Maxi-Cosi Magellan Review – Canada

(Last Updated On: September 13, 2019)

Maxi-Cosi Magellan Multimode Car Seat Review Canada

Maxi Cosi Magellan Canada

Maxi Cosi Magellan Canada

A team of reviewers spent a good bit of time with the Maxi-Cosi Magellan when it was first released in the United States. Through a lot of trial and error, they found there’s a pretty specific group of families who would find the seat a great option — families who are looking for a very plush car seat, have a roomy vehicle, and are willing to be extremely patient while installing the car seat. After that experience, our Canadian review team was ready to take on the Canadian Magellan. Since this seat offers some features rarely found in Canada, we couldn’t wait to take a closer look.

CSFTL Quick Stats

Measurements

  • Lowest harness height: 8 inches (6 inches with small infant positioning pillow)
  • Highest harness height: 18 inches (you may need to move the adjustable torso to position 2 to access the highest position per the manual)
  • Highest booster belt guide height: 19 inches
  • Crotch buckle slots: at 3.5, 4.75, and 6 inches from the back of the seat pan. Only the closest two positions may be used in rear facing mode.
  • Shell height: 28.5 inches to top of adjuster handle
  • Width at widest point (cup holders and back of shell): 19 inches
  • Base dimensions: 14 inches long by 13 inches wide
  • Set pan depth: 14 inches
  • Seat weight: 25.7 pounds

Features

Maxi Cosi Magellan additional padding

Maxi Cosi Magellan additional padding

Head pillow, back pillow, and small infant positioning pillow (for use in rear facing mode only)

Harness covers and buckle cover (optional in both rear and forward facing modes)

Magellan cup holder

Magellan cup holder

Magellan cup holder - easy to remove

Magellan cup holder – easy to remove

Two removable, dishwasher-safe cupholders

Magellan premium LUAS with arrows showing which way is up

Magellan premium LUAS with arrows showing which way is up

Premium LUAS

AutoLock seat belt lockoffs in forward facing harness mode

Magellan torso position 1

Magellan torso position 1

Magellan torso position 2

Magellan torso position 2

Magellan torso position 3

Magellan torso position 3

Three position torso adjustments

No rethread harness

Mandatory rear facing tether

Mandatory Rear Facing Tether

Maxi Cosi Magellan Canada

Maxi Cosi Magellan Canada

The Maxi-Cosi Magellan requires that the seat be tethered rear facing (and forward facing, because the law in Canada requires that all forward facing harnessed seats use the top tether). This restricts the seating position for the Maxi-Cosi Magellan, since federal law only requires passenger vehicles be equipped with 3 tether anchor points. Some family vehicles have more than the required 3, but for larger families or families with older vehicles without tether anchors, this a point to consider when looking to buy the Magellan.

Lower Anchor Storage

Maxi Cosi Magellan lower anchor storage

Maxi Cosi Magellan lower anchor storage

While most car seats provide a storage location for the lower anchor connectors (LUAS) on the outside of the seat’s shell, the Maxi-Cosi Magellan’s storage location is under the cover of the seat pan. This means that to access the lower anchors, the cup holders must be removed and the cover pulled back.

Our reviewers in the United States found this to be an annoyance, but we found that we liked this storage location. Pulling back the cover to access the belt path is a trick we teach most parents during seat checks, so we found that having the anchors stored within the rear facing belt path helps to encourage accessing the rear facing belt path, which, in our opinion, helps with an easier rear facing installation. Having to remove the cup holders IS an extra step, but one that takes seconds.

Rear Facing Recline Indicator

Maxi Cosi Magellan recline indicator in most reclined position

Maxi Cosi Magellan recline indicator in most reclined position

We are big fans of seats with recline indicators. Why? Because it eliminates the guesswork from the installation. We find sometimes at seat checks with a seat that has a level line, what we consider “level the ground” and what someone else considers “level to the ground” may vary. With a recline indicator that features an air bubble or a ball level (like the Magellan), caregivers can quickly and easily check if their recline angle is correct (as long as they are parked on level ground).

While we appreciate that the Magellan includes a recline indicator, the ball is so large that it completely covers the blue allowable recline range, so it’s impossible to tell if the seat is slightly over/under reclined when at the edge of the allowance because you cannot see the colour range behind the ball. When writing this review, we found ourselves adjusting the seat so that a sliver of blue was to the left of the ball when we were installing the seat upright, and a sliver was to the right of the ball when we were installing it for a newborn, so that we COULD confirm that the angle was correct and within the allowable range.

Manual Highlights

Before we go any further with the review, we want to draw your attention to the Magellan’s manual and a few great points. They echo our recommendations on our website, and we are happy to see these being included in the manual.

On Page 5:

“WARNING Measure your child’s weight and height (do not guess) before choosing the car seat’s mode….

The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations:

Infants and Toddlers: should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the seat.

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Once they are facing-forward, children should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seat.

School – Aged Children: Once they have outgrown their forward-facing car seat, children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and slider seat belt fits properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.

Older Children: All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.”

Installation — Rear Facing

Before installing the Maxi-Cosi Magellan rear facing, take a moment to adjust the recline angle. Here’s how: squeeze the recline handle and rotate the car seat to any blue recline position that moves the angle indicator ball into the blue (rear facing) zone. This may require trial and error, since the recline setting will differ from vehicle to vehicle. Torso position: for rear facing, the torso position must be set to position 1. Use the torso position adjuster buttons on the sides of the shell to slide the torso position up and down.

Next, locate the tether anchors in your vehicle. The Magellan must be installed rear facing in a seating position equipped with a top tether anchor. Route the tether strap around the Magellan on the side of the car seat where the vehicle buckle is located, and loosely attach the tether hook to the vehicle’s tether anchor.

Vehicle Seat Belt

Maxi Cosi Magellan - pull the cover back to install rear facing with seatbelt

Maxi Cosi Magellan – pull the cover back to install rear facing with seatbelt

To install the Maxi-Cosi Magellan rear facing with the vehicle seat belt, pull the cover back from the Magellan to expose the rear facing belt path. Removing the cup holders at this step makes removing the cover easier. Route the vehicle belt through the rear facing belt path and buckle. This is a good point in the installation process to ensure that the angle indicator ball is in the blue zone. If any adjustments to the recline position need to be done, make them now. When the angle is correct, place one hand firmly on the Magellan, and tighten the vehicle seat belt with your other hand by pulling on the shoulder portion to remove the slack from the belt.

Magellan recline adjustment handle - located under the seat pan

Magellan recline adjustment handle – located under the seat pan

Magellan rear facing belt guide

Magellan rear facing belt guide

IMPORTANT: the Maxi-Cosi Magellan manual is missing an important step in the rear facing installation process, and we hope that future printings will rectify this. In the rear facing section, the manual only instructs the caregiver to buckle the vehicle seat belt and tighten the belt. It does not give instructions in this section on locking the seat belt but this is a necessary part of the installation. The rear facing installation instructions for vehicle seat belt span pages 25-32, while the instructions for determining how the vehicle seat belts lock span pages 19-22. We’d love to see Maxi-Cosi reference the user back to the seatbelt section of the manual during these installation instructions, and add that locking the vehicle seat belt is an essential step.

To complete the rear facing seat belt installation you will need to determine how your vehicle’s seat belts lock. Pull the seat belt tight after engaging the vehicle’s seat belt locking mechanism.

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing with seatbelt

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing with seatbelt

Check that the Maxi-Cosi Magellan moves less than 1 inch at the belt path.
Position the tether webbing under the Rear Facing Tether Path notch on the back of the seat, route the strap between the black and grey shells, and tighten the tether. Do not overtighten the tether webbing. The Magellan must not twist and the base must remain flat on the vehicle seat.

Magellan rear face tether routing

Magellan rear face tether routing

Replace the seat cover and cup holders (if they were removed), and double check that the recline is correct. If the most reclined position does not recline the seat enough, a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle(s) may be used under the front of the base to achieve a more reclined installation.

LUAS (Lower Anchors)

Maxi Cosi Magellan - pull the cover back to install rear facing with LUAS

Maxi Cosi Magellan – pull the cover back to install rear facing with LUAS

To install the Maxi-Cosi Magellan rear facing with the LUAS, pull the cover back from the Magellan to expose the rear facing belt path. Removing the cup holders at this step makes removing the cover easier. Remove the LUAS from their storage location within the rear facing belt path by pressing the red release buttons. Route the lower anchor webbing through the rear facing belt path and connect the adjusters to the vehicle anchors, ensuring that the arrows on the connectors are facing up. Do not use this method for a child who weighs more than 35 pounds. This is a good point in the installation process to ensure that the angle indicator ball is in the blue zone. If any adjustments to the recline position need to be done, make them now. When the angle is correct, place one hand firmly on the Magellan, and tighten the lower anchors with the other hand by pulling on the adjuster strap through the belt opening at the side of the seat.

Check that the Maxi-Cosi Magellan moves less than 1 inch at the belt path.

Position the tether strap under the Rear Facing Tether Path notch on the back of the seat, route the strap between the black and grey shells, and tighten the tether. Do not overtighten the tether strap (the Magellan must not twist and the base must remain flat on the vehicle seat).

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing with LUAS

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing with LUAS

Replace the seat cover and cup holders (if they were removed), and double check that the recline is correct. If the most reclined position does not recline the seat enough, a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle(s) may be used under the front of the base to achieve a more reclined installation.

Installation — Forward Facing

Before installing the Maxi-Cosi Magellan forward facing, squeeze the recline handle and rotate the car seat to whichever red recline position that makes the Magellan sit as flush as possible with the vehicle seatback. Adjust the torso position to either position 1 or position 2.

Locate the tether anchors in your vehicle. The Magellan must be installed forward facing in a seating position equipped with a top tether anchor. Loosely attach the tether hook to the vehicle’s tether anchor before installing the Magellan in the vehicle.

Vehicle Seat Belt

Maxi Cosi Magellan AutoLock

Maxi Cosi Magellan AutoLock

To install the Maxi-Cosi Magellan forward facing with the vehicle seat belt, raise the headrest all the way up, undo all the fasteners, and lift up the headrest pad to expose the forward facing belt path. Route the vehicle seat belt through the forward facing belt path and buckle.

If using the AutoLock: When the seat belt is tight, slide only the shoulder portion of the seat belt through the AutoLock. Pull it up until you cannot pull the belt any higher in the AutoLock. Do not engage the vehicle’s Automatic Locking Retractor when using the AutoLock.

If not using the AutoLock: Determine how your vehicle’s seat belts lock. Pull the seat belt tight after engaging the vehicle’s seat belt locking mechanism. Do not thread the vehicle seat belt into the AutoLock

Check that the Maxi-Cosi Magellan moves less than 1 inch at the belt path.

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed forward facing with seatbelt

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed forward facing with seatbelt

Tighten the tether strap and replace the headrest pad, and adjust the headrest to position the harness just at/above the child’s shoulders.

LUAS (Lower Anchors)

Maxi Cosi Magellan - installing forward facing with LUAS

Maxi Cosi Magellan – installing forward facing with LUAS

To install the Maxi-Cosi Magellan forward facing with the lower anchors, raise the headrest all the way up, undo all the fasteners, and lift up the headrest pad to expose the forward facing belt path. Flip the seat pad forward to expose the rear facing belt path and lower anchor storage location. Remove the LUAS from their storage location by pressing the red release buttons on both sides. Route the lower anchor webbing through the forward facing belt path by reaching through the cover, and connect the adjusters to the vehicle anchors, ensuring that the arrows on the connectors are facing up. Do not use this method for a child who weighs more than 40 pounds. Place one hand firmly on the Magellan, and tighten the lower anchors with the other hand by pulling on the adjuster strap.

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed forward facing with LUAS

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed forward facing with LUAS

Check that the Maxi-Cosi Magellan moves less than 1 inch at the belt path.

Tighten the tether strap and replace the headrest pad, and adjust the headrest to position the harness just at/above the child’s shoulders.

Fit to Child – Rear Facing

6 Days Old

We always love when we can borrow brand new babies to test out their fit in seats we are reviewing. While our Huggable Images dolls are amazing, we won’t ever pass up the opportunity to obtain fresh baby snuggles and car seat pictures.

6 days old, 8 pounds, 20 inches long

Maxi-Cosi Magellan 6 days old

This fresh model is 6 days old, weighs 8 pounds, and is 20 inches long. She was kind enough to allow us to fit her in the Magellan both with and without the shoulder pads, and we were very thankful for her cooperation.

The harness is positioned in the lowest position, and the head pillow and back pillow were used in these photos. This model did not need the small infant positioning pillow, so we are confident that with the pillow in use, the Maxi-Cosi Magellan would fit even quite small newborns well.

For smaller infants, the crotch buckle may be “doubled back” to provide a more snug fit if needed. To do this, the crotch buckle should be positioned in the first slot (closest to baby), and from the bottom of the seat, the metal retainer clip can be pushed back through the shell of the seat. We did not find this step necessary with our model.

6 days old, 8 pounds, 20 inches long - shoulder pads removed

6 days old, 8 pounds, 20 inches long – shoulder pads removed

Our model achieved an excellent harness fit with the Maxi-Cosi Magellan. We preferred the fit without the optional harness pads (which we will save for her to use when she’s a bit bigger).

Three Years Old

Now that we’ve seen that the Magellan fits tiny newborns beautifully, let’s see how it fit is on a kiddo who is nearing the rear facing limits. This model is 3 years old, 39.5 inches tall and 34 pounds. She is half an inch from outgrowing the Magellan rear facing by height, and also demonstrates an excellent fit.

3 years old, 39.5 inches, 35 pounds

3 years old, 39.5 inches, 34 pounds

She was intrigued by the rear facing tether, and the first time she used the Magellan she actually kicked the tether off the side of the captain’s chair in the vehicle. When reattaching it, we tightened it a bit more than “removing the slack” and found that made her unable to kick it off – even in the midst of a temper tantrum!

She really liked her “purple seat” and found the Magellan to be quite comfortable on long trips. She commented on the leg room and how cushy the cover is, which are both great features on a car seat.

Fit to Vehicle – Rear Facing

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing as upright as allowed

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing as upright as allowed

The question we have been bombarded with during the course of this review from both parents and Canadian CPSTs is “but how big is the Magellan rear facing?”.

Magellan recline indicator as upright as allowed

Magellan recline indicator as upright as allowed

We opted to compare the Magellan’s vehicle fit rear facing to a very popular, “mid-sized” convertible seat in Canada – the Graco Extend2fit.

Maxi Cosi Magellan and Graco Extend2Fit - both most upright

Maxi Cosi Magellan and Graco Extend2Fit – both most upright

Here we see the Maxi-Cosi Magellan installed at the most upright angle allowed rear facing (ball at the left end of the blue recline range) and Graco Extend2fit (recline 3, panel position 4, ball almost to the left end of the blue recline range. We could not install the Extend2fit any more upright in this vehicle) installed side by side in a 2007 Honda Odyssey. The car seats are installed on captain’s chairs that are pushed all the way back, and so are the front vehicle seats.

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing with LUAS as reclined as allowed

Maxi Cosi Magellan installed rear facing as reclined as allowed

As you can see, both car seats fit nicely behind the vehicle front seats and neither require the passenger or driver to sacrifice any of their space to accommodate the rear facing car seat. The Graco Extend2fit is more compact by a few inches in this vehicle, but both fit quite nicely.

Here we have installed the Magellan in the most reclined position. Again, the front passenger seat is pushed all the way back, and an adult can easily sit in front of the Magellan in this position.

Fit to Child – Forward Facing

Three Years Old

3 years old, 39.5 inches, 34 pounds

3 years old, 39.5 inches, 34 pounds

Because our three year old model is so close to the rear facing limits of the Magellan, we tried her out in it forward facing for a few trips to see how she felt about it. She remains 39.5 inches tall and 34 pounds.

She again loved the deep seat pan, and easily was able to sit criss cross applesauce. If you’d like to know her opinion about the harness covers, take a look at where she shoved them in the photo (needless to say, she isn’t a big fan of them).

Five Years Old

five years old, 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds

five years old, 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds

Our next forward facing model is five years old, 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds. She is one inch from outgrowing the Magellan by standing height, and is also extremely close to outgrowing the seat by torso height, as the harness is just at her shoulders in the highest position.

five years old - close up of Magellan harness height

five years old – close up of Magellan harness height

She carries a lot of her height in her legs, so the deep seat pan was a big plus for her. She isn’t used to riding in a seat that supports her legs all the way to her knees, so she found the Magellan very comfortable and enjoyed riding in it whenever she could.

five years old - crotch buckle getting tight

five years old – crotch buckle getting tight

We noticed that the crotch buckle was tight on her when buckling her in (positioned in the outer-most slot), but if she noticed this she did not voice any concerns over the comfort.

Converting to Booster Mode

Maxi Cosi Magellan in booster mode

Maxi Cosi Magellan in booster mode

To convert the Maxi-Cosi Magellan to booster mode:
First, raise the headrest all the way up to the highest position.

Fully loosen harness

Fully loosen harness

Then, fully loosen the harness straps. Next, unbuckle the harness and release the chest clip. Then, lift up the front bottom of the seat pad and undo the headrest pad fasteners

Pull torso pad flap to the side to reveal storage pockets

Pull torso pad flap to the side to reveal storage pockets

Now, pull the torso pad flap to the side to reveal the handy storage pockets.

place chest clip and buckle tongues in storage pockets

place chest clip and buckle tongues in storage pockets

Next, lift up the chest clip and buckle tongues, then place them in the storage pocket. Finally, replace the headrest pad fasteners and seat pad.

Crotch buckle recessed storage

Crotch buckle recessed storage

The manual doesn’t mention it, but when the cover is pulled back, the crotch buckle settles into a nice little recession in the shell for storage while in booster mode. This step requires zero effort but we felt it was worth noting.

Fit to Child – Booster Mode

Five Years Old

Magellan shoulder belt guide for use in booster mode

Magellan shoulder belt guide for use in booster mode

Our five year old remains 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds. She is working on booster training and was eager to test out the booster mode of the Magellan, because she loves the colour and deep seat pan.

five years old, 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds

five years old, 48 inches tall, and 49 pounds

We were very impressed to find that the Magellan provided our model with a textbook seat belt fit in booster mode. The lap belt is low on her thighs, touching her hips, and the shoulder belt is snug to her body and centered across her shoulder.

Magellan booster mode lap belt guide

Magellan booster mode lap belt guide

There are zero adjustments necessary here and that is a big plus – especially for a multimode car seat!

Excellent lap belt fit in booster mode

Excellent lap belt fit in booster mode

She has a bit of growing room in the Magellan’s booster mode, and we anticipate the fit will be beautiful on her for the remainder of her time in the seat.

Important Information: Where to Find

Date of Manufacture label

Date of Manufacture label

Date of Manufacture: The Date of Manufacture label is located on the side of the adjustable torso. The label is only fully visible when the torso is adjusted to position 3.

National Safety Mark

National Safety Mark

The National Safety Mark: This label is located on the back of the seat’s shell near the tether storage location

tether storage

tether storage

Tether Storage: is located on the back of the seat’s shell

manual storage

manual storage

Manual Storage: the manual stores in a slot at the back of the base of the seat

Overall Thoughts

Despite our review team from the United States finding the Magellan a somewhat difficult seat to use, the car seat market in Canada is much smaller and as such, we appreciated what the Magellan has to offer Canadian caregivers.

The Magellan could likely enable a child to ride rear facing until at least their third birthday, harness a child to 5-6 years old, and provide that same child an excellent booster fit when they outgrow the harness. These are qualities that the Canadian market doesn’t see much in our selection of multimode seats. Add to that the colour selection (which is a rare find in Canada), cushy cover, and extended leg room both rear and forward facing, and the Magellan brings a lot of great qualities to consumers.

While the Magellan is marketed as a seat that will last a child for 12 years or through booster mode, we’d attest that it might work from birth-7ish years for an average-sized kiddo. This is still an excellent age range, but not *quite* what the Maxi-Cosi marketing team would like consumers to believe. If there are multiple children in the family whom the Magellan can be passed down to, we don’t doubt that family could use the seat until it expires.

The Maxi-Cosi Magellan is not a seat we would recommend for smaller vehicles, and the seat must be installed in a vehicle seating position with a tether anchor in both rear and forward facing modes (which limits the seat to most vehicle model years 2001 and newer, and specific seating locations), but if the caregiver has an open seating position with a tether and a vehicle that can accommodate a mid-sized seat rear facing, the Maxi-Cosi Magellan would be an excellent option to consider.

Giveaway!

Maxi-Cosi Canada is giving one Magellan away to a lucky reader from Canada! Please read our terms and conditions, then enter below for your chance to win!
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