2022 Maxi-Cosi Coral XP Infant Seat Review
The Maxi-Cosi Coral XP is a unique creature in a sea rear-facing only carseats looking to keep your child safe. Available in both the U.S. and Canada, the Coral XP has features that will have parents swimming in infant seats turning their heads to look. Not the first carseat in the U.S. to have a sling-type handle, the Coral XP aims to make life easier for the parent who carries their child in a carseat. But are these just fancy features worthy of a couple of Instagram pics, or will you and your baby actually benefit from them? Read on.
CORAL XP SPECS & FEATURES:
- Rear-facing only: 4-22 lbs.; 29″ or less and head must be 1” below top of seat
- 3 harness height positions
- Thick energy-absorbing EPP foam
- Built-in lockoff
- Installation tightness indicators on base
- Self-tightening lower LATCH connectors
- Cover is machine washable
- 3-recline position base with load leg
- 8-year lifespan before expiration
- Made in China
- MSRP $399.99
Extra bases are available for additional vehicles for $129.99 MSRP.
The Essential Blue seat I review here isn’t nearly as bright as the marketing pics show. I attempted to color correct my pics to more accurately portray the color, but what you see on your screen may vary as to what you see in person.
CORAL XP MEASUREMENTS:
- Harness slot heights without body insert: 5 ½”, 7 ½”, 9 ½”
- Lowest harness slot height with body insert: 5”
- Crotch strap/buckle positions (without body insert): 4”
- Internal shell height: 19 ½”
- Width of base at belt path: 14 ¼”
- Length of base footprint: 24”
- Width of base at widest point: 14 ½”
- Width of carrier at widest point: 18”(outside of handle)
- Inner carrier weight: 5.9 lbs. with inserts; 5.3 lbs. without insert
- Outer carrier weight: 13.6 lbs. with inserts
Let’s address the elephant in the room. The weight limit is only 22 lbs. and the height limit is equally, well, lacking. There are literally less than a handful of rear-facing only carseats on the market with those stats and you can go out to a casual sit-down dinner and probably eat for what one of those seats cost, tip included. So why get the Coral XP? It does have some pretty cool features Maxi-Cosi is banking on you loving that the other seats don’t have: luxurious, thick padding, a self-tightening base when installing with LATCH, a built-in lockoff, a load leg, and it’s “wow!” feature—the ability to carry it by a neck/sling strap.
According to CDC Growth Charts, a 22-pound weight limit will get a baby anywhere from 6 months to 21 months of use, with height following roughly the same growth pattern (though babies tend to grow taller before growing wider). If you and your partner are on the taller end of the spectrum, plan on this carseat, especially, not lasting your child long—and that will hold true of other carseats as well.
The base has numbers on it to guide you where to start and which step is next. The labels are color-coded, which is nice, but it is a lot of visual noise. I felt a little overwhelmed by all of them and ended up ignoring them and referring to the manual instead. It’s an intuitive base to use that doesn’t need that much guidance.
Load leg – One of the biggest safety features on a rear-facing only carseat is a load leg. I could go on and on about it and I did here. Suffice it to say that if it’s available and IF you can use it in your vehicle (the position where you want to install the base doesn’t have under floor storage or other indications that you shouldn’t use a load leg), you should.
Recline angle indicator and installation tightness indicators – There is a recline indicator on the end of the base above the load leg. The indicator dial must show completely green without any red. The installation tightness indicators are at the opposite end of the base next to where the base touches the vehicle seat back.
Installation with LATCH – To access the lower LATCH connectors, open the blue lockoff. This releases the self-locking retractor and gives the LATCH strap slack. Attach the lower connectors to your designated vehicle LATCH anchors and close the blue lockoff. This now engages the self-locking retractor and when you push down on each side of the base, it gets tighter and tighter. You’ll have to do this several times until the tightness indicator shows green and the base moves less than 1” when you tug on it at the belt path.
My success with the LATCH installation varied wildly. In my Tesla Model X, the LATCH install left the base with inches of movement; however, in my Tesla Model 3, it was a tight installation. Vehicle seat design clearly plays a factor here. In my other 2 vehicles, a 2011 Acura MDX and a 2019 Nissan Kicks, LATCH installation was a breeze. And if LATCH doesn’t work, switch to a seat belt installation.
The carseat did not touch the front seat in any of the pictures. The canopy extends out from the carseat by about 2 ½”.
Installation with seatbelt – The Coral XP is easy to install with a seat belt given its belt-tensioning lockoff. Having a belt-tensioning lockoff means that you don’t have to put so much work into getting the seat belt super tight; just pull the belt reasonably tight and the lockoff will apply the force needed to secure the seat belt on the base. Check that the base moves less than 1″; if it doesn’t, repeat the process until it does.
One issue I do have with the otherwise awesome instruction manual is that it says you may lock your seat belt if you have a switchable retractor (getting past the geek speak, this means to pull your seat belt out all the way—you’ll hear clicking sounds as the seat belt retracts if it’s locked. If you’re the visual type, I have a video here that helps explain it.). I literally banged my head on my car at reading this statement. This blue lockoff is a true lockoff, which means it locks your seat belt. You don’t need to lock it at the retractor. For any installation reason. Other carseats on the market have so-called “lockoffs” that don’t lock the seat belt, but if we have everyone locking their seat belts with lockoffs that actually lock belts, I mean, why? Just call those other things something else. /rant (And thank you for attending my TED Talk on lockoffs).
Center LATCH installation with non-standard LATCH spacing:
Not allowed. Lower anchors must be spaced the standard 11” apart.
Inflatable Seat Belts
Maxi-Cosi has determined that none of their bases can be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford Motor Company and Mercedes vehicles. You must use LATCH to install an XP base in the seating positions with inflatable seat belts in these vehicles.
Installation without base – The Coral XP can be installed safely without the base using the typical American belt routing method. The inner carrier must be secured inside the outer carrier before installing using this method.
Using the American method, the carrier is secured directly to the vehicle with the lap portion of the seatbelt (do NOT place the shoulder belt through the belt path; it sits against the vehicle seat back). This is very handy if you’re traveling by taxi or airplane. No need to lug the base around with you! However, you must know how to lock the seatbelt in the vehicle in which you’re going to be riding or deal with using a locking clip.
Given that this is a higher-end carseat and that Maxi-Cosi also has many European products, I’m disappointed that the Coral XP doesn’t allow baseless installation with the Euro belt path (shoulder belt routed behind the carseat). It provides a much more secure installation, especially for a heavy carseat such as the Coral XP, and performs the same function as a load leg. Only the very longest seat belts would fit around the outer carrier, but it would still be a nice option.
Carry Handle Position – The Coral XP allows only 2 handle positions in the vehicle: positions 1 or 2. Position 1 is carrying position, while position 2 is over the child’s head just far enough back to allow you to take the inner carrier out. All of the pics I’ve shown in this review are of position 2. I don’t see the point of using position 1 in the car unless you’re making a quick trip and using a stroller with the outer carrier, since it’s difficult to remove the inner, lighter carrier with the handle upright.
There are 2 other handle positions further behind the outer carrier, but you would use them either on a stroller or inside to stabilize the seat on the ground. The handle is one of the longest I’ve seen, so I believe it’s an attempt on Maxi-Cosi’s part to make it very clear that positions 3 and 4 are NOT to be used in the car.
The Crossbody Strap can stay on the inner carrier while it’s in the vehicle. You’ll want to lay it to the side when placing the inner carrier in the outer carrier for travel and the canopy does tend to get caught up on it. It’s . . . a lot of strap and handles. But I never found myself overly frustrated by them.
FIT-TO-CHILD (AND PARENT):
Our model fit well in the seat. Evelyn is 3 months old and weighs 11 lbs. Her mom was able to get a snug harness fit even with the soft harness pads, which is sometimes hard to do with small kiddos. And as you can see, Maxi-Cosi spared no expense with the ginormous, quiet canopy! Mom Richelle appreciated the Crossbody Strap and found it comfortable and easy to adjust.
My doll, Romeo, is about the size of a 1 month old/9-10 lbs. He fit perfectly as well.
Baby EJ was right at the maximum weight and height limits. He’s a big little guy at 9 months, measuring 21 lbs. and 29″. As you can see, he still had plenty of shell above his head and despite his wide shoulders and chunky thighs, he fit comfortably in Coral XP. It’s a good sign that even babies who carry their length in their torso will most likely still fit height-wise up to 29″. It’s also encouraging to know that babies near the weight maximum of 22 lbs. will still fit comfortably. By comparison, he was pretty smushed in some other infant carseats we tried that day despite the fact that they were rated to higher weights.
However, my preemie doll, which is 4 lbs., did not fair as well. Four pounds is the minimum weight limit for the Coral XP and it has very low harness slots, so theoretically it should fit the preemie doll well. But, the harness was too long and I couldn’t get a safe, snug fit. Our contact at Maxi-Cosi said they have had no issues or complaints from consumers and they will keep an eye out for any that may arise. Just keep this in mind if you wind up delivering early or have a low birthweight newborn.
I made a video showing the process of separating the inner and outer carriers, how to change the harness height, and proper harness fit:
HEAD AND BODY SUPPORT INSERTS:
There are 4 add-on accessories:
- Head pillow (must use 4-8 lbs.)
- Body pillow (must use 4-8 lbs.)
- Harness covers (optional)
- Buckle cover (optional)
Both the head and body pillows must be used between 4-8 lbs. and their use is optional after 8 lbs. We’re always quite concerned about maintaining an open airway for the child, so if the head support pushes the baby’s head forward at all once your child weighs 8 lbs., remove it since it’s separate from the body support.
COVER/EASE OF USE/MAINTENANCE:
The Coral XP cover is on shower cap-style, but you will have to slide both the harness straps through the slots and the side handles through slots to remove it. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s pretty easy, but until then, here’s a video of the process:
The cover and inserts are machine washable on cold in a delicate cycle. You can even throw them in the dryer on low for a bit to start the drying process. The canopy is spot clean only, though. Read the instruction manual for further details.
To clean the harness, wipe with a wet washcloth and lay flat to dry. DO NOT wash in the washing machine or use chemicals on it.
Instruction manual ❤️: The instruction manual has guidelines at the beginning not only for rear-facing, but also for school-aged children and older! It’s a great way to prep new parents for how long kids actually are in child restraints! The manual overall is pretty great too! Oh, and on the bottom of the carseat is a QR code that takes you to a screen where you can register your Coral XP, access the instruction manual, or get to other customer help.
- FAA certified for use on airplanes without the base
- 8-year lifespan before expiration
- Follow NHTSA guidelines for replacement after a minor crash
The Coral XP is compatible with strollers that have Maxi-Cosi attachments. Maxi-Cosi compatible strollers include Tayla, Mara, Lila, Gia XP, and the Maxi-Taxi XT. There’s a Coral XP Inner Carrier Stroller Adapter ($89.99 MSRP) if you want to use only the inner carrier, but you’d also need to have the Maxi-Cosi stroller adapters on which the Inner Carrier Stroller Adapter will attach. Other compatible strollers (using Maxi-Cosi attachments) include UPPAbaby, Bugaboo, Stokke, Baby Jogger, and more.
MAXI-COSI CORAL XP ADVANTAGES:
- Very lightweight inner carrier
- Thick EPP foam
- 3 recline position base with load leg
- Auto-retracting LATCH with lockoff available for seat belt installs
- Large canopy
- Cover is machine washable and dryable
- Compatible with many premium brand strollers
- Awesome instruction manual and help is a QR code away
- 8-year expiration
(In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems, but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Coral XP issues)
- Cover is more difficult to remove than other carseats because of the retractable carry handles.
- Outer carrier is bulky, especially the handle
- Labels on the base are overwhelming in number
- May not provide a snug harness fit on a preemie or low birthweight baby
BASIC INFANT SEAT SAFETY
Rear-facing only infant seats are so commonplace that parents often copy what other parents are doing with their seats. I know my husband and I did and that can be dangerous, especially when misuse rates top 90%. I’ve already covered some of the basics above regarding fit to your vehicle and child. So what do you see at the store that you shouldn’t copy yourself?
- Don’t put the carrier on top of a shopping cart
- Whenever the child is in the carrier, always buckle the entire harness and tighten it
- Some parents unbuckle the crotch buckles when in a store or will only buckle the chest clip when buckling in baby, but that piece of plastic is not designed to withstand crash forces. Babies can also wiggle down in the seat and strangle on the chest clip.
- Don’t leave the child in the carrier to sleep
- Studies have shown that babies desat, or have a reduction in oxygen when they sleep for too long in infant seats. It’s not a safe sleep space.
Maxi-Cosi has an innovative product in the Coral XP. One part of me wishes the carseat went to a higher weight limit, but the part of me that actually slings the seat over my neck is glad that it doesn’t. Most babies will get to sitting age in the Coral XP and that’s what parents need: convenience when they’re little and convenience when they’re bigger. It has Maxi-Cosi quality padding and comfort, as well as stroller adaptability. And let’s not forget the safety features of a lockoff and load leg! So, what’s your decision? Instagram worthy only or a true lifesaver?
For more information on the Maxi-Cosi Coral XP, visit Maxi-Cosi’s website: https://www.maxicosi.com/us-en/coral-xp-infant-car-seat-ic313-mc-us-en.html
Thank you to Maxi-Cosi for providing the Coral XP sample for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.