Tested by M&B gear expert Heidi Scrimgeour and her daughter, Alba.
I’ve got to start this review with a slightly embarrassing confession. When asked to review the Cozy N Safe Excalibur Group 1/2/3 car seat, I was fairly confident that nothing could compare to the car seat I was already using.
So confident, in fact, that I persuaded my daughter’s grandparents to take delivery of the Cozy N Safe so we could test it out in their car and I wouldn’t have to part with my own beloved car seat.
Except that plan backfired; in part because my Dad drives an old car (he might prefer to call it a classic) which doesn’t have the ISOFIX anchor system required for fitting this seat.
But once we relented and installed the Cozy N Safe Excalibur seat in our family car, we were completely smitten with it. So much so that I jumped at the chance to keep it, and have since palmed my own (vastly inferior, as it turns out) car seat off on the grandparents.
Yes, the seat which I thought could do no wrong has been consigned to being the ‘backup’ seat in my parents’ car while the Excalibur, which I was sure couldn’t compare with my own seat, has completely supplanted it and earned a permanent place in our family vehicle.
Why? What do we love about it? It’s easy to think ‘seen one, seen them all’ when it comes to car seats but while the bold, snazzy print and quirky design features of my old seat initially held more appeal than the under-stated look of the Excalibur, it turns out the Excalibur is just much more versatile, and exponentially more comfortable.
Comfort is my priority in a car seat and my daughter just fits this seat better - as if it were made for her.
In our old car seat her head lolled forward when she fell asleep and I always assumed that was just par for the course with car seats. But in the Excalibur her head seems cradled by cushioned support, yet she isn’t uncomfortably constrained.
What’s more, the seat reclines at the touch of a button – it’s literally that easy – so when she does doze off we can adjust her seat position for maximum comfort.
I’d buy this seat for this feature alone. There’s a world of difference between a child dangling awkwardly out of her car seat straps during a nap in the car, and one snoozing softly, nestled in comfort.
The straps are super-easy to lengthen when you want to release the child from the seat quickly – you just press down on the button positioned below the buckle and gently pull on the straps.
And when you’re buckling your child in and want to tighten the straps, you just secure the buckle first, then tug gently on the strap until securely fastened.
This makes it really easy to pop your little one in and out of this seat - there’s no wrestling with straps over stubborn shoulders, and my daughter is even able to climb into the seat and slip her arms into the straps all by herself.
Anything that allows a three-year-old to indulge their love of doing things independently is nothing short of brilliant in my book.
We love how easy it is to adjust the backrest, too - there’s no infuriating re-threading of car seat straps. You just press a button, pull up on the headrest and the seat is adjusted to accommodate your little one’s latest growth spurt.
The finish is plush – “pretty fancy” to quote my husband – and easy to clean. We particularly like that the ISOFIX fittings mean that the seat doesn’t leave any indentation on our vehicle upholstery, and any debris dropped by my daughter doesn’t get forever stuck between the vehicle and the seat.
My husband also loves how easy this seat is to install. It literally just clips into place and the top tether, which is a doddle to secure, makes it feel particularly sturdy and robust.
Factor in that we can continue to use this seat until my daughter is well into double figures, in theory, and you’ll understand why we think it’s unbeatable value for money, too.
While my daughter’s previous car seat seemed robust, the Excalibur seems indestructable. Obviously we haven’t put this to the test (and hope never to) but a seat that looks this smart, excels in comfort, makes light work of quickly and safely securing a toddler, and feels impressively sturdy is pretty much the holy grail of car seats.