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Clek FLLO (It's Like FOONF but Not) - A Preview

Remember how I needed a lighter car seat for our Maui trip in Oct.? And how Little L is a picky girl who loves her FOONF and seems to hate most other car seats? And then that whole gate-vs.-regular-check-vs.-carry-on business?

I love you CLEK. It's like you read this blog.

Just today, my fave Canadian car seat company announced that they are going to be launching a compact convertible car seat called the FLLO (you can read the media brochure here). Some are calling it FOONF-lite, or the "lower" version of the FOONF. I call it the answer to my prayers.

Weighing in at 25ish pounds, it's not a featherweight by any stretch. However, it is still 13 pounds less than the FOONF in RF, which makes it a definite competitor to the other higher-end convertible car seats out there. In my mind, it's already better because CLEK is Canadian! 

I haven't been able to get a lot of details yet, and the seat isn't scheduled to be in stores until August at the earliest, but I've been calling the lovely folks at CLEK to try to get a sneak peek. Hopefully, if I am successful, I will be able to get my hands on one either before they hit the market, or just as they come into the stores. That way, everyone else gets to read all about it and make the ultimate tough decisions between buying the FLLO or the FOONF. Either way, I'm guessing that you can't lose ;)

But here's what I can surmise, in Q & A format:

What's different about the FLLO? It looks like a FOONF!

- COST: 
 The FLLO will cost about $100-$150 less than the FOONF, which is going up in price (in Canada, anyway) to $500 as of July 2nd.
 The FLLO will not have the rigid LATCH system for FF. Instead, it will use flexible latches (much like the FOONF's current flexible LATCH system in RF).
 The FLLO will not have a detachable "base" that the FOONF currently uses for RF. Instead, the FLLO has an attached base that either folds or collapses for switching between RF and FF.
 Without the RF base, the FLLO will be approximately 2" lower in profile than the FOONF. I believe it is also a little less "thick" than the FOONF but I don't have exact numbers on that.
 Instead of using the REACT safety system, the FLLO uses honeycomb deformable cores that "mimic the crumple zone technology of vehicles" to protect little bodies.
 The FLLO will weigh approximately 25 pounds, which is 9 less than the FOONF and 13 less than the FOONF + base

What's the same about the FLLO (compared to the FOONF)?
 Same Crypton Super Fabrics on both seats
 Same as the FOONF (up to 40 pounds in Canada in RF, and up to 65 in FF)
 They look very similar in style: clean lines, simple and chic, and a little bit space-agey
 Both have obtained the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards' seal of approval and undergone extensive NCAP crash-testing, and both seats still have that multi-layer protective foam, a metal substructure, and adjustable head rests for maximum side-impact protection.
 FLLO still has the bar, which I love (but I don't think everyone is thrilled with). Good news though: whereas it's mandatory to use with the FOONF, it is optional on the FLLO.
 Like it's predecessor, FLLO is designed to fit 3-across and is about 17" wide. 

Some are calling the FLLO the "FOONF-lite" or the lower-end, less loaded version (similar to how a Honda Accord is a more budget-friendly alternative to an Acura). I haven't had the pleasure of checking it out yet, but I'd surmise that it is probably not going to feel very "budget" or low-end, given that it's going to be priced fairly competitively with the Dionos and Peg Peregos, and not at the lower end of the spectrum with the Coscos and Evenflos on the market. CLEK has already established the FOONF as a game-changer, and despite the hefty weight and price tag, it continues to be a hugely popular choice for many. I anticipate that the FLLO will make owning a CLEK just that much more accessible for the masses, and I'd wager that sales will probably outstrip even the FOONF. 

Once I get my hands on a FLLO, I'll let you know how well it passes the Little L test, which (as you may have guessed) is a much more difficult approval rating to obtain than even the National Safety Mark. I doubt I'll be disappointed. 

Update: Here is the official CLEK Canada FLLO page. I am in contact with a media person for CLEK to try and arrange for my FLLO to be ordered and sent with their first shipments. I'm hoping to get my hands on one before Sept. 1st (*fingers crossed*) so that I have ample time to blog a "first-impressions" post as well as a piece on how well it travels (in a WeeLee bag, gate-checked). I'll keep you posted :)


Kara Worden said…
I am really looking forward to your review! I love the Foonf in theory but the huge weight of it is off-putting to say the least. The price hike makes it almost unattainable for me (I am expecting twins and was planning on getting Foonfs once they outgrow their KeyFit30s) - the lower cost of the Fllo brings Clek back into the picture for me!
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Kara - I should be receiving mine next week, and I will probably do my first impressions blog about it the week after that. I believe the FLLO is just hitting stores now, so there should be plenty of stock. I have to say, so far I have not met anyone who has purchased a FOONF and regretted it. The FLLO is nearly identical to the FOONF from the seat up; its greatest difference lies in the base below the seat. I anticipate that it will be an easy sell to my toddler, unless the lower profile is so noticeable that she can no longer see out the window (which is highly unlikely). Thanks for commenting!
kateryna hearn said…
Did you receive your Fllo ? I'm really interested to hear what's it like ? I still haven't decided between Chicco Nextfit Zip and Fllo.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Hi Kateryna! I did in fact receive it and have already posted a first impressions post on the seat. It is fantastic and lighter than the Foonf but equally well made. My daughter loves it!
kateryna hearn said…
Where can I read it ? I can't seem to find a link to it ? I do have a question. Did the crotch strap location change ? There have been complaints on the Foonf . That it's too close(deep) inside. Not very comfy. I want my son to be comfortable . Is there room for adjustment ?
Mrs. Loquacious said…

The crotch straps are in the same spot but the FLLOs come with the longer crotch strap, which the original FOONF didn't have. My Little L found it uncomfortable too, until we replaced it with the longer crotch strap (which you can buy on the CLEK website). With the FLLO, this hasn't been a problem. Hope that answers your question!
kateryna hearn said…
Ok. Thank you! I will check out the link. Is there anything you wish was different about this seat ?
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Hmm, that's a tough question. I really love the FLLO, and in fact I've considered keeping it as our "main" car seat instead of using it as our travel one. I think the storage space for the LATCH straps and buckles could be refined so that they were easier to store, and of course the price is still on the steep side ($400). Honestly I could probably think of more things to improve on the FOONF than the FLLO ;) I really am that much of a fan! LOL!

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