June 9, 2005

Maxi-Cosi Cabrio Isofix (Yes, It's The Same As LATCH)

maxi_cabrio_black_refl.jpgNews from the Mount Olympus of the Baby Industrial Complex: Maxi Cosi will start selling the Cabrio, it's Stage 0 carseat [that's EU-talk for 0-8kg, or 0-9 months or so, although the Cabrio is actually designed for up to 13kg, adding several more months, at least to its usable life] with an IsoFix base [which is EU-talk for the LATCH system. Sheesh, different words for everything, it's like Europe's a whole nother country or something.]

LATCH, if you didn't know (and I didn't, since, like your friend's mom at swimteam, we drive a 1985 Mercedes) is a mandatory low-angle tethering system that's been built into the backseats of most all passenger vehicles in the world since 2001 or so. But to avoid the appearance of buckling under to world government, I guess, the US called it LATCH in its legislation, while Europe still calls it IsoFix. [Stop sneering, England, since you apparently call it IsoFit. England: "Why, it's almost like Europe."]

Anyway, you can rejoice at Maxi Cosi's expanded safety options if you like, but LATCH isn't actually any safer than seatbelt installation, only more knucklehead-proof. And even though EU carseat regs surpass those in the US, doesn't mean the Cabrio's any less (technically) illegal in the US. Or does it? I don't know.

And don't clap too long. Even though IsoFix/LATCH was revised in early 2004 to require a top tether, Maxi Cosi decided they didn't want to start meeting that standard until they have to: . The "Top Tether" system that uses this third fixing point will be great when many cars have it but in the meantime," they say, we're punting. Find the knucklehead in this picture.

So far, the Glasgow Pram Centre is the only place taking orders for August delivery, 89.99.
Holy smokes, the IsoFix base is another 74.99. [GPC, thanks to DT reader Kate]
Kinderworld's selling it together, same price, "4 months delivery" [itsakinderworld.co.uk] [7/1 UPDATE: A READER JUST EMAILED TO SAY THAT THE STORE IS OUT OF BUSINESS BUT STILL ONLINE, TAKING ORDERS THAT ARE GOING UNFILLED AND UNSHIPPED. CAVEAT EMPTOR, UNFORTUNATELY.]
LATCH and other tether system info [car-safety.org]

[update: according to babycare.nl, the Cabrio Isofix isn't coming out until 2006. See renefjr's comments below.]

[7 Oct. update update: one Steven Gell writes to say that Kinderworld is back up and running under new ownership. Their new address is Itsakinderworld.com. Of course, I don't think they--or anyone--has the ISOFIX Maxi-Cosi's yet.]

29 Comments

OK, you realize that is 303 dollars in real American greenbacks, right? Plus shipping? For something that your kid will use for about a year?
You realize if you take that $303 and invest it in some really, really good mutual fund, you might be able to afford about 1.25 credits a decent state college in 2015?
Greg, do you have some wicked trust fund you're not telling us about, or are you like one of those architecture nerds who will eat ramen for 5 years so they can buy a Reitveld chair (http://www.steelform.com/redblue.html) for their 300 sq foot apartment?

Dude, I hear you. At first I thought, 89 pounds? And this other site charges 165? What a rip off. Then I figured out the LATCH base was sold separately.

There are two things going on here:
1) Everything's more expensive in the UK; they have separate regs from the rest of the EU, and a lot of baby gear has to be remanufactured or retested. the result: higher retail prices.
2) Them Maxi Cosi people are high as kites if they think I'm gonna recommend people buy that thing.

Oh, and for the record, OUR unusable design victim chair is by Marcel Wanders

Your description of England..... "Why, it's almost like Europe" That should earn you an award. We really are that kid at school who thinks he's too cool to fit in, but stands seething with envy when the rest of the kids (europe) start forming friendships and getting cool new toys (like a prime minister with a spine). Wow! Did you see that! That analogy fell apart so fast I almost got wounded by the shrapnel!

Macrame dipped in epoxy? for 2K? Speaking of being high as a kite! If you read "knots in the back" they were probably talking about yours, not the chair.

Actually, it was much cheaper when it first came out. They've never been able to figure out the manufacturing technology for it, so it's more than doubled in price over the years. MSRP, that is.

And hey, it was the bubble economy. I figure that chair is worth approximately 1 million times more than my entire portfolio of pets.com stock.

I just figured you were getting comps for all this gear, no? If not, you need to reevaluate your sponsorship deal.

Consumer Reports has been all over the LATCH vs. seatbelt harness thing. I just think it's easier to attach, myself. I watched my engineer father-in-law screw up the base installation last month (directions, I don't need no stinking directions!), and based on that I'm inclined to believe that most people don't spend enough time RTFM when it could really matter.

dude, except for the Baby Bandolier, which I am test-driving right now--and which I will probably give away as a promotion/gift on the site here in a few days (stay tuned), I get nothin' that I don't buy.

Our first car seat had a base which attached using the LATCH system. But it wasn't the belted LATCH, it was the solid arm LATCH. Basically, two steel rods slide out from the base and connect to the LATCH, uh, latches. This thing kept the seat a lot more stable than our newer seat, which has the belt/strap LATCH system.

Yo - Isofix is not really the same as latch, as dude above notes. Isofix fittings involve rigid plastic/metal arms that grab onto the latch hooks in the back seat. Normal latch-adaptable fittings have fabric straps, or a loop of a fabric strap, which attach to the latch hooks. In 2004 I read that the rigid plastic/metal fittings were used in only one infant carseat - and it wasn't the Maxi-Cosio Cabrio.

Just joking about the free gear -- you'd have to have Dooce-level traffic to make it worth their while (I'm guessing you don't, but then Dooce is linked by every blog geek regardless of their primary subject).

You're giving away a Baby Bandolier? Thanks for the tip -- I was this close to buying it online. But wait, why are you giving it away? What's wrong with it?

When you win the upcoming contest for the Baby Bandolier, do you get to keep the free "I Grock Spock" T-shirt that came with it?

Just got word from the fine folks at babycare.nl and they recieved word straight from the horse's mouth (maxi-cosi in Holland) that the isofix version of the cabrio is not set for release until 2006. We inquired because we just ordered the cabrio and would've liked the isofix version if it was coming soon. Just FYI...

I have just spoken to Maxi Cosi UK about the Cabrio Isofix. Asked them the question twice and they are launching the Isofix system in the UK during September/October 2005. I asked the lady was she sure it will be out by then (we need it for December) and she said they have been told it will be in the shops by Autumn possibly first being sold via Halfords. I hope so!! We've set our hearts on a Quinny Buzz to go with the Cabrio.

Carl M - I hope you are right because I just bougth the Quinny Buzz and definetly need the Cabrio Isofix with the base. My wife will kill me if she has to hook up the Cabrio with the seat belt everytime.

Cougar,

Don't worry I think i'll be for the chop/snip if we get the Buzz and the Isofix seat is not released in the Autumn.

We decided to get rid of my wife's Mini to avoid car seat/buggy issues and have ended up with my Saab 9-3 causing the problems (Maxi-Cosi say that Saabs have 'buckle crunch' so the Isofix is our safest way to fit a car seat??) and my wife's new car can now take any Maxi-Cosi seat (typical).

So in the spirit of creating choice in our final selection of travel system, I have hastly drawn up two alternatives to avoid a knife in my back (Oh, those hormones!); the Mutsy Urban Rider (weird name amazing system takes either Maxi-Cosi or Mutsy baby seats, even has a go-kart option! and is slightly cheaper than Buzz) or the Jane Powertrack 360 Matrix or Rebel (both non-Isofix though), although I heard a Jane Isofix baby seat is to be launched soon (but i'm not getting into that one).

hey all,

you dont know Maxi-Cosi, do you? If Maxi-Cosi says it will be out in autumn 2005, you can be sure it will have at least 6-12 months delay. As always...

Has anyone tried the maxi-cosi cabrio car seat with another car seat base, maybe the graco, or another brand? Was wondering if it would snap into it? Doubt it, but hoping...

[I don't see any way this is possible. And I can't imagine using a car seat other than the way it was designed to be used. Just lose the base, maybe?? -ed.]

Anybody have any experience with the Maxi-Cosi Priori XP or the Romer (sans umlaut) King line seen here- http://www.babycare.nl/index.php?cPath=24_69

I ask b/c it seems the key difference b/w the US car seat market and the European one is that in the latter, the convertible car seats for babies of 9-18 kilos (20-40 lbs) are all installed forward facing, whereas in the US, until one year hits the recommendation is always rear-facing. So what's the deal? I mean if the autobahn-driving Germans say these two seats are top-marks for safety, then why aren't they as easily available here in the US as the Britax (fugly buggers that they are)?

[We have a Priori, it weighs a ton, cost too much, and took too long to get here (babycare didn't have our color at the time), but it's great. The EU regs are just as strict or stricter than the US ones, but they don't recognize each other's testing/certification, so companies have to go through two sets of hoops to sell in both markets. Plus, the US market's liability insurance costs are far higher than EU, so that's a barrier to entry. Finally, companies like Maxi-Cosi already sell here, but other products under different brands/names. They may feel like they've got the US covered.

As for rear/front-facing, a 20lb kid under 1 year old is pretty damn big, so there are really two car seat stages (called, 0 and 1 in EU, turns out). The US and EU both advocate rear-facing. The Maxi-Cosi Cabrio is rear-facing, for example, and it rules.

Love that you posed this q. on a Saturday night, though. And that I answered it. Did you ever imagine? -ed.]

For those of us wanting Isofix cabrio's it looks like a dec 2005 release date bad news for me as my son will be more than 7 months old when they finally get this to market on the bright side it appears as they've taken so long getting the 0+ Cabrio to market they've decided to bless us with a 1 Priori at roughly the same time!

Just phoned Dorel UK and they confirmed availability for the ISO-fix system in the UK for the end of November, at which point they should be available in the "major retail outlets" such as Mothercare, John Lewis and Halfords.

My guess is that given we're pretty close to that date now, I can't see it slipping by much if at all (famous last words...)

Dave

[yeah, good luck with that. we'll all be waiting. -ed.]

No realy look @ their web-site if you search you'll find pictures & specs of both new Isofix models Priori as well as Cabrio!!!

[sure enough, they've added it to their sit. with a "November 2005" date on the front page. Thanks for the heads up. -ed.]

Hello

I have been puzzling over a carseat issue for a few weeks now and have come across you guys who seem to know whet I am talking about - unlike any other shop/website I have tried so far. My son is a week away from being 11 months old and weighs about 20lbs. He is currently in a standard MaxiCosi Cabrio. He really could stay in a bit longer at his weight and height but he can now kick the crap out of the back seat and is p'd off with it, I think he would prefer to be forward and higher up. I have decided to go for the Priori XP.

My dilema is: shall I buy the normal Priori XP or the PrioriFix one, given that I can afford to wait for a few weeks until it is available and that you can supposedly fit the PrioriFix with a 3 point seatbelt instead of Isofix. We currently drive a non-Isofix enabled car in the UK, but sometime before he is out of the group 1 seat we would probably get a new car (and will definitely make sure it is ISOFIX enabled this time, now that we know what the hell it is doh!)

Given that I could get either really, all I want someone to tell me is, which is better/safer - normal Priori XP installed with seatbelt or new PrioriFix installed with setbelt and support leg? Anyone have any idea/opinions?

Thanks

Just another update, phoned Dorel UK Customer service this morning regarding availability of the ISOFIX base and they informed me that delivery had been pushed back a month to late December and that best bets for picking one up would be John Lewis or Mothercare World. They said best to check with those stores in mid-Dec for actual availability dates. I won't hold my breath but I'll give it a shot anyhow.

Dave

We are thinking of getting the CabrioFix (it seems like the EasyFix Isofix base has just been released - they are selling it on babycare.nl anyway), but we were wondering how our insurance company would view us getting a seat that conforms to EU and not US regs (even though the EU regs are tighter). Any thoughts on this?

[hm. not clear what the insurance company has to do with anything, frankly. Whatever the Cabrio is, it is also technically "illegal" in the US because it has not been tested using the US regs. But if the kind of illegality that you have to decide about for yourself, not the kind that would ever involve any outside authority of any kind... -ed.]

Thanks much for the advise. I was thinking about the insurance company with respect to any accident I might get into. Was concerned whether they would cover injuries to the child if it is in a carseat that does not conform to US regs? Thanks for any further thoughts.

I own a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica and my Maxi Cosi Cabrio car seat seems very loose when attached with the seat belt. Does this new base from Cabrio fit my carseat, or does anyone know of a base that will make my seat fit my pacifica?

We just got the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix with the Easy base for our car which does not have "Latch". We shopped around at all the baby stores and could not find a car seat that could fit all the following criteria. The seat had to go up to around 30 pounds (28 pounds for the Cabriofix), had side impact protection, stay in car base, can use the seat with or without the base, decent padding over the entire seat (if you look under the cover of the snugrides and pegs you'll notice there's not much there just hard plastic), fits on a Bugaboo, and at least appears like someone made an attempt to make it look good. When we gave up on the US domestic market, we started looking internationally and the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix fit everything we were looking for. We ordered the base, seat (Puntino fabric), footmuff, raincover, and Bugaboo adapters from BabyCare in the netherlands, and we actually got everything for much less than they quoted online when we called and ordered by phone. They shipped it to us by UPS without problems a few days after we ordered. The stay in car 'EasyBase' was very easy to install and has the leg that comes down and stabilizes the unit to the car floor. The base is actually quite heavy - much heavier than the snugride or peg bases and is extremely stable with or without the car seat in place. The carseat also 'clicks' into the Bugaboo adapters which is very nice unlike the Graco adapters that you have to screw into the seat. The baby is coming in June so we can't say anything about if the baby will like it or not but we'll see.

About safety: We know that the Cabriofix is "illegal" in the US but the seat has been thoroughly tested by European standards and if anyone believes that crashing in Europe is different from crashing in the US then there's nothing else to say. Furthermore, at one point Maxi-Cosi's were SOLD in the US until their parent company DOREL pulled them from the market, so they clearly were putting their seats through US crash testing during that time. But when it comes down to the bottom line, if the seat isn't installed correctly - it doesn't matter which country's crash testing it passed.

i just got the new maxi cosi prioriFIX from the UK. bought it in the UK and brought it back with me on the plane and installed it in my car when I got back to the US. it's nice. they didn't have much of a selection for colors since the guy said that the seat is too new so i had to get all black. it looks nice, fits perfectly with the LATCH system in my sequoia.

it was 219 pounds.

[and it weighs about the same. ba dam bum. That is actually a phenomenal price. I hope you get VAT back on that, at least. -ed.]

yup...got VAT back. and yes, it's heavy. but it's lighter than our britax boulevard.

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