Tested by M&B gear expert Heidi Scrimgeour and her daughter, Alba.
The Alexa was a dream to install and the instructions are faultless – clear, concise and with helpful illustrations that are easy to follow. TWINFIX anchors just click into the ISOFIX anchor points in your vehicle and then you hook the top tether into place. It minimises seat rotation and and slows forward movement in the event of an impact, and makes the seat feel very sturdy and secure.
The beauty of this type of car seat is how long it’s going to last. But I’ll be honest: I’ve never been convinced that any car seat could withstand a decade at the hands of my kids. Between spilled drinks, sand from beach and biscuit crumbs wedged into every nook and cranny, any car seat we own tends to look like it’s been in use for a decade after merely days.
The Alexa, however, has been in my car for a fortnight now, yet still looks as new and shiny as the day it arrived. The bicast leather cover not only looks smart and stylish, it also seems to repel muck of every kind. Juice spilled on a long car journey? A baby wipe took care of that in seconds. Had that happened to our previous seat, we’d have been left with an inconvenient wet patch for the rest of the journey and the hassle of removing and machine-washing the cover.
A feature I love about this seat is the clever positioning of the adjustor button (the thing you press to lengthen the shoulder straps to make removing your child from the seat easier). It’s hidden away under a secret flap positioned beneath your child, which means inquisitive little fingers can’t fiddle with it and dropped snacks can’t interfere with the overall efficacy of the seat.
With our previous seat I’ve repeatedly had to hack the remains of a snack out of the adjustor button after realising it had become stuck and stopped the car seat’s five point harness from working properly. I dread to think how long I had driven around under the illusion that my child was safely strapped in her seat when in fact she might as well have been perched on the parcel shelf. That’s never going to be an issue with the Alexa thanks to this clever design feature. It’s these finer points of design that mark this out from the competition, in my opinion.
Another feature which impressed us is the adjustable headrest. If your baby’s had a growth spurt overnight, you simply adjust the headrest by pulling the handle at the top of the seat until it’s at the right height. It couldn’t be easier.
And speaking of effortless features, the recline setting is similarly piece-of-cake like. There are four recline settings and you just pull a lever at the front of the seat to gently tip it backwards. The depth of recline suited us given that she doesn’t nap for long in the car at this age. It’s upright enough so as not to enrage my daughter if she wakes from a nap while we’re on the move – she’s not going to feel like a turtle stuck on its shell at a point when I can’t reach her to readjust the seat, but it’s enough to get her chin off her chest and let her snooze in comfort.
We also love the roominess of this seat. My daughter seems cocooned and cushioned in comfort yet there’s plenty of room for growth. She kept asking if her arms were properly strapped in and eventually I realised that’s because she’s got a much better range of movement in this seat than in our own, and feels much less squashed. There’s also really good support for her arms and elbows which our other seat doesn’t have, and this makes a significant difference to how relaxed and comfortable she feels overall. She climbs into it willingly. Let’s just say that’s not the case with our own car seat.
Needless to say this wasn’t my intention but I had to perform an emergency stop while we were testing out this seat. My daughter sometimes gets car-sick so isn’t a fan of such manoeuvres but her reaction surprised me; she giggled, like it was a fun adventure rather than the heart-in-mouth moment I experienced it to be. And that says it all – she clearly feels safe and well-protected.
But above all, this is a car seat for serious car lovers. If you or your partner have a four-wheeled pride and joy – and especially if you’ve got a leather interior – this is the seat for you. Don’t even bother looking elsewhere. You can choose from black, white or red contrast stitching to match your upholstery.
There’s just one small problem. I now feel the need to upgrade my car to match our snazzy new car seat!