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Hands-on Gear Review
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Review
Price: $300 List | $299.98 from Amazon
Pros: Better crash test results, Anti-Rebound Bar, easy install
Cons: Heavier, hard to install LATCH system
Bottom line: Favorite Editors' Choice seat with good crash test results
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 earned the highest overall score in this review. It is a nice looking car seat that has some interesting features and performed well in our tests. When compared side-by-side with the competition this seat really did shine and impressed testers with its quality and comfort. Possibly the only drawbacks are its slightly higher price tag and middle-of-the-pack weight. However, the price might just be justified given how well it performed and the weight is manageable and still not even close to the heaviest in the group. Overall, we really liked the Peg Perego and gave it our Editors' Choice award.
RELATED: Our complete review of infant car seats
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is a rear facing car seat for babies 4-35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. It is equipped with a "Right Tight System" base to securely lock the base in place and it has an innovative shell design for optimum safety and comfort. The base includes a built in anti-rebound bar for extra protection. The Primo offers side impact protection and is adjustable to 6 different height positions. The shell is lined with EPS energy absorbing foam for protection that is perforated for maximum circulation. It comes with a dual stage cushion system that comes with 2 cushions to properly position baby's head and shoulders. This car seat weighs 9.5 pounds and the handle is short and compact making it easier to carry and move. The car seat can be used without the base and has a color coded belt routing system to ensure proper attachment. This stroller is compatible with all Peg Perego strollers (except the Skate and Pliko Mini). In addition, it is widely supported by car seat adapters from top rated strollers. In our full size stroller review 8 of the top 10 rated strollers offer a car seat adapter compatible with the Peg, and all 5 of the top 5 support it.
We tested and compared the Peg Perego to 14 other top competing seats, examining performance in detail on seven key rating metrics.
crash test results overall scoring an 8 of 10, well above average in our test, and suggesting it provides a significantly higher level of protection than required by the basic Federal safety regulations. The Peg had the third best score out of 15 seats for chest forces, and 5th best out of 15 seats in head forces, performing better in these crash test scores than most seats we reviewed.
The crash test results were based on the G forces recorded in the sensors located in the head and chest of crash test dummies in sled tests designed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) specifications. The tests are designed to ensure each seat meets the Federal safety guidelines outlined in FMVSS 213. The test results were compared to one another and the Federal minimum guidelines to evaluate each seat in respect to one another. While any seat that is sold in the US must offer the basic level of protection from FMVSS 213, some seats seem to offer an additional margin of protection with crash test results above the minimum requirements. The Peg is one of those seats.
Chicco Keyfit 30 had the lowest Gs (best) recorded in test results for the head region, and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 for the lowest Gs (best) recorded in the chest sensor.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Peg earned an above-average score for the ease of install using the LATCH system with a 7 of 10 score. The high score is a 9 shared by the UPPAbaby Mesa, Chicco Keyfit 30, and the Cybex Aton 2. The low score is a 3 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.
Ease of Install - Belt
Phil and Teds Alpha. The low score is a 4 earned by the Evenflo Embrace LX.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
Ease of Use
The Peg Perego Primo earned a 7 of 10 for ease of use, which is 1 point below the high of 8. The seats that earned 8s are the Evenflo and the Recaro Performance Coupe. Several seats tied for last place with a score of 3, including the Orbit Baby G3, Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40.
The buckle on the Peg comes apart easily with minimal effort, but is stiffer than some to put back together. It doesn't require a lot of thumb strength and most people will be able to do it with one thumb on the buckle button. The chest clip is easiest operated with one hand and is similar to the Recaro Performance Coupe chest clip. The button is easy to push and the sides slide apart without catching. They are also easy to match up when putting the sides together.
The carrier portion of the seat installs fairly easily on the base, but we did manage to occasionally connect only 1 side instead of both in multiple trials during testing. This is a little concerning and we suggest parents pay very close attention to the audile click, and then give the carrier a good tug to ensure proper attachment to the base. We can see this carrier becoming loose due to improper attachment, especially if parents are in a hurry. There are no visual indicators that this seat is properly connected. To release the carrier from the base you pull the handle on the back of the carrier and then use both hands to lift it off the base. The process is easy and we didn't have any problems during testing.
The Peg Perego earned an 8 of 10 for this metric, tying with Phil and Teds Alpha; this is the high score for the metric and both seats impressed testers in their looks and soft padding. The low score on this metric is a 2 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.
The Peg earned one of the top marks for comfort of the padding on the seat. It has a medium firmness foam padding over the stiff dense foam found on all the seats. It offers a pretty soft stage 2 cushion for older babies and a pretty firm stage 1 infant insert as well. The double layer padding made this a really comfortable seat and one we think babies will really feel cozy in. The fabric is also fairly nice, maybe not as much as the Phil and Teds but still really friendly. It is soft and smooth on the majority of the seat with a little bit of rougher fabric on the bottom cushion.
The shell on the Peg earned it the highest score in our side-by-side comparison for quality and durability. It is nicely constructed and has a good fit and finish. It appears as though it will be very durable over time and that attention has been paid to quality manufacturing. The way the padding and the fabric attach to the shell on this seat make a very nice final product that impressed our testers and we think it will impress parents as well.
While the carrier weight of any seat is important, we don't think it should be the most important thing parents consider. We recommend that parents use the weight as a deciding factor as opposed to a major factor. Once the options are narrowed down to two or three using other metrics like ease of installation, ease of use, and crash test results, then it is the best time to consider the carrier weight to help make the final decision.
In our review for the best baby strollers we tested 21 of the most popular strollers on the market to find the very best options for every family. While this Peg seat is compatible with the Peg Perego Booklet, the Booklet didn't impress us all that much. Instead we think the Primo Viaggio 4-35 would work well with our Best Value winner, the Baby Jogger City Mini Single It requires the purchase of an additional adapter to use this car seat, but we think the added expense is worth it to have an award winning stroller to go with your award winning car seat. This seat will also work with the BOB Revolution Flex, which won an Editors' Choice award and can be used for jogging once baby is old enough (8-12 months of age). The Revolution has an adjustable handlebar, suspension, and the highest maneuverability score in the group. Once again you will have to buy the Peg adapter, but it is a far better combination than the Viaggio and Booklet.
The best application for this seat is any parent looking for a fine quality seat that offers comfort for baby, extra features for safety, a higher margin of protection based on crash test scores, and an easy install. This seat does have a higher price tag compared to some of the competition, but in the end it really seems to be worth it. If this car seat is within budget, we think parents will be very happy with it.
The Peg has a list price of $300 making it one of the more expensive seats in the group, but certainly not the most expensive in the group, which is the Orbit at over $400. It may seem on the surface, given the higher price, that it isn't a great value, however, it did perform well in tests and does sport enough additional features that we think it is worth it. We think it is a good value for what it offers.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 works with some strollers we have reviewed including several award winners. For standard size strollers the Peg can work with the Peg Perego Booklet, BOB Revolution Flex, the UPPAbaby Vista, and the Baby Jogger City Mini Single. For jogging strollers it can work with all the BOB strollers we tested, and the Thule strollers, the Thule Urban Glide and the Thule Glide.
Peg Perego also offers the Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 infant style car seat. We did not review this seat in our article, but according to their website it looks like a similar seat to the Viaggio 4-35 with fewer features and attention to comfort. It still looks nicer in pictures than some of the cheaper seats in the review, and if it holds up to the Viaggio 4-35 it might be worth a look.
Back Seat Mirror which is a great accessory for any parent wanting to keep an eye on baby from the front seat. The mirror has a flat base that rests against the front of the back seat headrest and is kept secure by two adjustable straps that fit around both horizontally and vertically. The mirror has a convex shatter proof surface and set a few inches out from the base. It is able to pivot and adjust to provide a wider field of view. Once the mirror is adjusted, there is a device to tighten the pivot point to keep it in place. One of the few downsides to this mirror is that it requires an adjustable headrest for the straps to attach to. Otherwise, Amazon users seem to love this accessory. Many reviewers claimed that it provides a much clearer reflection than other back seat mirrors.
Other accessories include:
Installation using LATCH
Installation with a belt
Installation without the base
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: November 1, 2015
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