In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna Review

Better crash test scores are nice, but the disappointing comfort features left us wanting
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Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $280 List
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Manufacturer:   Nuna
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Oct 20, 2023

The Skinny

The Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna is a higher-ranking infant car seat with some nice features. It comes with rigid LATCH, a large canopy, better crash test analysis, and more. It scores above average in our review and is a good-looking car seat that we think parents will like. However, it costs slightly more than the other Nuna we tested and scored somewhat lower, making it not the Nuna we'd choose. This seat is easy to install with LATCH, easy to use, and did better in crash testing than much of the competition. Still, unless you have a Bugaboo stroller and want the same name combined setup, there are better options in this review that either score better, cost less, or both.
REASONS TO BUY
Better crash test analysis
Rigid LATCH
Extra large canopy
Easy-to-remove carrier
REASONS TO AVOID
Rougher fabric on the infant insert
Harder to install with belt
Disappointing handle
Discontinued Fall 2023
It would appear this seat is on its way to being discontinued. With very few locations reporting stock and Bugaboo showing it as out of stock, it is likely being replaced similarly to the discontinued Nuna Pipa.

Editor's Note: We did new testing and crash test analysis on 17 infant safety seats for our October 1, 2023 review update.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Nuna launched in 2007 with the ZAAZ™ highchair. With headquarters in Amsterdam, nuna is an international company creating thoughtful products for babies and selling fan favorite car seats, top-ranked strollers, and more.

Performance Comparison



This is the Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna crash test video from MGA Research that we paid for to find the best-performing infant car seat.
Credit: GearLab & MGA Research

Crash Testing


The Turtle earned one of this review's highest crash test analysis scores. All of the seats we tested are considered safe and pass the federal minimum guidelines, but we wanted to see which seats performed better in a slightly hotter test using a setup that more closely mimics modern-day cars. The Turtle was a standout seat in this metric, with an overall analysis much higher than the average seat.

This comparison graph includes the head sensor data from the Turtle...
This comparison graph includes the head sensor data from the Turtle and the Clek Liing.
This comparison graph includes the chest sensor data from the Turtle...
This comparison graph includes the chest sensor data from the Turtle and the Clek Liing, which is one of the best-performing in the group.

With one of the lowest HIC results (lower is better, like golf) and a below-average chest clip sensor result, it was clear this Nuna potentially offers a more significant margin of protection than the average seat. While some seats excelled with better HIC or chest clip results, not many managed impressive results for both, making the Turtle a better performer in this metric than most.

The Turtle includes a load leg that is easy to use and comes with a color indication change when it is installed correctly. The height adjustment is a kick out foot with one level.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Installation LATCH


LATCH installation of the Turtle is by far the easiest installation method for this seat. It has a higher-than-average score and is one of the highest in the group. Given the difficulty disparity between the easy LATCH and the challenging other methods, we think you should only consider this seat if LATCH will always be an option. It does not have an anti-rebound bar but does come equipped with a load leg.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the rigid latch on the turtle is super easy to use and comes with...
The rigid LATCH on the Turtle is super easy to use and comes with guides to give you a better view of anchor points.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Turtle has rigid LATCH connectors attached to the base at the perfect distance for anchor connection to the vehicle. The LATCH connectors slide in easily and connect with a reassuring click (no strap tightening!).

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the double press release process on the turtle likely prevents...
The double press release process on the Turtle likely prevents accidental disconnection, but it does make releasing the connectors more difficult.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

They are equally easy to remove by pinching two buttons for a two-point release and a slight tug. It does come with guides to help push the vehicle padding apart for a better view, but honestly, you don't really need them; it is so easy without them. The LATCH connectors have an indicator to tell you when it's connected, which is a great reassurance.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the load leg on the turtle stores under the base, and it pulls out...
The load leg on the Turtle stores under the base, and it pulls out for use falling into a natural position with an indicator color change when properly installed.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The load leg falls right into place on its own, and a nice indicator once again tells you it is good to go. It passes the wiggle test and is so stable we had trouble getting it to move at all. Woohoo! Most parents will want a stable seat, no wiggle, and indicators telling you you did it right.

Recline Adjustment


Adjusting the recline adjustment has two levels and includes bubble-style indicators on both sides for easy viewing, no matter the seat position in your car.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the bugaboo has bubble indicators on each side, but the acceptable...
The Bugaboo has bubble indicators on each side, but the acceptable angle range is small and we worry some folks might have trouble getting the right angle due to the limited adjustment options.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The limited angle options could be frustrating when trying to install the seat within the bubble indicator range, and we think it would help if there were more than two levels. The adjustment is just a flip-down leg. So if you aren't in range flat or the flip leg, you're out of luck.

The belt lock off on the Turtle requires threading the belt and pressing to close the lock off.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Installation - Belt


Installing the Turtle using the vehicle belt is more challenging than the LATCH method. It scores below average for the group; we suspect most parents won't want to do it.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the vehicle belt must pass through the turtle belt lock off which is...
The vehicle belt must pass through the Turtle belt lock off which is hard to use as it is not as wide as the vehicle belt.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The vehicle belt goes through a pathway marked with direction indicators that are not color-coded. The holes are small but easy to thread through. The lock-off is built into the base and locks back on itself. It is smaller than the width of the vehicle belt, so it was a struggle to fit the belt in and close the lock. While trying to do this, you must hold the belt tight while putting the lock in place. We experienced the lock-off popping open after we thought it was closed and containing the strap.

Closing the belt lock off on the Turtle requires pulling the strap...
Closing the belt lock off on the Turtle requires pulling the strap tight while you push down on the lock off. It is a challenge as the space doesn't want to accept two belt layers.

We had to make multiple installation attempts, and we could barely get the level indicator in the right spot most of the time. It felt like a much bigger hassle than it should be and bigger than we saw in most of the competition.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the european beltpath on the turtle has color indicators but they...
The European beltpath on the Turtle has color indicators but they are not fully colored which feels like a mistake.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Installation - w/o the Base


Installing the Turtle without the base is not easy and is not our favorite. With a below-average performance, it would not be a preferred method for this seat. It features a partially color-coded belt pathway and uses the European style, incorporating the vehicle belt shoulder strap.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the european belt path includes the shoulder strap of the vehicle...
The European belt path includes the shoulder strap of the vehicle belt to wrap around the back of the carrier. The slots across the foot of the carrier have more friction than most, given the wrap-around fabric.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We found this seat is easiest to install with the handle in the far back position, so it isn't the way during installation. The padding on the seat shell that wraps around gets in the way when trying to thread the vehicle belt, and you have to push it out of the way to get the strap in place. The back of the carrier has a tab to lift for the vehicle belt, and it was a hassle to use. Overall, it's more complicated than it needs to be. Removing the belt is a pain, too.

The level line is somewhat underneath the canopy, so you must step back and bend to see it. Because of the placement, we hit our heads on the car door, leaning over to get a good look. The final installation feels stable.

The back clip for the Turtle installation without the base faces up when most of the competitors face down.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The Turtle is easier to use than several competitors, with a metric score that is slightly better than the average for this group. It is neither a standout nor a hassle to use.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the buckle and chest clip on the turtle are fairly basic and work...
The buckle and chest clip on the Turtle are fairly basic and work well, but the clip could be harder to use if it gets clogged with gunk.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Buckle


The buckle button is square, flush with the buckle, with a slight depression for your finger or thumb, and is slightly textured. The back of the buckle has padding for the baby's comfort, but it didn't get in the way or make anything more challenging. The prongs that go into the buckle have a metal interior to help create friction to prevent the prongs from sliding down. The button doesn't cause the prongs to pop out like some of the competition, meaning you need two hands to pull it apart. The chest clip is a standard option we see on several seats with no standout feature or function.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the tightening strap and release button on location other foot of...
The tightening strap and release button on location other foot of the Turtle carrier, both are easy to use with nothing int he way, but little one might find the button hard to ignore as they get older and more curious.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Harness Tightening/Loosening


This seat has the standard tightening strap near the foot of the carrier. The release button is right above it. Both are traditional designs, but we like that the release button is closer to the edge than most and super easy to press.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the harness height adjustment on the turtle has two options, which...
The harness height adjustment on the Turtle has two options, which isn't much and might not be enough to get a good fit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Harness Adjustment


The harness adjustment on the Turtle is a rethread style with four shoulder height positions and three crotch strap positions. This means you must turn the carrier over and take the shoulder straps off the clip, unthread from the current height, rethread to the appropriate height, and put them back on the clip. The slots for the straps are harder to access than most. While it wasn't tricky, it isn't as straightforward as a non-rethread style and can't be done with your baby in the seat.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the carrier release button on the turtle is located on the base not...
The carrier release button on the Turtle is located on the base not the carrier and can make lifting the carrier with one hand more challenging than those with the release on the carrier.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Carrier to Base Connection


Connecting the carrier to the base is easy, and we didn't find a way to do it wrong or think you completed it and didn't. However, there is no visual indicator you've made the connection properly. This seat has a somewhat unique release, with the lever to squeeze being located on the base, not the carrier. In our opinion, it isn't as helpful because you only have one hand to lift the carrier instead of two if the lever is on the carrier like most of the competition.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the handle on the turtle would be easy to use and rotate if it...
The handle on the Turtle would be easy to use and rotate if it didn't struggle with portions of the canopy, making both features harder to use than they need to be.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Handle


This handle has a similar button to the other Nuna in our review. It scapes your fingers when you pull the canopy to adjust. Pulling the canopy over the handle is almost impossible, which feels like a major and easily avoidable design flaw. There are also snaps on the back of the canopy that get in the way of closing the canopy. We suspect all the finagling between the canopy, snaps, and handle will result in most parents not moving the handle if they don't absolutely need it. The extra bit of the canopy tends to seep out when you also try to move it.

The Turtle canopy is unique with a pull-down privacy mesh shield...
The Turtle canopy is unique with a pull-down privacy mesh shield that attaches with a magnet.
The Turtle canopy is unique for its peek a boo window, which most...
The Turtle canopy is unique for its peek a boo window, which most infant car seats lack.

Canopy


The canopy is easy enough to use and is connected in the back. The mesh pullout for privacy connects using magnets that feel strong enough to stay in place unless little ones discover the fun.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the turtle storage manual tucks under two clips under the load leg.
The Turtle storage manual tucks under two clips under the load leg.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

LATCH and Manual Storage


There is no LATCH storage for the Turtle since it uses rigid LATCH. Storage keeps the connectors away from the baby, prevents possible injuries, and stops them from getting in the way when connecting the carrier to the base; none of these issues are present when using rigid LATCH.

The Turtle manual is kept on the bottom of the base tucked behind the load leg. If the load leg is used, there isn't much to keep it in place besides the vehicle seat pressing. It would be better if the carrier had a pocket to keep it handy but tucked away.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the turtle has thicker padding and fabric we wish was softer than it...
The Turtle has thicker padding and fabric we wish was softer than it feels against your face.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort/Quality


The Turtle didn't impress us that much for comfort and quality, with a reasonably low performance in this metric compared to the other seats.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the bugaboo utilizes eps foam to help with impact forces.
The Bugaboo utilizes EPS foam to help with impact forces.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Fabric and Padding


The fabric here is nice enough, but it will trick you into thinking it is soft until you rub it on your face. It could be softer as a newborn's face will be rubbing on it as you drive. The main fabric is nicer than the infant insert, and it feels odd that the material used during the most sensitive period is the most itchy.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - latch installation is the easiest installation method for the turtle...
LATCH installation is the easiest installation method for the Turtle in our tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The padding on the Turtle is even throughout the seat and relatively nice, though not as cushy and supportive as some competitors. The infant insert offers more padding and support than the main carrier, and we wish the carrier continued this trend.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the fully open canopy on the turtle is nice looking but causes...
The fully open canopy on the Turtle is nice looking but causes collision issues with the handle when you try to rotate it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Handle and Canopy


The canopy is somewhat unique, with a pullout mesh privacy screen. This is not a bug screen and won't keep out wet weather, but it can help dim the carrier for napping and offer privacy to a sleeping child away from the prying eyes of well-intentioned strangers stealing a peek. While a nice idea, we suspect most parents will stop using it once their baby learns to pull it on for fun.

The handle has cushiony leatherette-feeling fabric at the top that isn't as nice as some but definitely better than those with nothing. The bar is thin, and the lack of girth makes it harder to grasp and creates a pressure point if you put it over your forearm to carry. We wouldn't want to carry a baby in this carrier for very long or very often.

Shell


The shell on the carrier is relatively smooth, with no nooks or crannies. The fabric does fold over the edge more than most, which gives it a higher-end feel, but it will just collect gunk over time. You can run a rag over the plastic parts to keep those clean, but there isn't much to be done for the fabric outside of removing it for cleaning.

bugaboo turtle one by nuna - the turtle has a mid-point weight that is average for the group at...
The Turtle has a mid-point weight that is average for the group at 10.6 lbs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight/Size


The Turtle is somewhat heavy compared to other carriers, with a weight of 10.6 lbs; it comes in about average for the group. While it is nowhere near the heaviest in the group, several options are 2+ lbs lighter. Two pounds might not sound like a lot, but it can make a difference as your little one grows if you plan to carry your little one in their carrier.

Should You Buy the Bugaboo?


We think most families would be happy with this Nuna seat and see the appeal of pairing it with a Bugaboo stroller. It performed better in crash testing than the average seat and is very easy to install using the rigid LATCH. We like the look and quality of this seat and think most parents will, too. It is even mid-priced compared to some of the competition. However, some seats are better performers with similar prices, including a Nuna seat we think is a smidge better and costs a little less.

What Other Infant Car Seat Should You Consider?


We think the Nuna Pipa is the better choice in this review. It is an award-winning seat with similar crash test results and ease of installation. They are very similar seats, with the Pipa being easier and more intuitive than the Bugaboo. It is also more comfortable with smoother fabric and a lighter-weight carrier. If all of this isn't enough, you'll save a little money too.

The Nuna Pipa has been discontinued; we hope to test the replacement soon. In the meantime, check out other great contenders in our best infant car seat review.

Manufacturer Videos



Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz