The Maxi-Cosi Mico's eye-catching design, lightweight frame and good crash-test results have earned it several fans among professional reviewers. Parents also say the seat is easy to install, has an easy-to-adjust harness and boasts soft, breathable fabric. But the 22-pound weight capacity means it won't last as long as several other infant seats, and experts note that clicking the seat in and out of the base can be tricky.
Best possible crash-test ratings. The Maxi-Cosi Mico has received the highest possible ratings in independent crash tests. It has energy-absorbing foam, deep wings to cushion against side-impact crashes, a five-point harness with a chest clip and push-button LATCH connectors. The handle can be safely left in any locked position while driving. A new version of the seat released in 2013, the Mico AP (Est. $200) , features additional air-protect technology around the baby's head.
Easy to install, but seat base can pose issues. Few reviewers complain of difficulties installing the Maxi-Cosi Mico, which has easy-to-use push-button LATCH connectors. The seat is labeled with a line that must be horizontal to the ground to achieve the proper recline. Experts say the seat also installs well without the base, making it a good pick for taxis or other travel. Some say the seat can be tricky to click into the base because a LATCH tether strap can get in the way, and others complain it is difficult to remove from the base because the release lever is awkwardly placed. The harness gets solid reviews, but it must be rethreaded for height from the back of the seat. The Mico's handle is one smooth piece of plastic without an S-curve or triangular grip, and some parents complain it can be uncomfortable to carry. The fabric is spot-clean only. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the seat 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use, saying instructions could be clearer and the seat could be easier to attach to the base.
Soft fabric and a lightweight frame. The Maxi-Cosi Mico accommodates children from 5 to 22 pounds and up to 29 inches. While some reviewers criticize the low weight limit, several owners say it's worth having a lightweight seat -- at only 8 pounds, the Mico is among the lightest car seats on the market. The seat includes an infant insert for smaller babies. Parents praise the Mico's soft cotton fabric, saying it's more breathable than the padding on several other car seats, but some wish there was more padding. The seat's modern look and compatibility with high-end Quinny strollers has made the Mico a fixture in specialty stores and pricier boutique baby stores. Reviewers give the seat mixed reviews for fitting in smaller vehicles. While some say the frame is compact, others note that the base is large and the seat is long, so it can still hog space. The sun canopy is skimpy, many say.
Don't lose the manual. The Maxi-Cosi Mico has a limited one-year warranty. Unlike most manufacturers that make their manuals easily downloadable, Maxi-Cosi asks parents to call customer service to obtain the proper instructions. The website does feature an extensive FAQ section, however. Customer-service reviews specific to the Mico are limited, but Maxi-Cosi parent company Dorel isn't particularly well loved. The seat expires in December of the sixth year after manufacture.
1. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" covers all major infant car seats in depth. Authors Denise and Alan Fields consider performance, ease of use and the brand's track record to come up with their overall rating for each seat. Reviews are comparative, thorough and unbiased.
Review: Car Seats: Picking the Right Child Safety Seat, Denise and Alan Fields, 2013, 10th edition
Editors of ConsumerReports.org test 29 infant car seats on safety, ease of use and fit to vehicle. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include editors' "highs" and "lows" for each seat -- helpful for parents who want a quick summary of each seat.
Review: Infant Car Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
3. Good Housekeeping
Editors like the Maxi-Cosi Mico's easy-to-adjust harness and installation angle, but they note that the seat cover must be hand-washed and say it can be awkward to lift the car seat out of the base.
Review: Infant Car Seat Reviews, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Not dated
4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Since all car seats meet federal safety and crash performance standards, NHTSA rates car seats only on ease of use. The Maxi-Cosi Mico earns an overall ease of use score of 4 stars out of 5. Editors say the seat can appear attached to the base when it isn't and note small deficiencies in the instructions.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, Editors of NHTSA, Not dated
The Maxi-Cosi Mico receives 4.3 out of 5 stars in more than 60 reviews. Owners like the breathable padding, light frame, modern design and high safety ratings. But some say the padding is thin, and others complain the canopy is skimpy and the handle is uncomfortable. Some say it can be hard to click onto the base.
Review: Maxi-Cosi Mico Infant Car Seat, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014
The Maxi-Cosi Mico is one of Baby Gizmo's Editor's Choice Top 5 car seats along with the Graco SnugRide 35, Cybex Aton, Chicco KeyFit 30 and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30, but there is no accompanying review. It's also unclear when the list was compiled.
Review: Infant Car Seats, Hollie Schultz, Not dated