What is it?
Britax Römer is one of the most well-known names when it comes to car seats and it has a huge range of seats - close to 50 in fact. The Kidfix III M is the latest addition to the Kidfix range of Group 2/3 cars seats, designed for children aged from around three and a half years old up to 12 (from 15kg to 36 kg).
As well as the standard Isofix mounts you'd expect, the Kidfix III M comes with 'SecureGuard', basically a central strap with a clip that creates a fourth point for the seatbelt. According to Britax Römer, by keeping the lap belt in an optimal position over your child’s pelvic bones helps reduce abdominal forces in the event of a frontal collision by up to 35 per cent.
It also has what Britax calls SICT - a side impact protection system. This is a plastic dial that unscrews from the side of the seat and is designed to reduce impact forces by minimising the distance between the car and the car seat. It deforms to absorb the energy before it reaches your little one. Practical features include a removable and machine washable cover and there are 12 different colours, the Fire Red we're testing here being the brightest.
What's it like?
There's a huge range of Group 2/3 car seats on the market with prices ranging from a mere £25 up to £270 and it can quickly get confusing when you're looking for a good quality, safe but also decent value seat. Indeed, even the Britax Römer range of seats for older children has a rather baffling array of models that appear quite similar.
At around £200 (depending on where you buy), the Kidfix III M is one of the more expensive seats on the market but there's no doubt this feels like a quality seat. The plastic shell is solid, its sturdy to hold and feels very secure when fitted.
And fitting it is very straightforward thanks to some of the easiest Isofix arms we've tested. There's no exposed metal or fiddly catches, just simple arms with easy to use buttons. You extend them using the lever under the seat base, then simply click them onto the mounts. The large red buttons make taking the seat out far easier than others we have tested. This is especially handy if you will be moving the seat regularly from car to car, plus you can use it just with a seatbelt if you have a car without Isofix points.
One of the more unusual features of the Kidfix III M is the central strap with a clip that on the seat base. This is what Britax Römer calls SecureGuard and is designed to reduce the abdominal forces in the event of a frontal collision. It's a small thing and easy enough to clip the lap part of the seatbelt under, so despite a few moans from Eden our chief tester (mainly when wearing a dress in the summer), it certainly gives you that added reassurance as a parent.
Like many new seats, this Britax Römer comes with a side impact system. These basically work by reducing the distance between the car door and the car seat, deforming in the event of an accident, to lower the amount of force travelling through the seat itself. It's simply a case of unscrewing the dial on the side next to the door. It's not as neat as the system on the Cybex Solution Z-Fix but it does the same thing, albeit not as prettily.
The base of the seat is flatter than the Cybex and doesn't have the same side support which caused us a little concern at first but our little one - now four years old - has no issues with sliding about in the seat. In fact, she says it's one of the most comfortable she's tested (in not quite so many words but 'squishy' was used).
The material appears a little shiny and at first glance not as hardwearing as that used by seats such as those made by Nuna, but it's coping very well with several months of being jumped into and onto, occasionally with wellies. Handily the cover also comes off and can be machine washed, which was handy following a recent sick incident...
As it's designed for children aged from three and a half right up to 12-year-olds, the Kidfix III has to cater for a great deal of growth. The headrest adjusts easily and the V-shaped backrest means there's room for children as they grow. However, unlike the Cybex Solution Z-Fix, the headrest doesn't recline. The Cybex also has a cleverly designed backrest which adjusts outwards out as you slide the headrest up - in the Britax it's static.
Despite the lack of a reclining headrest, the angle means it's still comfortable for our little girl who has fallen asleep in it repeatedly without her head falling forward. The padded side supports mean she can lean her head on one side too.
Should I buy one?
The Britax Romer Kidfix III M is one of the most comfortable car seats we've tested thanks to the ergonomic seat base and the thick padding. It's a quality seat, which you'd expect given the price and feels built to last. It may not have features like a reclining headrest or be as neatly designed as seats like the Cybex Solution Z-Fix, but it makes up for this with the extra SecureGuard seatbelt point. It's also really easy to fit with some of the best Isofix clips we've tested.
At around £200, this is far from the cheapest Group 2/3 car seat around and there are others at this price with extra features, but the Kidfix III M is an easy seat to recommend, particularly thanks to SecureGuard. It's a quality car seat that feels built to last.