July 27, 2007

Your Baby Industrial Complex At Work: Dorel Launches Maxi-Cosi, Kitchen Sink, In US

While we've loved--and hated and grown to like--the Maxi-Cosi car seats we bought from Europe, I'll be the first to admit, I've dropped the ball on covering the arrival of the multinational conglomerate Dorel's US launch of its highly regarded European brand Maxi-Cosi, which officially kicked off at the end of June.

So how's it going? As DT reader Mike, whose son just turned one and is in need of The Next Car Seat, reports, it's still a bit early to tell:

Online retailers appear to have [M-C Prioris, the mid-size model] (or list them as backordered until later this summer), and I've seen reviews cropping up in the standard places, so folks must be buying them somewhere.

From the official site above, it looks like there are five colorways available for the Priori: Indian Spice, Penguin, Night Owl, Gipsy, and Navy Reflection.


Happened to make a run to the local Target last night (it's in Madison Heights, Michigan -- a suburb of Detroit. I live next door in Royal Oak.) and decided to swing by the car seat aisle (last time I had been, almost all the display models were gone, presumably gearing up for some new models). Imagine my surprise at finding a Priori on the shelf! The product was listed as "Cosco Maxi-Cosi Priori Convertible Corniche" or somesuch. "Corniche" is presumably the colorway name. It's not listed on the Maxi-Cosi site, so I'm guessing it's a Target exclusive. I couldn't find the Priori on Target's website, but it does show up on Amazon, with Target listed as the vendor.

"Cosco Maxi-Cosi"? Isn't that like saying "Buick Cadillac"? I'd love to see the brand map at Dorel Juvenile Group. But I guess if an unfamiliar brand name shows up at Target, people will automatically assume it's an in-store version of a real product out in the world somewhere, and who wants to buy a counterfeit car seat?

From the name[s] you trust, all of them: Buy a Cosco Maxi Cosi Priori Convertible Car Seat - Corniche from Amazon/Target, $200 [amazon]


We bought ours today at babystyle.com Glad to see them in the US now!

Does anyone know why the Mico only goes up to 22 lbs, but the Cabrio goes up to almost 29? That's one of the best features of the Cabrio!

[it's purely a regulatory standards thing. The Cabrio meets the ECE R44/03 standard called Group 0+, which is for seats for kids 0-13kg. The NHTSA/FMVSS categorizes infant seats as up to 20-22 pounds. Result: the crash test dummy used for US infant car seats is only 22 pounds. -ed.]

I can't seem to find the Cabrio on sale anywhere in the states. We imported ours from NL and figure it will be easier to resell on local CL if we can link to a US retailer for the Cabrio and isofix base.

[unbelievable. I just noticed the Mico actually appears to be based on the Citi, not the Cabrio. And even then, they've apparently designed out some of the most useful features, like the rear hatch, and the hideaway nylon canopy. I've got to do a side-by-side with a Cabrio, because it looks like the Mico's a whole other beast. -ed.]

We have a Maxi-Cosi Cabrio and were looking for a Latch/Isofix base. After contacting MaxiCosi directly, they indicated that thought they look mostly similar, the Mico and the Cabrio are completely different and the bases do not interchange. This is unfortunate because we can purchase a Mico w/base and an extra base for the price of on IsoFix base (shipped) from Europe. This is, in fact, what we've done.

[good thing, because I've heard from folks that retailers are telling them the Mico bases are still delayed. or delayed again, actually. -ed.]

My favorite part of the Cabrio was in fact the ISOfix base. It was very heavy and sturdy and with the latch attachments and the front leg was both super easy to install correctly and absolutely stable and secure. Now its stable and secure in my basement...

The seat is great too of course but really the base is the best feature. The Mico base looks like the Graco or really any other lightweight plastic base.

Wow, now that's a nice looking seat. As for it being a Cosco, we own a Scenera for own of our cars and know a ton of people who use those as their backup seats for travel and such. They are inexpensive and though the padding isn't great, they get a great install everytime, have high harness slots and weigh next to nothing.

So I've got to say, if this is indeed a nicer, cushier seat then I wouldn't think twice about buying it. And it's so much prettier then the blue plaid we have :O)

Ahh, though now that I've actually looked at the amazon.com link... the seat only goes up to 40lbs and approx. 43 inches. I can justify spending $50-$100 on a seat like that but for $200 I think I'd rather go ahead and buy a Britax that will last at least up to 65 lbs. and get a few more years out of it...

Guys, get the Sunshine Kids Radian car seat (80 or 65). Reinforced with a steel frame, it's built to actually survive a crash. We bought 2 of them based on DT's advice.

We were considering the Maxi Cosi - from amazon or elitecarseats.com but decided to go with the Recaro Young Sport due to the glowing reviews. Its not a convertible and can only be used forward facing, but can be converted to a booster seat for use up to 80lbs. Time will tell if its the last car seat we ever buy but we have high hopes for this one!


For what it's worth, we've been using a Recaro Young Sport in our car now for two months and the kid loves it. No complaints. Easy to install (we often switch it between cars), comfortable, etc.

We bought the Maxi-Cosi Priori at Schneider's in NYC (good service, no tax, etc). The kid is 2lbs away from exceeding the Snug Ride weight limit and is not yet 6 mo--a real bruiser.


Based on reviews of car seats in Which? Magazine, it seemed the Priorifix (with the base) was the best one. The US model is different from European ones in that 1) it does not have a base with support leg and 2) is a convertible car seat. It does have a top isofix/latch tether when forward facing...should mitigate the lack of a support leg.

The nice thing about the foreign reviews is that they include side-crash testing of their car seats (probably EU design requirement). Here the Maxi-Cosi Priori Isofix did quite well.

I have included selected summaries of the car seat reviews below. BTW, one can get a free 30-day trial subscription to Which? and have full access to the site and see the report.

Which? report : Child car seats | 05 June 2007


Best Buys

Protect your child – our Best Buy child seats are the safest ones we found in our tests. Make sure your child has the best protection possible.

Safety standards for child seats continue to rise, so some of the seats we recommended last year are no longer Best Buys. Of course, using any child seat is better than using none at all, and last year's Best Buys still offer much better protection than other seats on the market.
Best Buys

Maxi Cosi Cabriofix with Easyfix base

Price: £200
Score: 82%

Our testing has become even tougher since we made this a Best Buy in 2006, but it still passed with flying colours – achieving our first 'Excellent' child seat result. Crash protection is excellent, and the instructions are clear.

Britax Cosytot Isofix

Price: £165
Score: 79%

The Best Buy Britax Cosytot Isofix was the first seat for newborns to use Isofix mounting system. It's easy to install and offers excellent stability – protecting children well in front and side crashes. Designed for babies from birth to about a year (13kg), this rearward-facing seat uses a support leg that rests on the car floor rather than a strap for the third mounting point. The support leg needs a flat, solid floor, so it won't suit all cars – always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines before buying.

Recaro Young Profi Plus with base

Price: £185
Score: 78%

This Recaro seat is designed for babies from birth to about a year (13kg) in rear-facing modes. It offers great protection in Isofix mode, although it's not as safe when used with the adult seat belt.

It comes with a base which is secured using the Isofix mounts, and has a support leg that rests on the car floor rather than a strap for the third mounting point. The support leg needs a flat, solid floor, so it won't suit all cars – always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines before buying.

Maxi Cosi Priorifix

Price: £230
Score: 75%

This Best Buy from Maxi Cosi is the safest Group 1 seat for children from one year up to about 4 years (9 to 18 kg). This seat can be fixed using Isofix mounts or seat belts, and has a support leg which rests on the car floor for additional stability. The support leg needs a flat, solid floor, so it won’t suit all cars – always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines before buying.

Bebecar Easybob Maxi SPP

Price: £100
Score: 73%

2007 TEST RESULTS With a 'Good' overall crash safety rating, this Bebecar seat is not quite up there with best, but it’s still pretty good. The clever design allows you to change the fixed points of the harness easily as your child grows. This is not always the case with seats in this group – you sometimes have to unthread it.

Britax Duo Plus ISOFIX

Price: £170
Score: 70%

The Duo Plus can be used in Isofix mode, with 2- or 3point (using top tether) mounting, or can be secured with a 3-point adult seat belt. As an Isofix seat, its all round performance is good enough for it to earn the Best Buy recommendation.

This seat is designed for children from around a year old to about 4 (9 to 18kg). It's well made and easy to use, with clear instructions. Padding is excellent, and it offers good leg and head support.

Chicco Key1 Isofix

Price: £170
Score: 70%

This seat doesn’t offer as much protection in a crash when secured with seat belts (the seat-belted version is called the Chicco Key 1 X-Plus) so we can recommend it only as an Isofix seat. The height of the shoulder straps can be adjusted easily, without having to unthread the harness.

Maxi Cosi Citi SPS

Price: £65
Score: 70%

This Best Buy Maxi Cosi seat restrained the dummy safely in a frontal crash in our test. It's easy to install and is even quite lightweight. Unlike some of our other Best Buys, this seat is held in place by a seat belt – so it's ideal if your car doesn't have Isofix mounting points.

Can you believe the ways they modified the great looking and ultra solid, ultra functional designs of the european versions of these carseats for the US? I'm so glad I bought a cabriofix with the isofix base in Germany when I lived there, and convinced my inlaws to haul a Tobi over here for me. It's just so much more solid. I mean, where does it state that our US carseats have to be both the frumpy, ugly, cushy LaZyboy armchairs of the international stroller market, AND also the only ones not tested by their local government for side impact ratings?

Jim -- thanks for the fabulous info!

I have tried to get a trial subscription to the site, because I am looking for a new seat for my 4 year old, and my 9 month-old. When I google the seats, the only ratings that come back are on this site. However, it is for UK residents only.

I don't suppose you could please (oh please!) check some ratings for me, since you have gotten in? Just want to know how the Britx First Class fared (versus the Maxi Cosi Priori XP); winner of the 1/2/3 Group -- how did the Britx Evolva do? How about the 2/3 Group nad the Concord Lift Evo?

Thank you!

As for the Mico vs the Cabrio, I just got off the phone with the Consumer Relations Department (1-800-951-4113) for Dorel Juvenile Group and discovered that the horrible monstrosity, (at least when compared with the Cabrio) the Mico, is only compatible with NEW US models of the Quinny Buzz and Zap. I have a Buzz that's shipping status states enroute, and since I noticed from the photos of the Mico and the Cabrio that there are (in my opinion) major differences in the design, I asked if a European Cabrio (bought on Ebay or some Euro store and shipped) can fit on my brand new (enroute) Quinny Buzz that I bought from a US site .... no, was the answer. In fact, they had to modify the Buzz (I don't know about the Zap but I would imagine so) to fit the new US stupid Mico (Megan, I loved your 'frumpy ... LaZyboy armchairs' comment). I would imagine that all the photos out there on the internet of the Buzz are actually (since until just the other day this was the case with the Mico) photos of the European Buzz and that the US version has "slight" modifications ... like they claim about the Mico vs the Cabrio. Buyers of the Mico beware and make sure that you know what you are getting (I also had an order for a "Mico" that was cancelled today, after which I learned that the photo for the "Mico" on the retailers' site was actually a photo of the Cabrio). Make sure that you aren't being shown a photo of the Cabrio, but buying a Mico .... because if you are, you will be disappointed by how different they look.

Check out how different the two models look. Things to be sure to notice; angle of the seat, depth of the seat, the width of padding, the MAJOR difference in the bottom (going from a sleek design with the Cabrio to the same total garbage that every other pile of excrement US car seat has), the differences in the sun shade thing (cool on the Cabrio, but stupid and FisherPricey on the Mico), the handle (blue and cool on the Cabrio, Gracco {aka. dumb} like on the ugly Mico), the curvature of the handle, the strap through-fabric-exit location located at the babies knees/feet, the Mico is missing the MaxiCosi logo on the top (babies) righ side, the plastic of the Mico (at least from every photo I've seen - even on maxi-cosi.com) seems to be the same horrible tinker toy finish that every other US car seat uses ... compare that to the Cabrio that seems to have a nice polished classy look.



Ok, I have to revise my last comment. At the time I wrote that, I hadn't seen in person either the Cabriofix or the Mico. I have since purchased an American Quinny Buzz (though now I'm not so sure that there really is a difference between the American and the European version - since my new one looks just like the photos I see on the internet .... and may I say, it's fabulous!). I have also, last night, acquired a Mico. My wife had our baby last week so we had borrowed my cousin's car seat till we got the Mico (since we already had the Buzz). So, after using a Graco for a week, I can now say that the Mico is WAY WAY WAY better than I thought it would be (from the photos). So, here are my revisions.

Now, although the angle, depth, and seat width of the Mico might very well be different from the Cabrio, it isn't really all that bad (like I implied in my last post - however, my opinion might now be biased since I had just been using a Graco, and compared to that, the Mico is like a limo, so maybe I'm more forgiving). So point is, even though the angle, depth, and seat width might be a little "lazyboyish", it is no big deal and I doubt too many people will really have a problem with it when they see it in person. The same thing goes for the bottom of the Mico. The photos out there on the net make it seem that it is REALLY rounded and huge ... in reality, it has a more flat bottom than it appears on the online photos. It does have a curved lip barely above the squared off edge that the photos out there are probably accentuating .... so point is, I was wrong. Although it might be different from the Cabrio, it's not bad at all. As for the sunshade, I was right about that. It's pretty garbage. I took it off almost immediately. My wife will probably always put it on, and I will (unless there is a lot of sun and therefore a REAL need for it) take it off - so it's removable. And yet, it is way better than the Graco pile of garbage I borrowed - but maybe that's because it's brand new and the Graco was used for several months with my cousin's kid. The blue "handle" that I mentioned, is actually the "level to ground" plastic handle thing (it indicates how the seat is to be installed properly). The blue might have been way cool, but the Mico is just fine. The curvature of the handle is fine, I've no problem with it after seeing and holding it. The "strap through-fabric-exit" (I didn't know what it was called, what it's function was, so I described it the best I could) is actually the "Harness Adjustment Strap". It's (as far as the photos show) in a different place than the Cabrio ... but it's just fine. The Mico, is NOT missing the logo on the top - if you go to maxi-cosi.com, pull up the Mico, and click the "styles" tab, you will notice there is no logo .... mine has one, so that photo is wrong (and while I'm on that photo, we bought the Penguin and it's whole shade is a little darker than that photo .... so it looks a little better than that photo). The plastic of the Mico is nice ... I was basing my previous comment on photos from the Maxi-Cosi site .... the Mico in fact has a classy polished look.

Now, while I'm here, let me put a plug in for the whole Maxi-Cosi/Quinny Buzz system. It is great! I first saw the Quinny Buzz (an older model - the new ones are even cooler looking) on Gizmodo.com ages ago (the post is dated Sept, 12 2005) a month before I met my now wife. It is SO cool. We went to Babies-R-Us to buy other stuff and all their strollers - well, they suck. The Buzz is really cool. We forked out the money and also bought the Dreami bassinet thing, and that is also way cool. We have a stationary bassinet in our room, but we use the Dreami bassinet (while attached to the Buzz) and wheel our daughter around our small apartment with that (when we eat dinner, we calm her down, set her in the Dreami and wheel her right next to the table, so, even though she's not up and eating with us, we still have that "family moment" at the table, who knew I'd even care about that). Now, last night when I put the Maxi-Cosi on the Buzz, I can already see how great it's going to be to just have the Buzz chassis in the trunk of the car and clip in the car seat. Some things to note about the system (I mention this because it was all a mystery until I got it). The Buzz comes with (at least it did with me) the connecter to put the Dreami and Maxi-Cosi on it. It's two (strong) little plastic pieces (left and right) and they work for either the Dreami or the Maxi Cosi Mico (and although they said it wouldn't, I'd imagine that the Cabriofix would fit too ... but I don't know). So, if you buy the Buzz and not the Maxi Cosi or the Dreami, those pieces are worthless, if you buy just the others (Dreami or Mico), you WON'T get the connector piece to the Quinny (they come with the Buzz). Also, and I know that this thread isn't about the Buzz, but someone might be reading this who's investigating the whole package .... anyway, we took our Buzz (with the Dreami) out the other day, and (while on a less than nice sidewalk) picked up SEVERAL thorns ... popping BOTH tires (only the back 2 tires are air filled). So, I detached the wheels and took them to a bike shop and they had some puncture resistant tubes that fit. Also, there's this stuff called Slime (or something that) is supposed to protect against punctures ... I'd suggest both. This pertains to the Maxi Cosi topic of this blog thread because the Maxi Cosi is designed to fit into the Buzz ... there I covered myself. Seriously, get the whole set. It's great.

Sorry this post is long

I just received a Quinny buzz purchased in France a couple of years ago. Since I am in the states I wanted to get the "legal" US maxi cosi mico car seat. I just talked with someone at Maxicosi US customer support and they said that my stroller and the one available here are not cross-compatible. Different manufacturers/different companies.
Does anyone have experience with this and can shed some light on the situation. They even said the underseat storage baskets are not compatible.

I have a Cabrio purchased in UK in 2007, and can verify that it mates to a new US Quinny Zapp.

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