My feed

Our writers test and research products independently. When you buy through a link on our site we may earn a commission but this never affects our product choices.

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus i-Size review: a game-changing foldable car seat for travel

Unique in design, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is an ultra-compact, lightweight car seat that folds down seamlessly for travel. But how well does it actually perform for families on the go? After two weeks of in-depth testing abroad, parent and Mumsnet editor, Laura, reveals her verdict.

By Laura Westerman | Last updated Feb 19, 2024

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus car seat
Price: £130

What we like
  • Super lightweight

  • Foldable for travel

  • i-Size-compliant with Side Impact Protection

  • Integrated carry bag

  • Five-point harness

  • Universal installation

What we don't like
  • Forward-facing only

  • Installation can take time to master

Key specs

Age range: From 15 months to 4 years (76 to 105cm or 9 to 18kg) | Safety credentials: i-Size (R-129), reinforced Side-Impact Protection | Fixing system: Seatbelt | Dimensions: ‎50 x 37.5 x 57cm | Weight: 4.26kg | Warranty: 2 years

Our verdict
  • Installation: 3/5

  • Safety: 4/5 

  • Stability: 3/5

  • Ease of use: 4/5 

  • Comfort: 4.5/5

  • Design: 4.5/5

  • Ease of cleaning: 5/5

  • Value for money: 5/5

One-third of the weight of your typical toddler car seat according to Maxi-Cosi, the Nomad Plus (launched in October 2023) is, quite frankly, a game-changer when it comes to family travel.

After recently taking it with me on a two-week holiday to Mexico, I was impressed with just how lightweight and adaptable this travel car seat is. 

It proved to be a reassuring bit of kit to have around, especially as my family were jumping in and out of different modes of transport while abroad. The fact that it’s foldable just adds to its charm.  

I-Size-compliant with reinforced Side Impact Protection for extra safety, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus conforms to the latest R129 regulations. 

While simple, installation using your chosen vehicle’s adult seatbelt can take time to master, so I wish we had practised more before our travels. Once installed, the Nomad Plus is very comfy, with a five-point harness that kept my 22-month-old securely in the seat at all times while on the go. 

One major downside is that this car seat is forward-facing only, so it can only be used when your child is 15 months old to comply with the latest car seat regulations. That being said, it lasts till your child is around age four (or 105cm in height), so offers good longevity throughout the toddler years. 

Toddler in Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus car seat

How we tested the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus

  • Two weeks of in-depth testing

  • Used on a holiday abroad to Mexico

  • Used in different modes of transport including taxis, private transfers and SUVs 

  • Used on both long and short journeys of up to 2 hours at a time

  • Checked into the hold on an aeroplane

  • Tested with a 22-month-old toddler

As the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus has been designed specifically for travel, I tested it out on my recent two-week holiday abroad to Mexico. It was my first long-haul holiday with my toddler, so I was keen to see how it fared both in the hold on the aeroplane and at our destination. 

I knew we would be taking different modes of transport during our time away, so having a car seat that would work in any car was crucial. The Nomad Plus was used in two private transfers from airport to resort and back again, in multiple taxis and in an SUV on a long day trip to Chichen Itza, which included various stops along the way. 

During testing, I scored the Nomad Plus on a number of key criteria, including: installation, safety, stability, ease of use, comfort, design, ease of cleaning and value for money.   

Read next: Best car seats to take on the plane

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus: what’s in the box?

  • Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus i-Size car seat (folded)

  • Integrated carry bag

  • User guide

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus clips

How easy is the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus to install?

The Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is relatively simple to install, but it does take some practice. It comes with an easy-to-read installation guide, with clear pictures on how to correctly install it. You’ll also find the instructions on the side of the car seat should you lose the paper version, with further instructions available using the handy QR code.

With only eight steps to follow, the Nomad Plus should, in theory, be quick to install and Maxi-Cosi says it can be done in as little as 30 seconds. While it definitely took me longer than 30 seconds (installation time ranged from two to five minutes in most cases, much to the dismay of a  couple of grumpy taxi drivers), it got quicker the more I used the car seat. 

This universal car seat can only be installed using a seatbelt for use in different vehicles (it unfortunately isn’t ISOFIX-ready), however it’s clear that this choice has been made with travel in mind.

To install it, you need to unfold the car seat and pull the headrest up to the right height for your child. You then position the seatbelt over the car seat (passing it through the designated groove on the side of the seat), click the seatbelt into place and then pass the lower part of the seatbelt through the two hooks at the bottom of the car seat’s backrest. 

You then secure the top part of the seatbelt using the clips on either side of the backrest - you only need to use one clip depending on which side of the car the car seat is on. Once in place, you pull the seatbelt taut to ensure the car seat is tightly in position before putting your child into the seat. 

While the overall installation process is easy once you get the hang of it, I found it tricky to tighten the adult seatbelt enough to make the car seat feel fully stable, especially when in a rush. It’s possible that parents could install it incorrectly when on the go, which is one downside to a seatbelt-only car seat. 

Read next: The best car seats for 4-year-olds and beyond

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus folded

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus: how does it look?

The Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is an update on the original Maxi-Cosi Nomad, so it now includes green belt hooks, a webbing puller and improved fabrics.

Sleek and compact, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is an attractive-looking car seat made of 100% recycled Eco Care fabric. While it’s only available to buy in black, this will still suit most families well. 

I was astounded at just how small the car seat is when folded (50.5 x 37.5 x 21.5cm), especially when I compared it to the ginormous toddler car seat another family of three was lugging around at the airport. 

Considering we had one large suitcase, two cabin bags, a backpack and a lightweight buggy with us, the Nomad Plus's compact size made such a difference. The same applies for day trips while we were on holiday. 

Read next: Best cabin-approved strollers

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus harness

Is the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus safe?

Yes! The Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus conforms to the R129 European safety standard, which aims to improve car seat seat safety through mandatory side-impact testing as well as frontal. 

It has reinforced Side Impact Protection, which provides additional safety in the event of a side collision, a five-point safety harness with anti-slip pads, and a belt routine that’s always visible.

The five-point harness is the same as on other Maxi-Cosi car seats and is quick to secure, unclip and tighten, even in a hurry. You press a button underneath the crotch pad to loosen the harness then pull the pull-strap to tighten.

One key thing to note is that Nomad Plus is forward-facing only, which may be a dealbreaker if you want your child to rear-face for as long as possible. As such, it can only be used when your child is 15 months old to comply with the R129 regulations. 

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus in carry bag at airport

Is the Maxi-Cosi easy to use while travelling?

As a travel car seat, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus ticks a lot of boxes. It’s practically featherweight at just 4.26kg, so it was a breeze to cart around the airport and when on day trips abroad with our other baby essentials, including a changing bag and buggy.

It comes with a handle for easy carrying as well as an integrated carry bag, which sits underneath the seat and can be zipped away when not in use. A brilliant addition in my opinion.

While I would have preferred the bag to be waterproof (it’s only water-repellent so it got wet during our flight to Mexico), it was extremely convenient not to have to purchase a car seat travel bag separately. I did however put some bubble wrap around the seat when checking it into the hold to ensure it didn't get damaged on the way.

The car seat folds and unfolds easily using a pull bar at the back of the seat, and conveniently stands upright when folded. The headrest adjusts using a pull strap at the top, although I found that I needed to pull the headrest to its highest position to then push it down to its lowest so that the car seat folded as compactly as intended. 

Despite installation taking longer than we would have liked, the Nomad Plus fitted well in every vehicle we installed it in.

It does look small in the back seat compared to a regular toddler car seat and my daughter was lower than she would be in her day-to-day car seat, the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size.

However, the Nomad Plus is the ideal car seat to use if you tend to hire a car while on holiday, especially if you need reassurance that you always have a safe car seat to hand.

Read next: The best car sunshades for babies

Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus car seat with headrest adjusted

How comfortable is the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus?

I was pleasantly surprised at just how comfortable the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is. It sadly doesn’t recline, but my daughter still fell asleep in it on the long drive back from Chichen Itza. The adjustable headrest ensures the car seat is the correct size as your child grows.

The plush and breathable padding allowed for a pleasant ride on both long and short journeys, however there are no arm rests for little ones to rest their arms.

It also doesn’t have a foot rest, however the car seat is small enough so that my 22-month-old was able rest her legs on the back seat instead.

Read next: Best 360 spin car seats

Is the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus easy to clean?

Yes! The reality of family travel is that it's usually filled with both highs and lows and, for us, the lows involved two bouts of travel sickness. As such, it was crucial that the Nomad Plus was easy to clean. 

Thankfully, the cover and harness shoulder pads are removable so we were able to get them machine-washed and dried quickly, and all the stains came out completely.

While I can see the seat has attracted some dust since we started using it, the benefit of its black cover is that small stains or spills are concealed fairly easily.  

Read next: The best baby carriers, wraps and slings

Mum carrying Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus car seat

Does the Maxi-Cosi Nomad offer good value for money?

Without a doubt. For the convenience of knowing that you always have a lightweight car seat with you while travelling, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus offers incredible value for money.

While it's certainly missing the extra features of larger car seats, such as arm rests and a recline, the fact that this foldable car seat is so well designed for travel makes it worth its weight in gold. 

I do think installation could be more intuitive and it does leave some margin for error. But overall, the Nomad Plus was invaluable during my recent long-haul holiday and I feel reassured knowing that I already have a high-performing travel car seat ready and waiting for the next one.

About the author

Laura Westerman is an editor, writer and Deputy Head of Editorial Content at Mumsnet. Mum to a one-year-old, she’s always keen to make travel safe and fun for her daughter, so is fully invested in discovering the best and most affordable baby products on the market, and sharing her knowledge and findings with other parents.

With over seven years' experience as a full-time editor, five of which have been spent writing, commissioning and editing car seat reviews and round-ups, Laura has a keen eye for what parents love and likes nothing more than putting together honest reviews to make parents' lives that little bit easier. 

In addition to her work as a writer and editor, she has also appeared in a number of baby product videos for Mumsnet's YouTube channel.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage.

Video credit: Maxi-Cosi