Italian design meets comfort, plus a good fit for the smallest and largest babies in the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Rear-Facing Infant Carseat.  And not just Italian design, but Italian *made*, which is a big deal in an age when most infant carseats are made in China.  What’s so special?  For starters, you can match it with nearly any of the great Peg Perego strollers without an adapter.  That means an ultra-chic custom travel system with a safe carseat that fits your baby and vehicle, too!  The easy-to-use “Right Tight” lockoff, anti-rebound bars for BOTH carrier & base, and the sharp, breathable fabrics are among the other distinctive features of the Peg “Four Thirty Five.”

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Feature Summary:

  • Rear-facing for babies 4 to 35 lbs. and up to 32” tall, maximum seated height roughly 18.5″
  • Anti-rebound features for installation with and without base
  • PegPerego435RightTightTriZone“Right Tight” easy seatbelt lockoff system (photo, right)
  • Dual Stage inserts fit preemies down to around 4 pounds
  • No-rethread harness height adjustment with 6 positions
  • Side Impact Protection,  EPS foam lined shell and head wings
  • Compatible with most Peg Perego strollers without an adapter
  • Deluxe push-button LATCH connectors
  • Premium breathable fabrics with ventilated shell design
  • Elastic loops keep harness out of the way when loading baby
  • Infinite Recline knob w/Tri-Zone level indicator (photo, right)
  • Large UPF 50+ canopy
  • Certified for use on aircraft
  • 2-year warranty, 7-year lifespan

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Key Measurements:

  • Measured Carrier Weight: ~ 9 pounds
  • Base Weight: ~ 7.5 pounds
  • Base Dimensions: ~ 19″ long, 14.5″ wide maximum at belt path
  • Carrier maximum width: 17″ at handle
  • Minimum Harness Height: ~ 5″ with Stage 1+2 inserts
  • Maximum Harness Height: ~ 11.5″
  • Crotch Strap Depth: ~ 6.5″ without inserts
  • Inside seated head height limit: ~ 18.5″ (Maximum height is ~19.5″ at highest harness adjustment)
  • Interior width: 12-13″

Feature Discussion:

Fashion: Let’s be honest.  When shopping before baby arrives, many parents register at a baby store or internet retailer and often gravitate toward the most fashionable looking products.  We were guilty of that with our first child, though back then “fashion” was navy and white plaid or polka dots.   Thankfully, fashion has come a long way since then!  Many assume all infant seats are created equal as far as safety, so why not get the coolest looking travel system to show off your new bundle of joy?  With the 4-35 Infant Carseat, Peg Perego makes it easy to select among over a dozen stylish fabric options and pair them to a variety of excellent, matching strollers.  From the upscale Alcantara Pearl to basics like Cream and Onyx that will match your vehicle seats.

Want to match your vehicle interior with a little flair and have a reversible stroller?  No problem, select the Switch Four stroller in Pois Black.  Looking for something bolder with an easy folding stroller?  Go for the Book stroller in Flamenco!  Why be stuck with the same travel-system-in-a-box everyone else has, when you can mix and match to your preference and have the best looking baby ride on the block or at the park ;)  pegclimaCollections include the “Taiana,” “Prima Classe,” and “Soft Fabric,” like my Fleur sample.  All of them work with the ventilated shell and foam to keep baby cooler in the summer.  Add the unique thermal slipcover accessory (photo, right) to keep baby even cooler!

Lest you think we recommend carseats mainly on appearance, we are happy to say that the new 4-35 system has a number of great safety and ease-of-use features for us to recommend it as a stand alone infant seat as well.  And we don’t recommend carseats lightly.  It took a lot to improve the previous Peg Perego infant seat lineup to earn our recommendation.  Let’s take a look:

Right Tight Base: The changes start with a much improved base design with better vehicle compatibility.   Premium push-button LATCH hardware makes installation a snap (photo, below left).  There are handy LATCH storage compartments as well.  The new Right Tight lockoff system is one of the best on the market today.  It’s intuitive and very easy-to-use, for small or large hands.   The anti-rebound bar is another great feature on the base.  It comes unassembled, but is simple to install.  The recline adjustment knob is also easy to use for raising or lowering the foot that adjusts the recline angle.  The edges on the bottom are nicely rounded to avoid scuffs on your vehicle upholstery. The seatbelt path is intuitive, but parents should note that when installing with a seatbelt, the shoulder belt must be routed back through the belt guides with the lap belt (photo below, right).  This varies from the routing when installing without the base, where only the lap belt is routed through the main seatbelt guides.

PegPerego435BaseNoodle PegPerego435BaseBeltRouting

Overall, I found the new base to be far nicer than the previous one, but there is one quirk I encountered.  The tri-zone recline indicator is labeled for the baby’s weight in three separate ranges: 4-11 lbs., 11-22 lbs., and 22-35 lbs.  Unfortunately, there is no overlap to allow older babies to be a little more reclined.  Depending on the size of your infant, you have to adjust it to a somewhat narrower range than many competing products.

With most infant seats, installation without the base is an afterthought.  In fact, Peg Perego recommends you install without the base only if needed.  But for some parents, installation without the base is a big consideration.  Mainly, this would be for those who use public transportation like taxis, or frequently have relatives, friends or caregivers transport baby.  Though an extra base is available for a second vehicle, at $99, it is somewhat expensive.  Fortunately, the carrier-only install is among the best I’ve tested.  With the integrated anti-rebound handle and optional European shoulder belt routing, it works very well.  Check it out in the video above and photos below!  A locking clip is not supplied and is not needed when using the base.  A locking clip may be needed for installation without the base in some vehicles.  Labels on each side of the carrier have a red level line for use without the base; this line should be level with the ground after installation.

PegPerego435Euro2 PegPerego435Euro1

PegPerego435HarnessHeightAdjustHarness System:  The IMMI 5-point harness works well overall, though seemed slightly more difficult to tighten on the smallest babies.  Under the panel on the back of the seat you will find the large button (photo, right) that is easily moved to any of six harness height settings as baby grows.  Remember to keep the harness strap height such that they are at or below the baby’s shoulders where they route through the slot in the shell.  The top position will accommodate most babies to well beyond a year old and the deep, roomy shell is great for toddlers.  Once baby is too heavy to carry around daily, simply leave the carrier in the car full time until the seat is outgrown by weight or height (32″ tall or once the top of baby’s head is an inch or less from the top of the fully extended head restraint section).

Safety: Like most rear-facing carseats today, the 4-35 makes generous use of EPS foam around baby’s head and torso, extending to the legs as well.  PegPerego435BareAs mentioned, the energy absorbing foam is ventilated for air flow to keep baby comfortable (photo, right).  The side wings around the head adjust with the harness height system, keeping baby well protected in a side impact and meeting Euro NCAP standards.   Unique among infant seats, the 4-35 has an anti-rebound bar for installations both with AND without the base.  This can prevent a rear-facing carseat from rotating up into the air during a rear-end crash or in secondary rebound in a frontal crash.  That reduces the risk that baby’s head could strike a vehicle pillar, head rest or toy.  We still recommend against nearby placement of any accessories that have hard surfaces or edges, such as those that attach to the vehicle head restraint.  Peg Perego further prohibits attaching any toys to the handle of the seat.

Convenience:   The lever for releasing the carrier from the base (photo below, left) is easy to use for small hands.  Peg Perego suggests keeping fingers in the middle of the lever for best results.  I found no issues with the release mechanism as I have on some other infant seats. It also easily clicks into the base without any extra force.  Handy elastic loops are also included on the inside near the hips (photo below, center).  You can poke the buckle tongues through them to keep them out of the way when loading and unloading baby.  The UPF 50+ canopy (photo below, right) seems sturdy and has one locking forward position.  It’s not huge, but large enough for complete coverage with a matching stroller.

 PegPerego435ReleaseLever PegPerego435HarnessLoops PegPerego435Canopy

Removal of the cover is not difficult for cleaning, but be very careful when removing and attaching the head restraint cover.  The foam underneath is fragile.  The cover is machine washable, cold or warm up to 86F.  No bleach, no solvents, no ironing.  Hang to air dry.

The handle works well as an anti-rebound system for installation without the base, but it is otherwise pretty typical in terms of comfort for carrying.  The smallish release buttons require a little strength and dexterity on both sides to be able to rotate it.  Plus, it is recommended to rotate the handle so that it rests at the top edge of the carseat when used in the vehicle (photo, below).  This is not only an extra step, but takes away more space in the vehicle that could be used up front for driver or passenger legroom.  Fortunately, the head restraint only extends less than an inch beyond the shell and does not interfere with handle rotation.

peg435acuramdx

Peg Perego 4-35 Fleur in 2015 Acura MDX

 

Fit to Child:

Unlike its predecessor, the 4-35 fits nicely with our 4-pound Huggable Images preemie doll.  That’s something some infant seats still can’t do!   PegPerego435InsertsThis is accomplished with the two inserts (photo, right).  The Stage 1 is used from birth up to 8 pounds, and must be used with Stage 2.  Stage 1 provides a nice crotch bolster that is perfect for low birthweight infants and fills up some space around the hips. More importantly, it puts some support behind the torso of the smallest newborns to prevent head slump which could result in a possible breathing obstruction.  At 8 pounds (or sooner if the baby’s torso has filled up the space from the crotch strap to shoulder strap), the Stage 1 Insert is removed and you may continue to use the Stage 2 insert as long as you like.  Stage 2 provides some extra padding under the bum and helps all newborns fit the harness system a little better.  Simply remove it when baby needs more room.  The chest clip is reasonably sized for small babies and the comfort pads at the neck can be easily removed if necessary.  This may help with adjusting the chest clip to armpit level on newborns and preemies (photos, below).

Peg Perego435PreemiePads PegPerego435PreemieNoPads

Fit to Vehicle:

PegPerego435LATCHI generally had no issues with vehicle installation.  The main exception was getting the right angle in some seating positions, especially for babies at the lowest and highest weight limits in certain vehicles.  The built-in foot has some limitations due to the way the tri-zone bubble level indicator is designed.   In some vehicles, a rolled towel or pool noodle may be needed to recline the seat enough for newborns.  Unfortunately, the manual does not clarify this when using the base, but I have confirmed that a noodle can be used with or without the base.  The end result is that it could take a little extra time with installation to get the angle just right if you have an unusually flat or sloped vehicle seat.  This may be compounded slightly by the fact that the level indicator is not visible once you put the carrier into the base.  Once attached, the weight of the carrier and heavy baby may affect the angle slightly.

While the base itself is relatively short, with the carrier attached the 4-35 takes up a little more front-to-back space than average.  That’s a trade-off for being able to fit taller babies than some other infant seats.  It isn’t particularly wide or narrow, but may work in a 3-across with the right combination of carseats.  I tried various seating positions in a wide variety of vehicles, including a 2010 Toyota Prius, 2010 Honda Odyssey, 2011 Toyota Highlander, 2014 Toyota Highlander, 2014 Honda Accord, 2014 Infiniti QX60, 2014 Lexus LX570 and 2015 Acura MDX.  I had no unusual difficulties with either seatbelt or LATCH installations.

Stroller Compatibility:

The Primo Viaggio 4-35 may be used with most recent Peg strollers, including the Book, Book Plus, Book Pop-Up, Switch Four, Duette and Triplette, Vela Easy Drive, Pliko Four, Pliko P3, Pliko Switch, Aria Twin 60-40, Si, Uno and some other older Peg strollers.  It is NOT compatible with the Pliko Mini or Skate System strollers.  Unfortunately, adapters for other brand strollers are not readily available at this time, but some are expected this fall.

 

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Advantages:

  • PegPerego435CatFits babies well from preemie to toddler size
  • No-rethread harness height adjustment
  • Great seatbelt lockoff system on anti-rebound base
  • Relatively easy to install, LATCH or seatbelt
  • Rounded edges on base are vehicle seat friendly
  • Very easy to attach and detach carrier from base
  • Euro beltpath routing with anti-rebound handle
  • Euro design with nice canopy
  • Wide variety of fashionable and breathable fabrics
  • Made in Italy with a 2-year warranty
  • Cat nap approved (photo, right)

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Disadvantages:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Handle takes extra time and space to rotate back as recommended in the car
  • Recline level indicator and angle adjustment limit flexibility
  • Limited stroller compatibility for other brands
  • Owner’s Manual could be clearer in some sections

The Bottom Line:

The new 4-35 Rear Facing Infant Carseat is a major improvement from the previous SIP 30/30 infant seat in nearly all respects.  Peg Perego did a great job, starting with fit for the smallest and largest babies and ending with a modern and stylish design.  In particular, the base is easier than average to install and the “Right Tight” lockoff is one of the best on the market.  Even better, installation without the base using the unique anti-rebound handle is among the best we’ve reviewed.   As with every carseat on the market, there are a few minor flaws that we mention to be thorough, but overall we feel it performs well enough to make our Recommended Carseats List.  Matched with a Peg Perego stroller, it is a safe and stylish ride for baby!

pegiglooThe Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 Infant Carseat is available at Amazon.com for under $280.  An extra base for a second vehicle is available for $99 .  Peg Perego’s Igloo winter cover (photo, right, great for keeping baby warm without using unsafe aftermarket accessories), Clima thermal summer slipcover (keeps baby cooler in the summer), raincover, wheeled ravel bag and bassinet stand are also available.  In the upscale rear-facing infant seat market, it compares favorably to the UPPAbaby Mesa at the same price point.

Thank you to Peg Perego USA for supplying the infant seat used in this review.  No other compensation was provided and all opinions are those of CarseatBlog.