Maxi-Cosi Mica Review – European Car Seat

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Maxi-Cosi’s already extensive line of European car seats has grown yet again! The  Mica is their first swivel seat that can rear face all the way up to 18 kg/105 cm. This seat also forward faces up to 18 kg and 105 cm.  We’re excited to see a longer lasting swivel seat from this ever-popular brand, so let’s take a closer look!

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 0-18 kg
  • Rear facing height range: 40-105 cm
  • Forward facing age minimum: 15 months. CSFTL recommends that children ride rear facing until they’re at least 2 years old, ideally until they’ve outgrown their convertible or multimode car seat in rear facing mode by height or weight
  • Forward facing weight range: up to 18 kg
  • Forward facing height range: 76-105 cm
  • Expiration: Maxi-Cosi recommends that the seat can be used for a maximum of 12 years
  • Maxi-Cosi recommends contacting them after a crash. They have online forms available that you can submit for them to review and decide if the seat needs to be replaced.

Measurements

  • Lowest harness position: About 20 cm with insert; 27.5 cm without insert
  • Highest harness position: 40 cm
  • Length (from anti-rebound bar to front of base at deepest recline): 69 cm
  • Width at widest point (shoulder area of the seat): 46 cm
  • Weight: 15 kg

Insert

That’s a chunky, cushy insert!

The Mica comes with a chunky infant insert which must be used until baby is 60 cm long. The insert itself is made of memory foam and is very soft and cushy.

Excellent clear labeling can help reduce misuse

One of the best things about the insert is the very clear and obvious labeling Maxi-Cosi has used. It clearly states the limits for the insert, and the name of the seat it goes with – some of us have a lot of car seat inserts floating around, and having a clear name label is fantastic for making sure you’re using the correct insert!

Harness

The Mica has hooks to hold the harness on either side of the seat.

The harness on the Mica is very easy to tighten, but I did find that the straps twisted easily. It was simple to untwist by folding the harness and then running the buckle over the fold, but if you’re in a hurry this could be a bit annoying. Using the harness holders that are built into the seat has helped us avoid a repeat twist incident.

At first, the crotch buckle seemed very short and I was concerned that I was going to pinch my son’s very pinchable thighs, but after using the seat for a while we haven’t had any issues. I’m not sure if I’m just not noticing it as much or if the seat has been “broken in” like a pair of new shoes, but the crotch buckle hasn’t been a problem at all.

Recline

Maxi-Cosi Mica recline handle

The Mica offers several recline options that can be used both rear and forward facing. Changing the recline angle is easy – squeeze the handle at the front of the seat (where baby’s feet go) and push or pull the seat into the recline you want. There’s no need to reinstall the seat to change the recline angle.

Maxi-Cosi Mica with the passenger seat all the way back.

At its most upright position, the Mica is incredibly compact – I was able to move the passenger seat of our 2011 Ford Focus all the way back!

Swivel

Squeeze the button above the load leg to swivel the seat.

The Mica offers full 360 degree rotation for easy loading and unloading. Squeeze the button just above the load leg with one hand, then use your other hand to push the seat around to the desired position. The location of the swivel button is particularly handy for three-door vehicles. I found the button a bit hard to squeeze at times, so caregivers with limited hand strength may have some trouble.

We double checked with Maxi-Cosi, and they confirmed that the seat does not have to be locked into forward or rear position if it’s unoccupied. Whenever a child is in the seat it must be locked into a forward or rear facing position!

Fantastic Labeling

The labels on the Mica are clear and placed conspicuously.

Maxi-Cosi has done a great job of putting clear, obvious labeling on the seat. There are clear stickers showing install and height/weight limits on the side of the seat, and an excellent visual reminder under the headrest showing the age/height at which the seat may be used forward facing.

Harness Release Button

The harness release button on the Mica may be too accessible to some kids.

One downside we found with the Mica was that the harness release button is pretty accessible to determined kiddos. Our 2-year-old model immediately started trying to push it when we first put him in, though he never managed to actually do so, and stopped trying after a little while. A very determined escape artist may take advantage of this placement, though most kiddos will likely be fine with it.

Out of the Box

Our 2-year-old model got a bit overzealous while helping unbox the Mica!

Our Mica arrived directly from Maxi-Cosi, and the packaging was exceptional. Strategically placed small cardboard boxes kept it very well protected. Removing the seat from the box was actually a bit tricky because it was so well packed! Sliding out some of the protective boxes made it much easier to lift the seat out of the box. Once unpacked, the Mica is ready to install!

Load Leg

Pull the plastic tab for beeping!

The load leg on the Mica includes an auditory warning if the load leg isn’t correctly positioned and tensioned. The seat ships with a plastic tab in the battery compartment on the underside of the seat. Remove this tab, and you’re treated to an incessant beeping noise until the load leg is unfolded. It’s a good way to make sure the load leg isn’t used incorrectly, but it definitely can get annoying fast!

Storing the load leg proved impossible for this reviewer!

The noise should stop with the leg properly stowed under the seat, but after many attempts I was never able to get the leg to stow properly. I reached out to Maxi-Cosi, who sent a helpful video. The video shows folding the leg under the seat, then firmly extending the leg so it slots into position. Unfortunately, I found no way to do this. The leg locks into position, and the only way to unlock it and extend it is to push the button… but the button is on the side of the leg that is folded up against the seat, so there’s no way to push the button and extend it to the proper position!

Luckily, the batteries are removable, so in a pinch, grab a screwdriver and enjoy the quiet.

Installation – ISOFIX Only!

The Mica is an ISOFIX only seat – there is no option to install it with a vehicle seat belt.

Unfold the leg so it hangs freely.

First, unfold the load leg from the bottom of the seat.

Squeeze the button and slide the ISOFIX arms out.

Next, extend an ISOFIX arm by squeezing the button and pushing the arm out. Repeat on the other side.

Maxi-Cosi Mica ISOFIX indicator

Line up the ISOFIX arms with the ISOFIX anchors in the vehicle and push them on. The indicators on the arms show green when they’re correctly attached. Push the car seat in firmly, until the anti-rebound panel makes full contact with the vehicle seat backrest.

Make sure the button on the load leg pops back out so the leg is locked

Finally, pull the load leg all the way out so the sound stops. Push the button on the back of the leg to extend it to the floor of the vehicle.

Pull the load leg out completely so the indicator on top shows green.

Make sure the leg locks into position and the indicator on the top shows green.

Squeeze the button on the headrest to raise or lower it.

Once the seat is securely installed, squeeze the button at the back of the headrest then push or pull it into the position that places the harness correctly.

I found it easier to adjust the headrest with the harness loosened all the way and the child leaning forward.

Fit to Child

Rear Facing

Once our Mica was installed, it can be used either rear facing or forward facing.  The Mica swivels to load the child into the seat, then swivels back and locks into place before the drive begins.  This type of seat is fairly common in the EU but pretty rare in the United States.

Newborn Doll

IKEA baby in the Maxi-Cosi Mica

Unfortunately, in these times of Coronavirus we haven’t been able to track down a real newborn to try out the Mica. Instead, our handy Ikea baby stand-in will have to do! Ikea baby has a torso that is roughly equivalent to a newborn’s torso, but unlike a real baby, he lacks bones so it’s very easy to compress his torso with the harness.

At its lowest setting and with the infant insert in the seat, the harness is right at Ikea baby’s shoulders and he gets a good harness fit. Unfortunately, in our 2011 Ford Focus the seat was a few degrees too upright for a newborn. In our BMW i3, though, we were able to achieve the 45 degree minimum recline for newborns. As always, we recommend checking the recline of the seat in your vehicle before using it for a newborn!

2 Years Old

Maxi-Cosi Mica 2-year-old fit

Our 2 year old model is about 90 cm tall and 12.5 kg. He gets a good fit in the Mica, though because his weight is higher on the growth charts he probably will not reach a safe booster age in this seat. He has some growing time left, though, so we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

The headrest on the Maxi-Cosi Mica is suuuuper soft and cushy!

He especially likes the memory foam headrest – he kept saying “soft!” during his first ride in the Mica. He prefers the seat be reclined one setting, and when he falls asleep he keeps his head up and to the side in the cushy headrest.

Legroom isn’t a problem for this guy!

The seat is very easy to swivel with him in the seat, though the limited legroom means we have to remind him to put his feet up when we swivel him around. He doesn’t mind the lack of legroom, though – he’s happy to put his legs in any old position!

Forward Facing

2-year-old forward facing in the Maxi-Cosi Mica

Here’s our 2-year-old model modelling the Mica in its forward facing position. Because the weight and height limits are identical for both rear and forward facing, this toddler will stay rear facing and will likely never ride in the seat forward facing. Luckily, he’s fine with that!

Uninstalling

Pull and squeeze to release the ISOFIX arms.

To remove the Mica, pull up on the tab and squeeze the button on each ISOFIX arm to unlock them from the vehicle anchors.

Important Information: Where to Find

Expiration: Maxi-Cosi recommends a total of 12 years of use. This information is in your manual.

Maxi-Cosi Mica manual storage on anti-rebound bar.

Manual storage: The manual stores in a designated spot on the anti-rebound bar. Unfortunately, this means that the manual isn’t available when the seat is installed – you must uninstall to access it.

Airline approval: The Maxi-Cosi Mica is NOT approved for use on aircraft.

Final Thoughts

Wow, the Mica is a cushy seat! From the infant insert to the memory foam head rest, kids are likely to find it super comfy. Like most ISOFIX seats, it may be too upright for newborns in your vehicle, so you should always check the angle before you use it with a baby who doesn’t yet have good head control. Kids who are higher on the growth charts are also likely to outgrow the Mica (and most other 105 cm limit i-Size seats) before they’re mature enough for a booster. If you’re looking for a compact option and have a smaller child, the Mica offers a lot of plush comfort with the convenience of a 360-degree swivel.