I purchased this car seat because it matched my beloved Peg Perego Pliko stroller and snapped together they form an awesome travel system. I was a little worried however after reading other reviews online where many people seemed to really dislike this car seat. The one I have is a 2003 model in the Black Sable pattern and at the time they retailed for $169 which included the base to leave in your car. The newer 2006-2007 seats are even nicer offering side impact protection and a higher weight limit for a whopping $229 but the 2003 model only went to 20 pounds and 26 inches in height. That is a downfall after you’ve spend that much money but I still think this is a great seat and here’s why.
It is one of the more narrow infant car seats on the market today. This is important if you have a smaller car or need to fit more than one car seat in your vehicle. This was definitely one of the selling points for me as we had 3 car seats in the back of a small Mazda Protégé for over a year. It also makes it easier to fit into the basket portion of your shopping cart and in booths at restaurants. The only down side to being narrow is that some babies may grow out of the car seat quicker just cause it’s not so comfy to have their arms stuck down by their sides, it’s not the roomiest seat but luckily my baby didn’t seem to mind.
This seat is slightly heavier than other’s but it seems to be made of high quality, durable materials. While it’s harder to carry, it makes you feel safer when it’s installed in your vehicle knowing that it’s a well constructed car seat. It is definitely possible to use as a carrier though the handle is not necessarily ergonomic like other car seat manufactures make. It’s just a curved handle that is more flat than rounded so carrying on the crook of your arm is easier I suppose. The handle is adjustable, 4 different positions, behind the seat towards the floor, right behind the baby’s head, upright for carrying and towards the feet for what I’m not sure but it’s the only infant seat I’ve seen that allowed the handle to adjust forward.
The material is very nice and like I said matched perfectly with my Pliko Stroller. The print is black sable and has a black and silver cover and canopy. The Canopy has much to be desired as it doesn’t cover much of the baby but this didn’t seem to be a problem for us. When used with the stroller the two canopies meet and completely shield your little one from the sun.
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio car seat is very padded and looks comfy to me. Compared to other’s this seems more luxurious with a thick 1 inch padding that covers the plastic shell underneath the polyester fabric. This extra padding does seem to make the inner dimension of the car seat more narrow so bigger babies may feel restricted as they grow. This car seat comes with a 5 point safety harness that is easy to adjust in the front by pulling up a little lever. It has 3 height settings so that you can switch the straps as your baby gets taller. The 2003 came with the paper-clip style chest clip but later years had the easier snap together kind. This just means it takes an extra second or two to properly secure your baby. The harness straps are rather thick and wide which means they never once twisted up for me. Definitely a plus as nothing is more frustrating than twisty car seat straps when you are in a hurry.
This car seat easily unlatches from the base and back into it with its patented G-matic attachment. It clips in to the stroller the same way as there are two hooks that flip up on the seat for use in travel system mode. A negative thing about this seat is that it can only be installed with the base which is rather heavy to transport but luckily newer models now allow you to simply use the carrier and the car seat as an additional option. The re-designed base is really nice though. Like I said it’s heavy but once you have it secured in your vehicle it seems very safe. It has two latch connectors that can be use in place of the standard seat belt or if you have a car older than 2002 there are slots for the belt path and you can still get a tight fit this way. There is a moving ball level indicator on the base so you are assured you are installing the seat at a healthy recline, especially important with newborns. There is also a rotating knob that can be turned to make the back of the base higher or lower depending on the slope of your vehicles car seat.
So overall I was very happy with this car seat, I’m not sure I would have purchased it if it wasn’t the only seat that would snap into my favorite stroller but I still am glad I went with it. There are many improvements in the newer models that are worth looking into but then there are also other high quality infant car seats on the market today that are much cheaper. When you buy a Peg Perego product you are definitely paying for the name brand, luckily their products hold up well over time.