car seat has become even better value. If you don’t want to have to change between several different rear-facing car seats to keep your child travelling backwards in the car for as long as possible, and you want all the modern functions that you usually only get from Isofix car seats, the iZi Plus X1 is a great choice.
Innovative and convenient rear-facing car seat with quick installation and very long period of use
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Awaiting test Weight capacity: 23 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 10 kg Height seat to top edge: 64 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No
The Axkid One is an Isofix car seat with a higher than normal maximum weight. A standard Isofix point is approved for a load of 33 kg. Many Isofix car seats weigh 15 kg, and the maximum weight for these is 18 kg. But the Axkid One weighs so little – less than 10 kg – that the car seat has a maximum weight of 23 kg. This, together with the maximum length of 125 cm gives the Axkid One a very long period of use.
During our tests, children of up to six and a half years fitted into the Axkid One without problems. The seat itself isn’t particularly deep. But it’s comfortable for a normal-sized four-year-old, even for longer car journeys. The car seat can also be bought as the Axkid One+. This includes a specially designed infant insert that means you can use the One direct from birth.
You can easily adjust the height of neck support and harness with just one hand. If you switch the car seat into reclining position using the small knob between the child’s legs, this reduces the risk that the child’s head will tip forwards if they fall asleep in the car. But these aren’t exactly unique features.
What does stand out, however, is how incredibly flexible the Axkid One is when it comes to legroom. You pull a catch on the back of the car seat to one side, and hey presto! The car seat can glide on the base. Axkid have clearly marked the recommended distance for each length or age. The function allows even children over 4-5 years with long legs to be comfortable in the Axkid One.
Axkid fulfil their promise of fast and easy installation. Clicking in the Isofix connectors takes no time at all. The Isofix arms can’t be adjusted in terms of length, but if you angle the front brace backwards you can easily get it even into cramped car seats. You then tighten the front brace and unfold the support leg. The Axkid One is a car seat that you won’t think twice about regularly moving between different cars.
The only downside with the Axkid One is that the strap for tightening the harness is at the side of the car seat. This seems to make the harness a bit tougher to tighten, even if it quickly got smoother the more our testers used the car seat. The button for undoing the harness is concealed under the strap. It takes a few goes before you learn to find it and press it in correctly.
With the One, Axkid have really made a statement, and have succeeded in creating something that hasn’t been seen on the market before. The spacious seat area together with the compact format are really impressive. The adjustable legroom is extremely useful and the convenient (and fast) installation creates a feeling of security as there’s very little chance of doing it wrong.
The use period is still slightly shorter in the One than in car seats installed with a seatbelt and anchor strap, but clearly longer than with other Isofix car seats. During the period of at least 4-5 years you can use the One, your child will be secure and you’ll be satisfied. The Axkid One is the rear-facing car seat that families have been waiting for.
Easy-to-install rear-facing car seat with self-tightening harness, for parents with weak arms
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined on the go: Yes Weight: 15 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 65 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets
Few other car seat manufacturers have such complicated model names as BeSafe. And the fact that this rear-facing car seat only has the letter A to differentiate the name from the “ordinary” iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size can be confusing. The only difference between the two car seats is that the iZi Modular A is equipped with the Active Retract Harness function. This means the rear-facing car seat has a self-tightening internal harness.
Sometimes it feels like some functions added to modern children’s car seats sound more useful than they actually are. But even if you can do without this innovation, it quickly turns out to be a function that actually makes everyday life smoother. The reason why the harness is self-tightening is a study that shows many children aren’t sitting safely in their car seat, exactly because the harness isn’t tightened enough.
This problem is eliminated effectively with the iZi Modular A. The crotch strap between the child’s legs should be folded forwards to keep the harness in mobile position. Then you insert the child, fold the crotch strap up and snap the harness buckles into it. The harness immediately starts to take up the slack in the straps. You then take hold of the part of the harness that runs along the child’s rib cage and feed it upwards. You hear a clicking sound for each step that the harness is tightened.
The harness in the iZi Modular A isn’t entirely self-tightening, as you have to help out a bit. But the process is still much easier than with the normal iZi Modular. Active Retreat Harness is a function that makes it significantly easier to attach your child in the car seat, and makes it extra easy for the inexperienced (e.g. grandparents) and for those who have weak wrists to easily achieve a safe car ride for their child.
In other respects, the iZi Modular A RF i-Size is thus the same as the normal iZi Modular RF i-Size. The rear-facing car seat is easy to install in the car with its Isofix base, which can be extended for extra legroom. The car seat can be tilted from one position to the other using a catch on the underside of the seat. This function is particularly useful for the seat to provide an upright sitting position even in more dished car seats, but also so that smaller children can sleep in the car without their head falling forwards.
As always with the i-Size, there are limitations on how long the iZi Modular A can be used. The maximum weight is 18 kg and the maximum length is 105 cm. It’s easy to expand the chair by raising the head rest, and it can hold most children up to about four years of age. After that, you need to switch to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight, until the child is ready to face forward.
Active Retract Harness may not be the biggest thing that’s ever happened in the world of children’s car seats. But once you’ve experienced the function you don't want to be without it. If you’re already considering buying a Modular car seat from BeSafe, it’s certainly worth paying extra for that A in the product name.
High quality and effective rear-facing car seat that can be used from birth and has a clever rotation function
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 4 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets
The BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size is a very close relation to the same company’s iZi Twist i-Size. The only thing that distinguishes the models is that the iZi Twist B can be used directly from birth. The Baby Shell and Newborn Hugger inserts replace the baby car seat. The normal iZi Twist can be used from about 6-9 months. For more information about how the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size works for larger children, read our review of the BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size.
This rear-facing car seat is installed in the car with Isofix brackets and a support leg. The installation is straightforward thanks to very clear sound and colour indications that show all catches and brackets have been set correctly. The actual seat can’t be removed from the base. This means that unlike a normal baby car seat, the iZi Twist B can’t be used outside the car or attached to a pushchair. On the other hand, with the iZi Twist B you get the opportunity to adjust the angle of the car seat, which makes it easy to find the one that suits your child in your particular car.
The iZi Twist B takes up more space in the car than a normal baby car seat, but it’s a normal size compared to other rear-facing car seats. There are handles on both sides of the base, but to rotate the car seat you only need to press upwards on one of these. The car seat can be rotated to both the right and the left, so you can always turn the child towards the door. This is a major advantage. Partly because the movement to remove or insert the child is more ergonomically correct for the adult. And partly because the transfer process is softer and more controlled, which your child will appreciate.
There’s more space in the seat of the iZi Twist B than in a normal baby car seat, but it doesn’t feel too big for a newborn. The insert creates a cosy feeling, and the child is comfortable right from the start. The harness has good padding and fits well over the child’s shoulders. The crotch strap feels a bit short and you have to be careful that the buckle doesn’t pinch the inside of the child’s leg.
All of the functions are top class and it feels very secure to put your child in the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size. The high purchase price is more reasonable as the period of use also includes what would normally be the baby car seat period. So you don't have to research two different purchases. If you choose the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size with its long period of use, you get a solution that’s as practical as it is simple, with a rotating function that you’ll quickly grow to love.
Stylish high quality rear-facing car seat with clever rotating function, good reclining position and intuitive installation
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 4 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets
The BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size is a rear-facing car seat that can be rotated on its base. It’s closely related to the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size. The difference is that the iZi Twist B can be used direct from birth instead of a baby car seat, thanks to the included inserts. In this respect, the BeSafe iZi Twist is a more traditional rear-facing car seat, which can be used from around 6-9 months. During the first period, the car seat is used with Two-Fit Cushions. This makes the seat area a bit more cosy for children up to about two years of age.
Installing the iZi Twist is as intuitive as it can be. The Isofix arms have to go into the brackets in the car’s seat, and the support leg should be unfolded and adjusted to fit. Throughout the entire process, you are guided by clear sound and colour indications that show if the installation is correct. This means that the iZi Twist is a car seat that you can quickly and easily move between different cars. The only problem is that the Isofix arms sometimes refuse to cooperate when you’re removing the car seat. The trick is to press the car seat inwards as you push down the catch to release the Isofix. But sometimes it takes a few goes before you succeed.
The car seat itself doesn’t take up much space in the car. But you need a bit of a margin around the iZi Twist so it can rotate. Rotating the car seat is easy – you hold in one of the handles on either side of the car seat base. The rotation is very smooth. The fact that you can turn the child outwards, towards the car door, makes a huge difference when you’re putting the child into the car seat or tightening the harness. The entire process is much more straightforward, and much less tough on the parent’s back.
The maximum weight and length for the BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size are 18 kg and 105 cm respectively. This equates to about four years of age, and the children who tested the car seat up to this limit have been cosy and comfortable. The legroom is rather tight, but that’s the case with all car seats that can rotate. The harness is good – the straps don’t twist and the magnetic brackets to keep it out of the way work well. It’s easy to adjust in terms of height, which you do with just a single hand at the same time as you raise or lower the neck support. The iZi Twist can be set to four different angles, which means the child’s head won’t tip forwards if they fall asleep during the car journey.
The BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size is a stylish, high quality rear-facing car seat with a huge number of user-friendly functions and well-designed details. Our testers found it comfortable to use both for the child and the adult. If your budget can stretch to purchasing a premium price rear-facing car seat, we recommend the iZi Twist to everyone who often travels by car.
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 65 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets
For safe, secure car travel, it’s important that the child is rear-facing for as long as possible. With Isofix car seats like the BeSafe iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size, you have to be conscious that there’s a maximum weight of 18 kg and a maximum length of 105 cm. So you should therefore be prepared to buy a rear-facing car seat that’s attached using the car seatbelt and anchor straps, and has a higher maximum weight, when the child has grown out of the Modular RF X1.
With that said, for the first few years of rear-facing travel after the baby car seat, there are few car seats that are as convenient as the BeSafe Modular. And the latest version, the Modular RF X1, is even better. The car seat has been equipped with reinforced side impact protection in the headrest and BeSafe’s SIP+ impact protection that’s attached on the side of the car seat has become easier to install.
The harness padding on the Modular RF X1 has been replaced with new Ergo-Move Shoulder Pads, which allows the child to move more freely. This may seem like a minor detail, but it still made a positive difference when it comes to how restricted the child felt.
The BeSafe iZi Modular is a car seat system, where you use the same Isofix base first for the Modular baby car seat and then for a rear-facing Modular RF X1. The base is very easy to install, with clear indicators to show if each step has been done correctly. Something that positively distinguishes the Modular Isofix base from other bases is that it can be extended, which means you can create a bit of extra legroom for the larger child. This makes a difference to the child’s comfort.
With the base in place in the car, it’s really easy to click in the Modular RF X1. This means that the car seat is also very easy to move between different cars, particularly if you buy an extra base.
It’s easy to adapt the Modular RF X1 to the child’s length. The neck support can be raised with just one hand – and the harness with it. The harness works really well and almost never gets twisted. It’s also easy to tighten and loosen the harness. The car seat gets extra points for the magnetic brackets that allow you to hang the harness out of the way while you put the child into or remove them from the car seat.
There's very little risk that the child’s head will hang forwards if they fall asleep during the journey. The Modular RF X1 can be set on a number of different angles, with a catch that’s easy to reach on the underside of the car seat. This is a car seat that’s very straightforward both in terms of size and what it’s like to use. As long as you're conscious of the limited period of use, the BeSafe iZI Modular RF X1 i-Size is a rear-facing car seat that we'd recommend very strongly.
High rear-facing car seat with stable installation and clever reclining position
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Magnetic brackets
The BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size is the updated and improved version of the iZi Kid X1 and X2. The main difference is that the Kid X3 has been equipped with BeSafe SIP+, which is an extra side impact protection. SIP+ is hooked onto the side of the Kid X3 that’s facing the car door and reduces the forces the car seat is subjected to in the case of any collision. The rear-facing car seat has also received a new insert, known as a Body Hugger, for small children who’ve just moved up from a baby car seat.
The iZi Kid X3 is similar to several other rear-facing car seats from BeSafe. The seat and the front brace will look familiar if you have previous experience of the popular BeSafe iZi Plus. The car seat is quite heavy, and it’s not a model you’d choose to move between different cars. The iZi Kid X3 is installed using Isofix points and a support leg, together with a support plate that you set so that the car seat is firmly attached. It can only be used in a rear-facing position and has a maximum weight of 18 kg. Installation is no more difficult than other rear-facing car seats with Isofix, and there’s a clear manual in a pocket on the back of the back support.
Once in place, the BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size feels relatively compact in the car, and you can sit directly beside it. The car seat mainly takes up space in terms of its length. At least if you want to be able to use its reclining position. To angle the car seat backwards, you undo the catch below the edge of the seat, between the child’s legs, and lift upwards. The importance of the reclining position in preventing the child's head from falling forwards if they fall asleep depends on the car you’re using the car seat in. The seat in the Kid X3 i-Size works well for children of up to about 4 years of age, and the stated maximum length is 105 cm.
The harness works well. It’s most convenient if you loosen it completely when you remove the child from the car. The harness can then be hung to the side using the magnetic brackets on the shoulder pads. When you put the child back into the car, it’s easy to attach the harness and then finally tighten the straps properly. You raise the neck support with just one hand, and the Kid X3 can easily grow with the child. The cover has an attractive design but still feels resistant to dirt and wear. You can also remove it for washing, which is practical if the child gets travel sick.
The fact that the car seat is installed using Isofix points means that you should buy another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight when your child has outgrown the Kid X3. Until then, the Isofix attachment is convenient and makes things easier if you want to move the car seat between cars – providing you're strong enough to carry it. Overall, the BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size feels like a very stable and sturdy rear-facing car seat with good functions and high safety levels.
Very straightforward rear-facing car seat with simple and secure installation and cosy seat area
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No
The Axkid Modukid Seat is a rear-facing car seat that can only be installed in the car using its Isofix base. The Isofix base is very easy to use, with clear catches that you pull out and then click audibly and show green when they're in the right place. The support leg is also easy to use. It’s a major advantage that you can also adjust the child’s legroom by choosing how long the Isofix arms should be. The period of use is limited by the maximum weight of 18 kg. But the flexible base means that even children who will soon have grown out of the car seat have space for their legs. It’s easy to attach the car seat to the base. The Axkid Modukid is a car seat that can be easily moved between cars, and where the installation is easy enough to make you feel confident.
If you have a small car or you need to have the seats next to the car seat occupied, the Axkid Modukid Seat works really well. The car seat is compact and convenient and has no uncomfortable protruding parts. A side Impact cushion is included and should be attached to the side of the car seat that’s closest to the car door. The actual seat area is a normal size and has concave sides. In the neck support is a removable insert. This is an easy way to create more space for the child’s head when they start to get bigger.
The primary criticism levelled at the Axkid Modukid Seat relates to the harness. The straps have an irritating tendency to become twisted. Of course it’s easy to turn them back round again, but it impacts the overall impression. Slightly broader and stiffer harness straps would have been better. Overall, the harness is well constructed. Because the neck support and the height of the harness on the back support are adjusted automatically when you tighten the harness. This ensures that the harness is correctly positioned every time.
The Axkid Modukid Seat can also be angled for smaller children. As well as the upright sitting position, there are two reclining positions. To adjust the angle, you hold in the catch between the child’s legs while simultaneously pulling backwards and upwards. The cover on the Modukid is dirt-resistant and doesn’t attract dust. It’s easy to vacuum out if it gets sandy, but it can also be removed completely and washed.
If you look at the Axkid Modukid Seat as separate pieces, the price is comparatively high. There’s also a baby car seat, the Modukid Infant, which can be used on the same basis as the Modukid Seat. And if you consider the car seat, baby car seat and base as a package solution for the child’s first four years or so, it feels like better value. Particularly as the Axkid Modukid Seat is a good and well-designed car seat that you’ll feel confident in using for your child on every car journey.
High quality rear-facing car seat with clever installation and efficient rotation function
Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 6 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 58 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No
The Cybex Sirona Z i-Size is a high quality, convenient rear-facing car seat. You install the car seat in the car with Isofix attachments. This means that the installation process is very simple. Green and red markings guide you visually to ensure you attach everything correctly. The support leg also beeps loudly if it isn’t in the correct place.
Once it’s in the car, you can rotate the Sirona Z so the child is facing towards the car door when you come to remove them or put them into the car seat. It also makes things much easier when you're tightening the harness. The rotation function is also an advantage if you have a bad back, because you don’t have to twist your spine so much when you’re buckling the child in. But the older the child gets, the less space there is for the rotation. A child with longer legs has to move them to one side or bend their knees in for the car seat to rotate.
As always, Cybex haven’t economised on the cover. It’s soft and fits extremely well over the car seat frame. Even after being washed several times it still looks like new, and it’s resistant against dirt and stains. If you have a child who gets travel sick, it’s an advantage that so many parts of the cover are separate as you can remove only the pieces that need to be cleaned.
The Sirona Z i-Size has a neck support that can easily be height adjusted, and the harness moves with it so it’s always in the right position – at the child’s shoulders. The maximum weight for the car seat is 18 kg, so after this car seat most children should change to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight. If you have a smaller car, or you need to use the seat immediately adjacent to the car seat, the Sirona Z i-Size is a good model. It isn’t only narrow. The outside of the car seat is rounded, which makes it more comfortable to sit right next to.
The Sirona Z feels really well designed for smaller children. As well as the cosy seat area, there’s also an angle function. The sitting position is very upright, but you can also angle the car seat down to a reclining position. This means the child’s head doesn’t tip forward if they fall asleep. However, the button for angling the car seat can be fiddly sometimes, and you may need to try a few times before you get it right. During our tests the harness was always easy to tighten and we like the fact that there’s padding on the hip straps too. This means the harness won’t cut into the child’s legs.
The Cybex Sirona Z i-Size is a premium product given the price tag – but also in terms of the design and finish. Every detail feels high quality. This is a user-friendly car seat where the primary disadvantage is the relatively short period of use due to the lower maximum weight and the fact that the i-Size offers a slightly smaller seat area. But if you have other children who will also use the car seat, reducing the price per use, and you think the rotation function will be useful, the Sirona Z is anything but a poor choice.
Easily installed rear-facing car seat that can be angled using just one hand and is comfortable for the child
Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 5 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 12.2 kg Height seat to top edge: 56 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, fabric loops
Cybex don’t make things easy for the users by calling all of their rear-facing car seats Sirona. The Sirona M2 i-Size model is approved according to the latest safety regulations and also forms part of a modular package. This means that the Sirona M2 i-Size is attached to a base in the car, and the same base can be used for the Cybex Aton M i-Size baby car seat. Installing the car seat is very easy. When you’ve got the base in place, you simply click the Sirona M2 i-Size into it. There are clear colour indications to show you when you've got it right. You can also adjust the Sirona M2 i-Size between five different reclining positions with just one hand, using a catch at the foot end of the car seat. The lowest position gives an excellent angle for the child to sleep without their head tipping forward.
The Sirona M2 i-Size has a soft and cosy seat unit and there’s absolutely no problem changing up to it from the baby car seat. The neck support can be adjusted to 11 different height positions using just one hand. The harness also moves up with the neck support. This makes it easier to adapt the car seat to the child’s growing body. The harness has pads both on the shoulder straps and hip belt. This means that the hip straps don’t dig into the child’s legs, which further increases comfort. The harness is easy to tighten and release. However, one harness strap sometimes gets stuck and can’t be tightened sufficiently. In this case you have to remove the child, tighten the harness as far as it will go and then release the straps again. The problem is easy to fix, but it’s an irritation that you’d rather do without.
The maximum length for children in an i-Size car seat is 105 cm, and there’s plenty of space for the child’s back and head. Things aren’t so good for their legs. A one or two-year-old will be comfortable, while a three-year-old will have to bend their legs considerably more. Some children don’t mind this, but with their winter shoes on others feel that this is uncomfortable. So it can feel like they’ve outgrown the car seat before they actually have. Some way of creating more legroom would have been nice. The Sirona M2 i-Size has built-in side impact protection – the LSP system – which you fold out by pressing on the side of the car seat that’s closest to the car door. There’s no doubt that the Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size is a safe rear-facing car seat that’s both easy to use for the parents and comfortable for the child.
Cosy and rotatable rear-facing car seat with lighting that’s particularly useful during night journeys
Attachment method: Isofixbas Britax Flex Base iSense Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 5 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 5.3 kg + 9.5 kg base Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No
The Britax Dualfix iSense is the rear-facing car seat belonging to the same modular car seat system as the Britax Baby-Safe iSense baby car seat. The Dualfix iSense can only be installed in the car using the Britax Flex Base iSense, which is attached to the seat of the car using Isofix brackets.
The installation method and iSize standard provide high levels of safety, but also limit the period of use. So when the child reaches 18 kg in weight or 104 cm tall, you need to change to another rear-facing car seat until the child is old enough to travel facing forwards.
It’s easy and quick to install the base. When you insert the Dualfix iSense into the base, you hear a clear click. After that, you can easily rotate the car seat on the base. Having the seat unit facing the car door makes it much easier to put the child into the seat and attach them safely. The car seat can also be angled to several different positions. Reclining position in a car seat isn’t a necessity. But the function can also be useful to achieve a good, upright sitting position in cars that have very dished seats.
The fact that the car seat can be angled is also very useful if your child will be sleeping in the car. But the design of this function isn’t entirely trouble-free, as the catch can be stiff to push in sometimes, particularly if you’re sitting next to the car seat and can’t access it easily.
The seat area looks narrow, but feels normal compared to other iSize car seats. The Dualfix iSense has a cosy design, with deep edges and a deeply positioned seat area. A normal-sized one-year-old will be very comfortable in the seat. But when the child begins to get close to the car seat’s maximum weight and height, the deep shape can feel a bit limited in terms of how they can sit.
It’s easy to adjust the Dualfix iSense when the child grows. The harness isn’t stiff when you’re tightening it, and can be height-adjusted on the back support by raising or lowering the head rest. To move the head rest, you press a catch on the back. The head rest has an open shape, which gives plenty of space for the child to see out of the car.
The Dualfix iSense has lamps on both sides, with lights that can be set to three different strengths. The lighting is intended to help when you’re attaching the child to the seat, and to make it easier to see the child as you drive. If your child is afraid of the dark, the lights can also make the car journey a little less scary. During the darker part of the year, the built-in lighting is very useful. On a bright summer’s day the lights only make a difference if you often drive at night or in dark tunnels. It would have been nicer if the lights were brighter on the highest setting, and for it to be possible to adjust the lights with a control and not just on the car seat.
If the lights feel a bit unnecessary, the Britax Dualfix iSense doesn’t really stand out from other similar car seats. But if you often struggle to deal with the car seat because it’s too dark, and want an Isofix car seat that can be angled and rotated, the Britax Dualfix iSense is the first rear-facing car seat to resolve these problems.
Good value rotating rear-facing car seat that’s easy to install and grows with the child
Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, five positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 14.9 kg Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes
The Maxi Cosi Mica is a rotatable rear-facing car seat that can also act as a baby car seat. Using the supplied infant insert, the Mica is safe for use directly from birth. The memory foam infant insert is removed when the child is 60 cm long. It creates a cosy and stable environment. And if you want to alternate between having a baby and a larger child in the car seat, the insert is easy to remove.
The Mica is installed in the car using Isofix brackets and a support leg. If the brackets are correctly anchored, green indicators are visible, and the support leg beeps until it’s correctly positioned. The manual is very clear. Because the car seat is so easy to install it’s also easy to move between different cars.
Of course the car seat takes up more space in the car than a traditional baby car seat. But it’s amazingly small and convenient compared to other rear-facing car seats. Sitting next to it as an adult, or having a booster seat next to it causes no problems at all. The inside of the car seat is relatively spacious. A normal sized four year old fits in fine, although the legroom is a bit tight.
The maximum weight for a child to use the Maxi Cosi Mica is 18 kg, and the car seat is approved for use by children up to 4 years of age and 105 cm. After this they should change to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight. So you might be asking what’s the point of this car seat? Well, the Mica is very convenient because the car seat can rotate.
The fact that you can rotate the car seat towards the car door makes it much easier to use the Mica with your child. It’s more ergonomic for your own back, is more convenient for the child and also means that you can access the harness better to tighten it. If you travel by car a lot this is a function you’ll quickly grow to love.
Although there’s a disadvantage with the Mica, in that you have to use both hands to rotate the car seat. This means you can’t be carrying the child at the same time that you’re rotating the car seat. And in the cars we tested, you can’t shut the door when the Mica is rotated towards it. Another negative point is that the car seat can unfortunately be rotated into a forward-facing position – a position that’s not recommended for your child. Good value rotatable rear-facing car seat
The Maxi Cosi Mica also has plenty of other clever functions. The harness can be hung out of the way, the car seat can easily be angled in different positions, and the cover is dirt-resistant.
Being able to rotate the car seat towards the door opening has many advantages, both for the child and the parent. Overall, the construction of the Maxi Cosi is successful. The Mica does have some minor problems when it comes to user-friendliness, but was popular with our testers for the straightforward installation process and the convenience of the rotation.
Spacious and sturdy rear-facing car seat with durable cover and padded seat area
Price class: Budget Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: No Can be reclined while travelling: No Weight: 10.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 64 cm Width: 50 cm Seatbelt hook: No
The Multi-Tech II is a rear-facing car seat that’s been in the Britax range for a long time, and the latest version – the Multi-Tech III – has received a number of updates. The car seat is now equipped with SICT, a side impact system that you screw out on the side of the car seat closest to the car door. The Multi-Tech III has also received a number of other improvements, such as a different type of cover and a more padded seat area. The car seat can be used both forward and rear-facing, but in our tests of the Britax Multi-Tech III, we’ve only used the car seat facing backwards. The Multi-Tech III is broad and quite heavy and takes up quite a lot of space in the car. When it’s installed facing backwards, the rocking base beneath must be folded forward and rest against the car seat. The car seat is then fastened in place with the seatbelt, anchor straps and support leg. Installation is no more easy or difficult than on other rear-facing car seats attached with seatbelts, and there are clear instructions for how everything should be attached.
The advantage of a large rear-facing car seat is, of course, that it’s spacious. The Britax Multi-Tech III can seat a normal-sized 4-5 year-old very comfortably, with space to grow. It’s easy to adjust the height of the neck support with just one hand, and the harness moves with it. The harness can get stuck at the back, but it’s easy to correct this and tightening the harness is straightforward. The padding on the shoulder straps means they’re comfortable for the child even when the harness has been tightened. But we’d have preferred to see the crotch strap being a bit longer, as it’s sometimes a bit difficult to get at. The lowest position for the harness is also a bit high. A normal-sized baby at the age when it’s time to change from the baby car seat isn’t always long enough for the shoulder straps to be in the right place. So it’s important to test the car seat to make sure the child is big enough for the Multi-Tech III before you remove the baby car seat.
The Britax Multi-Tech III has no reclining position, but the car seat can be installed with a little angle on the back support. The neck support feels cosy while also providing plenty of space for a larger child’s head. The cover is easy to remove and wash if necessary. For its price class, the Multi-Tech III feels like a stable, secure and safe rear-facing car seat. It can’t be angled and it’s best suited for permanent installation in a car, as it feels a bit heavy and clumsy to move. But once in place, the Britax Multi-Tech III feels both spacious and reliable – a rear-facing car seat that can be used for a long time.
Are you planning to buy a new or second-hand rear-facing car seat for your child? If so, this is the test for you.
Rear-facing car seats are used for significantly longer than baby car seats, even though the child will most probably use the car seat after this – a forward facing one – for the longest period. You should change from a baby car seat to a rear-facing car seat from the point at which the child can sit on their own without support, which is about 6-9 months of age. The UK recommendation for using a rear-facing car seat is until the child reaches at least 15 months.
This test focuses on the child’s comfort, product flexibility, the functions you get for your money and how long the seat can be used for. We didn’t test safety, but all rear-facing car seats in the test are type approved and tested according to European regulations.
Children should sit in a rear-facing seat in the car for as long as possible because their bodies aren’t sufficiently well developed or strong enough to cope with the forces involved during an accident. During a collision, the child’s head and neck in particular are exposed to extreme forces, and these can cause serious injury or even death. Never put a rear-facing baby seat in the front of the car if there is an active passenger airbag.
According to UK law, children shorter than 135 cm should use a protective device specifically intended for the child’s age, weight and height. This means the correct type of car seat or booster seat. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully when you install the car seat. If you aren’t sure how to install the car seat, you can ask the reseller or the company you’re hiring the car seat from. Some car seats also have what are known as Isofix attachments, and this type of car seat is much easier to install. Read more about Isofix at the bottom of this page. You should test the car seat in your car to make sure it can be installed correctly, as car seats have different shapes.
Many parents nowadays choose to hire a rear-facing car seat rather than buying one. Insurance companies and resellers both hire out car seats. However, manufacturers recommend that you don’t do this, as the car seat may not have been properly inspected. If the car seat doesn’t come with a guarantee that it functions correctly, don’t hire or buy it. Damage inside the rear-facing car seat can be invisible to the naked eye but still cause serious injuries in the case of a collision.
The same applies if you were thinking of buying a second-hand rear-facing car seat. You must check that the car seat hasn't been involved in a collision or other accident. So you should only buy from someone you trust. The most expensive car seat isn’t necessarily the best one. There are also many good cheap rear-facing car seats.
As a rule, you can use the rear-facing car seat until your child grows out of it in terms of weight or when the tops of their ears reach the top edge of the back support. In other words, the car seat is safe even if a little bit of the child’s head is sticking up over the edge. Some of the car seats in the test are what's known as combination seats, which means they can be used both facing forwards and backwards. However, combination car seats are both heavy and bulky and it’s recommended that you don’t use them facing forwards. Instead, we recommend that you buy a fixed forward-facing booster seat when the child has grown out of the rear-facing one.
In the test reviews, we state whether the car seat has passed the Plus test. This is a very strict test carried out by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), which manufacturers can volunteer their products for. Car seats for children weighing 9-25 kg can undergo the test and the aim is to measure the forces the child’s neck is subjected to during a frontal collision.
Check out our extensive buying guide on other important things to think about when buying a car seat. Link to buying guide and all of our car seat tests